Presentation Title

Understanding the Role of Flowers in Bee Virus Transmission

Abstract

It has been established that bees deposit disease unevenly among specific flowers where they act as fomites, but the factors that make flowers effective fomites has not been investigated. Fomites are stationary vectors for disease transmission, and for bees, flowers have proven to be hotspots for carrying pathogens from other pollinators. The goal of this project is to determine the effects of floral morphology on Apis mellifera RNA virus transmission, specifically regarding Black Queen Cell Virus and Deformed Wing Virus. It is hypothesized that if flowers have differing morphologies, then there will be an uneven distribution of bee viral deposition among flower type due to surface area and shape preferences. The implications of this study are vital due to the global importance of bee population health which have great effects on agricultural and environmental wellbeing. This project aimed to determine how floral morphology specifically influences the effectiveness of flowers as fomites and its findings may be useful in supporting bee population health globally. Due to unforeseen obstacles over the course of the summer, this project was not completed in its entirety but may be carried out by other students in the future.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Samantha Alger

Secondary Mentor NetID

abrody

Secondary Mentor Name

Alison Brody

Graduate Student Mentors

Phillip A. Burnham

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Biology

Primary Research Category

Biological Sciences

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Understanding the Role of Flowers in Bee Virus Transmission

It has been established that bees deposit disease unevenly among specific flowers where they act as fomites, but the factors that make flowers effective fomites has not been investigated. Fomites are stationary vectors for disease transmission, and for bees, flowers have proven to be hotspots for carrying pathogens from other pollinators. The goal of this project is to determine the effects of floral morphology on Apis mellifera RNA virus transmission, specifically regarding Black Queen Cell Virus and Deformed Wing Virus. It is hypothesized that if flowers have differing morphologies, then there will be an uneven distribution of bee viral deposition among flower type due to surface area and shape preferences. The implications of this study are vital due to the global importance of bee population health which have great effects on agricultural and environmental wellbeing. This project aimed to determine how floral morphology specifically influences the effectiveness of flowers as fomites and its findings may be useful in supporting bee population health globally. Due to unforeseen obstacles over the course of the summer, this project was not completed in its entirety but may be carried out by other students in the future.