Final Assignment: the biology of bees!

k10336As a way to review for the final exam, the questions in this assignment apply concepts we’ve discussed to honey bees. Please submit this final homework assignment to the usual email address with the subject line “Final Assignment” by 4pm on Monday, May 2nd so that we can discuss these questions during class time if there is any interest in doing so.

Read chapters 1 – 4 of The Bee: A Natural History and answer the following questions with clear explanations. Mention (no need to formally cite) any sources of additional information you use in formulating your explanations.

12862_2013_Article_2375_Fig2_HTML1. Chapter 3 gives a nice description of the extent to which different bees are social. What is eusociality and how do you think group selection may have given rise to eusocial bees?
2. According to Wikipedia…

When a honey bee stings a person, it cannot pull the barbed stinger back out. It leaves behind not only the stinger, but also part of its abdomen and digestive tract, plus muscles and nerves. This massive abdominal rupture kills the honey bee. Honey bees are the only species of bees to die after stinging. This is clearly of detriment to an individual honey bee but could be highly beneficial to the hive.

How can the origins of this be explained with the evolution concepts we’ve discussed?
3. According to the reading, do honey bees and bumble bees share a common ancestor? Reference the specific part of the book that informs your answer.
4. The process by which an ancestral bee gave rise to the various species of honey bee is called
a. adaptive radiation b. deep time c. phylogeny d. symbiosis

Although the genetics of bees differs from that of humans, we can still use our knowledge of genetics and the Central Dogma to understand how the inheritance of traits occurs in honey bees. Using the chart and explanation in the book, answer the following questions.
1. How many sets of chromosomes does a queen honey bee have? How many chromosomes does a worker bee have? How many chromosomes does a drone bee have? 
2. If a male with a recessive allele for white eyes mates with a queen, what are the chances that the offspring workers will have the white-eyed phenotype?
3. If a queen with white eyes mates with a male with normal black eyes… (i) what is the queen’s genotype, (ii) what are the chances that the offspring drones will have white-eyed phenotype, and (iii) what are the chances that the offspring workers will have the white eye allele?
4. Honey bees bred by people to be disease-resistant are an example of…
a. genetic engineering b. genome editing c. inadvertent selection d. artificial selection

1. According to chapter 4, what are two ecosystem services that honey bees offer?
2. Based on what you’ve read, which of the HIPPO threats to biodiversity impacts bees the most? Please mention specific detail and reference specific pages. Note that chapter 7 may be helpful for answering this question.

Cell Biology
1. Below is an image of a Nosema spore. Nosema is a fungal disease that affects honey bees and can be detrimental to the hive. What type of cell is it, eukaryote or Prokaryote? Which of the microscopes that we’ve discussed do you think was used to capture this image?

2. In these spores, you can make out a couple large organelles. (i) What do you think one or both of these organelle is/are? What seems perhaps strange about this cell? (ii) Identify the three blank organelles in the first image below. (iii) What are the functions of these three organelles? (iv) What microscope was used to produce second image below?
General Microsporidia sporenosema

3. Alcohol can kill Nosema spores. It does so by breaking apart the cell membrane and denatures the proteins within a cell. Based on what you know about chemistry and cells, explain how alcohol breaks apart the cell membrane and why “denaturing the proteins” is important.

4. Another disease that honey bees can get is American foulbrood (caused by Paenibacillus larvae) and European foulbrood (caused by Melissococcus plutonius). This disease affects the whole hive by infecting brood and killing them. Is foulbrood pathogen a eukaryote or prokaryote? What can you find out about the pathology of this disease?

5. According to the reading, which cell/cells is/are use endocytosis to deal with pathogens?

Biological Macromolecules
1. Would you expect honey to contain polar or nonpolar substances or both? Why?
2. How about beeswax; would you expect it to contain polar or nonpolar substances or both? Why?
3. Honey bee venom is described as a complex mixture of proteins. Identify one of its proteins and describe its levels of structure.


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