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Helen Waters

Helen Waters

MPhil student

Museum Room G.15
Office Phone: 01223 (7)68919


I graduated with a BA in Zoology from the University of Cambridge in 2016. During my final year I completed a research project that quantitatively compared land-use strategies for maximising carbon storage and biodiversity in tropical agricultural landscapes. This piqued my interest in sustainable agriculture and the reconciliation of food production with conservation. I’ve spent the last 10 months as a research assistant in the Conservation Science Group, working with two projects. I first worked with PhD student Erasmus zu Ermgassen on building a database of historical changes in livestock feed conversion efficiency, with the aim of reducing uncertainty when modelling future livestock production scenarios.  I then moved to the ‘No such thing as a cheap lunch’ project in March, where I was collecting and analysing yield and externality data across a wide range of agricultural sectors.

I am now delighted to be starting an MPhil in the Insect Ecology group, where I will be working within the framework of the RERTA and BEFTA projects and looking at pest control service spillover into oil palm plantations.

Research Interests

I am interested in management strategies that can balance agricultural production and growth with sustainability and ecosystem health.

My MPhil research will focus on ecosystem service spill-over from riparian buffer habitats into oil palm plantations.

I am particularly interested in assessing how the ecosystem dynamics change throughout the lifespan of oil palm, and how this knowledge can be applied to crop management in the context of the mass replanting event that is due to happen across Indonesia.


  • Insect Ecology

Key Publications

Balmford, A., Amano, T., Bartlett, H., Chadwick, D., Collins, A., Edwards, D., Field, R., Garnsworthy, P., Green, R., Smith, P., Waters, H., Whitmore, A., Broom, D., Chara, J., Finch, T., Garnett, E., Gathorne-Hardy, A., Hernandez-Medrano, J., Herrero, M., Hua, F., Latawiec, A., Misselbrook, T., Phalan, B., Simmons, B., Takahashi, T., Vause, J., zu Ermgassen, E. & Eisner, R. 2018. The environmental costs and benefits of high-yield farming. Nature Sustainability, 1(9), p.477.