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Ms Alexandra Bell

Graduate Student
Ms Alexandra Bell
Department of Plant Sciences
University of Cambridge
Downing Street

Cambridge CB2 3EA
Office Phone: 01223 748982


  • MSc Global Change Ecology, Bayreuth University, Bayreuth (Germany)
  • BSc Biology with minor field Chemistry, Humboldt University, Berlin (Germany)

Research Interests

Conserving biodiversity with ecosystem management and market-based instruments

Market and policy failures are leading to an overexploitation and degradation of ecosystems, thereby constituting one of the primary reasons for species loss. In response to this problem, market-based instruments (MBIs), such as agri-environmental schemes or taxes, are used to encourage conservation activities and internalize the cost of biodiversity use. Besides addressing the core of the problem, namely that biodiversity is currently traded as a free good, they can also provide a cost-efficient way for reaching conservation. However, the outcome of these instruments is currently difficult to predict, e.g. as it is not always clear how different levels of management induced by MBIs in forestry and agriculture actually impact habitat structure and thus species diversity. Moreover, how different instruments can be combined to gain the best possible conservation outcome remains unknown.

During my PhD, I will test how different MBIs conserve biodiversity, such as avifauna, in agricultural and forest landscapes. I intend to understand how (1) woodland management grants can maximize outcomes for bird conservation and simultaneously benefit local communities in the UK; (2) increases in monetized government investments into subsidies for biodiversity will actually lead to an increase in biodiversity conservation; (3) ways in which different MBIs can be combined to better promote biodiversity conservation. My approach will be to collect field data in an existing woodland experiment setup by the Forestry Commission England and the RSPB, mine government databases for economic and biodiversity data, and draw upon remote-sensing technology to measure management outcomes.

Other Professional Activities

Funding bodies

  • Gatsby Research Grant, Dr. Andrew Tanentzap, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge
  • NERC Doctoral Training Partnership Award, University of Cambridge

Other Publications

Bernd, A., Braun, D., Ortmann, A., Ulloa-Torrealba, Y. Z., Wohlfahrt, C., Bell, A. (2016): More than counting pixels - perspectives on the importance of remote sensing training in ecology and conservation. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation.

Bell, A. (2012): Turning point: Mark Lawrence. Nature, 485(7398), 407.

Kosel, M., Wild, W., Bell, A., Rothe, M., Lindschau, C., Steinberg, C.E.W., Schunck, W.-H., Menzel, R. (2011): Eicosanoid formation by a cytochrome P450 isoform expressed in the pharynx of Caenorhabditis elegans. Biochemical Journal 435: 689-700.