Posts By / efranklin

Biodiversity on Talbot Campus

The NUS Green impact Bee Friendly event was held in the fusion building on the 16th May showcasing what BU is researching and implementing for biodiversity on Talbot campus. The event had a strong emphasis on pollinators and as a community we have realised 17 new bee hotels and over 100m2 of wild flowers to improve our homes and campus for a wider diversity of bees.

Top James Appleby and Dr Liz Franklin – Emma and Isatu Placement students from Poole college not in shot Bottom the edible herbs in planters on campus (see Campus Biodiversity Map)

The event showcased the work of the Co-creative Student Environment Research Teams (SERTS) for biodiversity on Talbot campus including: James Appleby that is leading the Bee Zoopla SERT for making better bee homes and raising awareness of solitary bees and the Campus Bulbs SERT planting and monitoring the success of bulbs on campus. For more information see the hyperlinks within.

Top James and bottom the Campus Bulbs team Dr Anita Diaz, Alessandra, Amy, James, Ellie, Cara, Jake, Leon and Damian Evans

During the event there was a great deal of knowledge exchange about campus biodiversity with the University community being made aware of the bird boxes, bat boxes, bee hotels, wildflowers, bulb planting, edible herbs and fruit trees on campus. The handy link below takes you to a PDF of the campus biodiversity map if you missed the event.

Campus Biodiversity Map

Eating out in Britain: the feeding habits of non-native pitcher plants

Recent work from Bournemouth University indicates that these non-native pitcher plants are consuming bumblebees but their current impact is limited.

In a bog in Dorset grow a small patch of the strange, alien like forms of the invasive pitcher plant Sarracenia purpurea. It is adapted to the poor soils of American wetlands and therefore supplements its diet with insect prey, luring them in with the promise of sweet nectar.


Photo by Anita Diaz

It is not every day that an invasive plant species also counts as predator and this can prove a challenge for management. The pitchers are one such case and a research team from Bournemouth University have been investigating the impact these invaders are having on the native bumblebees. They have done this by looking at the contents of the pitcher’s


Their results showed that no rare bumblebee species were found in the sampled pitchers from 2012-14. In 2013 the pitchers were found to be consuming a considerable amount of bumblebees (101 bees in the 170 pitchers sampled), however, very few bumblebees were caught in 2012 and 2014. Bumblebees also seem to be attracted to pitchers where the pitchers grow in higher density, suggesting that the bumblebees are treating the pitchers as they would another floral resource, despite individuals being trapped.

It is quite probable that the bumblebees feed off the flowers of the pitcher plants, as they do in the plant’s native America as well as the nectar from traps. It is also likely, due to the low capture rate of pitchers (around 1 in 100 insects get caught) that the majority of visiting bumblebees are getting a ‘free meal’ in a bog habitat with limited other resources.

‘It could very well be that the sugar rich solution produced by the pitchers, coupled with the low trapping rate of pitchers, is worth the risk to our native bees’ Dr Liz Franklin

bee in pitcher

Photo by Anita Diaz

It is important to prevent the spread of invasive plants like S. purpurea, as they can have a drastic impact on our native plant life and wildlife, however in a sensitive bog habitat with Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) status, removal could cause severe damage to the native habitat and risk the further spread of the invasive.  It is hoped that this work will help inform when and where management of S. purpurea is needed in its invasive populations around Europe

Although further work needs to be done on the interactions between invasive pitcher plants and their native prey, the pitchers might not be as bad for our bogs and their fauna as first thought, although it will be important to keep an eye on them.


Want to find out more, visit our open access article

Franklin E, Evans D, Thornton A, Moody C, Green I, Diaz A. Exploring the predation of UK bumblebees (Apidae, Bombus spp.) by the invasive pitcher plant Sarracenia purpurea: examining the effects of annual variation, seasonal variation, plant density and bumblebee gender. Arthropod-Plant Interactions.:1-0.



Welcoming Dr Caitlin Potter to the BU Eco-Coding team


We would like to welcome Dr Caitlin Potter who joined our Eco-Coding team from Bangor University on the 31st October. Her previous work has been on microbial communities of peatlands using metagenomic techniques and she will bring expertise and experience to the Eco-coding project.

Now that Caitlin is with us we look forward to the next stage of the project; discovering what our urban pollinators have been feeding on.

Click here for more information on this project and check out our new project page on the BU Research Website.


Wanted Post Doc: Eco Coding BU

long logo

We are looking for a Post Doc to join our team utilising eDNA methods to inform ecological management for river fish and urban pollinators. Working closely in collaboration with Dr Elizabeth Franklin (Pricipal Investigator) and associated project leads (Professor Rob Britton, Dr Kathy Hodder, Dr Demetra Andreou and Dr Emilie Hardouin).

The successful applicant will be responsible for providing research support to a pair of eDNA meta-barcdong projects including their planning, execution and analysis.

The successful applicant will have a sound scientific background with technical experience in basic molecular biology including, eDNA extraction, PCR, electrophoresis and sterile working. Experience in eDNA meta-barcoding and bioinformatics would be advantageous.

For more information on the project see the Bournemouth University Research Blog:

To discuss this opportunity further please contact Dr Liz Franklin

Please find below the link to the advert for the above role: