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Rachel Parkinson


I am generally interested in how brains work, but I find the insect brain to be especially interesting because they are so much smaller and in many ways simpler than the brains of vertebrates, and yet insects are capable of some incredible behaviours, including social behaviour. Bumblebees are really important for pollination in the ecosystem as well as for agriculture, and they are facing many threats in the environment, including changing habitat, climate change, and pesticides. I hope that my research can both enlighten us to the incredible things bumblebees can do, and find new ways of registering toxicity in insects so we can do a better job of taking care of our ecosystems.

I am a neuroethologist – neuroscientist interested in innate animal behaviour.

I studied at the University of Saskatchewan in the Canadian Prairies, and I’ve been at Oxford researching in the Department of Biology since 2020.