Dr. Julia Bowsher
I am interested in how environmental stressors impact insect fitness. I am particularly interested in determining how temperature and nutritional stress during development affect the adult phenotype, and what molecular and physiological mechanisms mediate the responses to these stressors. Bees experience many potential stressors during agricultural management and in response to climate change. Understanding how we can protect against these stresses will help build resilient populations.
The main focus of my research is to determine how body size impacts performance and fitness in solitary bees, using nutritional quantity as a mechanism for influencing body size. Body size affects many different aspects of animal life habits including fecundity, metabolism, longevity, and foraging distance. By utilizing the determinate growth characteristic of solitary bees, we are able to control adult body size, which allows us to experimentally test the impact of body size on performance. A secondary focus of my research is looking at lifespan and aging in solitary bees, particularly looking at telomere dynamics across development.
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My main focus is studying the alfalfa leafcutter bee, Megachile rotundata and examining the maternal effects on diapausing and non-diapausing individuals through DNA methylation using bisulfite sequencing. I am also interested in evaluating the effect of gut microbiome in the context of diapause.
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My research focuses on the diapause biology of the alfalfa leafcutting bee, a model solitary alfalfa pollinator. Specifically, I am interested in investigating environmental cues such as temperature and photoperiod that might be having a role in regulating diapause incidence. Understanding these cues is important for improving the bee return rate in the United States. Additionally, I am looking at the impact of overwintering duration on bee fitness and body reserves.
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I am interested in drone honey bees reproductive physiology. Including flight mechanics, navigation, sperm motility, number of sperm, and degradation of sperm DNA.
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I am interested in how environmental stress factors affect effect the longevity and nesting ability of bees. I am currently studying how telomere length is affected by food availability in Osmia lignaria (blue orchard bee). Telomere length is believed to have a correlation with the life span of an organism, with longer telomeres leading to a longer lifespan. Telomere length is also believed to be shortened due to high levels of stress. So by using telomere length to identify the effects of stress, we can study how food availability effects longevity of Osmia lignaria..
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Hello, I am Madison Floden. I am a Biochemistry Undergraduate at NDSU. I met Dr. Bowsher while taking a course she taught, and I ended up applying for the REU summer program. I loved working with everyone over the summer and I appreciate the fun and relaxed atmosphere at the lab. I am interested in genetics, and I have been helping both Gagan and Preet with their research in Gut microbiomes, Lipid analysis, supercooling points, and various other things. I think that working as an undergraduate in Dr. Bowsher’s lab is preparing me for a future graduate degree as well as practical research applications.
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The research that I participate in focuses on different stressors that impact honey bees such as agrochemicals and Varroa mites. This research is important because it focuses on preserving the honey bee population. As their pollination efforts largely contribute to our ecosystem. Each year we lose thousands of bees to colony collapse disorder. Agrochemicals are affecting honey bees’ abilities to perform daily activities such as flight. The Varroa mites are introducing viruses to the bees that deform their wings. Researching how these stressors are impacting a hive will help to preserve our bee population.
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I work on overwintering in the alfalfa leafcutting bee.
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