“Brilliant Bees: The importance of wild and managed pollinators to Irish natural capital”

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.”

I am currently working on my PhD research in the School of Agriculture & Food Science at the University College Dublin in Ireland, studying the importance of wild and managed pollinators to Irish natural capital. I am funded by the Irish Research Council, in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency Ireland, and the Eva Crane Trust.

Research Interests

Pollinator diversity effects on the pollination of native plants and crops

Interactions between managed and wild pollinators

Native pollinator conservation

Current Projects

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 natural areas


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.

Burns, K.L., Fitzpatrick, U., & Stanley, D.A. (2020) Don’t forget about the flies! Public perceptions around pollinator conservation in Ireland (IN PREPARATION)

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