Cardiff Professor is new Buglife Chairman

Tuesday 2nd October 2018

River ecologist Professor Steve Ormerod vows to make the world more aware of ‘the most important animals on Earth’ after being appointed Chair of Buglife – the Invertebrate Conservation Trust.

Steve Ormerod, Professor of Ecology at Cardiff University and co-director of the University’s Water Research Institute, was appointed as successor to Mark Felton at the September board meeting of Buglife – Europe’s only organisation devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates.

Described as ‘one of the foremost applied freshwater ecologists and conservationists of his generation’, by the Zoological Society of London, Steve has spent almost 40 years teaching and researching the effects of global change on rivers, lakes and their biodiversity.  His work focusses particularly on factors affecting aquatic invertebrates and their role in ecosystems.  He also has long experience of governing organisations, serving previously on the Councils of the Freshwater Biological Association, British Trust for Ornithology, the Rivers Trust, the South East Wales Rivers’ Trust, the Countryside Council for Wales, and the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, of which he was President.  Most recently, Steve was Chairman of Council of the RSPB as well as Chairman of RSPB Cymru and is one of only 12 recipients of the prestigious Marsh Award for Marine and Freshwater Conservation.

On being appointed, Steve Ormerod said:

“Although they’re some of the smallest animals on Earth, invertebrates are by far and away the most important because of their sheer number and crucial roles in ecosystems.  There are close parallels with Buglife – which many people know as a wildlife charity that has large influence despite its relative small size.

We need Buglife’s size and influence to grow even larger by showing more people just how much we depend on invertebrates, for example for pollination, pest control, soil formation and supplying energy to larger animals such as fish and birds.  It’s deeply worrying that so many invertebrate species are now fluctuating or declining in ways that could be catastrophic for people and for ecosystems.  Global change, intensive land use, habitat loss and pollution from pesticides or plastics all appear to contribute.

I want to work with Buglife staff, members and partners to send out a loud and clear message: we need more people to be aware of invertebrates as organisms that we simply cannot live without, and we need more people to take action to help, conserve and restore their numbers”.

Steve also paid tribute to departing Chairman Mark Felton whose governance and leadership, he said, had “cemented Buglife’s reputation as the wildlife charity to take notice of”. 

After six years leading Buglife, departing Chair Mark Felton said “I would like to thank everyone at Buglife and all our amazing partners across the UK and beyond, we have delivered an amazing amount.  I am also grateful to Steve for taking the reins and feel there is a great team to take things forward”.

Buglife is the charity that works to conserve all invertebrates, prominent work in recent years has included restoring hundreds of hectares of wildflower habitats in cities across the UK, developing the national B-Line network and initiating the successful campaign to ban pollinator-harming neonicotinoid insecticides.