Immune-cognitive system connectivity reduces bumblebee foraging success in complex multisensory floral environments.

08:00 EDT 13th April 2018 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Immune-cognitive system connectivity reduces bumblebee foraging success in complex multisensory floral environments."

Bumblebees are declining at alarming rate worldwide, posing a significant threat to the function and diversity of temperate ecosystems. These declines have been attributed, in part, to the direct effect of specific pathogens on bumblebee survival. However, pathogens may also have a negative impact on host populations indirectly through immune-induced cognitive deficits in infected individuals. To gain greater insight into mechanisms and potential conservation implications of such 'immune-brain crosstalk' in bumblebees, we non-pathogenetically activated humoral and cellular immune pathways in individuals and then tested for long-term reductions in cognitive performance and foraging proficiency. We show that chronic activation of humoral, but not a cellular, immune pathways and effectors in foragers significantly reduces their ability to flexibly and efficiently harvest resources in multi-sensory floral environments for at least 7 days post-treatment. Humoral defense responses thus have the potential to confer significant foraging costs to bumblebee foragers over timeframes that would negatively impact colony growth and reproductive output under natural conditions. Our findings indicate that fitness effects of immune-brain crosstalk should be considered before attributing wild bumblebee decline to a particular pathogen species.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Scientific reports
ISSN: 2045-2322
Pages: 5953


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