The objective of this research is to better understand how agricultural landscape diversity and approaches to pest management impact the health of native bees and other pollinators. The experiment considers bee health in the context of landscape diversity, examining bees in both conventional row-crop systems as well as farms growing fruit and vegetables for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) enterprises. Researchers will collect bees throughout the growing season both within fields and in adjacent non-crop habitat. They will examine the diversity and abundance of bees, and also use measures of health (fat, protein, size, viral loads) as a means to understand impacts on the health of these bee communities. This project builds on work that began two years ago in Iowa and other Midwestern states to improve soybean production, and complements an ongoing United Soybean Board project.
Amy Toth is an assistant professor in ISU Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology and also in Entomology. She runs the Insect Sociogenomics Laboratory, which uses an integrative approach to study the social lives of insects, primarily honey bees and paper wasps. As well as pursing studies on bee health, she also specializes in social behavior, nutrition and evolutionary genomics. She received her Ph.D. in 2006 from the University of Illinois Program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Penn State University.
Adam Dolezal, Postdoctoral Research associate, ISU Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology
Matt O’Neal, associate professor, ISU Entomology
Erin Hodgson, associate professor, ISU Entomology