Winner of ISU Three Minute Thesis is grad student who studies bees

Image of presenter on stage.

(videtteonline) The Three Minute Thesis is a research communication competition that challenges master’s and Ph.D. students to describe their research topic and its significance in just three minutes to a general audience. This year’s first-place winner is Austin C. Calhoun, whose thesis is focused on the interactive impact of a fungicide and parasite on bumble bee health.

Pesticides damage the brains of baby bees

Image of CT scan of bumble bee brain.

(CNN) Research from the Imperial College London has found that baby bumble bees can feel the effects of food contaminated by pesticides brought back into the colony, making them poorer at performing tasks later in life. Pesticide-contaminated food caused parts of the bee brain to grow less, leading to older adult bees possessing smaller and functionally impaired brains – an effect that appeared to be permanent and irreversible.

Sugar-poor diets wreak havoc on bumble bee queens’ health

Image of common eastern bumble bee.

(University of California, Riverside) Research indicates that a queen bumble bee’s diet can impact how quickly her brood develops, or whether she’s able to live through hibernation. A new study from Dr. Hollis Woodard and her team at UC Riverside demonstrates that without adequate sugar, the queen’s fat body, which functions like a human liver, does not correctly produce the enzymes required for healthy metabolism and detoxification from pesticides.

Lawsuit attacks Trump administration failure to protect hundreds of species from extinction

Image of western bumble bee.

(Center for Biological Diversity) The Center for Biological Diversity has sued the Trump administration for failing to decide whether 241 plants and animals across the country should be protected under the Endangered Species Act. Among the species covered by the lawsuit is the western bumble bee, whose population has declined 84 percent over the past two decades.