- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
His seminar is set for 4:10 p.m., Wednesday, April 12 in 122 Briggs Hall. It also will be virtual. The Zoom link:
"Parasitic infections, pesticide exposures, and lack of nutrition are thought to interact to cause synergistic declines in honey bee health," Mayack says in his abstract. "First, I will demonstrate how disease can lead to altered behavior that is linked to the honey bee‚ a highly social nature that results in its inability to buffer against energetic stress. Then I will discuss how environmental chemical exposure biomarker profiles (fingerprints) can be used to predict presence of the most common honey bee diseases and how the two are likely interact along metabolic pathways, which is likely to be key in explaining the underlying mechanisms responsible for synergistic declines in honey bee health."
"Lastly, I will present how a systems biology approach coupled with long term monitoring of bee health will be a central powerful tool, moving forward, for unraveling the mystery that surrounds identifying the specific mechanistic causes of global bee health declines."
"Honey bees pollinate $15 billion worth of crops in the United States each year, including more than 130 types of fruits, nuts, and vegetables," according to USDA-National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). "Honey bees also produce honey, worth about $3.2 million in 2017."
New Scientist featured Mayack in its April 28, 2021 edition in an article headlined: "Honeybees Stress Each Other Out by Warning about Minor Parasites."
"A one-celled fungus called Nosema ceranae can infect the guts of individual bees, causing a disease called nosemosis," wrote science journalist Christa Lesté-Lasserre. "Similar to tapeworm infections in humans, nosemosis apparently makes bees hungrier and reduces their resistance to pesticides and probably viruses, but it isn't particularly fatal. Yet, nosemosis is one of the top reasons honeybee populations are declining."
Mayack, then of Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania, "suspected this might have something to do with how the fungus affects the bees' social structures," she wrote.
Mayack, who joined the USDA-ARS in August of 2022, holds a bachelor's degree in biology (2007) from the State University of New York, Geneseo, and a doctorate in zoology (2012) from Colorado State University. He wrote his dissertation on “Behavioral Alteration in the Honeybee Due to Parasite-induced Energetic Stress.” Mayack served as a 2012-2014 Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow at the Zoology Institute, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany.
His research interests include systems biology, improving honey bee health, animal physiology, animal behavior, parasite-host interactions, neurobiology, effects of aging, evolution of social behavior, regulation of appetite and energetic homeostasis, and metabolomics/exposomics.
Seminar coordinator Emily Meineke, urban landscape entomologist and assistant professor, has lined up these seminars for the spring quarter. For technical issues (Zoom), contact Meineke at email@example.com.