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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Bee Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #324021

Research Project: Managing Honey Bees against Disease and Colony Stress

Location: Bee Research Laboratory

Title: Superorganism resilience: Eusociality and susceptibility of ecosystem service providing insects to stressors

Author
item STRAUB, LARS - University Of Bern
item WILLIAMS, GEOFFREY - University Of Bern
item Pettis, Jeffery
item FRIES, INGEMAR - Swedish University Of Agricultural Sciences
item NEUMANN, PETER - University Of Bern

Submitted to: Current Opinion in Insect Science
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/12/2015
Publication Date: 11/10/2015
Citation: Straub, L., Williams, G.R., Pettis, J.S., Fries, I., Neumann, P. 2015. Superorganism resilience: Eusociality and susceptibility of ecosystem service providing insects to stressors. Current Opinion in Insect Science. 12:109.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Insects provide crucial ecosystem services for human food security and maintenance of biodiversity. Therefore, major declines in wild species combined with losses of managed bees have raised concern over the sustainability of their ecosystem services. Recent data suggest that honey bees appear to be less susceptible to stressors compared to other species. Here, we argue that eusociality may play a key role for the vulnerability of insects due to superorganismic immunity, which can be defined as the ability to tolerate the loss of somatic cells (= workers) as long as colony functionality and the germ line is maintained. Protecting honey bees and other eusocial species appears not sufficient to protect ecosystem services by other insects.