Smaller Bumble Bee Workers are Safeguards Against Poor Resource Environments
AuthorRivera, Michael David
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractBumble bees workers (Bombus sp.) exhibit a large variation in worker body size, with up to a ten fold weight difference between full genetic sisters. Stranger still is that there appears to be little adaptive benefit for producing them as smaller workers are worse at performing colony tasks. However smaller workers can survive starvation for longer than their larger sisters. We test the hypothesis that smaller workers are either adaptations to poor resource environments or highly variable resource environments. By raising colonies in the lab of different resource regimes we find that colonies in poor resource treatments show decreased average body size, but there appears to be no tradeoff in producing either larger or more workers.
Degree ProgramHonors College
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology