In the period where ability to update the website was down, many events worthy of celebration happened in SprayLab:
Nour Yousry, Paige Henderson, and Karelyn Graver presented their work at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in Austin Texas
Our paper came out in the special collection for a new journal, Agrochemicals: “Fungicide scent pollution disrupts floral search and selection in the bumblebee Bombus impatiens” https://doi.org/10.3390/agrochemicals2020013
We celebrated another bitter sweet commencement! Nour Yousry will be heading to Columbia University to pursue a masters in health policy, Katelyn Graver is starting medical school at Temple St. Lukes, Gio Tafuri is starting a PhD in Medical Ethics at Duquesne University, and Tomo Amano is off to work as a research tech at Georgia Tech.
Recent Alumni Jess Sommer and Vijay Rao are co-authors on this review and opinion piece out in Apidologie: https://rdcu.be/cP7DR
New work spear-headed by Natalie David (’22) is on fungicide-odors and their effects on floral odor learning
Since the 2013 publication from our lab showing that agrochemical odor pollution has negative impacts on bumblebee foraging behavior we had been working on how to quantify odors, in order to be able to quantify odor-pollution. This was a non-trivial problem, as most methods of odor representation are statistical in nature, which means that changes the stimulus set (i.e. the odors you are looking at) changes the quantitative relationship between stimuli. Seven years, multiple experimental paradigms, and many many hours of work in the lab resulted in this publication. Here we demonstrate the efficacy of a multidimensional space that represents the stimulus energy of complex odor blends based on their functional group and carbon characteristics. This computational method is effective at both describing and predicting bumblebee behavior in an associative odor learning task.
Abby has successfully obtained honors for her thesis entitled, “Discrimination between and preference for differing peppermint odor preparations by the bumblebee Bombus impatiens“
Our computational investigation into what cues are available to searching bumblebee foragers came out today in Scientific Reports, and can be downloaded here. This work has been the spring board for current experimental studies on the relative roles of vision and olfaction in bumblebee foraging.
Welcome to Vanessa Pham and Jess Sommer! Vanessa will be working on odor coding via PER, while Jess will be training under Katie to become our new wind-tunnel guru before Katie graduates. The hardest part of an undergraduate research lab is how quickly we have to say goodbye.
Dr. Nigel Raine wrote a compelling summary of pesticide pressures on bumblebees in Nature’s News & Views that is worth reading (doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-05917-0)
SprayLab hosted three fantastic high school students for a week of research: Bronwyn Meldrum, Melissa Peters, and Julia Sysko. In four afternoons they learned how to do PER in bumblebees and collected data on learning of integrative visual and olfactory information. They were here for Brain Camp, a week of learning about Neuroscience funded by the Sentience Foundation.
Catching bees in the dark
Bombus impatiens ready for testing
Bronwyn trying to tempt bees
Melissa training bees
Bronwyn running a test trial
Sprayberry traveled to Blandy Experimental Farm to speak with their REU program on June 26th. They have a fantastic set up to study pollination ecology.