Our recent focus has been to study how rapidly changing environments induced by anthropogenic activities and practices pose threats to certain animal taxa and functional groups that play important roles in terrestrial ecosystems.
1. Impact of agricultural land-use and climate change on insect pollinators populations and communities
2. Phenological responses to climate and environmental change in bumblebees
3. the SCIE:NCE project (Soneva Conservation of Island Ecosystems : Nurturing Collaborative Endeavours)
4. Effects of land-use change on ant community competition & dynamics
5. Evolution of social strategies and the cooperation and conflict involved
INTERACT Transnational Access Grant - £2,000 awarded to Richard Gill
National Geographic Research & Exploration Award of $47,592 in support of Cross Polli:Nation awarded to Poppy Lakeman-Fraser, with Richard Gill as a scientific collaborator / advisor
Sainsbury’s Farming Scholars Creativity Event - £30,000 awarded to the team Oliver Windram, Oscar Ces, Richard Gill, Paul French, Lily Peck, James Brown, Chris Dunsby and Sarah Blansford
NERC standard grant on bees response to a century of land use change. £381,457 FEC awarded to Richard Gill (in collaboration with Prof Ian Barnes, NHM London, with total grant ~£790,000 FEC) (2017-2020)
British Ecological Society large grant (£17,000) awarded to Andres Arce in collaboration with Richard Gill
Grantham Pump Priming grant (£25,000) - sustainable solutions for controlling pest species in small island ecosystems - awarded to Richard Gill
NERC standard (new investigator) grant on Behavioural and molecular responses to pesticide exposure in bumblebees. £503,980 FEC awarded to Richard Gill (in collaboration with Dr Yannick Wurm, QMUL, with total grant ~£1.1million FEC) (2014-2018)
Royal Society Research Grant (£14,051): Pesticide impairment to bee foraging behaviour (2014) awarded to Richard Gill.
As part of the Imperial Science Breaks series, below is a video we live-streamed in 2020 in which research by Bonnie Waring, Peter Graystock, and myself is showcased. If you are particularly interested in my work on insect pollinators, please forward to 18 mins into the video.
Research in collaboration with Dr Nigel Raine, Royal Holloway, University of London: The Buzz about pesticides - by Nature Video.
Masters & PhD opportunities
Funding: I welcome anyone that is interested in joining my research group that has, or knows of, a source of funding to contact me and discuss their research ideas/interests.
Another summary of my research interests: The research carried out in my group addresses questions in both ecology and evolution, involving experimental biology, behavioural observations and molecular analyses. To investigate and test my research questions my model system has been the social insects (primarily ants & bees), although I would also be interested in expanding this to other important insect, bird and mammal groups. Currently my research interests follow two primary avenues: 1) the effect of environmental stressors (such as pesticides) on the behaviour, survival and population dynamics of bees, and the consequent effects on community networks and ecosystems services (such as pollination). Bees play a crucial role in pollinating crops and wild flowers and so are key players in maintaining food security and biodiversity. 2) The evolution of social behaviour and colony organisation in ants, and their dominance in the environment. Ants are arguably the pinnacle of animal cooperation and have been resolving conflicts for millennia, as well as providing vital ecosystem functions (i.e. soil turnover).
Imperial College is a world leading university, the Times Higher Education World University Ranking 2013-2014 placed the Department of Life Sciences as 3rd best in Europe and 10th best in the World. My group is based at the Silwood Park campus which currently has a growing and internationally renowned community of researchers. The Grand Challenges in Ecosystems and the Environment (GCEE) initiative (which I am part of) has invested significantly into ensuring a world leading group of scientists addressing important global issues.
Peter Graystock, Imperial College, Investigating the gut-brain axis under stress in bees, 2018
Keith Larson & Emily Baird, Umea University & Stockholm University, Effects of climate change on insect pollinators, 2018
University of Lund, Jacob Johansson, Modelling insect responses to seasonal variation in resources, 2017
Richard Bomphrey, Royal Veterinary College, Affects of stress on the flight mechanics of bees, 2017
Ian Barnes and Selina Brace, Natural History Museum London, Using ancient DNA techniques on museum specimens to understand insect pollinator population dynamics under land use change, 2017
Jeff Ollerton, University of Northampton, Trait variation in insect pollinators over a century of land use change, 2017
Elli Leadbeater, Vincent Jansen & Mark Brown, Royal Holloway University of London, Effects of urbanisation on insect pollinator ecology, 2015
Yannick Wurm, Queen Mary University of London, Insect pollinator population genomics and transcriptomics, 2014