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2008-11-07: Conservation of Asian honey bees
Author: admin
ArticleSource: DPFA
Update time: 2008-11-04
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Speaker: Prof. Benjamin P. Oldroyd

Professor of Behavioural Genetics, Behaviour and Genetics of Social Insects Lab, School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney, Australia).

Title: Conservation of Asian honey bees

Time: 3:00pm, Friday, Nov 7, 2008 

Venue: The 3rd floor meeting room, Xishuangbanna

The 1st floor meeting room, Kunming (video conference)

Organizer: Department of Program Management & Foreign Affairs

Prof. Benjamin P. Oldroyd is primarily interested in behavioural genetics and the evolution of social behaviour. Almost all of his research has been on honey bees, including Asian honeybees but recently he has been trying to diversify into native bees (Trigona).


Recently, he has been working on the mechanisms by which social cohesion is maintained in bee colonies. In particular, he has bred a unique strain of bees in which workers lay eggs with high frequency. These 'anarchistic' bees provide a superb resource for investigating the mechanisms by which worker sterility is maintained in normal colonies. By comparing the behaviour and genetics of normal and anarchistic bees, they try to uncover the fundamental properties of social insects.


 To answer these questions they use a combination of field bioassays and genomic approaches. Their ultimate goal is to isolate and characterise the genes that control worker sterility in social insects.


Other current projects involve characterising the genes that control the dance language of honeybees and thermoregulation behaviour.



Publications link Ben Oldroyd Publications



Conservation of Asian honey bees

Abstract – East Asia is home to at least 9 indigenous species of honey bee.  These bees are extremely valuable because they are key pollinators of about 1/3 of crop species, provide significant income to some of the world’s poorest people, and are prey items for some endemic vertebrates.  Furthermore, Southeast Asian Dipterocarp forests appear to be adapted to pollination by honey bees.  Thus long-term decline in honey bee populations may lead to significant changes in the pollinator ecology of these forests, exacerbating the more direct effects of deforestation and wood harvesting on forest health.  Although complete extinction of any honey bee species is seen as unlikely, local extinction is likely to occur across extensive areas.  The most significant threats to local honey bee populations are deforestation and excessive hunting pressure.  Conservation of East Asian honey bees requires immediate action to determine what rate of colony harvesting by honey hunters is sustainable.  This requires information on the demography of hunted populations, particularly the intrinsic growth rates and the rates of harvest.


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Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Menglun, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China
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