Bees have a very keen sense of smell, which is much more sensitive than their vision. So, they rely heavily on smell to locate resources. Recent studies have demonstrated pesticides may alter insects' ability to process or retain olfactory information, thereby making it more challenging for pollinators to navigate landscapes and locate flowers, nest sites, or mates.
To understand whether these chemicals disrupt insect olfaction, I am working with Dr. Dennis Mathew to perform single unit extracellular neuron recordings. Check out an example recording below!
Just like you and me, bees have a gut microbiome that is important for everything from digestion to behavior. Microbes can also be found in the flowers that bees visit, and these microbes can even shape pollinator preference!
My current work continues seeking to understand how agricultural chemicals shape our world, through pollinator-associated microbes.
Specifically I study both the direct and indirect effects of these chemicals on two emerging areas of research into bee health: 1) the bee and 2) floral microbiomes.