am an insect ecologist and agricultural conservation biologist, with a
particular interest in researching sustainable agricultural practices which maintain optimal invertebrate biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.
1. Threats to farmland biodiversity: non-target, eco-toxic and functional impacts of livestock parasite control and the development of alternative solutions
have wide research interests, both ecological and applied, but my current research focuses on the
impact of parasite control in domestic livestock on dung insect fauna
and the ecosystem function of decomposition. Parasite control in livestock is globally unsustainable, with large-scale resistance to current treatments and non-target
eco-toxic and functional impacts. I am particularly interested in
researching the possible environmental impact of alternative products,
used globally for parasite control. I was fieldwork supervisor of an
Oxford University undergraduate student working on a project I designed
on this topic in 2009, and am collaborating with Dr Christina Marley (Aberystwyth University) on the use of chicory (Cichorium intybus) for reducing gastro-intestinal parasites in cattle. I am also working with industry contacts in
research and development of new methods of parasite control in livestock.
2. Dung invertebrate ecosystem functioning
addition, I am interested in the underlying ecological processes that
define dung insect communities. I am currently working to asses the functional importance of species richness and quantitatively
assessing the impact of parasiticides on dung insect interspecific and intraspecific interactions and functioning. I was fieldwork supervisor of an Oxford University undergraduate student working on a manipulative dung invertebrate ecosystem functioning project I designed in 2009.
current research is UK-based, I have a strong interest in similar
patterns and processes in tropical systems, having carried out research
into the agricultural impact on dung beetle communities in Zambia (2005
and 2010) and Honduras (2007), with a current collaboration with Professor Richard Wall (Bristol University) looking at developing a project in Zambia.
3. Large-scale environmental impacts of farming practices
I am interested in the broader environmental impacts of farming practices and placing an economic value on the services provided by insects. To this end, I am collaborating with Professor Helen West (Nottingham University) looking at large-scale impacts of anthelmintics on dung fauna and with the RSPB on the importance of invertebrate prey items for the chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax (L.), and associated management suggestions for chough conservation. Other projects underway look at the potential of organic or no-tillage systems to support natural enemy populations in the UK and the impact of no-tillage management on soil structure and soil health in Brazil and the UK (in collaboration with Dr Marcelo Augusto-Batista at Universidade Estadual de Maringá, Brazil).
Application and science communication
The application of theoretical research is key in bridging the gap between science and practice. As a partner in the family farming business, I am able to practically apply my research to an on-farm system in order to test the applied environmental and economic benefits of the research. To this end, I also work with a number of other farmers on a consultancy and voluntary basis assessing the benefits of research findings to commercial farming businesses.
I am passionate about communicating my research to a wider audience, and give regular talks and presentations to farming and non-agricultural audiences. In addition, I have worked on a number of radio and television programmes as a presenter, contributor and researcher. Please follow this link for more information on outreach activities.
Slade, E.M., Mann, D.J. & Lewis, O.T. (2012) Species-rich dung
beetle communities buffer ecosystem services in perturbed
agro-ecosystems. Journal of Applied Ecology, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2012.02210.x.
Beynon, S.A., Peck, M., Mann, D.J. & Lewis, O.T. (2012) Consequences of alternative
and conventional endoparasite control in cattle for dung-associated
invertebrates and ecosystem functioning. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 162, 36-44.
Beynon, S.A. (2012)
Potential environmental consequences of administration of anthelmintics
to sheep, Veterinary Parasitology,189, 125-135.
Beynon, S.A. (2012)
Potential environmental consequences of administration of
ectoparasiticides to sheep, Veterinary Parasitology, 189, 113-124.
Wall, R. & Beynon,
S. (2012) Area-wide impact of macrocyclic lactone parasiticides in
cattle dung. Medical and Veterinary Entomology, 26, 1-8.
2012: British Council seed funding for UK-Brazil collaborative project on the impact of no-tillage farming on soil structure and functioning - lead scientist
2012: British Council funding for sustainable agriculture conference, Brazil
2009-2010: Darwin Initiative project scoping funding, Zambia in collaboration with Professor Richard Wall, University of Bristol
2008: Professor Sir Richard Southwood scholarship in Insect Ecology
2008: Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society Student Bursary
Gradwell Travelling Fellowship in Insect Ecology to Zambia
The Wynford Davies Travelling Scholarship to Indonesia
Selected recent conference/meeting attendance (papers/posters presented)
2012: Rio+20 Earth Debates final debate (London)
2012: Royal Entomological Society (RES) 'Insect declines in agriculture' (Rothamstead Research)
2012: International networking skills for agricultural researchers (Brazil)
2011: The 2nd European Dung Ecology Conference (Nottingham)
2010: Amateur Entomological Society young members day (Oxford)
2010: Amateur Entomological Society members day (NHM, London)
2009: The 1st European Dung Ecology Conference (Oxford)*
2009: The RES Postgraduate Conference (Sheffield)
* Conference initiator/organiser with Professor R. Wall (University of Bristol). Please follow this link to conference information/abstracts of talks
TV and Radio appearances
Articles about research