fergus 2Somerville student, Fergus Chadwick (Biological Sciences, 2012) will be working alongside the staff at Wytham Woods in a citizen science project initiated to survey bumblebees in different habitats throughout the woodland.

Fergus’s Role will be developing the protocols for the surveys so that the public effort is coordinated. This survey is just one of several exciting citizen science projects which will allow the public to directly contribute to important research.

At the same time, Fergus will be carrying out an inventory of all the bee species in Wytham Woods – bumblebees only constitute 24 of 250 UK bee species. The data collected will be compared with the dairies of ecologist Charles Elton, who visited the woods around 400 times between 1943 and 1965, to see how the bee species found in Wytham Woods have changed since he began research.

The 1000 acre Wytham Woods just outside of Oxford, which was recently the subject of an award winning documentary, is perhaps the best studied woodland in the world. It’s been owned and managed by the University of Oxford since 1942, and used extensively for education and research ever since.

Fergus, who is a third year undergraduate in biological sciences, specialises in the impact of pesticides on bee behaviour. Earlier this year, he co-wrote a beginner’s guide to bees, titled The Bee Book, which was published by Dorling Kindersley.

Further reading?

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