Aoife Cantwell-Jones is a second-year PhD student based in the Department of Life Sciences and enrolled in the Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet doctoral training programme at the Grantham Institute.
Aoife is supervised by Dr Richard Gill and co-supervised by Dr Jacob Johansson (Lund University) and her project broadly focuses on understanding how bumblebees interact with plants, how key bumblebee life-history traits underpin these interactions, and how these interactions could be jeopardised by climate change. Understanding the links between climate change, bumblebee traits and bumblebee-plant interactions is essential given bumblebees are important insect pollinators yet face threats from anthropogenic activities in many regions of the world.
To answer these questions, Aoife does fieldwork on a mountain in the Arctic circle (northern Sweden). Here, she studies the bumblebees in an environment largely untouched by humans and can start to isolate the effect of climate change on the community. This study site is also around a century old, meaning she can track long-term changes in the bumblebee and plant communities.
Before her PhD, Aoife did her undergraduate (Biological Sciences with German for Science BSc; 2019) and master’s (Ecology, Evolution and Conservation MRes; 2020) at Imperial. Aoife has also had the opportunity to work alongside scientists at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, (2020), the University of Vienna, Austria (2018), James Cook University, Australia (2018) and Canterbury Christ Church University, UK (2017).
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