is a multi-disciplinary project about sublethal effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on various aspects of honeybee brain, behaviour, health, and social organization
The partner CIMeC-UNITRENTO contributes competences in advanced optical neuroimaging applied to the living honeybee brain. The Neurophysics group is the only laboratory worldwide that uses two-photon fluorescence microscopy to study structure and function of the honeybee brain.
The team provides multidisciplinary expertise in the fields of neurobiology, physic, and data science. Within this project, they image the information-processing pathway in the honeybee olfactory centers to detect possible impairments due to the exposure to neonicotinoids. The imaging method allows characterizing these processes from the synaptic level to entire neural networks.
Two-photon imaging of the honeybee brain: from whole brain to single synaptic clusters
The University of Bozen-Bolzano (UNIBZ) leads the effort on peripheral characterization of the bee olfactory system. Olfactory receptors are tested, after previous exposure to different neonicotinoid concentrations via elettroantennography (EAG) and paired with gaschromatography (GC-EAD).
They also contribute to behavioural studies with the goal to detect influences of neonicotinoids on bee behaviour at both laboratory and field conditions
Partner FEM is leading the design and implementation of the behavioural field studies. They will create protocols to analyse different aspects of the collective behaviour in the beehives under influence of different neonicotinoid at different doses and will supervise the implementation of this study. They will advise the other partners regarding practical beekeeping.
Paolo Fontana expands beekeeping
The beekeeper association APISOLE will contribute to the project as an interface between the three research facilities and the beekeepers in the whole region Trentino-South Tyrol. It will collect from its members and partner associations important data on pesticide residuals in nectar, pollen, honey, wax, on the doses and their regional distribution. The partner will be involved in the design of the field study, e.g. regarding the question of locating the hives to avoid additional pesticide expose from the surrounding. They will distribute useful practical information from the project among the beekeepers.