Sustainable Management of Resilient Bee Populations


University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom

University of Aberdeen (founded in 1495) is Scotland's third oldest University with over 13,900 students and over 3000 staff from more than 120 nationalities. UNIABDN’s successes include: 4 Nobel Prizes. The UNIABDN has been involved in European projects since framework 3 and has been successful in participating in more than 700 grants funded by the European Commission. The research will be carried out in the UNIABDN’s Institute of Biological & Environmental Sciences (IBES). IBES comprises a total of 55 full time academic staff, 80 post-doctoral research staff and 150 PhD students. Current active research grants in IBES total approximately 22M €. IBES is well equipped to undertake the work outlined in fully-equipped modern labs and access to UNIABDN’s central Proteomics Facility, Centre for Genome-Enabled Biology & Medicine and the Microscopy Facility.

UNIABDN has over 20 years’ experience with external parasites, including ticks, poultry mites, sea lice, cat fleas and Varroa mites. Specifically for the proposed project UNIABDN has experience in Varroa saliva collection and analysis, microdissection of Varroa, transcriptomics of Varroa (ESTs, RNAseq), gene knockdown in Varroa, in vitro feeding of Varroa and microinjection of Varroa.

Within SMARTBEES, the main contributions of UNIABDN will be in the following work packages:

WP8 – Elucidating and enhancing honeybee resistance mechanisms to parasitic diseases:
  • Determining the role of salivary factors in the bee DWV-Varroa axis using proteomic, transcriptomic and gene-knockdown approaches

WP9 – Determining the present and future pathogen threats:
  • Assessing genetic changes in DWV as it moves from Insecta to Acari environments in vivo
  • Establishing the propagation of DWV in Acarine cell lines and determining the DWV mutant cloud in vitro