MSc by Research - The role of wildflower habitats in promoting pollinator populations in botanical gardens and public open spaces: a network approach

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Project Description

In response to the global decline on pollinator biodiversity and abundance there is increasing interest in how we can make human dominated habitats support a greater diversity and abundance of pollinators.

This project provides the opportunity to investigate the impacts of wildflower meadows and pollinator friendly shrub and perennial planting on pollinator networks and visitation rates in botanical gardens and public open spaces. As much as is possible, the work will focus on interventions made by the National Wildflower Centre on projects developed at Eden and further afield, including Liverpool. It will involve carrying out pollinator surveys and potentially nectar and pollen analysis of plants commonly used in pictorial meadows in parks across Cornwall. In addition there is a long term plant-pollinator network data set collected in a botanical garden in Cornwall to be analysed. The data will be analysed using a network approach to establish which plants are most important for which pollinator groups and how network properties vary with the quantity and quality of resources available in the two settings.

The research will involve fieldwork and travelling between multiple fieldwork sites so a full driving licence would be desirable, or the ability to travel to field sites that may not be accessible by public transport.

For eligible students the award provides annual funding to cover Home tuition fees, project costs and a tax-free stipend of £2,000.  Students who pay international tuition fees are eligible to apply, but should note that the award will only provide payment for part of the international tuition fee.