The University of Northampton has recently approved the appointment of Tom Brereton as Visiting Professor in Conservation Science. Tom is well known for his work with Butterfly Conservation, the organisation that monitors British butterfly and moth populations, and promotes their study and conservation. However he also works with other organisations including the charity MarineLife.
The first task of any Visiting Professor is to present a public lecture on their work, which Tom is doing next Tuesday 16th May; it is entitled:
“Butterflies and other animals: 40 years of adventure in ecology and conservation”
The lecture begins at 6pm in The Grand Hall, Newton Building, St George’s Avenue, Northampton, NN2 6JD
Coffee & biscuits will be served on arrival at 5.30pm
Following the lecture there will be an opportunity for networking and discussion over drinks & nibbles. The lecture is free and open to all; for catering purposes please advise Val Howe if you wish to attend:
Telephone: 01604 893005
(Though if you decide to come at the last minute that’s also fine!)
For my fourth contribution to Pollinator Awareness Week I’m going to highlight the Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus), a butterfly that I featured on this blog last year. As I noted in that post, it’s fairly rare to have Gatekeepers in an urban garden which indicates that the shrubs and hedges grown by myself and my neighbours are providing the right microclimate for the adults. In addition the overgrown lawns of some adjacent gardens give opportunities for egg laying as the caterpillars are grass feeders.
Adult butterflies are very well camouflaged when resting with their wings folded. They take nectar from a range of plants in my garden but particularly love the dark, heavily scented infloresences of the buddleia variety pictured here. They also visit the wild blackberries scrambling through the hedge that separates us from next door’s garden and probably pollinate those flowers. Although it’s often said that butterflies are poor pollinators compared to bees, due to their general un-hairiness and habit of holding themselves above the stamens and stigmas in a flower, it very much depends on the type of flower. We have an unpublished manuscript that I hope to submit to a journal later this year showing that butterflies are actually better pollinators of one grassland plant than bumblebees.