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Aggelos Zymaris

Aggelos Zymaris
Comparing Deposition Patterns and Survival of Fecal-Orally Transmitted Bee Pathogen on Two Chemotypes of Monarda fistulosa
Program Year: 
Lynn Adler

This summer I had the amazing opportunity to conduct my own research as a CAFE Summer Scholar working in Dr. Adler's lab. My research question investigates the effect that different phytochemicals produced by Monarda fistulosa may have on Bombus impatiens behavior and Crithidia bombi survival. The model organisms used in this study are Bombus impatiens, the common eastern bumblebee; Crithidia bombi, a trypanosome parasite linked to impaired learning and lower colony health; and Monarda fistulosa, a plant species that predominantly expresses one chemical depending on the variant, or chemotype. The first question this research seeks to answer is where bumblebees defecate on M. fistulosa, and whether it differs between bees infected with Crithidia and uninfected bees. Additionally, whether or not infected versus uninfected bees have a preference for chemotype is investigated. The second question this research seeks to answer is how long can Crithidia survive in different locations on monarda fistulosa. To answer the first question, deposition trials were conducted, whereby infected bees and uninfected bees were placed in separate cages containing cut Monarda fistulosa inflorescences in florist tubes. Each cage contained one thymol inflorescence and one linalool inflorescence, which each produce thymol and linalool phytochemicals, respectively, seen to have different effects on Crithidia survival in lab settings. To answer the second question, bee guts containing C. bombi were dissected to create an inoculum. This was placed on different parts of the plant and left for varying amounts of time depending on the time treatment. The drops were then pipetted into a hemocytometer to check for the presence or absence of C. bombi cells.