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Liz Sykes

Liz Sykes
Project Title: 
Crithidia Bombi Presence and Prevalence in Solitary Bee Species
Program Year: 
Lynn Adler

This summer, I worked in Dr. Lynn Adler’s lab researching Crithidia bombi, a trypanosomatid gut parasite, in two solitary bee species: Halictus ligatus and Melissodes agilis/trinodis. Crithidia negatively impacts bumble bees by affecting foraging and survival abilities. However, sunflower pollen has been shown to significantly reduce Crithidia infection in the common eastern bumble bee. Because the effects of sunflower pollen in solitary bees have not been assessed, my work involved collecting wild Halictus ligatus and Melissodes agilis/trinodis from farms in western Massachusetts that had varying amounts of sunflower and assessing the bees for Crithidia infection. In a subsequent experiment, Melissodes agilis/trinodis were assessed to determine if an introduced Crithidia infection replicated within the bees. I am very grateful for this opportunity and thankful to all of those involved.