Date of release: Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Prof Phil StevensonThe severe impact that the decline of bees and other pollinators will have upon society and the world economy forms the subject of a free public lecture at the University of Greenwich.

"The global value of pollinators to food production is estimated to be between £150 billion and £280 billion," says Professor Phil Stevenson, from the university's Natural Resources Institute. "Their additional cultural, ecological and human health value is immeasurable.

"Severe declines, particularly in the number of wild and managed bees, imply major problems for global food security and biodiversity. The causes of these declines are well reported and primarily man-made, but it is vital to see if this can be addressed using science-based knowledge."

Sex, drugs and dinner: the hidden poisons in nectar and pollen takes place on Wednesday 14 October at the university's Medway Campus. It is the first of the new public lecture series run by the Faculty of Engineering & Science.

Professor Stevenson will provide an inside view of the problems facing pollinators and discuss recent work that might provide ways of understanding and tackling declines.

In addition to his role as Professor of Plant Chemistry at the Natural Resources Institute, he holds a position at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He leads research in chemical ecology at both organisations and has also worked on various aspects of smallholder farming systems, including pest and crop management.

He is an expert in the role that plant chemicals play in the interactions between plants and insects, particularly pollinators, and his research into the effect of toxins on bumblebees was published last year in the Journal of Experimental Biology and the Journal of Chemical Ecology. His work has featured in more than a hundred journals and books, including the prestigious Science publication.

Professor Stevenson was a panel member of the government's Pollinator Strategic Evidence Group and continues to advise Defra on pollinator strategy.

The lecture begins at 6.30pm in the Ward Room, Pembroke, Medway Campus, and will be followed by light refreshments.

To register, or for more information, call 020 8331 9800 or email

Story by Public Relations