Bishop of Norwich's Prize for Ecology awarded
27 July 2022
Bishop Graham has awarded UEA student, Guthrie Allen, the prize for the best MSc Applied Ecology and Conservation research dissertation in the last academic year (2020-21), for a project on the role of woodland canopies in supporting bees in a Norfolk farmland landscape.
The second year of this award, the UEA chose the recipient from among the postgraduate students in their ecology department. Guthrie is originally from Norfolk and did both his undergraduate and master’s degrees at the UEA.
Presenting the prize, Bishop Graham said: “I’m delighted to present the Bishop of Norwich Ecology Prize to Guthrie Allen in recognition of his excellent dissertation in the applied conversation ecology area. It particularly resonated with me, as a keen beekeeper! Having originally trained as an ecologist, I am all too aware that we need people to be researching and being passionate about exploring and protecting our single island planet home. As a Christian, I am called to live out a care for creation so I’m very happy to be encouraging endeavours such as this.”
On receiving the prize certificate and £1,000, Guthrie Allen said: “I am hugely grateful for this generous prize. In practical terms it will help me to continue my research, but equally importantly it is immensely encouraging to receive this recognition of my work from someone with a passion for the subject.”
Dr Richard Davies, Lecturer in Biodiversity at the School of Biological Sciences, UEA said: “I’m really pleased to see Guthrie receive this recognition for his project, the more so as he’s chosen to do a PhD at UEA on this important topic. Pollinators and many other beneficial insects are under multiple pressures from intensive agriculture and climate change. Guthrie’s work will contribute to our understanding of the role of woodlands in sustaining pollinator species across Norfolk farmland and beyond.
“The Bishop of Norwich Ecology prize helps shine a spotlight on some of the valuable and fascinating conservation ecology projects that our students take on, and which launches them on the next steps in their careers. It is wonderful to see the crucial importance of applied ecology being given such prominent endorsement from outside the university.”
Professor Jennifer Gill, Course Director of the MSc in Applied Ecology & Conservation said: “We are delighted to see Guthrie’s excellent research dissertation receive this generous award from the Bishop of Norwich. The recognition of our students and the importance of their work in applied ecology and conservation is hugely welcome. We are extremely fortunate to have such wonderful support from Bishop Graham in helping to develop our conservationist ecologists as they seek to address the many challenges facing the natural world. “
Guthrie added: “For my project, I investigated the potential role of mature woodland canopies in supporting wild bee communities on farmland – an area little explored in Europe. I found that all bumblebee species were active in the canopy – at heights of up to 20 m – but some species were more active than others, and females were more likely to visit than males. Canopy activity also greatly increased when Sycamore trees were in flower. I explore the biological significance of these results and their implications for woodland conservation and management in farmed landscapes.
“I grew up in Norfolk and, following my life-long interest in wildlife and conservation, returned here to complete my undergraduate degree in Ecology as a mature student at UEA. After graduating, I continued with conservation voluntary work, until returning once again to study for my Master’s. I’ve been fortunate enough to stay on at UEA as a PhD student, continuing my research into the role farmland woods have in supporting wild bee communities.”