We take it for granted that we can obtain almost any food imaginable in a quick trip to the local supermarket. Yet human increases in calorific intake and food waste, alongside impacts from pollution and climate change, have raised concerns about the food supply chain. This panel will discuss the underpinnings of food security: the natural ecosystems that support crops and livestock. We will explore how often-neglected organisms, from invisible microorganisms to insects, ensure that our food systems will be resilient to the pressures of a growing population and a warming world. Topics to be covered include:
• How agricultural ecosystems contribute to, and are impacted by, major environmental challenges including climate change and biodiversity loss
• The role of microorganisms in soil health and crop production
• The importance of beneficial insects to crop yields and resilience
• The threat posed by pesticides and climate change to insect pollinators
• The unexpected link between flower communities, agricultural simplification, and bee disease.
Science Breaks is a virtual event series showcasing the impact and relevance of Imperial’s research and work taking place at the College.