Brosi Lab

Understanding the causes and implications of native and managed bee declines.

Research

Bee Disease Ecology
Pollinator Diversity and Foraging Specialization
Landscape Ecology of Bees in Fragmented Habitats
Landscape Genetics of Bees

Bee declines are of enormous societal relevance given the central role of bees as pollinators in both natural ecosystems and in human agricultural enterprise. Our work addresses topics such as:

  • The effects of land-use change on bee communities
  • The impacts of bee species losses on plant pollination in diverse natural communities
  • The conservation and landscape genetics of bees
  • Understanding and managing disease threats in bees

Current Projects

GAApril2011 207Bee Disease Ecology

With funding from the US Department of Agriculture, we are investigating the evolutionary drivers of virulence in the most important honey bee parasite worldwide, the mite Varroa destructor, in collaboration with Keith Delaplane (University of Georgia) and Jaap De Roode (Emory University).

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Pollinator Diversity and Foraging Specialization

With funding from the NSF, we are studying changes in bee foraging behavior driven by pollinator species losses and the impacts of such changes on native plant pollination.  Our manipulative field experiments are based at the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab, and we are also conducting controlled foraging trials in our lab at Emory.  Honorary lab member Heather Briggs (UC-Santa Cruz) is a collaborator on this work.

Relevant Publications

Brosi BJ, Briggs HM (2013) Single pollinator species losses reduce floral fidelity and plant reproductive functionPNAS 110(32): 13044-13048.

PurpleConeflowerLandscape Ecology of Bees in Fragmented Habitats

Much of our past work has focuses on the effects of landscape management on bee diversity, abundance, and community composition in a heavily deforested but heterogenously managed landscape in Costa Rica surrounding the Las Cruces Biological Station.  Work continues using the large dataset and several thousand strong specimen collection generated from these studies.  In addition, we have conducted work on native bees in community gardens of Atlanta.

Relevant Publications

Brosi BJ, Daily GC, Shih TM, Oviedo F, Durán G (2008) The effects of forest fragmentation on bee communities in tropical countrysideJournal of Applied Ecology 45(3): 773-783.

IMG_6974Landscape Genetics of Bees

With Sevan Suni (University of Arizona), we are investigating the effects of forest fragmentation on beautiful euglossine (orchid) bees of the tropics.  We also contributed to an international effort to understand patterns of male diploidy (a sign of severe inbreeding) across the Neotropics (Souza et al. 2010).  We are in the early stages of work on bee landscape genetics in other species and habitats.

Relevant Publications

Brosi BJ (2009) The effects of forest fragmentation on euglossine bee communities (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Euglossini)Biological Conservation 142: 414-423.