Secretary: Barbara Smith
Barbara’s background is as an applied ecologist in agro-ecology investigating the management of farmland to promote bio-control, pollination and biodiversity. She is interested in how intensifying farming practice affects ecosystem service provision and in the significance of co-adaptation between insect herbivores and their host plants for farmland management. In her role as Secretary for the BES Agricultural Ecology SIG, Barbara liaises directly with the BES on key administration responsibilities, co-ordinates the activities of the committee, and provides strategic insight into all matters relating to the management of the Group.
Deputy Secretary: Pietro Iannetta
As Principal Investigator in the Agroecology Research Group at the James Hutton Institute (Dundee), Pete specialises in biological nitrogen fixation by legumes, legume agronomy, rhizobial inoculum and seed biotechnology. Pete possesses substantial experience organising high-level knowledge brokerage and extension activities across a range of key stakeholders in the agri-food and feed chain sectors; delivering key research programmes to support the Scottish Government’s priority research agenda, securing layered funding and building international networks; designing and leading research activities on cropped legumes in low-input and organic farming systems. For the BES Agricultural Ecology SIG Pete supports the Secretary in providing leadership and strategic oversight, and liaises with the BES on key matters of adminstration.
Policy Co-ordinator: Samuel Leigh
Samuel is an experienced ecologist, having worked in a number of different settings, including leading several scientific research projects, carrying out practical biodiversity conservation, delivering environmental education, and working as an ecological consultant. Through various roles Samuel has become familiar with conservation issues in tropical ecosystems as well as the impact of agriculture and development on biodiversity and ecosystems within the UK. Currently Sam is a PhD candidate exploring whether novel crop rotations in arable systems can enhance multiple ecosystem services (yield, pest regulation and biodiversity), and identifying any trade-offs and synergies between services. This work is being carried out at the Centre of Agri-environment Research (CAER) at Reading University. Within the BES Agricultural Ecology SIG Samuel is a student representative and policy co-ordinator.
Industry Liaison: Mark Ramsden
Mark is an agro-ecologist, with experience working in ecological management around the agricultural industry. Mark’s main interest is in connecting people with wildlife, and agriculture provides a great platform to do this. Mark has especially focused on entomology and the ecosystem services that insects provide, such as conservation biological control, and has worked on a number of wildlife management projects in the UK and abroad, promoting sustainable business development alongside rich and diverse environments.
Claire is a PhD student at Harper Adams University, researching the design and testing of plant species combinations for a multifunctional field margin to provide water quality protection and support for pollinators and natural enemies. For the BES Agricultural Ecology SIG I organise events, such as the agro-ecology social at the annual BES conference and postgraduate early careers events.
Chloe is a PhD student at Coventry University’s Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience. Her research focuses on the functional ecology of agriculture weeds, and seeks to improve agroecological weed management techniques, including the use of diverse cover crops and crop rotations. Prior to starting her PhD, Chloe worked in Oman on vegetation mapping for wildlife conservation projects. For the BES Agroecology Group SIG, Chloe provides support to the organisation of events.
Communications: Chantel Davies
Chantel’s professional background spans botany, horticulture (amenity and commercial production), plant diversity and systematics, and evolutionary ecology of woodland community structure. When not contemplating the wonder of photosynthetic organisms or camping in Scotland, Chantel supports the BES Agroecology Group SIG by developing the social media presence and working with Samuel Leigh (Policy Co-ordinator) on relevant policy issues.