Disease Ecology and Management

Our work on host-parasite interactions fits within our more general interest in how anthropogenic environmental change and human management affect species interactions. With funding from USDA and NIH, we have focused on how management of honey bees affects host-parasite coevolution and in particular the evolution of virulence, in the context of spatial structuring of transmission.

Key Papers

Dynes TL, Berry J, Delaplane K, de Roode JC, Brosi BJ. 2020. Assessing virulence of Varroa destructor mites from different honey bee management regimes. Apidologie, 51: 276–289
Barlett LJ, Rozins C, Brosi BJ, Delaplane KS, de Roode JC, White AR, Wilfert L, Boots M. 2019. Industrial bees: when agricultural intensification doesn’t impact local disease prevalence. Journal of Applied Ecology, 56: 2195–2205.
Brosi BJ, Delaplane KS, Boots M, De Roode JC. 2017. Ecological and evolutionary approaches to managing honey bee disease. Nature Ecology and Evolution, 1, 1250–1262

This review lays out why we need to incorporate ecological and evolutionary considerations into the management of honey bee disease, including developing the idea that current management techniques may actually be selecting for more-virulent parasites and pathogens.

Dynes, T.L., J.C. De Roode, J.I. Lyons, J.A. Berry, K.S. Delaplane, B.J. Brosi. Fine scale population genetic structure of Varroa destructor, an ectoparasitic mite of the honey bee (Apis mellifera). Apidologie, 2017. 48(1): 93-101

This is the first work to use population genetic approaches to understand patterns of gene flow and potentially transmission in Varroa mites, the single largest cause of honey bee colony loss worldwide.

Levine, R.S., D.G. Mead, G.L. Hamer, B.J. Brosi, D.L. Hedeen, M.W. Hedeen, J.R. McMillan, D. Bisanzio, and U.D. Kitron. 2016. Supersuppression: Reservoir Competency and Timing of Mosquito Host Shifts Combine to Reduce Spillover of West Nile Virus. American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene, 95(5): 1174-1184
Philipsborn, R., S.M. Ahmed, B.J. Brosi, K. Levy. 2016. Climatic Drivers of Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli Incidence: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 214 (1): 6-15


Spatial Transmission Structure

In collaboration with Jaap De Roode (Emory), Keith Delaplane (UGA) and Mike Boots (Berkeley), and with current funding from NIH and past funding from the USDA, we are investigating the role of spatial transmission structure on the evolution of virulence in the honey bee – Varroa mite system, using both empirical experiments and modeling.