Knowledge for a sustainable world

A ‘real-world’ approach to predicting the impact of land-use policies on pollinators

The declining population of both managed and wild bees have prompted the need to find and implement conservation measures to reduce pollinator declines. Conservation strategies aim to rebuild natural populations by restoring ecosystems through their implementation and natural resources management. There are many conservation strategies intended to help pollinators. However, we do not know how successful the strategies and management interventions for pollinators are.

Some pollinators’ physical or ecological traits confer higher robustness against habitat changes, while others have traits that render them more sensitive. Similarly, we predict that some physical or ecological traits in different species of wild bees will influence their likelihood of responding to conservation and habitat restoration. Diana is using a meta-analysis to synthesise the literature on wild bee traits and response to conservation strategies,

This will lead into a development of habitat suitability indices for different bee groups and the creation of a predictive model to understand the landscape-scale impacts of conservation measures on wild bee populations. Part of the research will be developed in Scotland within an area defined by the Balruddery Catchment. This research will intend to guide future restoration programs to consider the needs of wild bees rather than the botanically focus endpoint.

Primary Supervisor: Sarah Arnold
Secondary Supervisor(s): Richard J Hopkins, Dr Graham Begg (External), Prof Nick Birch (External)

Diana Tixi joined the University of Greenwich in January 2019, where she is currently studying for a fulltime PhD on wild bees’ conservation, jointly supervised by the James Hutton Institute and funded by the Macaulay Development trust. Formerly she completed her studies of Biology majoring in Ecology and Management at the University of Azuay in Ecuador. Later she completed an MSc in Agriculture for Sustainable development in the Natural Resources Institute from the University of Greenwich. During her BSc, she developed a project on the structure and composition of the insect community in two areas of the scientific station El Gullán. Her MSc project investigated: Does the application of biochar reduce compaction effects on a clay soil by altering its hydraulics?

As part of her work experience, she was involved in soils department at the Universidad del Azuay in Ecuador after her MSc to generate the mapping of ‘Qhapaq ñan’ the Inca road system transect from Cuenca to Loja, Ecuador with botanical characterisation, a project developed in conjunction with the Azuay Herbarium.

  • 2018-Tessa Blackstone Achievement prize for a self-funded international NRI MSc student
  • 2019 – present member of the Verral Association of entomologist
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