Emily Baird


Emily Baird
(Associate Professor)

Senior Lecturer and Head of the Division of Functional Morphology, Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, Sweden

Email: emily.baird@zoologi.su.se
Personal Research Webpage

Google Scholar

Research Summary

I am interested in understanding the sensory limits of pollinator foraging behaviour, with a particular focus on bumblebees and butterflies. Key questions that I want to answer are: Why are some species are found only in one habitat (such as the arctic bumblebees that are only found in the tundra) and why others can be found over the broad range of habitats? Essential to pollinator foraging behaviour are flower detection, safe flight control and obstacle avoidance, and (for central-place foragers like bumblebees) navigation between the nest and the hive. These behaviours are regulated primarily by visual information but little is known about how different species use visual information in different habitats – have they developed different visual specialisations that are optimised for the habitats in which they forage? If so, these specialisations may also limit the capacity of certain species to respond to changes in habitat, such as those caused by climate change. The overall goal of my research is to explore and describe the visual specialisations of pollinators and to test if and how they relate to habitat specificity and, ultimately, a species’ sensitivity to disturbances that change their visual habitat.

Current Projects