Podcast #1 from Growing Matters – Series 2
Launching Growing Matters – Series 2 is this exciting and informative podcast episode that blows the lid on common misconceptions around pollination. Professor James Cook, from the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment at Western Sydney University, who is also the leading researcher on a number of research and development projects funded by Hort Innovation talks to us about the future of pollination and the role of alternative pollinators as we innovate into the future. Hort Innovation’s R&D Manager for Pollination Ashley Zamek joins him, breaking down the facts from the fiction and exposing the threats and biosecurity practices in places to protect our colonies.
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About the speakers
Professor James Cook – Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment at Western Sydney University
James is leader of the Plants, Animals and Interactions research theme.
His research interests lie in the ecology and evolution of species interactions, and he is particularly interested in how intimate symbiosis influences the biology of the species involved.
Pollinators are a special interest and his current research focuses mainly on insect pollinator communities and their role in pollination of horticultural crops. He is also an expert on specialist pollination systems, such as the classic mutualism between fig trees and wasps, while another research priority centres on insects and their endosymbiotic bacteria.
James is currently leading three projects to better understand the role of insects in pollination of Australian horticultural crops and develop resilient pollination options in the face of threats to honeybee populations. These projects cover research on crop pollination, stingless bee biology and husbandry, seasonal floral resource use by bees, bee health and diseases, and managed pollination with flies.
His research involves field, laboratory and glasshouse approaches and makes extensive use of molecular methods. His research involves links with collaborators in Australia, India, China, France, UK and USA. James also has wider research interests in animal behaviour, conservation biology and evolutionary genetics.
James has a BA (Zoology) from Oxford University and PhD (Evolutionary Biology) from Imperial College London. His previous academic posts have been at La Trobe University, Imperial College London, and the University of Reading.
Ashley Zamek – Hort Innovation R&D Manager for Pollination
Ashley is the R&D Manager of the Pollination Fund, part of the Hort Frontiers strategic partnership initiative at Hort Innovation. Ashley works across pollination-dependent industries to help ensure a sustainable and resilient Australian horticultural sector through improved crop pollination services and pollinator options. Ashley manages both co-investments through Hort Frontiers and strategic levy investments to address industry needs. Ashley also sits on the Agri Futures Honeybee & Pollination Advisory Panel.
Act now: View projects related to pollination
- Enhanced National Bee Pest Surveillance Program (MT16005) – This investment is delivering a nationally coordinated bee-pest surveillance program to help safeguard honey bee and pollinator-dependent industries in Australia.
- Strengthening and enabling effective pollination for Australia (PH15000) – This investment is delivering sustainable pollination services for Australian crops by improving the understanding of pollination requirements. It is also looking at key threats to honey bees and provide crop-specific resources to encourage growers to improve their pollination practices.
- Healthy bee populations for sustainable pollination in horticulture (PH15001) – This investment is addressing key knowledge gaps and delivering education to support healthy pollinator populations and to boost on-farm pollination.
- Managing flies for crop pollination (PH16002) – This investment is looking into the potential of using flies as alternative crop pollinators, including looking at the effectiveness of specific species in pollinating avocado, berry (blueberry, raspberry and strawberry), hybrid carrot seed and brassica seed crops.
- Stingless bees as effective managed pollinators for Australian horticulture (PH16000) – This is a project is examining Australia’s native stingless bees for their suitability as alternative pollinators to honey bees in horticulture crops.
About the Growing Matters podcast series
Hort Innovation's Growing Matters podcast series is delivering high value, tangible and industry specific information directly to you, our growers, through easy-to-access audio aimed to help you to grow your business.
Use the play list to select a podcast that appeals to you or visit each of the podcast pages for more information and to read the podcast transcript.