My research aims to sustainably improve managed honey bee colony nutrition in the face of landscape homogenization and climate change. My lab employs a variety of divergent approaches in order to achieve this goal with two central foci:
1) Characterize the role of honey bee genetic variation in nutritional responses to natural forage and artificial diets.
There are potentially thousands of genetic polymorphisms that may result in variations in nutritional biochemistry influencing honey bee health. Contrasts between different genetic stocks of honey bees may lead to the identification of metabolic and physiological phenotypes for breeding bees with improved nutrient efficiency and robustness in a changing global climate. Advances in our understanding of the roles of nutrients in gene and protein expression could also enable the development of genotype-specific nutritional supplements.
2) Develop efficacious and sustainable nutritional supplements to support colony growth and disease resistance. Honey bee colonies managed for agricultural pollination are highly dependent on human inputs, especially for disease control and supplemental nutrition. Hives are routinely fed artificial “pollen substitute” diets to compensate for insufficient nutritional forage in the environment. Optimization of bee nutrition supplements can improve feed sustainability and agricultural pollination efficiency by supporting larger, healthier honey bee colonies.
We are also developing novel functional genomics tools to advance our understanding of the role of bee genetics in health and disease.
Ricigliano, V.A., Williams, S.T., Oliver, R. 2022. Effects of different artificial diets on commercial honey bee colony performance, health biomarkers, and gut microbiota. BMC Veterinary Research. 18(52):1-14. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12917-022-03151-5.
Ricigliano, V.A., Ihle, K.E., Williams, S.T. 2021. Nutrigenetic comparison of two Varroa-resistant honey bee stocks fed pollen and spirulina microalgae. Apidologie. 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13592-021-00877-3.
Ricigliano, V.A., Dong, C., Richardson, L.T., Donnarummar, F., Williams, S.T., Solouki, T., Murrary, K.K. 2020. Honey bee proteome responses to plant and cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) diets. ACS Food Science and Technology. 1:1-10. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsfoodscitech.0c00001.
Ricigliano, V.A., Sica, V.P., Knowels, S.L., Diette, N., Howarth, D.G., Oberlies, N.K. 2020. Bioactive diterpenoid metabolism and cytotoxic activities of genetically transformed Euphorbia lathyris roots. Phytochemistry. 179:1-9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phytochem.2020.112504.
Ricigliano, V.A., Anderson, K.E. 2020. Probing the honey bee diet-microbiota-host axis using pollen restriction and organic acid feeding. Insects. 11(5):1-14. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11050291.
Saelao, P., Borba, R.S., Ricigliano, V.A., Spivak, M., Simone-Finstrom, M. 2020. Honey bee microbiome is stabilized in the presence of propolis. 2020. Biology Letters. 16:1-5. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2020.0003.
Ricigliano, V.A., Simone-Finstrom, M. 2020. Nutritional and prebiotic efficacy of the microalga Arthrospira platensis (spirulina) in honey bees. Apidologie. 51(2)1-13. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13592-020-00770-5.
Ricigliano, V.A. Microalgae as a promising and sustainable nutrition source for managed honey bees. Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology. 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1002/arch.21658.
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.
Ricigliano, V.A., Mott, B.M., Maes, P., Floyd, A.S., Fitz, W., Copeland, D.C., Meikle, W.G., Anderson, K.E. 2019. Honey bee colony performance and health are enhanced by apiary proximity to US Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands. Scientific Reports. 9:4894. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-41281-3.
Ricigliano, V.A., Mott, B.M., Floyd, A.S., Copeland, D.C., Carroll, M.J., Anderson, K.E. 2018. Honey bees overwintering in a southern climate: longitudinal effects of diet and queen age on colony-level molecular physiology and performance. Scientific Reports. https://doi:10.1038/s41598-018-28732-z.
Ricigliano, V.A., Fitz, W., Copeland, D.C., Mott, B.M., Maes, P., Floyd, A.S., Dockstader, A., Anderson, K.E. 2017. The impact of pollen consumption on honey bee digestive physiology and carbohydrate metabolism. Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology. https://doi.org/10.1002/arch.21406.
Anderson, K.E., Ricigliano, V.A. 2017. Honey bee gut dysbiosis: a novel context for disease ecology. Current Opinion in Insect Science. doi: 10.1016/j.cois.2017.05.020.
Using Genetics to Improve the Breeding and Health of Honey Bees In-House Appropriated (D) Accession Number:437823 Microalgae as a Novel Platform to Improve Honey Bee Nutrition, Microbiome Health, and Pathogen Resistance Interagency Reimbursable Agreement (I) Accession Number:439554 Understanding Host-Microbiota Interactions to Improve Honey Bee Health Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement (S) Accession Number:440185 Cold Storage as Varroa Control for Honey Bees in Southern California: Individual- and Colony-Level Effects Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement (T) Accession Number:437701