Dr Duncan Westbury


Principal Lecturer in Ecology and Environmental Management

Geography, Archaeology and the Environment

Contact Details

email: d.westbury@worc.ac.uk
tel: +44 (0) 1905 542461

twitter: @DuncanWestbury

Dr Duncan Westbury joined the University of Worcester in 2011 after nearly 10 years of post-doctoral research and lecturing at the University of Reading. He has gained a very strong background in applying ecological principles to habitat creation and management, with specific research experience on the management of agroecosystems to support biodiversity whilst simultaneously supporting ecosystem services within agricultural landscapes.

Previously, Duncan has been a lead plant ecologist on several Defra-funded agro-ecology projects investigating methods of promoting biodiversity in arable and grassland habitats. At the University of Worcester, he leads the Sustainable Environments Research Group (SERG)

Key research projects have included:

  • Sustainable production of sweet cherry: maximizing benefits from ecosystem services.
  • Enhancing pollination and pest regulation services in apple orchards by supplementing floral resources.
  • Sustainable Arable Farming For an Improved Environment (SAFFIE).
  • Efficacy of hay spreading to increase the diversity of grassland enhancement and arable reversion sites.
  • Cereal-based whole crop silages: a potential conservation mechanism for farmland birds in pastoral landscapes.


Employment History

2017 - Present         Principal Lecturer, University of Worcester
2011- 2017                Senior Lecturer, University of Worcester
2008 - 2011               Teaching Fellow, University of Reading
2002 - 2008               Research Fellow, University of Reading


Course Leader for BSc (Hons) Environmental Management & Sustainability.

Duncan’s teaching is strongly influenced by his research which focusses on the ecological intensification of agricultural land to produce food more sustainably.

Find out more about this degree programme by watching the Course Talk.


Current research interests address the increasing concerns about environmental change and the degradation and loss of ecosystem services.

Research conducted by Dr Westbury since 2012 in commercial fruit orchards has contributed to the universal goal of producing more food sustainably. We have investigated how production can be sustainably enhanced in three different crop types (dessert apples, sweet cherry, and sweet orange) delivering recommendations to growers that are now being implemented. In dessert apple orchards this has led to the mandatory requirement of wildflower areas in all new UK Jazz apple orchards.

Key research areas include:

  • Enhancing pest regulation and pollination services in tree fruit.
  • Ruminant livestock production and species-rich grasslands.
  • Habitat restoration, creation and maintenance.
  • Plant community ecology and vegetation dynamics.

PhD Studentships available at the University of Worcester are advertised on FindAPhD. I also welcome any approach from self-funded high achieving graduates that would like to study for a PhD relevant to my research at the University of Worcester. Topics of particular interest would focus on the delivery of ecosystem services, resource protection, and habitat creation and management.

Current PhD Students

Alice Mockford: Enhancing pest regulation by natural enemies in Spanish orange groves (Director of studies)


Completed PhD Students

Zeus Mateos-Fierro: Sustainable production of sweet cherry: maximizing benefits from ecosystem services (Director of studies)

Megan McKerchar: Enhancing pollination and pest regulation services in apple orchards by supplementing floral resources (Director of studies) 

Charlotte Selvey: Understanding the risks of biodiversity loss in PepsiCo's agricultural supply chains. (Thesis committee board member)

Robin Blake: Increasing the biodiversity benefits of existing field margins through novel management practices.

Nisrine Machaka: The ecology, distribution and conservation status of Orchis galilaea (Bornm. & M.Schulze) Schltr. in Lebanon.

Beverley Adams-Groom: Pollen concentrations in surface soil in a forensic palynology context.



Completed MRes Students

Robin Shotton - Solar farms and use by farmland birds (in conjunction with the RSPB).   

Refereed Journal Papers

ORCID ID https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7094-0362

Gardner, E., Breeze, T., Clough, Y., Smith, H., Baldock, K., Campbell, A., Garratt, M.P.D., Gillespie, M., Kunin, W., Mckerchar, Megan, Potts,  .G., Senapathi, D., Stone, G., Wäckers, F., Westbury, D.B., Wilby, A. and Thomas, O. (2021) Field boundary features can stabilise bee populations and the pollination of mass-flowering crops in rotational systems. Journal of Applied Ecology. ISSN 0021-8901 Online: 1365-2664 (In Press)

Mateos Fierro, Z., Fountain, M.T., Garratt, M.P.D, Ashbrook, K. and Westbury, D.B. (2021) Active management of wildflower strips in commercial sweet cherry orchards enhances natural enemies and pest regulation services. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 317 (107485) ISSN 0167-8809.

Hutchinson, L.A., Oliver, T.H., Breeze, T.D., Bailes, E.J., Brünjes, L., Campbell, A.J., Erhardt, A., Arjen de Groot, G., Földesi, R., Garcia, D., Goulson, D., Hainaut, H., Hambäck, P.A., Holzschuh, A., Jauker, F., Klatt, B.K., Klein, A-M., Kleijn, D., Kovács-Hostyánszki, A., Krimmer, E., McKerchar, Megan, Miñarro, M., Phillips, B.B., Potts, S.G., Pufal, G., Radzevičiūtė, R., Roberts, S.P.M., Samnegård, U., Schulze, J., Shaw, R.F., Tscharntke, T., Vereecken, N.J., Westbury, D.B., Westphal, C., Wietzke, A., Woodcock, B.A. and Garratt, M.P.D. (2021) Using ecological and field survey data to establish a national list of the wild bee pollinators of crops. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 315 (107447). ISSN 0167-8809

Senapathi, D., Fründ, J., Albrecht, M., Garratt, M.P.D., Kleijn, D., Pickles, B.J., Potts, S.G., An, J., Andersson, G.K.S., Bänsch, S., Basu, P., Benjamin, F., Bezerra, A.D.M., Bhattacharya, R., Biesmeijer, J.C., Blaauw, B., Blitzer, E.J., Brittain, C.A., Cariveau, D.P., Chakraborty, P., Chatterjee, A., Cusser, S., Danforth, B.N., Degani, E., Freitas, B.M., Garibaldi, L.A., Geslin, B., De Groot, G.A., Harrison, T., Howlett, B., Isaacs, R., Jha, S., Klatt, B., Krewenka, K., Leigh, S., Lindström, S.A.M., Mandelik, Y., Mckerchar, M., Park, M., Pisanty, G., Rader, R., Reemer, M., Rundlöf, M., Smith, B., Smith, H.G., Silva, P.N., Steffan-Dewenter, I., Tscharntke, T., Webber, S., Westbury, D.B., Westphal, C., Wickens, J.B., Wickens, V.J., Winfree, R., Zhang, H. and Klein, A.M. (2021) Wild insect diversity increases inter-annual stability in global crop pollinator communitiesProceedings of the Royal Society B. 288: 20210212.

Albrecht M., Kleijn D., Williams N.M., Tschumi M., Blaauw B.R., Bommarco R., Campbell A.J., Dainese M., Drummond F.A., Entling M.H., Ganser D., de Groot G.A., Goulson D., Grab H., Hamilton H., Herzog F., Isaacs R., Jacot K., Jeanneret P., Jonsson M., Knop E., Kremen C., Landis D.A., Loeb G.M., Marini L., McKerchar M., Morandin L., Pfister S.C., Potts S.G., Rundlof M., Sardinas H., Sciligo A., Thies C., Tscharntke T., Venturini E., Veromann E., Vollhardt I.M.G., Wackers F., Ward K., Westbury, D.B., Wilby A., Woltz M., Wratten S. & Sutter L. (2020). The effectiveness of flower strips and hedgerows on pest control, pollination services and crop yield: a quantitative synthesis. Ecology Letters, 23, 1488-1498.

Gardner, E., Breeze, T.D., Clough, Y., Baldock, K.C.R., Campbell, A., Garratt, M., Gillespie, M.A.K., Kunin, W.E., Mckerchar, Megan, Memmott, J., Potts, S.G., Senapathi, D., Stone, G.N., Wäckers, F., Westbury, D.B., Wilby, A. & Oliver, T.H. (2020) Reliably predicting pollinator abundance: challenges of calibrating process-based ecological models. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 11, 1673-1689.

Mckerchar, M, Potts, S.G., Fountain, M.T., Garratt, M.P.D. & Westbury, D.B. (2020) The potential for wildflower interventions to enhance natural enemies and pollinators in commercial apple orchards is limited by other management practices. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 301. (107034).

Machaka-Houri, N.,Houri, A., Knio, K.M.and Westbury, D.B. (2018) Ecological interactions of the sexually deceptive orchid Orchis Galilaea. Journal of Plant Interactions, 13 (1). 315-320.

Westbury, D.B., Woodcock, B.A., Harris, S.J., Brown, V.K., & Potts, S.G. (2017) Buffer strip management to deliver plant and invertebrate resources for farmland birds in agricultural landscapes. Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Environment, 240, 215-223.

Hicks, D.M., Ouvard, P., Baldock, K.C.R, Baude, M., Goddard, M.A., Kunin, W.E., Mitschunas, N., Memmott, J., Morse, H., Nikolitsi, M., Osgathorpe, L.M., Potts, S.G., Robertson, K.M., Scott, A.V., Sinclair, F., Westbury, D.B., & Stone, G.N. (2016) Food for pollinators: quantifying the nectar and pollen resources of urban flower meadowsPLOS One (11) 16.

Garratt, M.P.D., Breeze, T.D., Boreux, V., Fountain, M.T., McKerchar, M., Webber, S.M., Coston, D.J., Jenner, N., Dean, R., Westbury, D.B., Biesmeijer, J.C., Potts, S.G., 2016. Apple pollination: Demand depends on variety and supply depends on pollinator identity. PloS One 11.

Hammond K.J., Humphries D.J., Westbury D.B., Thompson A., Crompton L.A., Kirton P., Green C. and Reynolds C.K. (2014). The inclusion of forage mixtures in the diet of growing dairy heifers: Impacts on digestion, energy utilisation, and methane emissions. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 197, 88-95.

Blake, R.J., Woodcock, B.A., Westbury, D.B., Sutton, P., and Potts, S.G. (2013). Novel management to enhance spider biodiversity in existing grass buffer strips. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 15, 77-85.

Blake R.J., Westbury D.B., Woodcock B.A., Sutton P. & Potts S.G. (2012) Enhancement of buffer strips can improve provision of multiple ecosystem services. Outlooks on Pest Management, 23(6), 258-262.

Machaka-Houri, N.,Houri, A., Knio, K.M.and Westbury, D.B. (2018) Ecological interactions of the sexually deceptive orchid Orchis Galilaea.Journal of Plant Interactions, 13 (1). 315-320.

Machaka-Houri, N., Al-Zein, M.S, Westbury, D.B., Talhouk, S.N. (2012) Reproductive success of the rare endemic Orchis Galilaea (Bornmuller & Schulze) Schlechter in Lebanon. Turkish Journal of Botany, 36, 677-682.

Blake R.J., Westbury D.B., Woodcock B.A., Sutton P. & Potts S.G. (2012) Investigating the phytotoxicity of the graminicide fluazifop-P-butyl against native UK wildflower species. Pest Management Science 68: 412421

Woodcock, B.A., Westbury, D.B., Brook, A.J., Lawson, C.S., Edwards, A.R., Harris, S.J., Heard, M.S., Brown, V.K., Mortimer, S.R., (2012). Effects of seed addition on beetle assemblages during the re-creation of species-rich lowland hay meadows. Insect Conservation and Diversity, 5, 19-26.

Mauchline, A.L., Mortimer, S.R., Park, J.R., Finn, J.A., Haysom, K., Westbury, D.B., Purvis, G., Louwagie, G., Northey, G., Primdahl, J., Vejre, H., Kristensen, L.S., Teilmann, K.V., Vesterager, J.P., Knickel, K., Kasperczyk, N., Balazs, K., Podmaniczky, L., Vlahos, G., Christopoulos, S., Kroger, L., Aakkula, J., Yli-Viikari, A., (2012). Environmental evaluation of agri-environment schemes using participatory approaches: Experiences of testing the Agri-Environmental Footprint Index. Land Use Policy, 29, 317-328.

Westbury, D.B., Mortimer, S.R., Brook, A.J., Harris, S.J., Kessock-Philip, R., Edwards, A.R., Chaney, K., Lewis, P., Dodd, S., Buckingham, D.L., Peach, W.J., (2011) Plant and invertebrate resources for farmland birds in pastoral landscapes.Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 142, 266-274.

Blake, R.J., Woodcock, B.A., Westbury, D.B., Sutton, P., Potts, S.G. (2011) New tools to boost butterfly habitat quality in existing grass buffer strips. Journal of Insect Conservation, 15, 221-232.

Blake, R.J., Woodcock, B.A., Westbury, D.B., Sutton, P., and Potts, S.G. (2011) Enhancing habitat to help the plight of the bumblebee. Pest Management Science, 67(4), 377-379.

Westbury, D.B., Park, J.R., Mauchline, A.L., Crane, R.T. & Mortimer, S.R. (2011) Assessing the environmental performance of English arable and livestock holdings using data from the Farm Accountancy Data Network (FADN), Journal of Environmental Management, 92, 902-909.

Peach, W. J., Dodd, S., Westbury, D. B., Mortimer, S. R., Lewis, P., Brook, A. J., Harris, S. J., Kessock-Philip, R., Buckingham, D. L., & Chaney, K. (2010). Cereal-based whole crop silages: A potential conservation measure for farmland birds in pastoral landscapes. Biological Conservation, 144, 836-850.

Woodcock, B.A., Vogiatzakis, I.N., Westbury, D.B., Lawson, C.S., Edwards, A.R., Brook, A.J., Harris, S.J., Lock, K.A., Maczey, N., Masters, G., Brown, V.K. & Mortimer, S.R. (2010) The role of management and landscape context in the restoration of grassland phytophagous beetles. Journal of Applied Ecology, 47, 366376.

Woodcock, B. A., Edwards, A. R., Lawson, C. S., Westbury, D. B., Brook, A. J., Harris, S. J., Masters, G., Booth, R., Brown, V. K. & Mortimer, S. R. (2010) The Restoration of Phytophagous Beetles in Species-Rich Chalk Grasslands. Restoration Ecology, 18, 638-644.

Westbury, D.B., Woodcock, B.A., Harris, S.J., Brown, V.K. & Potts S.G. (2008) The effects of seed mix and management on the abundance of desirable and pernicious unsown species in field margin communities. Weed Research, 48, 113-123.

Westbury, D.B. & Dunnett, N.P. (2008) The promotion of grassland forb abundance: a chemical or biological solution? Basic and Applied Ecology, 9, 653-662.

Woodcock B.A., Westbury D.B., Tscheulin T., Harrison-Cripps J., Harris S.J., Ramsay A.J., Brown V.K., & Potts S.G. (2008) Effects of seed mixture and management on beetle assemblages of arable field margins. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 125, 246-254.

Woodcock. B.A., Edwards, A.R., Lawson, C.S., Westbury, D.B., Brook, A.J., Harris, S.J., Brown, V.K. & Mortimer, S.R. (2008) Contrasting success in the restoration of plant and phytophagous beetle assemblages of species-rich mesotrophic grasslands. Oecologia, 154, 773-783.

Storkey, J. & Westbury, D.B. (2007) Managing arable weeds for biodiversity. Pest Management Science, 63, 517-523.

Woodcock, B.A., Potts, S.G., Westbury, D.B., Ramsay, A.J., Lambert, M., Harris, S.J. & Brown, V.K. (2007) The importance of sward architectural complexity in structuring predatory and phytophagous invertebrate assemblages. Ecological Entomology, 32, 302-311.

Westbury, D.B. & Dunnett, N.P. (2007) The impact of Rhinanthus minor in newly established meadows on a productive site. Applied Vegetation Science, 10 (1), 121- 129.

Edwards, A.R., Mortimer, S.R., Lawson, C.S., Westbury, D.B., Harris, S.J., Woodcock, B.A & Brown, V.K. (2007) Hay strewing, brush harvesting of seed and soil disturbance as tools for the enhancement of botanical diversity in grasslands. Biological Conservation, 134, 372-382.

Westbury, D.B., Davies, A, Woodcock, B.A. & Dunnett, N.P. (2006) Seeds of change: the value of using Rhinanthus minor in grassland restoration. Journal of Vegetation Science, 17, 435-446.

Woodcock, B. A., Westbury, D. B., Potts, S. G., Harris, S. J. & Brown, V. K. (2005) Establishing field margins to promote beetle conservation in arable farms. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 107, 255-266.

Westbury D.B. (2004) Rhinanthus minor L. Journal of Ecology, 92 (5), 906-927.




Machaka-Houri, N., Houri, A., Westbury, D.B., & Ibrahim, M. (2018) Predicting the potential distribution of Orchis Galilaea in Lebanon using GIS. Proceedings of the 18th International Multidisciplinary Scientific Geo conference, SGEM 2018, Vienna, Austria, pp. 749-756.

Westbury, D.B., Harris, S.J., Brown, V.K.and Potts, S.G. (2018) The influence of seed mix and management on the performance and persistence of sown forbs in buffer strips. Aspects of Applied Biology: Ecosystem and Habitat Management: Research, Policy, Practice, 139. 23-31.

Mateos-Fierro, Z., Garratt, M., Fountain, M.T.Ashbrook, K. and Westbury, D.B. (2018) Wildflower strip establishment for the delivery of ecosystem services in sweet cherry orchards. Aspects of Applied Biology: Ecosystem and Habitat Management: Research, Policy, Practice, 139. 179-186.

Westbury, D.B., Woodcock, B.A., Harris, S.J., Griffith, B. & Tallowin, J.R. (2011) Sustainable grassland management benefits butterflies. Aspects of Applied Biology, 108, 81-86.

Blake, R.J., Westbury, D.B., Woodcock, B.A., Sutton, P., and Potts, S.G. (2011) Improving butterfly habitat in existing grass buffer strips. Aspects of Applied Biology, 108, 67-72.

Sparks, T., Britt, C. Cherrill, A., Marrs, R., Mortimer, S.R., Pywell, R.F., Rotheram, I., Stokes, V. & Westbury, D.B. (eds.) (2011) Vegetation Management. Aspects of Applied Biology, 108, 272 pp. Association of Applied Biologists, Warwick, UK.

Morris, A.J., Bailey, C.M., Dillon, I.A., Gruar, D.J. & Westbury, D.B. (2010) Improving floristically enhanced field margins for wildlife. Aspects of Applied Biology, 100, Agri-environment schemes - what have they achieved and where do we go from here? 353-357.

Blake, R.J., Westbury, D.B., Woodcock, B.A, Sutton, B.A. & Potts, S.G. (2010) Enhancing biodiversity in existing grass buffer strips. Aspects of Applied Biology, 100, Agri-environment schemes - what have they achieved and where do we go from here? 427-432.

Westbury, D.B. & Dunnett, N.P. (2007) The creation of species-rich grassland on an urban substrate. Aspects of Applied Biology, 82, Vegetation management, 123-130.

Mortimer, S.R., Edwards, A.R., Lawson, C.S., Westbury, D.B., Woodcock, B.A, Brook, A.J., Harris, S.J., & Brown, V.K. (2007) Efficacy of methods for using seed of local provenance to enhance grassland diversity. Aspects of Applied Biology, 82, Vegetation management, 39-48.

Ramsay A.J., Potts S.G., Westbury D.B., Woodcock B.A., Tscheulin T.R., Harris S.J. & Brown V.K. (2007) Response of planthoppers to novel margin management in arable systems. Aspects of Applied Biology, 81, Delivering arable biodiversity, 47-52.

Edwards, P., Westbury, D.B., Sutton, P. & Marshall, E.J.P. (2007) Principle considerations for arable field margin establishment and management. Aspects of Applied Biology, 81, Delivering arable biodiversity, 199-205.

Henderson I.G., Morris A.J., Westbury D.B., Woodcock. B.A., Potts S.G., Ramsay, A.J. & Coombes. R. (2007) Effects of field margin management on bird distributions around cereal fields. Aspects of Applied Biology, 81, Delivering arable biodiversity, 53-60.

Ogilvy, S.E., Clarke, J.H., Wiltshire, J.J.J., Harris, D., Morris, A., Jones, N., Smith, B., Henderson, I., Westbury, D.B., Potts, S.G., Woodcock, B.A. & Pywell, R.G. (2006) SAFFIE Report - research into research and practice. HGCA Conference, Arable crop protection in the balance: Profit and the environment.

Morgan, R., Westbury, D.B., Kliem, K.E., Hervas, G. & Mould, F.L. (2005) The degradation of Rhinanthus minor (yellow rattle) in vitro. Proceedings of the British Society of Animal Science, p. 224. British Society of Animal Science, York, UK.

Mortimer, S.R., Westbury, D.B., Dodd, S., Brook, A.J., Harris, S.J., Kessock-Philip, R., Chaney, K., Lewis, P., Buckingham, D.L. & Peach, W.J. (2007) Cereal-based whole crop silages: potential biodiversity benefits of cereal production in pastoral landscapes. Aspects of Applied Biology, 81, Delivering arable biodiversity, 77-86.

Westbury, D.B. & Dunnett, N.P. (2000) The effect of the presence of Rhinanthus minor on the composition and productivity of created swards on ex-arable land. Aspects of Applied Biology, 58, Vegetation management in changing landscapes, 271-278.

West, T.M., Marshall, E.J.P., Westbury, D.B. & Arnold, G.M. (1999) Vegetation development on sown and unsown field boundary strips established in three Environmentally Sensitive Areas. Aspects of Applied Biology, 54. Field Margins and Buffer Zones: ecology, management and policy, 257-262.

Book Chapters

Woodcock, B.A., Mortimer, S.R., Edwards, A.R., Lawson, C.S., Westbury, D.B., Brook, A.J., Harris, S.J. & Brown, V.K. (2009). Re-creating plant and beetle assemblages of species-rich chalk grasslands on ex-arable land. Grassland: Ecology, management and restoration (ed H.G. Schroder). Nova Science Publishers Inc., New York.


Potts, S. G., Westbury, D. B., Woodcock, B. A., Ramsay, A. J., Harris, S. J., Springate, S., Pywell, R., Meek, B., Carvell, C., Hulmes, L., Warman, L., Sparks, T., Cook, S. K. & Henderson, I. G. (2007) Experiment 2 Management of the non-cropped margin structure to maximise biodiversity. The SAFFIE Report.ADAS, Boxworth, UK.


Westbury D.B. & Davies, A. (2005) Yellow rattle its natural history and use in grassland restoration. British Wildlife, 17 (2), 93-98.


Internal Roles 

  • Research LeadSustainable Environments Research Group (SERG)
  • Course Leader for BSc (Hons) Environmental Management & Sustainability
  • Member of the University's "Research Committee"
  • Member of the University's "College Sub-committee" for Research
  • Chair of the University's "Strategic Biodiversity Management Group"
  • Member of the School of Science & the Environment's "Learning and Teaching Committee"
  • REF 2021 - Co-ordinator for UoA 14 - Geography and Environmental Studies
  • Deputy Course Leader MPhil/PhD for the School of Science & the Environment

External Roles 

PhD Examining

  • University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic (2018)
  • University of Reading (2018)
  • University of Southampton (2018)
  • University of Wolverhampton (2017)

External Examiner for taught degrees

  • University of Plymouth MSc Environmental Consultancy (2020-2024)
  • University of Bedfordshire BSc Agriculture / FdSc Agriculture (2016-2020)
  • University of Plymouth (Cornwall College) FdSc Applied Ecology (2013-2017)      

Other External Roles


Help Sheets

Items in the News!   

Media links - Interviews and Presentations