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The gut microbiome is key to nestmate recognition in the honey bee – a talk by Cassondra Vernier
18th March 2021 @ 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm GMT
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An edited video recording of the talk can be found at the link below.
Dr Cassondra Vernier
Cassondra is a biologist interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms that underly animal social behaviours. She earned her PhD in Evolutionary Biology from Washington University in St. Louis in May 2019, where she worked in the lab of Dr. Yehuda Ben-Shahar. As a graduate student she studied how honey bee nestmate recognition cues develop as bees transition from nursing to foraging behaviours, and discovered that the bee microbiome plays an important role in defining differences in nestmate recognition cues between colonies. She is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Dr. Gene Robinson’s lab at the University of Illinois, where she continues to study the role of the microbiome in honey bee behaviour.
The gut microbiome is key to nestmate recognition in the honey bee
Honey bees rely on nestmate recognition to recognize and reject intruders such as parasites, predators and robbers from entering their hive. This behaviour is performed at the entrance to the hive by guard bees, who inspect incoming bees to determine if they have a pheromonal signature that matches their colony. Despite the importance of these pheromonal cues in maintaining the integrity and fitness of the honey bee colony, how bees develop a cue that matches their own colony and differs from other colonies was not fully understood. Previous research suggested that bees develop these cues based on their colony environment, yet these environmental factor(s) remained unknown. In this presentation, I will present evidence that indicates that the gut microbiome plays an important role in defining nestmate recognition cues in honey bees