Providing for our pollinators: Investigating how urbanisation affects the ecology of flower-feeding insects

Grantham Scholar Stephanie Glendinning explores how urban stressors can impact pollinator distribution and ecology, as well as the nutritional quality of pollen and nectar.

The project

Urbanisation is a key driver of global insect declines, through factors such as air pollution, reduced floral resources, and habitat loss and fragmentation. As urban areas are rapidly spreading, it’s increasingly important to understand how pollinator ecology is being altered in these environments, and how we can mitigate impacts.

I am planning to focus on how urban stressors, such as pollution, drought and the urban heat island effect, can impact pollinator distribution and ecology, by carrying out surveys of greenspaces, including road verge wildflower plantings, along an urbanisation gradient. I am also particularly interested in how plant stress caused by urban stressors impacts the nutritional quality of pollen and nectar.

Another key component of my PhD is public engagement and knowledge exchange, working with the Royal Entomological Society to spread awareness of issues faced by urban pollinators. As more and more people are now living in cities, it’s important to keep them connected with wildlife.



Dr Luke Tilley

Royal Entomological Society