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 Fay Kahane MSc MCIEEM

Fay Kahane MSc MCIEEM

PhD student

 Environment and Sustainability Institute 


Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK


I’m an ESRC-funded PhD researcher, leading an interdisciplinary project that spans the natural and social sciences. With an academic background in biology and anthropology, and 15 years professional experience in UK ecology, I am now working with Dr Karen Scott (Politics), Professor Juliet Osborne (Pollination Ecologist), Professor Stefano Pascucci (Sustainability & Organization Studies) and Dr Christoph Grueter (Behavioural Ecologist & beekeeper) to explore what ‘sustainable beekeeping’ means and how we can translate this into equitable and pragmatic action. 

From 'natural' to 'industrial', a diversity of honeybee management practices exist worldwide despite calls for coordinated management of this ecologically, economically and culturally critical pollinator. Multiple stressors including pests, diseases, unsuitable land management and adverse weather conditions interact to cause honeybee colony losses, along with global declines in wild pollinator species. With increasing interest in how different honeybee management practices can impact honeybee health, honey & crop yield, wild pollinator health and wider ecosystems, we will undertake a solution-focussed exploration of ‘sustainable beekeeping’ in partnership with beekeepers.  

With a strong focus on methods from across disciplines (politics, ecology and sociology) we seek to understand and represent different beekeeping knowledges and discourses; epistemologies and value systems underpinning these knowledges/discourses; power dynamics among them; and the social-ecological contexts within which they are situated. Building on this to create a non-hierarchical researcher-beekeeper partnership; we will co-design, undertake and analyse ecological fieldwork; with founding principles of epistemic equity, pragmatism, and critical application of scientific (ecological) methods. 

The overall aim of this research is to bring together beekeepers with different epistemologies and value systems; representing the diversity of current UK discourses; to form an equitable partnership in which to research what sustainable beekeeping means, and how to translate this into action. 


Kahane, F. et al (2022). Motivations underpinning honeybee management practices: A Q methodology study with UK beekeepers. Ambio, 51(10), 2155–2168.

Ollerton, J. et al (2022). Pollinator-flower interactions in gardens during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown of 2020. Journal of Pollination Ecology, 31, 87–96. 


MRes Sustainable Futures (Distinction). University of Exeter, Penryn, 2022. 

MSc Ethnobotany (Distinction). University of Kent at Canterbury, 2003.  

BSc Biological Sciences (1st Class Hons). University of Birmingham, 2002. 


Research Associate, ESI, University of Exeter (April 2019 – July 2020) 

Consultant Ecologist, Westcountry Rivers Trust (2017 - 2019) 

Freelance Consultant Ecologist, Cornwall (2011 - 2017) (Including maternity leave)

Deputy Conservation Manager (secondment), Cornwall Wildlife Trust (2010 - 2011) 

Regional Species Officer and Monitoring Ecologist, Natural Resources Wales (2008 - 2010) 

Ecologist (Project Manager), Cornwall Environmental Consultants (2005 - 2008) 




Supervision / Group

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