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The perilous life of a drone
Drone honey bees are woefully understudied. An abundance of healthy, high-quality drones are necessary to produce top-notch queens, but we have a very poor understanding of how stressors like extreme temperatures and pesticide exposure affect adult drone survival, and physiology. We evaluated drone and worker stress tolerance and measured levels of common stress-response proteins after exposure to pesticides. We also tested the heat tolerance of drones from different genetic stocks (Australian, Ukrainian, and Californian) and species (honey bees and Bombus impatiens bumble bees). On aggregate, the results we obtained were not at all what we expected, and hint at drones having more complex stress tolerance mechanisms than we give them credit for.
Short Bio: Alison completed her Ph.D. in Genome Science and Technology at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and is now a postdoc at UBC and North Carolina State University. She is a L’Oreal For Women in Science Research Excellence Fellow and her research has been reported by Scientific American, National Geographic, and CBC, among other venues. When she’s not doing research or writing magazine articles, she enjoys wilderness hiking, fishing, and training horses with her dressage coach.