Faculty Advisor

Gegear, Robert J.


Pollinator species are declining around the world at an alarming rate, posing a major threat to both terrestrial ecosystems and the agricultural industry. The exact cause of these declines has yet to be identified, but pathogen infection claims a high position on the list of likely causes. To better understand how infection impacts the health of a native bumblebee pollinator, Bombus impatiens, I artificially stimulated an immune response in individual foragers and then measured their physiological and behavioral response. My findings will greatly improve our ability to quantify the fitness consequences of infection on bumblebees and expand the range of conservation tools available to evaluate and predict the effect of exposure to novel pathogens on different bumblebee species.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

May 2014


Biology and Biotechnology

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Biology and Biotechnology

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