Ben A. Woodcock

Ben A. Woodcock
UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology | CEH · Biodiversity

PhD Ecology Imperial College, London

About

169
Publications
76,957
Reads
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Citations
Introduction
My research interests focus on the confirmation that bees like flowers, that predatory insects will eat smaller insects, and that restoration tends to take a long time.
Additional affiliations
April 2008 - present
UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Position
  • Ecological Entomologist
April 2002 - March 2008
University of Reading
Position
  • Ecologist
Education
January 1999 - January 2002
Imperial College London
Field of study
  • Ecology , Entomology
September 1996 - September 1998
Imperial College London
Field of study
  • Zoology

Publications

Publications (169)
Article
Full-text available
We use a national citizen science monitoring scheme to quantify how agricultural intensification affects honeybee diet breadth (number of plant species). To do this we used DNA metabarcoding to identify the plants present in 527 honey samples collected in 2019 across Great Britain. The species richness of forage plants was negatively correlated wit...
Preprint
Full-text available
Ecological theory posits that temporal stability patterns in plant populations are associated with differences in species’ ecological strategies. However, empirical evidence is lacking about which traits, or trade-offs, underlie species stability, specially across different ecosystems. To address this, we compiled a global collection of long-term p...
Article
Analysing temporal patterns in plant communities is extremely important to quantify the extent and the consequences of ecological changes, especially considering the current biodiversity crisis. Long‐term data collected through the regular sampling of permanent plots represent the most accurate resource to study ecological succession, analyse the s...
Article
Seventy five percent of the world's food crops benefit from insect pollination. Hence, there has been increased interest in how global change drivers impact this critical ecosystem service. Because standardized data on crop pollination are rarely available, we are limited in our capacity to understand the variation in pollination benefits to crop y...
Article
Full-text available
Ecological restoration has a paradigm of re-establishing ‘indigenous reference' communities. One resulting concern is that focussing on target communities may not necessarily create systems which function at a high level or are resilient in the face of ongoing global change. Ecological complexity – defined here, based on theory, as the number of co...
Article
Agri-environmental management has been promoted as an approach to enhance delivery of multiple ecosystem services. Most agri-environment agreements include several actions that the farmer agrees to put in place. But, most studies have only considered how individual agri-environmental actions affect particular ecosystem services. Thus, there is litt...
Preprint
Full-text available
Analysing temporal patterns in plant communities is extremely important to quantify the extent and the consequences of ecological changes, especially considering the current biodiversity crisis. Long-term data collected through the regular sampling of permanent plots represent the most accurate resource to study ecological succession, analyse the s...
Article
The importance of wild bees for crop pollination is well established, but less is known about which species contribute to service delivery to inform agricultural management, monitoring and conservation. Using sites in Great Britain as a case study, we use a novel qualitative approach combining ecological information and field survey data to establi...
Article
Full-text available
Declines in invertebrate biodiversity¹,² pose a significant threat to key ecosystem services.3, 4, 5 Current analyses of biodiversity often focus on taxonomic diversity (e.g., species richness),⁶,⁷ which does not account for the functional role of a species. Functional diversity of species’ morphological or behavioral traits is likely more relevant...
Article
Full-text available
Sustainable intensification will require the development of new management systems to support global food demands, whilst conserving the integrity of ecosystem functions. Here, we test and identify management strategies to maintain or enhance agricultural production in grasslands whilst simultaneously supporting the provision of multiple ecosystem...
Data
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Article
In Europe, extensively managed grasslands have undergone large-scale declines due to intensive agriculture and abandonment. Their restoration supports arthropod biodiversity within farming systems. We investigated limiting factors for arthropod establishment during grassland restoration across a chronosequence of 52 restoration sites established by...
Article
Full-text available
Worldwide honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) are one of the most widely kept domesticated animals, supporting domestic and commercial livelihoods though the production of honey and wax, as well as in the delivery of pollination services to crops. Quantifying which plant species are foraged upon by honeybees provides insights into their nutritional statu...
Article
Full-text available
Increased farming intensity led to massive declines across multiple farmland taxa. In Europe, measures introduced to counteract these losses include those considered agronomically productive, such as organic farming, as well as those that support no direct production of crops, such as non‐crop flowering fields in conventional farming systems. We st...
Article
Risks posed to bees from neonicotinoid seed treatments (clothianidin, thiamethoxam, imidacloprid) led in 2013 to the European Union instigating a moratorium for their use on mass-flowering crops, including oilseed rape in the UK. This restriction did allow for the continued use of these seed treatments, in particular clothianidin, on non-flowering...
Article
Full-text available
Questions Compensatory dynamics are described as one of the main mechanisms that increase community stability, e.g. where decreases of some species on a year‐to‐year basis are offset by an increase in others. Deviations from perfect synchrony between species (asynchrony) have therefore been advocated as an important mechanism underlying biodiversit...
Article
The stability of ecological communities is critical for the stable provisioning of ecosystem services, such as food and forage production, carbon sequestration, and soil fertility. Greater biodiversity is expected to enhance stability across years by decreasing synchrony among species, but the drivers of stability in nature remain poorly resolved....
Article
Full-text available
The stability of ecological communities is critical for the stable provisioning of ecosystem services, such as food and forage production, carbon sequestration, and soil fertility. Greater biodiversity is expected to enhance stability across years by decreasing synchrony among species, but the drivers of stability in nature remain poorly resolved....
Chapter
Insecticides represent an important management tool in agriculture. They provide a low cost and efficacious approach to pest control, where they may be employed both reactively and pre-emptively. It is likely insecticides will continue to play a role in meeting the challenge of feeding a growing global population. The widespread use of insecticides...
Article
Full-text available
1. Biological pest control has become one of the central principles of ecological intensification in agriculture. However, invertebrate natural enemies within agricultural ecosystems are exposed to a myriad of different pesticides at both lethal and sub‐lethal doses, that may limit their capacity to carry out pest control. An important question is...
Article
Sustainable agriculture aims to produce sufficient food whilst minimising environmental damage. To achieve this, we need to understand the role of agricultural landscapes in providing diverse ecosystem services and how these affect crop production and resilience, i.e. maintaining yields despite environmental perturbation. We used ten years of Engli...
Article
Full-text available
Insects provide vital ecosystem services to agricultural systems in the form of pollination and natural pest control. However, there are currently widespread declines in the beneficial insects which deliver these services (i.e. pollinators and ‘natural enemies’ such as predators and parasitoids). Two key drivers of these declines have been the expa...
Technical Report
Full-text available
EKLIPSE received a request by Pollinis on the 30th of June 2018, to produce an overview of the current knowledge and research gaps related to the impacts of pesticide and fertilizer use in farmland on the effectiveness of adjacent pollinator conservation measures. The call was answered through a Joint Fact Finding approach, including a workshop on...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change poses a threat to global food security with extreme heat events causing drought and direct damage to crop plants. However, by altering behavioural or physiological responses of insects, extreme heat events may also affect pollination services on whichmany crops are dependent. Such effectsmay potentially be exacerbated by other enviro...
Article
Full-text available
ContextMaximising insect pollination of mass-flowering crops is a widely-discussed approach to sustainable agriculture. Management actions can target landscape-scale semi-natural habitat, cropping patterns or field-scale features, but little is known about their relative effectiveness.Objective To test how landscape composition (area of mass-flower...
Article
Agricultural pesticides are a key component of the toolbox of most agricultural systems and are likely to continue to play a role in meeting the challenge of feeding a growing global population. However, pesticide use has well documented and often significant consequences for populations of native wildlife. Although rigorous, regulatory processes f...
Article
Full-text available
How insects promote crop pollination remains poorly understood in terms of the contribution of functional trait differences between species. We used meta-analyses to test for correlations between community abundance, species richness and functional trait metrics with oilseed rape yield, a globally important crop. While overall abundance is consiste...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Under extreme dry weather conditions the cell grazing system allows pasture to recover from defoliation, maintaining herbage mass at desirable levels and preventing removal of animals from pasture.
Article
Full-text available
Pollination is a critical ecosystem service underpinning the productivity of agricultural systems across the world. Wild insect populations provide a substantial contribution to the productivity of many crops and seed set of wild flowers. However, large-scale evidence on species-specific trends among wild pollinators are lacking. Here we show subst...
Article
Sentinel prey (an artificially manipulated patch of prey) are widely used to assess the level of predation provided by natural enemies in agricultural systems. Whilst a number of different methodologies are currently in use, little is known about how arthropod predators respond to artificially manipulated sentinel prey in comparison with predation...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding spatial variation in the structure and stability of plant–pollinator networks, and their relationship with anthropogenic drivers, is key for maintaining pollination services and mitigating declines. Constructing sufficient networks to examine patterns over large spatial scales remains challenging. Using biological records (citizen sci...
Article
Full-text available
The idea that noncrop habitat enhances pest control and represents a win-win opportunity to conserve biodiversity and bolster yields has emerged as an agroecological paradigm. However, while noncrop habitat in landscapes surrounding farms sometimes benefits pest predators, natural enemy responses remain heterogeneous across studies and effects on p...
Article
The restoration of grasslands is a key management practice that supports biodiversity across Europe. On species poor grasslands and ex-arable fields, the establishment of plant species is often limited by the availability of habitat niches, in particular space to germinate. We investigated the impacts of full inversion tillage and its interaction w...
Article
Full-text available
The use of pesticides within agricultural ecosystems has led to wide concern regarding negative effects on the environment. One possible alternative is the use of predators of pest species that naturally occur within agricultural ecosystems. However, the mechanistic basis for how species can be manipulated in order to maximise pest control remains...
Article
Full-text available
Grassland restoration is a key measure for re-establishing damaged floral communities. As seed banks are often degraded, methods are needed to overcome dispersal limitation of the remnant vegetation. One approach is to vacuum harvest seeds from donor sites. While this is a cost-effective method, individual species’ traits describing reproduction me...
Article
Full-text available
Due to concerns over negative impacts on insect pollinators, the European Union has implemented a moratorium on the use of three neonicotinoid pesticide seed dressings for mass-flowering crops. We assessed the effectiveness of this policy in reducing the exposure risk to honeybees by collecting 130 samples of honey from bee keepers across the UK be...
Data
Supporting figures and tables. Figures and tables describing raw data and 2014 pre-moratorium results for neonicotinoid residues in honey. (DOCX)
Article
Full-text available
FULL ARTICLE: The impact of neonicotinoids on bees has always been a contentious issue, not least because reported evidence of their effects has been variable. Neonicotinoids are most often applied to crop seeds, rather than sprayed directly on plants. As the plant grows the pesticide moves though the roots, leaves and flowers providing protection...
Article
Full-text available
Insects play a key role in the regulation and dynamics of many ecosystem services (ES). However, this role is often assumed, with limited or no experimental quantification of its real value. We examined publication trends in the research on ES provided by insects, ascertaining which ES and taxa have been more intensively investigated, and which met...
Article
Full-text available
Neonicotinoid seed dressings have caused concern world-wide. We use large field experiments to assess the effects of neonicotinoid-treated crops on three bee species across three countries (Hungary, Germany, and the United Kingdom). Winter-sown oilseed rape was grown commercially with either seed coatings containing neonicotinoids (clothianidin or...
Article
1. Riparian invertebrate communities occupy a dynamic ecotone where hydrogeomorphological (e.g. river flows) and ecological (e.g. succession) processes may govern assemblage structure by filtering species according to their traits (e.g. dispersal capacity, niche). 2. We surveyed terrestrial invertebrate assemblages (millipedes, carabid beetles, spi...