1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this cooperative research is to raise and manipulate M. rotundata females nesting in field cages so as to capture the bees while performing specific behaviors related to different behavioral and physiological states. Genetic analysis of bees collected in the different states will be performed to determine any differential gene expression between states. This study is part of a larger sociogenomic study for exploring the molecular evolution of sociality in Hymenoptera.
1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Megachile rotundata adults will be reared in the ARS laboratory. The adult bees will then be released into field cages where their nesting activities will be monitored and manipulated for obtaining bees of different behavioral and physiological states. Freezer-killed adults will be shipped/transported to University of Illinois where bees will be dissected and genetic analyses will be performed.
3. Progress Report
The goal of this cooperative research is to raise and manipulate M. rotundata (alfalfa leafcutting bee) females nesting in field cages so as to capture the bees while performing specific behaviors related to different behavioral and physiological states. In FY 2008, project scientists developed a protocol for studies of bees in field cages. Field cages were erected on an alfalfa field, and M. rotundata were purchased for managing and rearing in Logan, UT by ARS employees. A University of Illinois graduate student arrived in July 2008 and began implementing the behavioral and genetic study, as described by collaborator. ARS scientist and technical support staff continued to assist the graduate student as needed with hands-on help and with finding or purchasing other modest supplies. This project contributes to further understanding of the nesting biology, behavior, and physiology of M. rotundata at the sub-organismal level. Meeting objectives of this project will strengthen and enhance ongoing basic and applied research within the scope of this agreement. ADODR monitoring activities to evaluate research progress included telephone calls, meetings with the cooperator's personnel, and site visits to field locations.