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Bees have a great sense of smell, which they rely on heavily to navigate the world. Recent studies have demonstrated pesticides may alter an insects' ability to process olfactory (or smell-based) information, making it challenging to locate flowers, nest sites, or mates.

In a recent paper with Dr. Dennis Mathew, we examined how a neonicotinoid pesticide alters insect olfaction in the well-studied Drosophila melanogaster system. We found these pesticides caused disruptions in the activity of an individual olfactory neuron as well as disruptions to olfactory-guided behavior in this insect.


Another aspect of bee health which fascinates me is the bee gut microbiome. The microbes that reside in the bee's guts are important for everything from digestion and survival, to even behaviors. Microbes can also be found in the flowers that bees visit, and this floral microbiome can even play a role in which flowers pollinator prefer to visit.

My current work explores how agricultural chemicals shape pollinator-associated microbiomes. Specifically, I ask if different bee populations also differ in their sensitivity to multiple chemicals and what role the microbiome plays in that sensitivity, if any. In a separate project, I am assessing the impact of multiple agricultural chemicals on microbes commonly found in floral nectar.

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