Rothamsted Research

where knowledge grows


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

Understanding how weed biology interacts with various chemical and non-chemical options for controlling weeds in crops and ecosystem services to balance productivity and biodiversity.

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.


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

Rothamsted Radar Entomology Unit – over forty years of field observation

Official webpage launch for Rothamsted Radar Entomology Unit to celebrate over forty years of field observation.

Rothamsted wins Silver at the Chelsea Flower Show

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.

The Rothamsted Insect Survey commemorates 50 years continuous operation

The Rothamsted Insect Survey operates a nation-wide network of suction- and light-traps contributing invaluable data for 50 years, in a range of studies spanning fundamental to applied ecology.

Modeling predicts spread of the invasive allergenic ragweed

Rothamsted Research scientists in collaboration with a EU consortium developed a model to predict the shift in distribution of ragweed in Northern latitudes in response to climate change.

Biodiesel Co-Product can reduce soil nitrogen losses to groundwater

An important goal in agricultural sustainability that would also impact national sustainability is to establish better management of nitrogen (N) to prevent leaching of nitrate (NO3). There are existing strategies to achieve this but each has limitations. Rothamsted Research scientists, who receive strategic funding from the BBSRC, have demonstrated that a by-product of the biodiesel industry shows potential to reduce nitrate leaching and so improve agricultural sustainability.

Managed honeybees linked to new diseases in wild bees

A study suggests that some diseases common in managed UK honeybee populations are being driven into wild bumblebee populations


Studentships vacancies

  • Rhizosphere bacteria promote sustainable crop growth

    Current estimates that by 2050 the world’s population will be 9 billion require global food production to increase by 70-100%. This is compounded by climate change predictions and the necessity to amend arable agricultural practices from nitrogen fertilizer dependence, to a sustainable and environmentally benign system.

  • An exploration of the evolutionary dynamics of non-target site herbicide resistance in Alopecurus myosuroides.

    The evolution of resistance to herbicides in the grass weed, Alopecurus myosuroides is a major threat to agricultural sustainability in Europe. Non-target site resistance (NTSR) is the most pervasive, yet least well understood mechanism of herbicide resistance. Using a combination of molecular genetic and evolutionary ecological approaches, this project will explore the evolutionary dynamics of selection for NTSR in black-grass.


Department People

title First Name Last Name Department Location
View Mrs Lynda Alderson AGEC Harpenden
View Miss Izzadora Andrew AGEC Harpenden
View Mr Timothy Barraclough AGEC Harpenden
View Mr Glyn Barrett AGEC Harpenden
View Dr James Bell AGEC Harpenden
View Mr David Brooks AGEC Harpenden
View Mr Jonathan Carruthers AGEC Harpenden
View Mr March Castle AGEC Harpenden
View Dr Jason Chapman AGEC Harpenden
View Mrs Suzannah Chapman AGEC Harpenden
View Miss Frances Cheesman AGEC Harpenden
View Mr Ian Clark AGEC Harpenden
View Dr David Comont AGEC Harpenden
View Dr Sam Cook AGEC Harpenden
View Miss Laura Crook AGEC Harpenden
View Dr Jennifer Cunniff AGEC Harpenden
View Dr Femke de Jong AGEC Harpenden
View Dr Andrea Dixon AGEC
View Mr Michael Easter AGEC Harpenden
View Mr Steve Freeman AGEC, SSGS Harpenden
View Mr Peter Fruen AGEC Harpenden
View Mrs Qingling FU AGEC Harpenden
View Ms Swantje Grabener AGEC
View Mr James Greig AGEC Harpenden
View Mr Mike Hall AGEC, PBCS Harpenden
View Dr Steven Hanley AGEC Harpenden
View Dr Richard Harrington AGEC Harpenden
View Dr Alison Haughton AGEC Harpenden
View Dr Penny Hirsch AGEC Harpenden
View Mr Richard Hull AGEC Harpenden
View Ms Mariya Iqbal AGEC Harpenden
View Miss Daniela Izera AGEC Harpenden
View Dr Chris Jones AGEC Harpenden
View Miss Hayley Jones AGEC Harpenden
View Dr Angela Karp AGEC Harpenden
View DR Vanessa Kessner Kavamura AGEC Harpenden
View Mrs Tracey Kruger PBCS, AGEC Harpenden
View Dr Jason Lim AGEC Harpenden
View Mr William Macalpine AGEC Harpenden
View Mr Andrew Martin AGEC Harpenden
View Dr Timothy Mauchline AGEC Harpenden
View Miss Helen Metcalfe AGEC Harpenden
View Dr Stephen Moss AGEC Harpenden
View Mr Andrew Moss CSYS, AGEC, PBCS, BIS Harpenden
View Miss Lucy Nevard AGEC, PBCS Harpenden
View Dr Paul Neve AGEC Harpenden
View Miss Lieselot Nguyen AGEC Harpenden
View Mrs Susan Parker AGEC Harpenden
View Miss Aislinn Pearson AGEC Harpenden
View Dr Judith Pell AGEC Harpenden
View Miss Jesica Perez AGEC Harpenden
View Dr Donald Reynolds AGEC Harpenden
View Miss Rebekah Robinson AGEC Harpenden
View Miss Rachel Rossiter AGEC Harpenden
View Dr Ian Shield AGEC Harpenden
View Mr Christopher Shortall AGEC Harpenden
View Mr Matthew Skellern AGEC Harpenden
View Mr David Steele PBCS, SSGS, AGEC Harpenden
View Dr Jonathan Storkey AGEC Harpenden
View Miss Jennifer Swain AGEC Harpenden
View Mr Mark Taylor AGEC Harpenden
View Mr Martin Torrance AGEC Harpenden
View Prof Helmut Van Emden AGEC Harpenden
View Mr Paul Verrier AGEC Harpenden
View Mr Nigel Watts BCCP, AGEC, PBCS, BIS Harpenden
View Miss Trish Wells AGEC Harpenden
View Dr Carly Whittaker AGEC Harpenden
View Miss Karen Wright AGEC Harpenden
View Dr Yanqi Wu AGEC Harpenden
View Ms Nicola Yates AGEC Harpenden