Interacting stressors matter: diet quality and virus infection in honeybee health

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Dolezal, Adam
Carrillo-Tripp, Jimena
Judd, Timothy
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Miller, W. Allen
Bonning, Bryony
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Toth, Amy
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Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology

The Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology seeks to teach the studies of ecology (organisms and their environment), evolutionary theory (the origin and interrelationships of organisms), and organismal biology (the structure, function, and biodiversity of organisms). In doing this, it offers several majors which are codirected with other departments, including biology, genetics, and environmental sciences.

The Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology was founded in 2003 as a merger of the Department of Botany, the Department of Microbiology, and the Department of Zoology and Genetics.

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Plant Pathology and Microbiology
The Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology and the Department of Entomology officially merged as of September 1, 2022. The new department is known as the Department of Plant Pathology, Entomology, and Microbiology (PPEM). The overall mission of the Department is to benefit society through research, teaching, and extension activities that improve pest management and prevent disease. Collectively, the Department consists of about 100 faculty, staff, and students who are engaged in research, teaching, and extension activities that are central to the mission of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The Department possesses state-of-the-art research and teaching facilities in the Advanced Research and Teaching Building and in Science II. In addition, research and extension activities are performed off-campus at the Field Extension Education Laboratory, the Horticulture Station, the Agriculture Engineering/Agronomy Farm, and several Research and Demonstration Farms located around the state. Furthermore, the Department houses the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic, the Iowa Soybean Research Center, the Insect Zoo, and BugGuide. Several USDA-ARS scientists are also affiliated with the Department.
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The Department of Entomology seeks to teach the study of insects, their life-cycles, and the practicalities in dealing with them, for use in the fields of business, industry, education, and public health. The study of entomology can be applied towards evolution and ecological sciences, and insects’ relationships with other organisms & humans, or towards an agricultural or horticultural focus, focusing more on pest-control and management.

The Department of Entomology was founded in 1975 as a result of the division of the Department of Zoology and Entomology.

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Honeybee population declines have been linked to multiple stressors, including reduced diet diversity and increased exposure to understudied viral pathogens. Despite interest in these factors, few experimental studies have explored the interaction between diet diversity and viral infection in honeybees. Here, we used a mixture of laboratory cage and small semi-field nucleus hive experiments to determine how these factors interact. In laboratory experiments, we found that high-quality diets (polyfloral pollen and high-quality single-source pollen) have the potential to reduce mortality in the face of infection with Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV). There was a significant interaction between diet and virus infection on mortality, even in the presence of high virus titres, suggesting that good diets can help bees tolerate virus infection. Further, we found that extreme stress in the form of pollen starvation in conjunction with IAPV infection increase exiting behaviour from small experimental hives. Finally, we showed that higher-quality pollen diets have significantly higher iron and calcium content, suggesting micronutrient deficiencies could be an under-explored area of bee nutrition.


This article is published as Dolezal AG, Carrillo-Tripp J, Judd TM, Allen Miller W, Bonning BC, Toth AL. 2019 Interacting stressors matter: diet quality and virus infection in honeybee health. R. Soc. open sci. 6: 181803. doi: 10.1098/rsos.181803.

Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2019