I am a biologist working at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. My research deals with the factors contributing to pollinator health or disease. I have a special interest in the bee microbiome, including microbial parasites and the bacterial gut microbiota. More recently I started working on the role of secondary plant compounds in pollen and nectar for bee health.
Secondary Compounds and Pollinator Health
The diet of pollinators contains a rich, but poorly known diversity of plant secondary compounds. Focussing on major food plants of pollinators in the UK, I am analysing the chemical composition of pollen and nectar. I am experimentally testing the impact of these compounds on bees and bee diseases in a project funded by the Peter Sowerby Foundation.
Social Bee Microbiome
Social bees including honey bees and bumble bees have a unique and relatively simple community of gut bacteria, predominantly aquired from their nest-mates. I am studying the diversity, evolution, and functional role of this bacterial microbiome in bees. Of particular interest to me is the role of the microbiome in modulating pathogen resistance in the bee host.