Project Number: 2080-21000-017-05-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: May 21, 2016
End Date: Jan 31, 2019
The broad objectives of the parent project are to 1) Quantify adaptive morphological and physiological variation in two model bumble bees across latitudinal and altitudinal gradients, 2) Investigate the role of plasticity in determining Bombus trait variation, and 3) Apply a landscape genomic approach to distinguish genetic differentiation driven by natural selection or demography across environmental gradients. The primary objective of ARS is to provide bees for the experiments by collaborators at U. of Wyoming and U. of Alabama. The focus of rearing two species of bumble bees, Bombus vosnesenskii and Bombus bifarius necessitates an understanding of the colony dynamics of these species. Work is required to understand the specific reproductive biology of both species and to expand our knowledge of bumble bee reproduction in general.
Objectives will be met by: 1) obtaining wild queens of both species and inducing them to form nests in the laboratory and recording nest growth parameters; 2) dissection and study of the reproductive system of both species, including documenting the rate of ovary development and sperm maturation; 3) controlled experiments to observe timing and frequency of mating for individuals of both species.