Dara is a Lecturer in Applied Entomology in the School of Agriculture and Food Science, and Earth Institute, at UCD. Her broad research interests span biodiversity, ecology, conservation and sustainable agriculture. She graduated in 2008 with a BA Mod in Botany from Trinity College Dublin, and was awarded a PhD entitled “Pollinators and pollination in changing agricultural landscapes; investigating the impacts of bioenergy crops” in 2013 from the same institution under the supervision of Prof Jane Stout. From 2013-2015, Dara worked as a postdoctoral researcher in Royal Holloway, University of London under the mentorship of Prof Nigel Raine where she studied the effects of pesticide use on bee behaviour and their interactions with plants. She discovered that low, field-realistic levels of pesticide found in the nectar and pollen of crops can affect the pollination services provided by bumblebees to plants. In 2016 Dara moved to the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, where she worked in the lab of Prof Steve Johnson on plant-pollinator interactions in the Indian Coastal Belt grasslands, and the importance of honeybees in wild plant-pollinator systems. From 2016 to 2018 Dara worked as a Lecturer in Plant Ecology at NUI Galway before moving to UCD in September 2018. Dara currently leads a research team at UCD investigating questions around plant and pollinator ecology, conservation, contribution to crop production, public perceptions, and interactions with pesticide use and climate. She also leads both the DAFM funded large-scale PROTECTS project investigating the non-target impacts of pesticide use on terrestrial ecosystem services in Ireland, and the SUSPOLL project funded by SFI investigating sustainable pollination services in a changing world. Dara has authored over 14 peer-reviewed scientific publications, and is also actively interested in science communication and outreach.
- Lecturer in Plant EcologyNational University of Ireland, Galway, Galway, Ireland2016 - 2018
- Postdoctoral ResearcherUniversity of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa2016 - 2016
- Postdoctoral ResearcherRoyal Holloway University of London, Egham, United Kingdom2013 - 2015
- BA (Mod)Trinity College Dublin
- PhDTrinity College Dublin
- IrishCan read, write and speak