Who we are

Dr Barbara Smith

Dr Barbara Smith

Associate Professor, Agricultural Ecology and Public Science.

I am an agricultural ecologist with a special research interest in insects. My research focuses on how human activity impacts biodiversity, particularly pollinators. I began by studying the management of UK farmland habitats for beneficial insects, including bees, and went on to establish a Centre for Pollination Studies at Calcutta University in India, where we investigate how agriculture affects both wild and domesticated honey bees. Since then I have been involved in research ranging from pure ecology, to very practical farmer-led studies on pollinator health.   I now work at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University. 

I am excited to work with beekeepers to ensure hives thrive! I have been a beekeeper since 2012 and this year I will be volunteering in a community apiary.

Dr Martin Wilkes

Dr Martin Wilkes

Assistant Professor, Ecology & Evolution

I am an environmentalist and ecologist with a passion for data! My research focuses on how we can use biodiversity data, in all its many forms, to answer questions about the how plants and animals are impacted by human activities across whole landscapes. I began my career as an informatician in the energy industry, focusing on modernisation of gas networks and generation of renewables. Later in life I joined the academic world and shifted my focus to biodiversity. I now work at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience at Coventry University.

April Webb

April Webb

Research Assistant

I have worked as a horticulturist and biological field surveyor, now developing my career as a research assistant with the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience at Coventry University.

I am interested in researching the impacts on biodiversity. Alongside Thriving Hives, I help run a citizen science project (PlantAlert) predicting future invasive plant species originating from the ornamentals industry.

I work with the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland on the Communications Team promoting and recording British Flora and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust- Habitat Biodiversity Auditing Team assessing and mapping the county's habitats, looking at potential local wildlife sites.

I have been running research into plant biodiversity on allotments to understand further these sites' role in our wider environment, their potential biological pressures, and as a resource to environmental conservation. I have had a close relationship with insects with all of my work, and I look forward to helping our honey bees with Thriving Hives.