'More Than Honey' Film screening and forum

Co-presented with the Swiss Australian Academic Network (SAAN), the Consulate General of Switzerland, Sydney, ETHZ Alumni Sydney Chapter, EPFL Alumni Australia Chapter and the School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, the University of Sydney

24 October, 2013

Worldwide, millions of honeybee colonies are dying each year. We do not fully understand all the factors responsible but we know that there’s more at stake than just a bit of honey. In today’s industrialised agricultural systems, honeybees pollinate one third of all the food we eat and more than 80 crops of agricultural interest. The global value of these pollination services has been estimated to be around 220 billion dollars per year, or 4-6 billion dollars in Australia.

Searching for answers, More than Honey takes us around the world to meet people living with and off honeybees. We meet almond growers in California, a Swiss mountain beekeeper, a neuroscientist investigating bee brains in Berlin and a pollen dealer in China. The amazing macro footage allows us to meet the bees face to face and experience their life in a hive up close.

More than Honey has won prestigious awards in Europe and the US. The Swiss Film Academy also chose it as their contribution for the Oscar nominations 2014. The film has strong connections to Australia, because the director’s daughter Dr Barbara Baer-Imhoof and his son in law, Professor Boris Baer, initiated the making and provided scientific advisory throughout the making of the film. Their research, providing some hope that there is a future for bees, is depicted in the movie.

Join Sydney Ideas for a screening of the film (95 mins) followed by a panel discussion with Australia's leading researchers in this field.

The panel discussion will be chaired by Professor Roland Stocker, Vice-President of SAAN and Head, Vascular Biology Division at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.


Professor Boris Baer

Professor Boris Baer is Director of the Centre for Integrative Bee Research (CIBER) and a Future Fellow in the Plant Energy Biology ARC Centre of Excellence, at the University of Western Australia. Boris studied Biology at the University of Zurich and gained this PhD at the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology (ETH) in Zurich. In 2005 he moved to Australia where he became the founding director of the Centre for Integrative Bee Research (CIBER) in 2008. He is interested in studying evolutionary processes such as host parasite interactions and sexual conflict on the molecular scale, using a range of state of the art technologies such as genomics and proteomics. Honeybees have become his primary model system, but he is also working on other social insects such as bumblebees, ants and termites.

Barbara Baer-Imhoof

Dr Barbara Baer-Imhoof is a researcher at the Centre for Integrative Bee Research (CIBER) at the University of Western Australia, studying the effect of stress and agrochemicals on male fertility and survival. She is also investigating the consequences of parasite infections on the immune response and fecundity of male honeybees. She gained her PhD at the Swiss Federal Institute for Technology (ETH) in Zurich investigating the relationship between bumblebees and parasites. She is the outreach officer of CIBER and on the organizing committee of the national Honeyweek and the Future Bees Fund, and is in charge of a honeybee exhibition and stall at the Perth Royal Show. Barbara has also been intensively involved in the making and promotion of the movie More than Honey, runs the movie blog and has organized screenings of the film in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney as part of the German Film festival.

Professor Madeleine Beekman

Professor Madeleine Beekman is Professor of Behavioural Ecology and an ARC Future Fellow in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Sydney. She received her PhD from the University of Amsterdam in 1998. She has studied social insects throughout her career, starting with bumblebees as a PhD student, moving on to ants and honeybees as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Sheffield. She continued her interest in social insects when she moved to the University of Sydney in 2001. Madeleine’s research interests include the evolution of cooperative behaviour, conflict and conflict resolution and the organisation of insect societies.

Nathan Lo

Associate Professor Nathan Lo is a Queen Elizabeth II Research Fellow in the School of Biological Sciences, the University of Sydney. He completed his PhD at the School of Molecular Biosciences, The University of Sydney in 2001, and then held postdoctoral fellowships at the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences in Japan, The University of Milan, Italy and at The Australian Museum. He has a broad interest in the evolution of insects and other arthropods, with particular interest in symbiotic and social interactions. He has published 60 papers in international journals on these topics.

Professor Ben Oldroyd

Professor Ben Oldroyd is Professor of Behavioural Genetics in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Sydney. Ben has worked with the Australian honey industry for over 25 years, researching topics such as genetic improvement, disease management and the problem of feral bees. He currently serves on the Honey Bee committee of the Rural Research and Development Corporation, and is President of the International Union for the Study of Social Insects. Ben has published over 200 scientific papers on honey bees, and is author of the book Asian honey bees: Biology, conservation and human interactions published by Harvard University press.

SAAN and Swiss Consul logos
ETHZ Alumni
EPFL alumni

Supported by the Consulate General of Switzerland, Sydney, the Swiss Australian Academic Network, ETHZ Alumni and EPFL Alumni.