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

Seasonal timing of biological events is shifting under a changing climate

BBSRC funded scientists at Rothamsted Research, have shown how long-term data collected by the Rothamsted Insect Survey (RIS) are crucial for linking national scale changes in the climate with the changing behavior of Britains’s insects.

CT scanning shows why tilting trees produce more sugars for biofuel

A team of researchers at Imperial College London, in collaboration with Rothamsted Research, have used medical imaging techniques to explore why making willow trees grow at an angle can vastly improve their biofuel yields. Using micro-CT scans, the team showed that the trees respond to being tilted by producing a sugar-rich, gelatinous fibre, which helps them stay upright.

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.


Employment vacancies - Agroecology

Molecular Entomologist / Ecologist (Ref: 1414)

The Rothamsted Insect Survey (RIS) is a BBSRC-supported National Capability, attracting additional funding from Research Councils, crop levy boards, the agrochemical industry and others. We are seeking an entomologist with expertise in molecular techniques to play a leading role in the exploitation of the RIS long-term collection of specimens from the UK suction-trap network, and current specimens from the suction-trap and light-trap networks.

Details of all external vacancies will be posted here as they become available. If you find nothing that interests you this visit, please call again. Unfortunately we do not have the resources to hold CVs against possible future vacancies. We can only accept applications quoting a relevant and appropriate vacancy number.

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Studentships vacancies

  • Understanding the Links between Soil, Plants and Pollination

    Insect visitation to flowers is determined by a suite of floral traits and pollination of agricultural crops and wild plants may be indirectly affected by levels of soil enrichment altering floral traits, including pollen and nectar characteristics and flower abundance and morphology.  Evidence exists for interactions between several above- and below-ground processes, but relationships between soil nutrition, plant reproduction traits and pollination remain little studied.


Department People

title First Name Last Name Department Location
View Mrs Lynda Alderson Agroecology Harpenden
View Miss Izzadora Andrew Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr Timothy Barraclough Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr Glyn Barrett Agroecology
View Dr James Bell Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr David Brooks Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr Jonathan Carruthers Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr March Castle Agroecology, Plant Biology and Crop Science Harpenden
View Dr Jason Chapman Agroecology Harpenden
View Mrs Suzannah Chapman Agroecology Harpenden
View Miss Frances Cheesman 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 Dr Femke De Jong Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr Andrea Dixon Agroecology
View Mrs Imogen Durenkamp Plant Biology and Crop Science, Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr Michael Easter Agroecology
View Mr Peter Fruen Agroecology Harpenden
View Mrs Qingling Fu Agroecology Harpenden
View Ms Swantje Grabener Agroecology
View Mr James Greig Agroecology
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 Penny Hirsch Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr Richard Hull Agroecology Harpenden
View Miss Daniela Izera Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr Chris Jones Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr Angela Karp Agroecology Harpenden
View DR Vanessa Kessner Kavamura Agroecology Harpenden
View Mrs Tracey Kruger Plant Biology and Crop Science, Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr Jason Lim Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr William Macalpine Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr Andrew Martin Agroecology
View Dr Timothy Mauchline Agroecology Harpenden
View Miss Helen Metcalfe Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr Andrew Moss Computational and Systems Biology, Agroecology, Plant Biology and Crop Science, Business Information Services Harpenden
View Miss Lucy Nevard Agroecology, Plant Biology and Crop Science Harpenden
View Dr Paul Neve Agroecology Harpenden
View Miss Lieselot Nguyen Agroecology Harpenden
View Mrs Susan Parker Agroecology
View Dr Judith Pell Agroecology Harpenden
View Miss Rebecca Reid Agroecology
View Mr Harry Ridgewell Agroecology
View Miss Rachel Rossiter 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 Dr Jonathan Storkey Agroecology Harpenden
View Miss Jennifer Swain Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr Mark Taylor Agroecology Harpenden
View Miss Marnie Torrance Agroecology Harpenden
View Ms Roxane Trabattoni Agroecology
View Mr Paul Verrier Agroecology Harpenden
View Mr Nigel Watts Biological Chemistry and Crop Protection, Agroecology, Plant Biology and Crop Science, Business Information Services Harpenden
View Miss Trish Wells Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr Carly Whittaker Agroecology Harpenden
View Miss Karen Wright Agroecology Harpenden
View Dr Yanqi Wu Agroecology Harpenden
View Ms Nicola Yates Agroecology Harpenden