Ph.D. Research: Nutritional ecology
Does diet diversity affect behavior?
Pollen is the main source of amino acids, which make up protein, for many insect pollinators. If honey bees are raised on a diet lacking certain amino acids, will they try to compensate by foraging for more pollen?
Does diet diversity affect health?
We know that a more diverse diet leads to stronger baseline immunity in honey bees. But how might diet diversity affect the immune response once a honey bee has been challenged? To answer this, I am raising honey bees on different diets at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine (check out the awesome 360 video below!). Then, I will challenge the bees with a common pathogen to see how diet diversity might lead to a more robust immune response.
Does diet diversity affect foraging?
If honey bees are raised without certain nutrients, will they forage for more diverse floral sources to compensate? We are using genetic techniques and microscopy (pollen grains at 400x above) to find out!
Why do honey bees like dirty water?
Beekeepers have noticed that even when given a clean water source, honey bees often prefer to drink from dirty water sources. My research shows that honey bees likely use dirty water as a way to supplement minerals that their floral diet may lack.
In my lab, we believe: science is real, love is love, black lives matter, feminism is for everyone, insect pollinators are cool, immigrants are welcome.
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