Pollinators have experienced a severe decline over the last few decades, and this includes bumble bee populations (g. Bombus). Bumble bees are important native pollinators, and here I investigate the health of local populations with molecular tools. The field of conservation genetics has created useful methodology for investigating the health and informing management strategies of threatened populations. This work investigates and describes the applications of population genetics, which uses span across the board. These applications are then brought back into the context of bumble bee conservation, and how they fit into the experimental plan I originally designed. I designed an experiment that utilized microsatellite loci to understand population dynamics of bumble bees (Bombus ssp.). Microsatellites are DNA segments that are highly variable within a population. Specimens where obtained via net collection throughout the summer of 2017. This thesis goes into the development of my experimental protocol and the future steps that would need to be taken to fully understand the local population dynamics of Bombus species. This project will go into the applications of research projects that identify areas in which genetic exchange is taking place, highlighting areas of importance for habitat protection and maintaining threatened populations. The aspects of genetic exchange between populations that essential for species survival over time are also discussed.
Level of Honors
Israel del Toro
Greenslit, Cady, "Population Genetics and Bumble Bee Conservation: Saving Species by Thinking Small" (2018). Lawrence University Honors Projects. 117.