Marsh Award for Insect Conservation

This Award was run in partnership with the Royal Entomological Society and recognised an outstanding contribution to the field of insect conservation.

The Award was given on the basis of ‘lifetime achievement’, or ‘considerable and exemplary contribution’ to a significant project or undertaking.

Pictured: Sea-clubrush hoverfly Lejops vittata © Steven J Falk

Professor Michael J Samways 2019

Michael has dedicated his life career to insect conservation, with research spanning France, Brazil, the Indian Ocean Islands, South Africa and global co-operative projects. Not only does he have an extensive scientific publication record, he has put insect conservation research into practice through an iterative process, working closely with large corporates, government bodies and NGOs to maximise insect conservation while optimising production. He has worked at a national and international level, mostly through the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, of which Michael was Chair of the Species Survival Commission Invertebrate Sub-Committee.

Michael’s approach has led to some great successes for insect conservation, from improved freshwater monitoring, development of workable and climatically resilient ecological networks of conservation corridors, restoration in terrestrial and freshwater realms, through to enabling endemic insect recovery following widespread removal of alien trees. He has worked with many research students and postdocs, with 44 Masters and 28 PhD students graduating under his supervision, many of whom are now highly active insect conservation researchers or practitioners in their own right. Michael has made links with managers, policy makers and other researchers, which has enabled not only major thrusts in the doing of insect conservation, but has also expanded the field considerably within various spheres of operation. He has successfully established a legacy which is saving the lives of countless insects

Previous Winners

Mike Edwards and Professor Vojtech Novotny

Mike Edwards

Mike Edwards has been at the forefront of the study of the aculeate Hymenoptera (bees, wasps and ants) for the best part of 40 years. He has set up a number of working groups over the years to support a variety of species, whilst developing links with government, NGO’s, academia and agriculture. His services as an ecological consultant have reached not only the UK, but also Europe and Australia.

Professor Vojtech Novotny

Vojtech Novotny is an entomologist at the Czech Academy of Sciences and internationally renowned tropical insect ecologist. He divides his time between the Czech Republic and Papua New Guinea, where he has led the conservation of large areas of tropical forest and supported local scientists and the community towards the sustainable support of the environment with its rich insect communities.

Professor M G Morris

Following three years as the V H Blackman Research Scholar at East Malling Research Station, Mike joined the Nature Conservancy’s new research lab at Monks Wood, where he went on to spend 15 years on research into conservation ecology, notably devising innovative field experiments to explore how different types of grassland management can restore and maintain distinctive species-rich assemblages of insects. A major influence that Mike created throughout his career has been to elucidate the effect of different types of land management regimes (burning, mowing or grazing at different times of years and at different intensities) on insect diversity in the British Isles.

From 1976 until his retirement in 1994, Mike was Head of Furzebrook Research Station and ultimately Acting Director of ITE, as well as ITE’s Head of Invertebrate Ecology. Despite these more managerial roles, he continued to publish a number of important papers in high-ranking journals describing his continuing experiments to maximise insect biodiversity in UK grasslands. In total he has published 315 scientific papers, book chapters and articles on insects, of which 85 are directly concerned with their conservation.

Since retirement, Mike has continued his pursuing of ‘extra-mural’ conservation initiatives focused on insects, and was also appointed (honorary) Scientific Associate at the Natural History Museum, which combined research and the curation of Coleoptera collections. His conservation work throughout his career included a number of policy recommendations, and in his managerial positions, he vigorously promoted the conservation-orientated research programmes of his staff, several of which involved insects.

Dr Phil Sterling

Dr Phil Sterling has produced a guide to the UK’s 900+ micro-moths, making this group of insects accessible to entomologists and encouraging more people to undertake study in this area. He is the County Ecologist for Dorset and has been at the forefront of recording and studying insects in this area. He has managed to persuade Dorset County Council to see the benefits of conserving the natural environment there and has worked in close partnership with local statutory and voluntary conservation organisations.

Dr Sterling was instrumental in the building of the Weymouth Relief Road, which has become a case study of how development can be achieved while simultaneously protecting wildlife and the environment. The successful safeguarding, management and creating of ecosystems protects all forms of wildlife, but the most species-rich group by far in every habitat are the insects.

Dr David Sheppard

Dr David Sheppard is an exceptional conservationist who has been influential in guiding policy and supporting practical measures for insect conservation in Government and voluntary organisations throughout his career. He is an expert on the aculeate hymenoptera and was one of the first members of the Bumblebee Working Group.

Dr Sheppard is particularly recognised for his promotion of insect conservation within and beyond the Nature Conservancy Council, which later became English Nature and Natural England. He was more-or-less personally responsible for increasing the Council’s budget share for insect conservation, also in dispensing the money to worthwhile projects. Since his retirement he has remained active in the field and assisted a number of conservation projects in new areas of work.

The Malloch Society

The Malloch Society was formed in 1986 by a small group of amateur and professional entomologists and over the years has worked on the gaps in the knowledge relevant to fly conservation. Some of their studies have included mapping the distribution of hoverflies to identify species which are a conservation concern in Scotland and some of their most important work has been on Biodiversity Action Plan flies and saproxylic (decaying wood) faunas.

The Malloch Society has played a significant part in the study of the Scottish Hoverfly, and pursued valuable research into the saproxylic faunas more broadly. Members have published at least 36 papers on the subject, some of which have stemmed from studies abroad. The Society stands among the leading authorities in Europe on saproxylic faunas and applied conservation on the subject.

Peter Harvey

Peter Harvey has made a huge contribution to the conservation of insects and other invertebrates, particularly within the controversy surrounding the proposed development brownfield land in the Thames Gateway, whose importance has been identified thanks to his efforts and influence. His recording efforts were fundamental to Canvey Wick becoming a Site of Special Scientific Interest and he also provided the factual basis on which Buglife has challenged the planning process at a site in Thurrock. At this last site, 17 Biodiversity Action Plan invertebrate species and many more Species of Conservation Concern were located.

Peter’s expertise on invertebrates extends beyond insects. He has organised the National Spider Recording Scheme for many years and was the first of three editors of the Provisional Atlas of British Spiders which was published in 2002. At a local level he has been a leading light for entomology, promoting the study of insects and other arthropods through co-editing Essex Naturalist and Essex Field Club News.

Steven J Falk

Steven J Falk  has made a major contribution to the understanding of the importance of post-industrial brown sites for some of Britain’s rarest insect species. His extensive knowledge of the two major insect orders, Diptera (flies) and Hymenoptera (bees,wasps and ants), enabled him to compile seminal reviews of the rarity and conservation status of all species in these groups at an early stage in his career, which remain the standard source of reference to this day.

Steven has recently retired from his post as Keeper of Natural History at Warwickshire Museum and is now the Entomologist at Buglife and also produces work as a wildlife artist. He runs his own website which contains more interesting information on his work, including research, photographs, art and updates.

Steve Cham

Steve Cham has played a prominent role in dragonfly recording since 1991, leading the national effort as a key member of the British Dragonfly Society since 1995. He helped to set up the North London Dragonfly Group and was part of the research programme devised for a systematic survey of the dragonflies of the Lea Valley Park over several seasons. He is now National Co-ordinator for the Dragonflies Recording Network and is currently leading on the production of a new dragonfly atlas for the British Isles.

Steve is well published and has discovered and developed new strategies and methods to identify and conserve dragonflies. He is a great collaborator and is highly respected in the field for his innovative and effective ideas for conservation.

Dr Roger Key

Dr Roger Key has a longstanding passion for insects and other invertebrates, which dates back to his childhood. His out-going personality, enthusiasm and ability to engage with a wide variety of entomologists has enabled him to really raise the profile of insects and entomology.

Dr Key worked for English Nature in the 1990s and during this time was able to build up his media experience, taking part in radio and TV programmes to promote a better understanding of insect conservation. During this time he also led a number of activities for children in a voluntary capacity, aiming to encourage their interest in natural history and the world of insects, having become concerned with the lack of young people taking up entomology as an interest or career.

Dr David Lonsdale

Dr David Lonsdale was a tree pathologist at the Alice Holt Research Station for the Forestry Commission, and came into contact with insect specialists in the entomology department on a regular basis.

Dr Lonsdale has had a lifelong interest in insects and their conservation. He has been a longstanding figure within the Amateur Entomologists Society, serving on their council and being responsible for their initial engagement with the field of insect conservation. He initiated, and remains the editor of, their newsletter Insect Conservation News which is a great source of information and inspiration for entomologists and practical conservationists in the field.

Professor Garth Foster

Professor Garth Foster has driven water beetle conservation in Britain for over 30 years and has also inspired others to take up the study of water beetles.

In 1976, Professor Foster set up the Balfour-Browne Club whose aims include improving contact between water beetles, helping the inexperienced to identify water beetles and advising the Nature Conservancy Council and other organisations on endangered species and sites of special interest. The Club is the focus of activity for the study of water beetles in Britain and has taken on the national water beetle recording scheme, with Professor Foster and his wife running the administration of this, amassing several million records. The Club is now an international organisation and plays a major role in maintaining contact between researchers across the world.

Professor Lincoln Brower and Dr Martin Speight

Professor Lincoln Brower

Lincoln Brower is Distinguished Service Professor of Zoology at the University of Florida, and following his retirement in 1997 moved to Virginia where he is Research Professor of Biology at Sweet Briar College. He has studied the Monarch Butterfly for over 50 years and his efforts represent a lifetime contribution to this well-known insect. Thanks to his ability to combine fundamental research with conservation zeal, the Monarch acts as a flagship for endangered species.

Dr Martin Speight

Dr Speight has spent the majority of his career at the Research Branch of the Forest and Wildlife Service in Ireland. He has helped transform knowledge of Irish insect fauna and has been a major influence on insect conservation on a European level, through his involvement with the Council of Europe and the European Invertebrate Survey.

Dr Martin Warren

Dr Martin Warren is the Chief Executive of Butterfly Conservation and without his tireless work, many species, populations and ecosystems across Europe would be under greater threat than they are today. His ecological studies and practical involvement have resulted in halting and reversing the steep decline of the Heath Fritillary butterfly population which was originally predicted to be extinct by 1990.

Dr Warren’s work, despite many years of hardship and lack of funding, has meant that large metapopulations of butterfly flourish in five UK regions. This is only the second successful example of targeted science based conservation of an insect in the world, and helped lay the foundation for numerous similar studies which have been carried out worldwide.

Dr Keith Alexander

Dr Keith Alexander is an entomologist in the Biological Survey Team of the National Trust and has organised and conducted invertebrate surveys on all major National Trust properties in England and Wales. His team have provided advice on conservation matters and have introduced practical measures for reducing the effects of human pressure on habitats, maintaining and improving biodiversity and protecting rare and endangered invertebrates.

Dr Alexander is a founding member of the Ancient Trees Forum and has produced studies highlighting the importance of rare insect assemblages in large established trees in wood pasture. Hi work with the Ancient Tree Forum resulted in the publication of The Invertebrates of Living and Decaying Timber in Britain and Ireland: an annotated checklist in 2002. He has produced many popular articles which have resulted in a much greater awareness of the conservation of ancient trees, in the UK and throughout Europe.

Alan Stubbs

Alan Stubbs has, almost single-handedly, raised the profile of invertebrates in conservation of wildlife at a national and international level. He makes an effort to talk to those who make conservation happen, never failing to make people appreciate insects and their role in ecological processes. Alan has a 40 year record of involvement in the field of insect conservation at all levels, being involved in societies, organisations and committees and occupying senior positions in all three national entomological sciences.

Alan retired from the Nature Conservancy Council in 1991, where he had been Terrestrial Invertebrate Zoologist since 1974. He is the creator of Buglife – The Invertebrate Conservation Trust, an independent body which promotes conservation without the constraints which bind a government agency. He has ensured that invertebrate conservation will have a strong and permanent voice in statutory conservation, in policy and in practice far into the future.

Dr Tim New

Dr Tim New completed his PhD of original research on British Psocoptera in 1968, and has continued to study this insect along with the Neuroptera for almost 40 years. He now teaches and undertakes research at La Trobe University in Australia, where his work has increasingly focussed on the conservation of the biodiversity of insects and other invertebrates.

Dr New is widely published, having written 21 books and published almost 350 papers in scientific journals, many of which have related to conservation issues of insects and other invertebrates. He has also played a significant international role in developing strategic plans and associated policies for the conservation of insects and other invertebrates. This has been achieved through Dr Ward’s major contributions as Chair or serving membership of a number of committees of the IUCN, as well as state and federal government bodies in Australia.

Dr Norman Moore

Dr Norman Moore has been one of the most influential and successful conservationists in the UK and the world for the last 50 years. He was the Nature Conservancy’s Regional Officer, responsible for much of the South West of England in the 1950s, where he made the first biological surveys of the Dorset heathlands using dragonflies, butterflies and other insects as additional indicators of biodiversity. His early research was built on dragonfly behaviour by pioneering the conservation of dragonflies in freshwater across the world, and he was a key figure in the establishment of the Dragonfly Conservation Society.

Dr Moore was perhaps most influential in the 1960s when he was appointed Head of the Toxic Chemicals and Wildlife Division, and deputy director to Kenneth Mellanby when Monks Wood Experiemental Station was founded. He led the team which discovered that an accumulation of persistent organo-chloride insecticides in food chains were the cause of the sharp decline of predatory vertebrates across the developed world. He also initiated major research programmes on the value of hedgerows for wildlife.