skip to content

Department of Zoology


Our research group studies the ecology of insects in their natural habitats and the impacts of human-induced habitat change on insect biodiversity and communities.

We currently have several large-scale projects based in Southeast Asia that investigate ways that tropical agricultural ecosystems can be managed to benefit biodiversity, important ecosystem services such as pest control and decomposition, and to increase the long-term sustainability of tropical crops.

In the UK, members of our group work in collaboration with the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust to investigate the best management options for conserving threatened butterfly species on reserves.

Finally, other members of our group work on insect taxonomy and collection management, making use of the nationally-important collection of insects housed in the University Museum of Zoology. For example, we currently have a cataloguing project, documenting the long-term biodiversity impacts of habitat change in Cambridgeshire over the last 150 years.

Current research topics include:

  • The Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function in Tropical Agriculture (BEFTA) Programme 
  • Management solutions for threatened butterfly species on chalk grassland reserves
  • The Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems (SAFE) Project
  • Collection and taxonomic work

Key Publications

Luke SH, Dow RA, Butler S, Chey VK, Aldridge DC, Foster WA, Turner EC (2017) The impacts of habitat disturbance on adult and larval dragonflies (Odonata) in rainforest streams in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Freshwater Biology 62, 491–506.

Disney, R. H. L. & Smith, D. A. (2016). A new species of Phalacrotophora Enderlein (Diptera: Phoridae) from England.  Entomologist’s Monthly Magazine 152: 189–192.

Kurz DJ, Turner EC, Anak Agung Ketut Aryawan, Barkley HC, Caliman J-P, Konopik O, Sudharto Ps & Foster WA (2016). Replanting reduces frog diversity in oil palm. Biotropica. 48, 483-490.

Foster WA, Snaddon JL, Turner EC, Fayle TM, Cockerill TD, Ellwood MDF, Broad GR, Chung AYC, Eggleton P, Chey VK & M. Yusah K (2011) Establishing the evidence base for maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem function in the oil palm landscapes of South East Asia. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. B 366, 3277-3291.

Turner EC, Granroth H, Johnson HR, Lucas C, Thompson AM, Froy H, German RN & Holdgate R (2009) Habitat preference and dispersal of the Duke of Burgundy butterfly (Hamearis lucina) on an abandoned chalk quarry in Bedfordshire, UK. J. Insect Conserv. 13, 475–486.

Full list of publications


Contact Details

Group Leader

Dr Ed Turner

Department of Zoology
University of Cambridge
Downing St

01223  (7)69353

Group Members