Janklow & Nesbit UK

Dr Seirian Sumner

Dr Seirian Sumner is a Reader in Behavioural Ecology at the Centre for Biodiversity and Environmental Research, Dept of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, UCL.

Seirian's research sits at the interface of behavioural ecology, biodiversity and conservation. She uses a combination of field ecology and genomic techniques to address questions about how and why animals live in societies. She is especially interested in social wasps, and is working hard to raise the profile of these ecologically important insects, among both scientific and lay communities. As part of these efforts, she co-founded the Big Wasp Survey in 2017, a citizen science project designed to engage the public with the diversity and importance of social wasps in their back yard. Her first book, Endless Forms: Why We Should Love Wasps, was published by William Collins in 2023. 

She holds a BSc and PhD from University College London, has worked as a postdoc in Copenhagen, held independent research fellowships from the Smithsonian Institute, L'Oreal for Women in Science Fellowship Award, RCUK, and the Zoological Society of London. She was a Senior Lecturer at University of Bristol form 2012-2016. She took up her current position in October 2016 as a Reader in Behavioural Ecology at University College London.

Aside from science, Seirian works hard to help tackle inequality in science: she co-founded Soapbox Science in 2011 to help promote the visibility and profile of women in science. This initiative has expanded nationally and internationally to over 25 destinations worldwide involving over 600 female scientists. Through this initiative, she has received several awards, including recognition from the UK Prime Minister (Points of Light Award), a Silver Medal from the Zoological Society of London and the first Equality and Diversity award from the British Ecological Society.

Endless Forms: Why We Should Love Wasps

Endless Forms: Why We Should Love Wasps

William Collins
Endless Forms: Why We Should Love Wasps