Rothamsted Research

where knowledge grows

Agroecology

Our mission is to understand the ecological mechanisms that deliver sustainable crop production. We have expertise in movement and spatial ecology of pests and pollinators, above and below-ground functional biodiversity and weed ecology.

The Department specialises in experimental and quantitative ecology and produces high impact research from plot to continental scales. Our science is supported by a unique combination of facilities including the Rothamsted Insect Survey (National Capability), eight 'Classical' experiments as well as a 330 ha research farm, unique Vertical Looking and Harmonic Radars and insect behaviour and field labs.

Over 30 staff and students are clustered into five research groups.

Head of Department: Dr Angela Karp

Departmental Secretary: Karen Wright

Research Teams

Weed Ecology and Evolution

Globally, weeds are a major constraint to crop production and food security. Research within the weed ecology and evolution group at Rothamsted is focused on understanding the ecological and evolutionary forces that underpin the establishment, persistence and spread of weedy (and invasive) plant populations in agro-ecosystems.

Pollination Ecology Group

Studying the movement and ecology of insect pollinators in agricultural landscapes and the consequences for their population dynamics and crop and wildflower pollination.

Perennial Biomass Crops

Focussing on optimising the sustainable yield and biomass composition of perennial non-food crops (especially willows) for bioenergy, biofuels and other industrial products.

Rothamsted Insect Survey

Rothamsted is proud to celebrate 50 years of monitoring aphid and moth populations. In the spirit of openness and collaboration, the resulting data openly available to scientists, farmers and the public. 

Insect Migration and Spatial Ecology

Using entomological radars, tethered-flight systems and large-scale field sampling programs to study the movement ecology and population dynamics of insects over large scales.

Radar Entomology Unit

A specialised radar entomology unit that provides technological solution performs cutting edge research in agricultural sciences, particularly in insect movement and spatial ecology.

Department Articles

Rothamsted wins Silver at the Chelsea Flower Show

Our display on using flowers to minimise pesticide use and enhance biodiversity wins RHS award

Rothamsted scientists, Dr Sam Cook and Dr Jason Baverstock, have been awarded a Silver Flora Award by the Royal Horticultural society for their display on using flowers to minimise pesticide use and enhance biodiversity, in the Discovery category at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Publications

Peer reviewed publications from the Agroecology Department

See also

The State of Britain's Larger Moths

The 2013 publication of the State of Britain's Larger Moths, in collaboration with Butterfly Conservation, highlighted the negative trend in moth populations in the UK but painted a mixed picture for individual species. 

Wheldrake: 601 species in two years

RIS light-traps don't just catch moths. Julian Small at Wheldrake (Yorkshire) has been identifying as much of the catch as possible and, in two years, has notched up 600 species of insect and a spider.

Hungry hungry beetles

Carabids are ubiquitous in many landscapes, but can they lend a helping hand in agriculture? Do their eating habits serve a role?

Department Press Releases

Seek and you shall find: bees remain excellent searchers even when sick

Honeybees learn the position of landmarks around their hive as they explore, which helps them find their way to rewarding flower patches and home again. When they first venture outside the hive, or when a beekeeper moves them to a new location, honeybees perform ‘orientation flights’ to explore and to identify landmarks efficiently.

Better off alone: biodiversity among soil microbes can be bad news for crops

A recent study found that decreased biodiversity of Pseudomonas, a genus of soil bacteria, is associated with a reduced severity of the fungal disease ‘take-all’ in second year wheat. The work revealed that disease incidence was linked to the wheat variety grown in the first year, and that this also had a profound effect on Pseudomonas species community structure. Now researchers have found that the useful activity of Pseudomonas strains that suppress take-all disease is severely reduced when additional Pseudomonas strains are present.

Researcher gets on soapbox to explain blackgrass threat

Soapbox Science is a platform for promoting women and the science that they do. From the Weed Ecology group at Rothamsted Research, technician Laura Crook took part in an event at Milton Keynes shopping centre.

Radar tracking reveals the ‘life stories’ of bumble bees

Scientists have tracked the flight paths of a group of bumble bees throughout their entire lives in what is thought to be the first lifetime tracking study of any animal in such detail. The new study used a radar to show how individual bees explore their environment and search for food. The findings showed that individual bumble bees differ greatly in the way they fly around the landscape when foraging for nectar and pollen.

Inside knowledge - how do bacteria living within wheat plants affect their hosts?

Most plants have harmless bacteria living inside their tissues, known as ‘endophytes’, which can benefit plants by providing nutrients and suppressing diseases.  Scientists have developed a new technique to grow wheat plants without any endophytes, allowing them to introduce different bacterial species into them, which will reveal more about this interaction. The researchers hope that the method could give insights enabling the production of cereal plants with increased yields.

Exceptionally high numbers of diamondback moths are arriving in the UK

This is a special announcement regarding the diamondback moth and covers observations up until the 10th June 2016. Diamondback moths are an important migratory pest of brassicas, causing feeding and cosmetic damage that can lead to severe losses in cruciferous crops. The diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) is a species often described a 'super-pest' because they have been found to be resistant to most insecticides, including pyrethroids and diamide.

Pages

Department People

title First Name Last Name Department Location
View Ms Maider Abadie Agroecology Harpenden
View Mrs Lynda Alderson Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr Timothy Barraclough Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr James Bell Agroecology Harpenden
View Miss Madeleine Berger Biological Chemistry and Crop Protection, Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr Aimeric Blaud Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr Dan Blumgart Agroecology
View Mr March Castle Agroecology, Plant Biology and Crop Science Harpenden
View Dr Sergio Cerezo Medina Agroecology
View Mrs Suzannah Chapman Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr Jason Chapman Agroecology Harpenden
View Prof Lars Chittlea Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr Ian Clark Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr David Comont Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr Sam Cook Agroecology Harpenden
View Miss Laura Crook Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr Jennifer Cunniff Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr Tom David Agroecology
View Dr Femke De Jong Agroecology Harpenden
View Ms Lisa Diehl Agroecology
View Dr Andrea Dixon Agroecology
View Mrs Imogen Durenkamp Plant Biology and Crop Science, Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr Steve Freeman Agroecology, Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems Harpenden
View Mr Peter Fruen Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr Philip Gould Agroecology
View Mr Alex Greenslade Biological Chemistry and Crop Protection, Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr Mike Hall Agroecology, Plant Biology and Crop Science Harpenden
View Dr Steven Hanley Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr Richard Harrington Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr Alison Haughton Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr Sandy Hey Plant Biology and Crop Science, Agroecology
View Dr Penny Hirsch Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr Gao Hu Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr Richard Hull Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr Chris Jones Agroecology Harpenden
View Miss Frances Jones Agroecology
View Dr Angela Karp Agroecology Harpenden
View Mrs Tracey Kruger Plant Biology and Crop Science, Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr Rodney Lacret Pimienta Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr Jason Lim Agroecology Harpenden
View Miss Claudia Lowe Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr William Macalpine Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr James Makinson Agroecology
View Mr Andrew Martin Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr Timothy Mauchline Agroecology Harpenden
View Miss Helen Metcalfe Agroecology Harpenden
View Miss Melissa Minter Agroecology
View Dr Ramiro Morales-Hojas Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr Andrew Moss Computational & Systems Biology, Plant Biology and Crop Science, Agroecology, Business Information Services, Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems, Biological Chemistry and Crop Protection Harpenden
View Dr Paul Neve Agroecology Harpenden
View Miss Lieselot Nguyen Agroecology Harpenden
View Mrs Susan Parker Agroecology
View Miss Aislinn Pearson Agroecology Harpenden
View Miss Sally Ponting Agroecology
View Mr Oscar Ramos Rodriguez Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr Donald Reynolds Agroecology, Computational & Systems Biology Harpenden
View Miss Rachel Rossiter Agroecology Harpenden
View Miss Heather Ruscoe Agroecology Harpenden
View Ms Susanne Schreiter Agroecology
View Dr Ian Shield Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr Christopher Shortall Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr Matthew Skellern Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr David Steele Plant Biology and Crop Science, Sustainable Soil and Grassland Systems, Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr Philip Stepanian Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr Jonathan Storkey Agroecology Harpenden
View Miss Jennifer Swain Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr Mark Taylor Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr Martin Torrance Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr Paul Verrier Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr Charlotte Wainwright Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr Shang Wang Agroecology
View Mr Nigel Watts Agroecology Harpenden
View Miss Trish Wells Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr Carly Whittaker Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr Joe Woodgate Agroecology Harpenden
View Miss Karen Wright Agroecology Harpenden
View Ms Nicola Yates Agroecology Harpenden