Title: Gut microbiome and social network influencing disease resistance in social insects

Social insects have multiple levels of defense that include: individual innate immune responses; a collective colony-level immune response known as social immunity; and finally, the full set of recently discovered gut symbionts that can potentially generate an additional levels of disease protection. While the body of literature on the importance of gut microbiota is growing there is still limited research showing how gut microbial communities contribute to honey health; making this an important yet underexploited topic. Here, I explore the ecological and genetic basis of interactions between honey bee larvae, their associated gut microbes, and fungal pathogens. I concluded that honey bee larval survival was prolonged by the presence of gut microbiota, in comparison to the absence of gut microbes. Furthermore, in this talk I will discuss how ant social networks can be used to study disease transmission. Individually color marked acorn ants were recorded in temporal contact networks among high and low related colonies and with or without the parasite. From these data I extrapolated the effect of parasite presence and within colony relatedness on the colony social network structure, as well as the specific behaviors toward infected individuals that can lead to parasite transmission, but also parasite suppression.


 Svjetlana (Lana) Vojvodic, PhD

Assistant Professor

Department of Biological Sciences

Rowan University


 Location: Science Lecture Hall, Science Building

Date & Time
February 11, 2016
12:30 pm-1:20 pm

Event posted in Approved Campus Activity.