In 2018, 4-VA awarded Dr. Haw Chuan Lim $20,000 to work with Rebecca Forkner and T’ai Roulston on a grant called High-throughput bee pathogen survey: combining expertise in pollinator biology, bioinformatics and genomics to yield insight into pollinator health.
Native and managed insect pollinators, especially bees, are responsible are for more than $15 billion worth of crops annually in the U.S. alone. This project combines expertise on pollinator biology, conservation, bioinformatics and genomics to investigate the occurrence and genotype of pathogens and parasites of bees in Northern Virginia. Specifically, the project addresses the question of whether the presence of managed or feral honeybees, with their large colony sizes, influences pathogen populations of native bees (bumble and mason bees). This is achieved by collecting bees across 10 sites and analyzing pathogen (e.g., viruses, fungi) strains using high-resolution genotyping techniques.
Dr. Rebecca Forkner Associate Professor of Biology
Dr. T’ai Roulston Research Associate Professor and Curator, State Arboretum of Virginia
Benefits to the Commonwealth
Provides critical epidemiology information for threatened pollinators
Conferences & Workshops
Our results will be very relevant to the basic understanding of pollinator ecology, and management and conservation of bee populations. I foresee future funding from federal grant resources and private conservation organizations. Some of this lab work hasn’t been done before and it’s already opened up more research opportunities.