Navigation Links
Researchers receive $1.14 million to study threats to honey bees
Date:4/4/2014

Scientists in the Center for Pollinator Research at Penn State received three grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Science Foundation to study various threats to honey bees, including disease, pesticides and the extinction and invasion of other species into their habitats.

Investigating Disease

A team of scientists that includes Christina Grozinger, associate professor of entomology and director of the Center for Pollinator Research, will use a $467,000 grant from U.S. Department of Agriculture to examine and develop tools to mitigate the effects of a gut parasite, Nosema ceranae, that negatively impacts honey bees and has been linked to colony losses.

"Honey bees play a vital role in the agricultural system because they pollinate about 75 percent of our major global crops, including nutrient-rich vegetables, fruits and nuts," said Grozinger. "The microsporidian parasite Nosema ceranae is widespread throughout the United States and the world. This parasite interferes with the digestive system and metabolic function of honey bees, leading to increased mortality of individual bees, which in turn can profoundly impact the social structure and health of the colony. This parasite is regarded as a key threat to bee health and has been implicated in alarming colony losses."

Grozinger and her colleagues, including scientists at the USDA's Bee Research Laboratory and the University of Kentucky, will use genomic and genetic techniques to improve the current understanding of how Nosema ceranae infects bees and spreads throughout their colonies. They will characterize the genes that enable this parasite to invade honey bee tissues, and use this information to develop specific therapeutics to reduce the parasite's virulence and the host's susceptibility to infection.

Poring Over Pesticides

Scientists in the Center for Pollinator Research will investigate the effects of pesticides on honey bees using a second grant from the USDA for $370,000,

"Modern pesticide formulations, particularly when multiple active ingredients are blended, require proprietary adjuvants and 'inerts' to achieve high efficacy for targeted pests," said Christopher Mullin, professor of entomology. "Recently, we have shown that honey bees are unusually sensitive to organosilicone spray adjuvants and other coformulants used in agrochemicals."

In this project the team, which includes Maryann Frazier, senior extension associate, will analyze the presence and fate of organosilicone spray adjuvants and other coformulants in bee ecosystems. Specifically, they will identify common 'inerts' in agrochemicals and other environmental chemicals used frequently around honey bees or in their preferred foraging areas; develop analytical methods to monitor and determine the fate of pesticide formulation and adjuvant ingredients within bee ecosystems; determine acute and sub-lethal effects of pesticides, their formulation ingredients, important metabolites and relevant combinations on bee physiological and behavioral systems; and facilitate integration and communication of results to beekeepers, growers, pesticide regulators, the agrochemical industry and the research community.

"Knowing relevant environmental levels of adjuvants and 'inerts' would allow improved risk assessment of total chemical loads and exposures for bee pollinators and other non-targets species," said Mullin. "In addition, we anticipate that if 'inerts' are influencing pesticide levels and general hive stress, formulation recommendations can be optimized for use in bee foraging areas."

Examining Effects of Extinction and Invasion

A third grant, funded by the National Science Foundation for $300,000, will enable researchers to investigate the impacts of extinctions and invasions on community stability and biodiversity. The team, which includes Colin Campbell, postdoctoral scholar in biology, Katriona Shea, professor of biology, and Reka Albert, professor of physics and of biology, will model perturbations to ecosystem structure, specifically the permanent or temporary removal or introduction of one or more species.

"This model will allow us to assess which species and ecosystem properties contribute to the susceptibility of an ecosystem to catastrophic failure, and which contribute most to stability," said Campbell.

According to Shea, the need to address the impacts of environmental perturbations is increasingly urgent.

"The addition or loss of species to existing ecological communities can have far-reaching consequences for both the community and the greater ecosystem in which the community is embedded," she said. "For example, the recent, rapid decline in pollinator levels poses a serious risk to global agriculture and food security. This project will advance our knowledge of how these complex systems function. Only if we can anticipate the effects of environmental perturbations can we act to prevent or ameliorate undesired outcomes."


'/>"/>

Contact: A'ndrea Elyse Messer
aem1@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Swedish researchers show impact of long-term vitamin D insufficiency on fracture risk
2. Guelph researchers solve part of hagfish slime mystery
3. Researchers design trees that make it easier to produce paper
4. Researchers manipulate tiny objects with ultrasound
5. UCSB researchers create first regional Ocean Health Index
6. Researchers identify how zinc regulates a key enzyme involved in cell death
7. Researchers reveal a new pathway through the sodium pump
8. Researchers uncover secrets of a mollusks unique bioceramic armor
9. Scripps Florida scientists offer best practices nutrition measurement for researchers
10. Researchers identify new protein markers that may improve understanding of heart disease
11. Two researchers known for identifying and treating bubble boy disease honored by March of Dimes
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/19/2016)... 20, 2016 The new GEZE ... compact web-based "all-in-one" system solution for all door components. ... or the door interface with integration authorization management system, ... systems. The minimal dimensions of the access control and ... building installations offer considerable freedom of design with regard ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients ... a new clinical standard in telehealth thanks to a ... the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track key ... body mass index, and, when they opt in, share ... visit to a local retail location at no cost. ...
(Date:3/23/2016)... March 23, 2016 ... Sicherheit Gesichts- und Stimmerkennung mit Passwörtern ... (NASDAQ: MESG ), ein führender Anbieter ... Unternehmen mit SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, um erstmals dessen ... wird die Möglichkeit angeboten, im Rahmen mobiler ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ON , June 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BIOREM Inc. ... has been advised by its major shareholders, Clean Technology ... United States based venture capital ... shares of Biorem (on a fully diluted, as converted ... the disposition of their entire equity holdings in Biorem ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... N.C. (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... commercial operations for Amgen, will join the faculty of the University of ... as adjunct professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a focus ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... While the majority of commercial spectrophotometers and ... and the 6000i models are higher end machines that use the more unconventional z-dimension ... light beam from the bottom of the cuvette holder. , FireflySci has developed ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" ... commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors ... such as WDR5 represent an exciting class of ... precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances have ...
Breaking Biology Technology: