Location: Bee Research Laboratory2013 Annual Report
1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
This study proposes to address the biology of one of the most important agricultural species by providing an inclusive reference metagenomic dataset for the honey bee microbiota across different life stages, geography and disease states. ARS is interested in defining and regulating microbes that impact honey bee colony health. The Cooperator is interested in the physiological impacts of microbes on insects and on determining genomic traits in microbes that impact insect-microbe interactions and their affects on insect nutrition. The genomic resources from this project will be used by a large community of basic and applied investigators. This project will contribute valuable information for efforts to safeguard honey bee health.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
ARS and the Cooperator will generate this genomic resource by staging controlled experiments, soliciting bees, and isolating genetic material for 1) high-throughput DNA sequencing, 2) comparisons with existing metagenomic databases and resources from honey bees, and 3) follow-up assays of microbial associations with and impacts on healthy and diseased bees. The ARS Bee Research Laboratory will be responsible for sample collection and purification in order to develop a combined pool of DNA and RNA for genomic analyses. We will also process two distinct honey bee samples for Roche GS-FLX Titanium sequencing runs and provide expertise to the cooperator on honey bee physiology and pathology.
3. Progress Report:
The goal is to determine the direct and indirect effects of gut bacteria on honey bee and bumble bee health. The focus this past year was on a longterm field experiment aimed at documenting shifts in the bacteria found within bee guts in response to antibiotic treatments. This work involves field, experimental, and genomic techniques and will show definitively the impacts of antibiotics on bee bacteria and bee health. Work also continued on the interactions between viruses and bee bacteria, in anticipation of providing beekeepers with management decisions intended to maintain healthy bees by supporting the maintenance of normal bacteria in their guts.