Imogen Cavadino

Imogen is a Research Assistant and PhD student currently studying slugs and snails in UK gardens using a ‘citizen science’ approach

What do you do?

My PhD aims to help gardeners identify the slug and snail species in their gardens and discover which are responsible for damaging plants. The public can get involved in my research by recording sightings of the beneficial but declining Yellow Cellar Slug in their garden.
Once my PhD is complete, the knowledge I have gained could be used to inform pest management strategies so that only those slugs and snails that are actually damaging plants are targeted, reducing control costs as well as potential harm to local wildlife.

“I really enjoy studying the intricacies of invertebrates and learning how, despite their small size, they truly shape the world around us. It’s satisfying being able to share my knowledge with others to help change their opinions of slugs and snails.”

Why is your team’s research important?

Slugs and snails are a significant horticultural problem, and are one of the most common animal-related enquiries received by RHS Gardening Advice. Their presence is usually determined by feeding damage, with the culprit species not being identified.
Not all species of slug and snail found in the UK are considered plant pests. Many are thought to play important roles in breaking down decaying material and promoting other aspects of the garden ecosystem. However, at least 20% of all the species of slugs and snails present in Britain are not considered native. Very little is known about which of these slug and snail species are present in UK gardens, their abundance, and which are responsible for causing damage to plants.
My research will identify slug and snail species across the country, allowing for better understanding, and more targeted management strategies of the problematic and invasive species.

Projects I’m working on now

Completed projects

Imogen completed a TCV Natural Talent traineeship on the identification of slugs and snails with National Museum Wales in Cardiff after being awarded a Master’s degree in Conservation Ecology.


I am very proud that the RHS is funding my PhD – it’s a fantastic charity to work for. In 2019, I received funding from the RHS Gurney Wilson Bursary Fund and the Malacological Society of London, allowing me to visit the USA National Malacologists in Philadelphia, and present at the World Congress of Malacology in Pacific Grove, California.


  • Cavadino I, Jones H, Port G, Roy H, Clover G. (2019) Garden Gastropods: Slug and Snail Diversity in UK Gardens. (poster abstract) The Malacologist, 72, p15

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.