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Honeybees and their parasites: Pathogen transmission among pollinators

Blom, M.P.K. (2010) Honeybees and their parasites: Pathogen transmission among pollinators. Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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The importance of pollination is undisputed: bees perform the majority of pollination activity in natural and agro-ecosystems. However, wild and commercially reared pollinators are declining in numbers. Pathogens have been indicated as one of the main causes for these declines. Not much is known about pathogens in wild bees, whereas more information regarding commercially reared bees exists. The European honeybee (Apis mellifera) is extensively used for pollinating monocultural crops worldwide. The use of A. mellifera in the agro-cultural industry has led to the global distribution of this pollinator. Other pollinator species such as bumble bees (Bombus spp.) have been globally distributed by humans for agricultural purposes as well. Commercially reared bees come into contact with closely related native wild bees and transmission of diseases can occur. Therefore understanding the disease ecology of honeybees can be of importance for wild bees as well. Honeybees are susceptible for a variety of pathogens, which can be divided into 4 main groups: mites, viruses, bacteria and fungi. Honeybee pathogens can be vertically and horizontally transmitted. Vertical pathogen transmission is the transmission of pathogens from parent to offspring. Horizontal pathogen transmission is the transmission of pathogens between individuals of the same generation. Honeybee pathogens have also been transmitted between bee species. In a process called pathogen spillover, bee pathogens have been transmitted from commercially reared bees to closely related wild bee species. Pathogen spillover poses a serious threat for wild pollinator populations, however more fundamental research is necessary. The goal of this thesis is to provide a clear overview of the most important A. mellifera pathogens and their possible modes of transmission within and among bee species. Additionally, pathogen exchange between commercially reared and wild bees will be discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:44
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:44

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