A species of bee from Europe that has stronger resistance to parasite infections than native bumblebees has spread across the UK, according to new research at Royal Holloway, University of London.
The study, published today (Wednesday 4th June 2014) in the Journal of Animal Ecology, shows that tree bumblebees have rapidly spread despite them carrying high levels of an infection that normally prevents queen bees from producing colonies.
The species arrived in the UK from continental Europe 13 years ago and has successfully spread at an average rate of nearly 4,500 square miles – about half the size of Wales – every year.
Researchers collected tree bumblebee queens from the wild, checked them for parasites and then monitored colony development in a laboratory.
Despite the bees having low genetic diversity and high levels of a nematode parasite that usually castrates other species, 25 per cent of the queens were able to produce offspring.
Scientists believe the spread of tree bumblebees could have both positive and negative impacts on native bees.
"Since its arrival to the UK, the tree bumblebee has been rapidly spreading despite high levels of this castrating parasite", said researcher Catherine Jones, from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway.
"Bees are essential to our food chain and the populations of our native bumblebees have declined in recent decades. The arrival of tree bumblebees could be hugely beneficial to us by absorbing parasite pressure from our native species, as well as helping to pollinate wild plants and crops."
Professor Mark Brown, from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway, added: "While these findings show promising signs for bee populations in the UK, we still don't know whether there could be any negative impacts if the bumblebees compete for food or nesting sites. Further research should focus on how our native bees are affected and the pollination services that this new species provides."
Paul Teed | Eurek Alert!
Northern bald ibises fit for their journey to Tuscany
21.08.2015 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Boreal forests challenged by global change
21.08.2015 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
A University of Oklahoma astrophysicist and his Chinese collaborator have found two supermassive black holes in Markarian 231, the nearest quasar to Earth, using observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
The discovery of two supermassive black holes--one larger one and a second, smaller one--are evidence of a binary black hole and suggests that supermassive...
A team of European researchers have developed a model to simulate the impact of tsunamis generated by earthquakes and applied it to the Eastern Mediterranean. The results show how tsunami waves could hit and inundate coastal areas in southern Italy and Greece. The study is published today (27 August) in Ocean Science, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).
Though not as frequent as in the Pacific and Indian oceans, tsunamis also occur in the Mediterranean, mainly due to earthquakes generated when the African...
In mountainous regions earthquakes often cause strong landslides, which can be exacerbated by heavy rain. However, after an initial increase, the frequency of these mass wasting events, often enormous and dangerous, declines, in fact independently of meteorological events and aftershocks.
These new findings are presented by a German-Franco-Japanese team of geoscientists in the current issue of the journal Geology, under the lead of the GFZ...
Bacteria do not cease to amaze us with their survival strategies. A research team from the University of Basel's Biozentrum has now discovered how bacteria enter a sleep mode using a so-called FIC toxin. In the current issue of “Cell Reports”, the scientists describe the mechanism of action and also explain why their discovery provides new insights into the evolution of pathogens.
For many poisons there are antidotes which neutralize their toxic effect. Toxin-antitoxin systems in bacteria work in a similar manner: As long as a cell...
It comes when called, bringing care utensils with it and recording how they are used: Fraunhofer IPA is developing an intelligent care cart that provides care staff with physical and informational support in their day-to-day work. The scientists at Fraunhofer IPA have now completed a first prototype. In doing so, they are continuing in their efforts to improve working conditions in the care sector and are developing solutions designed to address the challenges of demographic change.
Technical assistance systems can improve the difficult working conditions in residential nursing homes and hospitals by helping the staff in their work and...
20.08.2015 | Event News
20.08.2015 | Event News
19.08.2015 | Event News
28.08.2015 | Physics and Astronomy
28.08.2015 | Health and Medicine
28.08.2015 | Life Sciences