December 11, 2018

Tom Oliver

Tom Oliver

PhD: Dispersal strategies and space use in pollinating bees

Rothamsted Research


Twitter: @Tomoliverbees

I have a lifelong love of bees thanks to my grandparents. They were beekeepers for more than fifty years, becoming head honey judges at the Shrewsbury Flower Show, producing a film on the history of beekeeping and ultimately passing their passion and knowledge on to me. At the age of fourteen, they handed me my first bee suit, and I have been an avid beekeeper ever since. I have recently completed my MRes at Royal Holloway, where I studied the nutritional requirements of bumblebee queens post hibernation. Alongside my studies, I maintained fourteen hives across four separate sites in central London as part of my own small urban beekeeping business and was able to use my position as house beekeeper on the popular television programme, This Morning, to promote awareness of the plight of pollinators to a broad audience.

The aim of my PhD is to quantify the dispersal ability of specific insects and how these organisms navigate through the environment to allow us to predict how individual species will cope with land use changes. I will achieve this through the use of state-of-the-art drone tracking technology at Rothamsted Research facility in Harpenden to collect flight data of bumblebees and other important pollinator species.

You can find out more about Tom’s project in his animation video below;