Recent Alumni Jess Sommer and Vijay Rao are co-authors on this review and opinion piece out in Apidologie: https://rdcu.be/cP7DR
Author Archives: admin
New SprayLab Publication: Odor-Pollution From Fungicides Disrupts Learning and Recognition of a Common Floral Scent in Bumblebees (Bombus impatiens)
New work spear-headed by Natalie David (’22) is on fungicide-odors and their effects on floral odor learning
Compounds Without Borders! Available from PLoS Computational Biology!
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“
New SprayLab publication out in Scientific Reports today
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.
New Spraylab Members
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.
Spoiler alert: pesticides are bad for bees
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)
Brain Camp 2018!
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.
Blandy Experimental Farm
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.