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Lynn Adler is an evolutionary ecologist who studies how floral resources affect pollinator health. She is a professor in the Biology Department at UMass Amherst, where she has worked since 2004. Prior to that, she was a professor in Biology at Virginia Tech, after receiving her PhD from UC Davis in 2000.
Flowers provide food for bees, but also may provide medicines and serve as sites of disease transmission. Many pollinator species are declining due to a range of factors including parasites and pathogens, but the potential for specific plant species to affect pollinator-pathogen interactions is largely unrecognized. I will present our discovery that consuming sunflower pollen dramatically and consistently reduced infection by a gut pathogen in the common eastern bumble bee, and show current work evaluating the mechanisms and consequences of this interaction for multiple bee species.