Who we are

Rebecca Nesbit (Butterfly Becky): I graduated from the University of Durham and in 2010 I was awarded an ecology PhD. I did my research at Rothamsted Research in Hertfordshire and spent my time chasing migrant butterflies. Cuts in research funding persuaded me to jump ship into PR but, even if I now wear smart clothes, I’m an ecologist at heart.

Emma Wright: I am the bee girl – a PhD student at Rothamsted Agricultural Research Institute currently studying bees. Officially I’m looking at ‘The effect of pathogens on honeybee learning and foraging behaviour’, which in simple terms means that what I want to know is: ‘are sick bees stupid?’

You may have seen on the news or Dr Who recently that honeybees are having a bad time of it lately and we’re not entirely sure why. One potential problem for them is diseases and parasites which don’t just kill the bees but could also be affecting their behaviour. Which is what I’m interested in.

And yes before you ask I have been stung, but usually only when I’m really annoying the poor bees! Serves me right!

Trish Wells: In Britain about 50% of the land is managed for agriculture and I believe that modifying the way we farm is the most practical, most feasible and the most widespread way we can improve our environment. I am doing a PhD looking at insects and diseases that kill greenfly. I’m interested in the interactions between these species and how that affects pest suppression in bean and wheat fields. My focus is on the harlequin ladybird and its predation of lacewing larvae which also eat aphids. I want to reduce the impact of agriculture on our environment by enhancing biodiversity for the benefit of crop protection (more ladybirds and lacewings means less greenfly). I find this work fun, real and exciting (and often very, very hard).

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