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Muri, Switzerland

Sandrock C.,Swiss Bee Research Center | Tanadini L.G.,University of Zurich | Pettis J.S.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Biesmeijer J.C.,Netherlands Center for Biodiversity Naturalis | And 2 more authors.
Agricultural and Forest Entomology | Year: 2014

Pollinating insects provide crucial and economically important ecosystem services to crops and wild plants, but pollinators, particularly bees, are globally declining as a result of various driving factors, including the prevalent use of pesticides for crop protection. Sublethal pesticide exposure negatively impacts numerous pollinator life-history traits, but its influence on reproductive success remains largely unknown. Such information is pivotal, however, to our understanding of the long-term effects on population dynamics. We investigated the influence of field-realistic trace residues of the routinely used neonicotinoid insecticides thiamethoxam and clothianidin in nectar substitutes on the entire life-time fitness performance of the red mason bee Osmia bicornis. We show that chronic, dietary neonicotinoid exposure has severe detrimental effects on solitary bee reproductive output. Neonicotinoids did not affect adult bee mortality; however, monitoring of fully controlled experimental populations revealed that sublethal exposure resulted in almost 50% reduced total offspring production and a significantly male-biased offspring sex ratio. Our data add to the accumulating evidence indicating that sublethal neonicotinoid effects on non-Apis pollinators are expressed most strongly in a rather complex, fitness-related context. Consequently, to fully mitigate long-term impacts on pollinator population dynamics, present pesticide risk assessments need to be expanded to include whole life-cycle fitness estimates, as demonstrated in the present study using O. bicornis as a model. © 2013 The Royal Entomological Society.


Fauser-Misslin A.,University of Bern | Sadd B.M.,Illinois State University | Neumann P.,University of Bern | Sandrock C.,Swiss Bee Research Center
Journal of Applied Ecology | Year: 2014

Summary: Pollinating insects provide vital ecosystem services of enormous importance for economies and biodiversity. Yet, there is a concerning global trend of pollinator declines. Parasites and pesticides are among the suspected principle drivers of these declines. However, especially in the case of key wild pollinators, there are insufficient data on the relative impact of these individual environmental stressors and whether they interact to increase detrimental effects. Using a fully crossed factorial design, we investigated how laboratory exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides, thiamethoxam and clothianidin, over a 9-week period and a prevalent trypanosome gut parasite Crithidia bombi affects various crucial colony traits of the bumblebee Bombus terrestris. We show that chronic dietary exposure from an early stage of colony development to doses of thiamethoxam and clothianidin that could be encountered in the field truncated worker production, reduced worker longevity and decreased overall colony reproductive success. Further, we demonstrate a significant interaction between neonicotinoid exposure and parasite infection on mother queen survival. The fate of the mother queen is intrinsically linked to colony success, and under combined pressure of parasite infection and neonicotinoid exposure, mother queen survival was lowest. This indicates increased detrimental effects of combined exposure on this crucial colony trait. Combined effects may be exacerbated in stressful natural environments where more pronounced parasite virulence is expected. Synthesis and applications. Our findings reiterate that dietary exposure to neonicotinoids can impact on bumblebee colony performance and fitness. The indication of combined negative effects of ecologically relevant pressures suggests additional adverse consequences for long-term population dynamics under complex field conditions. To help safeguard pollinator health, whole life-cycle fitness assessments, particularly for non-Apis bees, stringently incorporating chronic and sublethal side effects of pesticides, as well as interactions with common natural stressors, such as prevalent parasites, should be considered in the corresponding test guidelines. © 2013 The Authors. Journal of Applied Ecology © 2013 British Ecological Society.


Sandrock C.,University of Zurich | Sandrock C.,Swiss Bee Research Center | Schirrmeister B.E.,University of Zurich | Vorburger C.,ETH Zurich | Vorburger C.,Eawag - Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology
BMC Evolutionary Biology | Year: 2011

Background: The Lysiphlebus fabarum group is a taxonomically poorly resolved complex of aphid parasitoids, presently split into three described species that comprise sexual (arrhenotokous) and asexual (thelytokous) lineages of unknown relationship. Specifically, it is unclear how asexuals evolved from sexuals in this system, to what extent reproductive modes are still connected by genetic exchange, how much the complex is structured by geography or by host-associated differentiation, and whether species designations are valid. Using a combination of population genetic and phylogenetic approaches, we addressed these issues in a comprehensive sample of parasitoid wasps from across Europe. Results: Asexual reproduction predominated in parasitoids of the L. fabarum group, with asexual populations exhibiting high genotypic diversity. Sexual populations were only common in southern France; elsewhere sexual reproduction was restricted to specific aphid hosts. Although reproductive modes were aggregated on the mitochondrial genealogy and significantly differentiated at nuclear microsatellite loci, there was clear evidence for genetic exchange, especially on hosts attacked by sexual and asexual parasitoids. The microsatellite data further revealed that parasitoids collected from certain host aphids were significantly differentiated, yet the mitochondrial sequence variation across the entire L. fabarum group did not exceed 1.32% and exhibited a very shallow topology. Morphological characters used for delineation of described species were found to be phylogenetically non-conservative. Conclusions: Our results suggest that the sexual-asexual L. fabarum group represents a young complex of lineages with incomplete isolation between reproductive modes. We propose three mechanisms of genetic exchange that may jointly explain the high genotypic diversity observed in asexual parasitoids: (i) the formation of new asexual lineages via 'contagious parthenogenesis', (ii) introgression from sexual lineages through matings between sexual males and thelytokous females, and (iii) 'cryptic sex' within asexuals, mediated by rare males that thelytokous lines are known to produce spontaneously. The partially strong differentiation among wasps collected from different aphids suggests that host specialization can evolve readily in these parasitoids. Finally, we conclude that in the light of our data, the current taxonomic division of the L. fabarum group into three species cannot be upheld. © 2011 Sandrock et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Bogdanov S.,Swiss Bee Research Center
Voprosy Pitaniia | Year: 2010

Due to its high carbohydrate content honey is an excellent energy source and possesses some functional effects. It is especially valuable for children and sportsmen. The glycemic index of honey varies from 32 to 91 depending on botanical origin. Honey contains also a great number of other constituents in small and trace amounts. This composition possesses numerous nutritional and biological effects: antimicrobial, antioxidant, prebiotic, immunomodulating activities. There is a suggestion on consumption rates.


Moritz R.F.A.,Martin Luther University of Halle Wittenberg | De Miranda J.,Uppsala University | Fries I.,Uppsala University | Le Conte Y.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | And 2 more authors.
Apidologie | Year: 2010

Understanding the fundaments of colony losses and improving the status of colony health will require cross-cutting research initiatives including honeybee pathology, chemistry, genetics and apicultural extension. The 7th framework of the European Union requested research to empirically and experimentally fill knowledge gaps on honeybee pests and diseases, including 'Colony Collapse Disorder' and the impact of parasites, pathogens and pesticides on honeybee mortality. The interactions among these drivers of colony loss will be studied in different European regions, using experimental model systems including selected parasites (e.g. Nosema and Varroa mites), viruses (Deformed Wing Virus, Black Queen Cell Virus, Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus) and model pesticides (thiacloprid, τ-fluvalinate). Transcriptome analyses will be used to explore host-pathogen-pesticide interactions and identify novel genes for disease resistance. Special attention will be given to sublethal and chronic exposure to pesticides and will screen how apicultural practices affect colony health. Novel diagnostic screening methods and sustainable concepts for disease prevention will be developed resulting in new treatments and selection tools for resistant stock. Research initiatives will be linked to various national and international ongoing European, North- and South-American colony health monitoring and research programs, to ensure a global transfer of results to apicultural practice in the world community of beekeepers. © 2010 INRA/DIB-AGIB/EDP Sciences.

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