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Biodiversity footprint of quarry restoration

School of Life Sciences

About the Project

Research Group: Applied Ecology Research Group (AERG) -

Proposed supervisory team
Dr Alvin Helden ()

Several other members of Biology staff with interest in this subject area could be part of the team e.g., Dr Tom Ings, Dr Peter Brown and Dr Sarah Hart.

Global Change Ecology

Summary of the research project

Needingworth is an active gravel and sand extraction quarry site near St. Ives, Cambridgeshire run by the Hanson/Heidelberg Cement Group. Following the mineral extraction process the land is being restored to form what will be one of the UK’s largest reedbed system. This is occurring sequentially in a series of blocks, which are then to be given over to management by the RSPB. The main focus of the site has been wetlands and the birds that they support. However, as my recent Quarry Life project has shown, additional biodiversity rich habitat, particularly grassland, have been created. While the restored site clearly has importance for biodiversity, it would be very informative for the organisations directly involved, as well as local and national conservation organisations, and the wider community, to be able to quantify the contribution of the site to local biodiversity. In other words, what is the biodiversity footprint of the site? How much is biodiversity enhanced and is there a positive spill-over effect to areas adjacent to the site? The project would aim to measure the invertebrate and other biodiversity of the site and that of equivalent habitats in the surrounding landscape. The information collected, together with data published elsewhere, would be used to parameterise a landscape model that could be used to help inform decisions about future restoration.

Where you’ll study

Cambridge (

Next steps

If you wish to be considered for this project, you will need to apply for our Biology PhD ( In the section of the application form entitled ’Outline research proposal’, please quote the above title and include a research proposal.

Funding Notes

This project is self-funded.
Details of studentships for which funding is available are selected by a competitive process and are advertised on our jobs website (View Website) as they become available.

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