Lab members

Dara Stanley

Dara is an ecologist interested in biodiversity, conservation, sustainable agriculture, and ecological interactions involving insects and plants. She has worked extensively in Ireland, UK, South Africa and East Africa. From 2016-2018 she was a Lecturer in Plant Ecology at the National University of Ireland Galway, and is now a Lecturer in Applied Entomology at University College Dublin.

 

For more info see here

Tara Dirilgen

Tara is an ecologist with interests spanning many areas which centre around biodiversity. She is a Research Assistant on the SFI funded SUSPOLL (Sustainable Pollination Services in a Changing World) project. Tara graduated from University College Dublin with a BSc in Zoology in 2013.  Her love of research came to the fore during her final year project working with Dr Jan Robert-Baars in the area of alien plant invasions and biocontrol. Her keen interest in biodiversity led her to undertake a PhD under the supervision of  Professor Tom Bolger. Her PhD titled ‘Soil microarthropod community assembly and their value as indicators of biodiversity’ involved applying general ecological theory developed for above-ground organisms to below-ground soil communities (in particular soil Acari and Collembola), in order to better understand the enigma of high species diversity and abundance typically exhibited by these mesofauna. This involved investigating the different drivers of community assembly (mainly the processes of selection, i.e. environmental filtering and biotic interactions but also the process of dispersal) and how the relative contribution of these drivers might change based on the spatial and temporal scale investigated.

Email: tara.dirilgen@ucd.ie 

Twitter: @taradirilgen

Michelle Larkin

Michelle graduated from her undergraduate degree in undenominated science (Zoology) from the National University of Ireland Galway in 2013. Before graduating with an MSc in Ecological Assessment from University College Cork in 2015 she was a research assistant with the Applied Ecology Unit, National University of Ireland Galway working with a PhD student on the potential biocontrol of pestiferous slugs using Tetanocera elata larva (2013). Michelle is currently a PhD student in the Stanley Ecology Lab based at NUI Galway studying the ecology and conservation of plant-pollinator interactions in semi-natural grasslands, funded by the Irish Research Council. Her research interests include:

  • The impacts of results-based agri-environmental payment schemes on pollinator diversity.

  • The ecology of rare bee species.

  • Plant elevation effects on pollinator foraging behaviour

Email: m.larkin2@nuigalway.ie 

Twitter: @MichelleALarkin

Katie Burns

Katie graduated from Wheaton College (USA) with a B.A. in Environmental Science, Biology concentration in 2015. From 2014-2017, she traveled around the United States to work with native insect pollinators as a research assistant and community outreach facilitator on five different conservation-focused research projects. She has worked most closely with Yellow-Faced Bumblebees (Bombus vosnesenskii) and Monarch Butterflies (Danaus plexippus), but has participated in a number of general native pollinator and plant surveys as well. In 2016, while working at Archbold Biological Station in Florida, USA, she conducted an independent study entitled, “The multi-scaled habitat preferences of the Blue Calamintha Bee.” Katie is currently an Irish Research Council funded PhD student in the Stanley Ecology Lab at University College Dublin studying the importance of wild and managed pollinators to Irish natural capital. Her main research interests include:

  • Pollinator diversity effects on the pollination of native plants and crops

  • Interactions between managed and wild pollinators

  • Native pollinator conservation

Email: katherine.burns@ucdconnect.ie

Twitter: @kburns_buzz

Arrian Karbassioon

Arrian graduated from the University of Connecticut (U.S.A.) with a B.S. in Environmental Science in 2014. In 2017, he graduated from the University of Oslo (Norway) with a M.Sc. in Ecology; his thesis, “Pollinator Activity along an Environmental Gradient,” investigated the effects of climate on pollinator activity to wild raspberry and the resultant fruit set. In the summer of 2017 he worked as a field assistant for the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research on a survey of plant and pollinator species in the greater Oslo area. In the summer of 2018 he assisted the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, Connecticut, with a variety of projects: a statewide pollinator checklist, a study of ornamental attractiveness to pollinating insects, as well as beekeeping and sampling of hive pollen at nurseries. Arrian is currently a PhD in the Stanley Ecology Lab at University College Dublin on the SFI funded SUSPOLL project researching the effects of climate on the activity of wild and managed bees. His main research interests include:

  • Identifying the variables that drive/hinder movement of pollinator species between metapopulations and at broader scales

  • Integrating remote sensing and predictive modeling to assess the future viability of pollination

  • Wild pollinator conservation and ecosystem services

Email: arrian.karbassioon@ucdconnect.ie

Twitter: @a_karbassioon

Linzi Thompson

Linzi graduated from Keele University (UK) with a BSc in Applied Environmental Science with Physical Geography in 2017. She then expanded into the world of insects through MSc Entomology at Harper Adams University, in 2018. She has actively participated in entomological outreach, to help inform the public about insects and reduce the stigma surrounding them, as well as participating in citizen science projects on insect population recording. Linzi is now a PhD student at University College Dublin on the DAFM funded PROTECTS project, studying the impact of fungicides and herbicides on bumblebee behaviour and colony persistence. Her main research interests include:
● The sublethal impacts of pesticides on bees
● Sustainable pesticide use and pollinator conservation
● Insect behaviour


Email: linzi.thompson@ucdconnect.ie
Twitter: @BombusThompson

Alison O'Reilly

Alison graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a B.A. in Plant Sciences in 2017 and since graduating has gained experience working in the field. In January 2018 she spent 10 weeks working with the ‘Save the Elephants and Bees Project’ in Kenya as a research intern. She then spent the summer of 2018 working as a bumblebee field technician with the Institute for Bird Populations, where she conducted floral and bumblebee surveys in Eldorado National Forest in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Alison is now a PhD student in the Stanley Ecology lab in University College Dublin on the SFI funded SUSPOLL project researching the impacts of insecticides on the pollination services that bees provide to Irish crops. Her main research interests include;

  • Plant-animal interactions

  • The economic and ecological value of pollination services provided by wild bees

  • Sustainable agriculture and pollinator conservation

Email: alison.oreilly@ucdconnect.ie

Christine Coppinger

Christine completed an MSc in Ichthyology and Fisheries Science at Rhodes University and the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity after which she worked as a Field Officer for The Endangered Wildlife Trust for two and a half years, initiating and managing a conservation project in the Amathole Mountains in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. She subsequently consulted on a number of projects in Zambia, conducting biological and sociological research on important fisheries in the country. Christine is currently working towards a PhD on pollinators and forest utilisation in the North Western Province of Zambia through University College Dublin (supported by the Irish Research Council and the Trident Foundation), after conducting preliminary research in this field between 2018 and 2019, funded by the Rufford Foundation (see here). Her goal is to inform sustainable forest utilisation, helping to secure long-term benefits for rural communities while also conserving forests.

Email: christine.coppinger@ucdconnect.ie

Twitter: @Killifish5

Website: wildflowerwildling.wordpress.com

Richard Boakye

Richard graduated with BSc. Natural Resources Management from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana and taught Integrated Science and Core Mathematics at Jachie-Pramso High School in Ghana for two years. In March 2004, he got employed by Ghana Forestry Commission on a full time where he has been till date. During this period, Richard has been involved in protected area planning and management, human/wildlife conflict management, conservation education on radio, in local communities and schools, community-based natural resource management and the development of alternative livelihood schemes for resource-dependents and in the process has worked across three protected areas namely Ankasa Conservation Area, Mole National Park and Bia Conservation Area. Between 2009 and 2018, Richard succeeded in training and setting up 151 local residents around Bia Conservation Area in beekeeping for honey production as alternate source of income generation. In 2013, Richard graduated with MSc. Development Policy and Planning from KNUST where he conducted a research on “Promoting Beekeeping as a Livelihood Option for Communities around Protected Areas: The Case of Bia and Mole National Parks”. In 2013 Richard was awarded a scholarship by the British Council under the Tullow Group Scholarship Scheme to pursue MSc. (Agr) Environmental Resource Management at UCD in Ireland during which he conducted a study on “Analysis of Nutrients of Forest Biomass: The Case of Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia)”. Richard is currently an Irish Research Council funded PhD student in the Stanley Ecology Lab at UCD working on “Cocoa and Biodiversity: The interactions between pollinators, cocoa production and rural livelihoods in Ghana”. Professionally, Richard seeks to combine ecological science with the interplay of both traditional and conventional perspectives and tools from other disciplines in the pursuit of conservation solutions.  

Email: richard.boakye@ucdconnect.ie

Gone but not forgotten...

Fergus Chadwick

Fergus was an intern working in the Stanley Lab in 2017, but continues to be involved in his project. While here, Fergus started our project to build a comprehensive pollen library for the highly diverse Burren region of Ireland which will be called “The Eva Crane Pollen Reference Collection”. In addition to his work here at NUIG, Fergus was a Research Assistant at Trinity College Dublin, where he is working on urban pollinators and running the blog for their Campus Pollinator Plan (www.campusbuzz.blog).

Twitter: @FergusJChadwick

Emmeline Cosnett

Emmeline was an intern currently working in the Stanley Lab over summers 2016 and 2017. She is an environmental science undergraduate at NUI Galway interested in anything Botany related as well as Entomology and Ecology. She worked on a BES funded project looking at pollinators as part of a results based agri-environment scheme on High Nature Value farmland in County Leitrim, and on the Eva Crane Pollen reference collection project.

Twitter: @Ecostnett

Jamie Maxwell

Jamie graduated from his undergraduate degree in Marine Science from the National University of Ireland Galway in 2017. He worked as an intern in the Stanley Lab, in collaboration with Dr Caitriona Carlin from the Applied Ecology Unit, for the summer of 2017 before departing for Portugal to start a Masters in Marine Biology in the University of Algarve. While here he was compiling data on the biodiversity of the NUI Galway campus and producing a campus biodiversity trail, audio tour and information leaflet (www.nuigalway.ie/biodiversitytrail). He was funded through the Community and University Sustainability Project (CUSP).

Twitter: @morroghmax

Aoife Delaney

Aoife is an ecologist with an interest in how human activities affect natural ecosystems and biodiversity.  She was a post-doctoral researcher with PROTECTS from 2018-2019, a large project investigating the effects of pesticide use on pollination and soil processes.  Her responsibilities include documenting best practice and current pesticide usage in Ireland and characterising the Irish landscape in terms of crop types, soil types and pesticide usage to inform design of future experiments and the development of risk assessment scenarios. Before coming to UCD Aoife graduated with a Botany degree from Trinity College (2005) and a Masters in Biodiversity and Conservation from Leeds University (2006) before working in ecological consultancy for six years.  She returned to education in 2013 to undertake a PhD examining the ecology and hydrology of freshwater wetlands in Irish sand dunes.  In 2016 – 2018 she was a post-doctoral researcher with Trinity College and the RSPB and investigated the relationship between plant and landscape diversity and the pollination ecology of shea (Vitellaria paradoxa) in the agroforestry system of Burkina Faso (West Africa). Aoife now works as a coastal specialist in the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Twitter: @Ifa_dee

Grassland

A species rich coastal grassland in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Photo: Dara Stanley