Knowledge for a sustainable world

Claire Coote , Gillian Summers, Sarah Arnold

‘Midges to Mars Bars: safeguarding pollination on cocoa farms’ is the title of the lecture being given on Thursday 5th November, from 5–6pm in Lecture Theatre 106, Jellicoe Building, Medway Campus. If your imagination is piqued by this enticing title, you might be further attracted by the chocolate samples to be shared amongst audience members!

It seems the number of chocolate lovers is on the rise, with global demand for cocoa growing, yet crop yields are declining. During the talk, Dr Sarah Arnold, Research Fellow in Insect Behaviour and Ecology at NRI, will investigate the unique and somewhat mysterious pollination biology of cocoa. What is the importance of the pollination of cocoa flowers to a healthy, sustainable cocoa agricultural system? Can safeguarding pollination services help ensure better yields? Find out the answers to these questions and more, as Sarah provokes thinking about ecosystems, biodiversity, and whether we are saving up future trouble as a result of our liking for tasty treats. For further details and to register for this event, please see below. Midge S Arnold 750

This lecture is part of a monthly series running over the current academic year 2015–16, and is primarily for students on NRI’s new undergraduate programmes: the Integrated Master’s in Biology, the BSc in Environmental Science, and the BSc in Geography, though all students interested in NRI’s international science work are welcome to attend. The lecture series brings in the global impact of NRI’s research, the unique expertise of NRI staff and gives students a glimpse into how their current course of study could evolve into a career in biological and environmental sciences or international development.

Along with degree-level students, A-level and IB students interested in biology and environmental science from local schools and colleges have been invited to attend these lectures, so they too can experience science at university and begin to focus their future career. At each lecture, there will also be an opportunity to meet with staff who deliver the programmes and to have a short tour of the facilities and campus.

The series was inaugurated in October with NRI Director, Prof. Andrew Westby discussing ‘Sustainable development and food security in a changing world – what is the Natural Resources Institute doing?’ The 10th December lecture will be given by Dr. Frances Hawkes, Research Fellow in Behavioural Entomology at NRI, who will explore ‘Eco-Health and the challenges when conservation, human health and agriculture collide’. Come along to give your science-hungry mind plenty of food for thought!

If you would like to book places at any of these events, please contact Susanne Wilson, NRI Student Administrator (, 01634 883734).