Our research team:


Prof Phil Stevenson – PI

Prof Stevenson is a plant chemical ecologist with a particular interest in the importance of chemistry in plant-pollinator interactions. Prof Stevenson was a co-author on several papers relevant to this project:

  • Tiedeken, E-J., Stout, J.C, Egan, P., Stevenson, P.C., Wright G.A. (2014) Bumblebees are not deterred by ecologically relevant concentrations of nectar toxins. Journal of Experimental Biology. 217, 1620–1635. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.097543
  • Wright, G.A., Baker, D.D., Palmer, M.J., Stabler, D., Mustard, J.A., Power, E.F., Borland, A.M. and Stevenson, P.C. (2013) Caffeine in floral nectar enhances a pollinator's memory of reward. Science. 339 (6124), 1202-1204. DOI:10.1126/science.1228806

Dr Sarah Arnold – Co-I

Dr Arnold is a pollination ecologist with 10 years’ experience carrying out insect behaviour and ecology experiments. She is particularly interested in the use of cues by insects to find food sources. Dr Arnold is managing the day-to-day project activities and contributing to the laboratory and fieldwork.

Dr Jan-Hendrik Dudenhöffer – Research Associate

Dr Dudenhöffer is an applied pollination biologist with previous field experience focusing on fruit crop pollination and the role of plant diversity in pollinator-plant interactions. He is carrying out the laboratory-based work on this project.

Dudley Farman – Analytical Chemist

With 25 years’ experience in analysis of the chemistry of natural products such as plant volatiles and insect pheromones, Dudley supports the project via chemical analysis of key plant odours.

Prof David Hall – Synthetic Chemist and Chemical Ecologist

Prof Hall is a world-leading insect chemical ecologist and synthetic chemist who analyses and produces chemical blends important in mediating insect-insect and insect-plant interactions.


Dr Michelle Fountain – Co-I

Dr Fountain is an applied entomologist who has been involved with various world-leading teams focusing on pollination in agriculture. She has a particular specialism in efficient and effective pollination of fruit cropping systems and has extensive experience with soft-fruit cultivation and its associated entomology.

Celine Silva – Field Assistant

Celine comes to the project from a background in plant biotechnology and applied biology and is carrying out semi-field and later, field trials, as part of the project.

Collaborator: Prof Geraldine Wright, Newcastle University

Prof Wright leads the field of impacts of nectar alkaloids on pollinator behaviour and learning. Her high-profile publications on bees and caffeine provided key groundwork to support this project’s ideas.

Also connected to the research area:
Lesley Darlington – Undergraduate Researcher (NRI)
Judit Linka – PhD Researcher (NRI)