“The Contributions and Conservation of Insect Pollinators in Ireland”

Research Background

I graduated from Wheaton College (Massachusetts, USA) with a B.A. in Environmental Science, Biology concentration in 2015.

From 2014-2017, I traveled around the United States to work with native insect pollinators as a research assistant and community outreach facilitator on five different conservation-focused research projects. In 2016, while working at Archbold Biological Station in Florida, USA, I conducted an independent study entitled, “The multi-scaled habitat preferences of the Blue Calamintha Bee.”

From 2017-2022, I conducted PhD research at the School of Agriculture & Food Science at University College Dublin, Ireland. I studied the contributions and conservation of Ireland’s insect pollinators. My research was funded by the Irish Research Council, in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency Ireland, and the Eva Crane Trust.

Research Interests

Contributions of insect pollinators to the pollination of native plants and crops

Interactions between managed and wild pollinators

Wild, native pollinator conservation

Doctoral Research

Crop Pollination

Assessing the contributions of wild and managed insect pollinators (i.e. honeybees, bumblebees, solitary bees, and hoverflies) to apple and bean pollination, as well as assigning an economic value to these contributions

Public Perceptions

Investigating the public perceptions of pollinators, pollinator importance, and pollinator conservation in order to identify knowledge gaps and potential target audiences to improve public engagement initiatives for the future

Wild & Managed Bees

Exploring possible interactions, and potential competition for food resources, between wild bumblebees and managed honeybees on heather in protected semi-natural areas


Burns, K.L.W. & Stanley, D.A. (2023) Irish faba beans (Fabales: Fabaceae) depend on wild bumblebee pollination for marketable yields. Agricultural and Forest Entomology, 1– 11. Available from:

Rundlöf, M., Stuligross, C., Lindh, A., Malfi, R.L., Burns, K., Mola, J.M., Cibotti, S. and Williams, N.M. (2022) Flower plantings support wild bee reproduction and may also mitigate pesticide exposure effects. Journal of Applied Ecology. Accepted Author Manuscript.

Burns, K.L.W & Stanley, D.A. (2022) The importance and value of insect pollination to apples: A regional case study of key cultivars. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 331.

Allen-Perkins, A., Magrach, A., Dainese, M., Garibaldi, L.A., Kleijn, D., Rader, R., Reilly, J.R., et al. 2022. CropPol: A Dynamic, Open and Global Database on Crop Pollination. Ecology 103( 3): e3614.

Burns, K.L.W, Fitzpatrick, U., & Stanley, D.A. (2021) Public perceptions of Ireland’s pollinators: A case for more inclusive pollinator conservation initiatives. Journal for Nature Conservation, 61.

Burns, K. L., Deyrup, M. A., & Menges, E. S. (2019). The Blue Calamintha Bee: Habitat preferences of a narrow endemic. Florida Scientist, 82(2-3), 73-81.

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