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Lorna M Blackmore

Lorna Smiles at the camera while holding a sampler

Lorna M Blackmore

 

Email: L.Blackmore@uea.ac.uk

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Profile

Having always been fascinated by insects much of my work has been inspired by the ecology of insects and their interactions with plants. I studied Conservation Biology and Management BSc at the University of Stirling where my dissertation project focused on pollinator use of urban wildflower strips. I was awarded a competitive research grant to take part in research investigating urban woodland moth and bat assemblages and how these are affected by different woodland characteristics. The results of each of these projects have now been published.

Since then I have completed an Ecology and Environmental Sustainability MSc at the University of Aberdeen. During which I worked with the James Hutton Institute on pollinator preference to different strawberry floral rewards and how these are affected by different community infections of mycorrhizal fungi. I enjoy the complexity of the interactions between plants and insects, particularly in regards to pollination, and I am keen to tease apart the factors which influence pollinator behaviour and evolution.

 

Current Research

Effects of farmland management on functional traits and pollination ecology of bee and hoverfly assemblages

 

With the widespread intensification of agriculture, a key concern has been the decline in abundance and diversity of insect pollinators and their associated pollination services. This has stimulated a range of farmland management interventions within agri-environment schemes both in the UK and elsewhere. Yet the benefits of one intervention over another, for the structure and functioning of insect pollinator assemblages, is neither proven nor well understood.

My PhD project combines cutting-edge community and molecular ecology approaches to address this gap in knowledge for farmland bee and hoverfly assemblages. I’m working to assess the level of between- and within-species variation in key functional traits such as tongue length, across multiple farmland sites. The extent to which flower species specialism can be predicted from individual variation in such traits will be tested. This will be achieved using state-of-the-art molecular tools in pollen analysis. Since pollinator efficiency is partly a function of level of flower specialism of individual insects, we will test how the latter varies in relation to total pollinator niche width of species. Establishing the influence and efficacy of management interventions such as floristic enhancement on pollinator assemblage structure and functioning, is a major theme underpinning the work.

 

Publications

Blackmore, L.M. and Goulson, D. (2014) Evaluating the effectiveness of wildflower seed mixes for boosting floral diversity and bumblebee and hoverfly abundance in urban areas. Insect Conservation and Diversity. 7, 480-484.

 

Lintott, P.R. Bunnefeld, N. Fuentes-Montemayor, E. Minderman, J. Blackmore, L.M. Goulson, D. Park, K.J. (2014) Moth species richness, abundance and diversity in fragmented urban woodlands: implications for conservation and management strategies. Biodiversity and Conservation. 23, 2875-2901.

 

Awards

Butterfly Conservation's Outstanding Volunteer Award

The Young Scottish Green List Award

 

Grants

Nuffield Research Placement Grant

 

Conferences

Attended: The Royal Entomological Society’s Pollinator Meeting “Progress in Pollination and Pollinator Research” at the University of Reading. 2016.

Attended: Natural Sciences Collections Association’s annual conference. “Focus on how Natural Science Collections Inspire our Connection to the Natural World” at Derby Museum. 2016.

 

Supervisor

Primary supervisor: Dr Richard Davies 

 

Other relevant activities

A keen volunteer of Butterfly Conservation and the RSPB I have regularly taken part in conservation work to restore habitat for a variety of species. I also enjoy taking an active role in public engagement events to help raise awareness of Lepidoptera species and their conservation. In the past I have worked with the Forth Naturalist and Historian journal to survey the distribution of declining and under-recorded butterfly species in the Stirlingshire area. 

I have also been employed in Ecological Consultancy as an assistant consultant Ecologist and bat surveyor. More recently I have worked in the Entomology division at World Museum specialising in lesser known pollinators such as hoverflies and solitary bees. There I worked to promote pollinators to the public by increasing awareness of their diversity and importance whilst also giving wildlife gardening advice to help conserve them.