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The Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences includes staff with interests in biological sciences, conservation, ecology, environmental sciences, environmental statistics, geography and waste management. We offer a range of degree programmes and have a number of postgraduate research students. For more information about studying with us please visit http://www.northampton.ac.uk/.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Nene Valley Nature Improvement Area: Pollination Project

Kat Harrold, PhD Student

As part of my PhD at the University of Northampton I am investigating insect pollinators, specifically bees, butterflies and hoverflies in the Nene Valley Nature Improvement Area (NIA).  I am working on producing a model within ArcGIS which will create a map showing areas of high and low pollinator diversity and abundance. 

To make this model I am collecting information on different factors such as availability of natural habitats, water and differing agri-environment schemes, to see how they affect the insects.  The intention of the model is to inform groups such as conservation organisations or the planning sector, how land-use change may positively or negatively affect pollinators.  

In 2013 I assessed the diversity and abundance of insect pollinators on 14 grassland sites, a mixture of private and public sites including Summerleys and Stanwick Lakes.  In total 737 insects were recorded; 219 bees, 152 hoverflies and 366 butterflies.  It is interesting to note that of this 737 recorded insect pollinators only 5 were honey bees, highlighting the importance of wild pollinators!

Here is a habitat diversity map I have produce for the NIA, based on Shannon-Wiener diversity index, red areas show where there are areas of many differing types of habitat whilst blue areas are those which may contain only singular or few habitat types.  

Nene Valley Nature Improvement Area Habitat Diversity Map

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