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Personal profile

Professional Activities

Research Fellow funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (2016-2021). Previously NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellow, linked to the Insect Pollinators Initiative (2011-2014).

Principal Investigator of Newton-funded project Sustainable Fruit Farming in the Caatinga: managing ecosystem service trade-offs as agriculture intensifies (SUFICA), working with Brazilian fruit farms.

 Co-ordinating Lead Author of the IPBES Thematic assessment of pollinators, pollination and food production.

Core team member for the Conservation Evidence project, based at the University of Cambridge.

Partner in Cambridge Conservation Initiative project on conserving wild pollinators and increasing food security  (2016-2017).

Chair of Eklipse project Expert Working Group on Knowledge Synthesis Methods.

Research collaborator and advisor to the Waitrose Agronomy Group: www.sustainableagriculturewaitrose.org

Biodiversity lead for the Innovation Hub Science Committee and member of Method Development Committee for the Cool Farm Alliance.

Editor of Conservation Letters and Conservation Evidence; Associate Editor of Ecological Entomology and Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems.

 

Career

  • 2019- : Visiting Researcher, University of East Anglia; Lecturer in Animal Ecology, University of Cambridge
  • 2016-2019: NERC Independent Research Fellow, University of East Anglia
  • 2009-2016: Postdoctoral researcher, then NERC Research Fellow, University of Cambridge, Department of Zoology
  • 2002-2009: Science writer, science communications adviser (part-time while raising young family)
  • 2002: PhD, community ecology of flower-visiting insects, University of Cambridge
  • 1995: BA Biological Sciences, University of Oxford

 

Follow me on Twitter @LynnDicks

My research group works at the interface between agro-ecology, policy and the food and farming industry. I moved to the University of Cambridge Department of Zoology in December 2019, but many members of my research group remain at UEA. 

Key Research Interests and Expertise

I am an applied ecologist focused on sustainable management of agricultural landscapes.

Managing ecosystem services on commercial farms

I work on how farmers can benefit from ecosystem services in realistic commercial contexts, and how to use scientific evidence in policy and practice. I have developed methods to compile and synthesize ecological evidence and make it useful for decision-making. I use rigorous approaches to gather expert judgement, for rapid, transparent assessment of evidence, and build user-friendly models to support farm management decisions (see for example, the new Cool Farm Biodiversity Tool). I work with organisations that manage the environment, in Government, the charitable sector and the food and farming industry. All my work is focused on insect pollinator conservation and ecosystem services in farmland, but the methods are widely applicable.

Pollinator conservation and use of the landscape by wild bees

Wild pollinators are important to crop production and wild plant reproduction, and most of this pollination service is carried out by a relatively small number of common, widespread bee species. To preserve this ecological function, and optimise it for agriculture, we need landscapes that support common wild pollinators in the long term, by providing the food and nesting resources they need at the appropriate scale.

I use a combination of laboratory experiments, field ecology, genetics and remote sensing to understand how wild bees use landscapes and respond to land management.

I also work on pollinator conservation from policy and agronomic perspectives. What actions are cost-effective and feasible, to support and conserve common and declining wild pollinators? How do these actions fit within a program of ecological intensification, to enhance or maintain intensive production within a thriving agricultural ecosystem? How can growers using managed pollinators minimise impacts on wild pollinator populations?

 

PGR Opportunities

Research Group Membership

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. 

Network

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or