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Department of Zoology

Agro Landscape by Natalia Zielonka

We are interested in understanding ecological processes and functions in agricultural ecosystems, and in conserving wild species that live within and around these working landscapes.

In our field studies, we use a range of methods, including genetics, remote sensing, audio-recording, experimental and observational field ecology and network analysis. We work mostly on animal taxa that are functionally important in the system, particularly wild pollinators (especially bees), predatory invertebrates and birds.

Our research is trans-disciplinary - challenge-led, inter-disciplinary, and co-produced with a range of non-academic stakeholders. We use survey methods and participatory techniques to involve farmers, industry and other stakeholders from the outset, and we follow ‘user-centred design’ approaches to build decision support tools based on evidence.

Current research projects include:

  • Development of methods to share knowledge between science policy and practice, in collaboration with Conservation Evidence and funded by the Eklipse and ReNature projects
  • Building user-friendly models to support sustainable farm management decisions, including the Cool Farm Biodiversity Tool
  • Studying the impacts of agricultural intensification on biodiversity and ecosystem services on fruit farms in the Brazilian caatinga, in collaboration with and funded by the SUFICA project
  • Testing strategies for sustainable management of pollinators on UK farmland, in partnership with Hutchinsons Ltd and BerryWorld
  • Assessing the use of road verges by bumblebees, and their value in bumblebee conservation, in partnership with Highways England and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust
  • Determining the current ‘Grand Challenges’ in entomology, with the Royal Entomological Society

Key Publications:

Cole, L. J., Kleijn, D., Dicks, L. V., Stout, J. C., Potts, S. G., Albrecht, M., ... Scheper, J. (2020). A critical analysis of the potential for EU Common Agricultural Policy measures to support wild pollinators on farmland. Journal of Applied Ecology.  doi:10.1111/1365-2664.13572

Egan, P., Dicks, L. V., Hokkanen, H., & Stenberg, J. (2020). Delivering integrated pest and pollinator management. Trends in Plant Science.

Shackelford GE, Kelsey R & Dicks, LV. (2019) Effects of cover crops on multiple ecosystem services: Ten meta-analyses of data from arable farmland in California and the Mediterranean. Land Use Policy, 88: 104204.

Garibaldi LA, Pérez-Méndez N, Garratt MPD, Gemmill-Herren B, Miguez FE, Dicks LV. (2019) Policies for Ecological Intensification of Crop Production. Trends Ecol Evol. 34: 282-286

Rose DC, Sutherland WJ, Parker C, Lobley M, Winter M, Morris C, Twining S, Ffoulkes C, Amano T, Dicks L V (2016) Decision support tools for agriculture: Towards effective design and delivery. Agricultural Systems 149: 165-174.

Dicks, L.V., Viana, B., Bommarco, R., Brosi, B., Arizmendi, M.D.C., Cunningham, S.A., Galetto, L., Hill, R., Lopes, A.V., Pires, C., Taki, H., Potts, S.G. (2016) Ten policies for pollinators. Science 354, 975-976.


Contact Details

Group Leader

Dr Lynn Dicks

Department of Zoology
University of Cambridge
Downing St

01223 (3)36678


Group Members

List of University of Cambridge group members

UEA Research Group members

Dr Miriam Grace develops and characterises methods used at the science-policy interface, funded by the Eklipse and ReNature projects. 

Dr Liam Crowther works on pollination and biodiversity on fruit farms in the Brazilian caatinga, funded by the SUFICA project.

Sarah Barnsley (PhD student) works on managing pollinators in farmland, in partnership with Hutchinsons Ltd.

Claire Wallace (PhD student) works on use of road verges in bumblebee conservation, in partnership with Highways England, Costain and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

Imogen Ryan (PhD student) works on pollination of soft fruit crops, in partnership with BerryWorld.

Eleanor Kent (PhD student) works on pollination of soft fruit crops, in partnership with BerryWorld.

Natalia Zielonka (PhD student) work on the ecosystem services provided by birds in tropical fruit production systems, as part of the SUFICA project.