I am a PhD student at Royal Holloway, University of London working in Dr Elli Leadbeater’s group. My work focusses on the effect of urbanisation on bee health and behaviour, specifically looking a the three main threats to bees – lack of forage, pesticides and disease – in relation to land use. This year, I’ve been working on a project called Bees in the City, where I have been travelling around the South East visiting existing apiaries in the city, countryside and suburban areas. I’ve collected bee, pollen and colony strength samples to investigate differences in the factors affecting bees between the different land use types.
I have also just completed an MSc at Royal Holloway where I looked at the effects of neonicotinoid insecticides on bumblebee spatial memory. For this and for my PhD I am co-supervised by Dr Rich Gill at Imperial College London.
From 2011-14 I did my undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of Sussex, where I studied the conditional mutualism between ants and mealybugs for my final-year project with Professor William Hughes.
Alongside my degree I worked at the Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects (LASI) as an undergraduate research assistant, working with PhD students and postdocs on several experiments in the field of pollinator ecology and behaviour. My work involved training in various research methods including waggle dance decoding, pollen analysis, testing nectar quality by analysing honeybee crop contents and insect and wildflower surveys in the field.
While at LASI I was involved in science outreach, teaching the public, school groups and university students about honeybee research. This is something I have continued during my PhD, in the form of giving talks to Beekeepers Associations about my research and teaching about bees at the RHUL Science Festival.