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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Baton Rouge, Louisiana » Honey Bee Lab » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #364017

Research Project: Genetics and Breeding in Support of Honey Bee Health

Location: Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics, and Physiology Research

Title: Defining pollinator health: A Holistic approach based on ecological, genetic and physiological factors

item LOPEZ-URIBE, MARGARITA - Pennsylvania State University
item Ricigliano, Vincent
item Simone-Finstrom, Michael

Submitted to: Annual Review of Animal Biosciences
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/27/2019
Publication Date: 2/21/2020
Citation: Lopez-Uribe, M., Ricigliano, V.A., Simone-Finstrom, M. 2020. Defining pollinator health: assessing bee ecological, genetic and physiological factors at the individual, colony and population levels. Annual Review of Animal Biosciences. 8:296.

Interpretive Summary: Our review focuses on a rapidly evolving area of research that aims to identify the factors involved in declining pollinator populations. Different studies have employed various measures to assess pollinator health and test the role of specific factors. Traditionally, pollinator abundance and diversity have been monitored in relation to landscape and land use changes, however these approaches capture detrimental effects only after populations have begun to decline. In this review of recent literature, we highlight the utility of biomarkers to assess the influence of anthropogenic and environmental factors on pollinators at the individual, colony and population levels.

Technical Abstract: Evidence for global bee population declines have catalyzed a rapidly evolving area of research that aims to identify the factors involved and to effectively assess status of pollinator populations. The term “pollinator health” emerged in the literature through efforts to understand causes of bee decline and colony losses, but without a formal definition. In this review, we propose a definition for pollinator health and synthesize the available literature on the application of biomarkers to assess health at the individual, colony, and population levels. We focus on biomarkers in honey bees, a model species, but extrapolate the potential application of these approaches to monitor the health status of wild bee populations. Biomarker-guided health measures can inform beekeeper management decisions, wild bee conservation efforts and environmental policies. We conclude by addressing challenges to pollinator health from a One Health perspective that emphasizes the interplay between environmental quality and human, animal and bee health.