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South Downs Research Conference 2016

South Downs Research Conference 2016

Wednesday 6 July, 2016

South Downs Centre, Midhurst

The third annual South Downs Research Conference was a huge success with over 80 delegates from universities across the country as well as private, governmental and third sector organisations.

As always the day was a real reflection of the broad scope of research currently being undertaken across the South Downs from the effects of invasive species to the use of drones to monitor landscape change. Best presentation was given to Dr Paul Hanna of the University of Surrey for his engaging talk on how negative impacts of adventure activities could potentially lead to an overall net benefit through an increase in pro environmental behaviour in participants.

The day was brought to a close by a brilliant presentation from the National Parks own Dark Skies Dan. The presentation outlined his journey to achieving the South Downs recent designation as an International Dark Skies Reserve, his novel techniques for engaging communities and the some times nefarious South Downs at night.

You can see a full programme of the day as well as abstracts of all of the talks and posters below. If you want to know more about any of these presentations please contact

Event programme and details

Conference Programme 2016

Conference proceedings 2016

Key Note

We were pleased to welcome Professor Dave Goulson as the key note speaker for the South Downs Research Conference 2016. He set a very strong tone for the day with a fascinating talk on the current state of bumblebees both in the UK and further afield.

Dave-GoulsonProfessor Dave Goulson was brought up in rural Shropshire, where he developed an early obsession with wildlife. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Oxford University, followed by a doctorate on butterfly ecology at Oxford Brookes University. Subsequently, he lectured in biology for 11 years at the University of Southampton, and it was here that he began to study bumblebees in earnest. He subsequently moved to Stirling University in 2006, and then to Sussex in 2013. He has published more than 240 scientific articles on the ecology and conservation of bumblebees and other insects. He is the author of Bumblebees; Their Behaviour, Ecology and Conservation, published in 2010 by Oxford University Press, and of the Sunday Times bestseller A Sting in the Tail, a popular science book about bumble bees, published in 2013 by Jonathan Cape, and now translated into German, Dutch, Swedish, Korean, Chinese and Danish. This was followed by A Buzz in the Meadow in 2014.

Goulson founded the Bumblebee Conservation Trust in 2006, a charity which has grown to 8,000 members. He was the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council’s Social Innovator of the Year in 2010, was given the Zoological Society of London’s Marsh Award for Conservation Biology in 2013, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2013, and given the British Ecological Society Public Engagement Award in 2014. In 2015 he was named number 8 in BBC Wildlife Magazine’s list of the top 50 most influential people in conservation.


" The Downs...too much for one pair of eyes, enough to float a whole population in happiness. "