Anthony Nearman's research revolves around the question "Can we predict the overwinter success or failure of honey bee colonies?" By tracking physiological changes at the tissue level, Anthony has identified a set of pathophysiological traits that are potential indicators of overall colony health. When combined with other colony related metrics, he is able to predict colony mortality with a high level of accuracy. Additionally, he is investigating the generally considered causes of some of these predictive traits at the molecular level.
Varroa destructor, an ectoparasitic mite of the European honey bee (Apis mellifera), is considered to be the most important factor driving high rates of honey bee colony losses in the US and the rest of the world. Being detrimental to the honey bee population we still lack the knowledge of some of the basic physiology of mites.
Krisztina has been conducting research of Varroa destructor mite size variability within the United States which led her to investigate biotic, abiotic and genetic factors behind this phenomenon.
Research Project: Evaluating Native Bee Abundance, Diversity and Nesting Preferences in Small-Scale Wildflower Strips and Managed Turf Grass
Many people may be familiar with the terms “miner bees”, “cellophane bees” or “sweat bees”. These ground nesting bees are important pollinators of native plants and 70% of bee species worldwide nest within the ground (Wilson-Rich, 2014). Yet little is known about bee nesting preference (Cope et al, 2019), and which ground soil textures or ground substrates different bee species prefer, though there is evidence that bees will nest in sandy soils and have a preference for bare ground (Cane, 1991; Cane, 2015). As a graduate student in the bee lab, I am very interested in floral resources for bees (planting native wildflower meadows) and whether these meadows can also provide ground nesting habitat for native bees, especially since so many ground nesting bees have limited flight ranges up to a few hundred feet and must have food resources and nesting habitat in close proximity. I am also concerned about whether managed/mown turf grass can provide needed nesting habitat.
Winter 2021 Update from lisa kuder
National roadways in the U.S. have an estimated habitat potential of 10 million miles. Roadsides cover extensive acreage and provide connectivity in a fragmented landscape, making them particularly important for wildlife conservation. In an effort to improve roadside habitat for pollinators Lisa conducted a three year field study with MD Department of Transportation.
Two major goals of her research are to determine which vegetation management practices best maximizes floral resources for pollinators, and to assess how those different strategies affect regional bee populations. The three management treatments considered were no mow/ selective herbicide use, annual fall mow, and roadsides maintained as traditional turf. Lisa’s research is also examining whether roadside contaminants accumulate in common verge wildflowers, potentially exposing foraging insects to harmful toxins. Prelim data can be found here. Data analysis will be completed by the end of the year so stay tuned!