Catalysis Meeting

BeeBiome:Omic approaches for understanding bee-microbe relationships

PI(s): Benjamin Dainat (Swiss Bee Research Centre - Agroscope)
Joachim Rodrigues de Miranda (Honeybee Research Group Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences)
Philipp Engel (Yale University)
Jay D. Evans (USDA Bee laboratory, Beltsville, MD)
Start Date: 15-Nov-2013
End Date: 30-Nov-2014
Keywords: coevolution, community ecology, database, genomics

Bees have evolved durable relationships with a diverse set of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa. These microbial communities comprise beneficial and detrimental symbionts and their composition is likely a key determinant for the health status of the host. Furthermore, based on existing data, social bee species seem to harbor more consistent and specific communities than non-social ones, indicating that bees could represent suitable models to study the evolution of host-microbe interactions given different degrees of host sociality.
High-throughput sequencing technologies allow us to acquire vast amounts of sequencing data (metagenomics) from the microbial communities of different bee populations, synthesize the results and obtain comprehensive patterns of microbe-host webs. To make this possible, metagenomic sequence data produced by different laboratories need to be consistently analyzed and archived allowing integration and subsequent exploitation by scientists from different research areas, such as bee pathology, microbial ecology, and evolution.
The aim of the proposed meeting will be to gather an interdisciplinary group of scientists working on
different aspects of bee science, including microbiologists, epidemiologists, evolutionists and
computer scientists. This group will (i) define the most burning questions regarding bee microbiome
interactions and the effect of the environment on its composition, (ii) identify an appropriate
strategy to address these questions, including the design of tools such as a dedicated database, (iii)
discuss future collaborative efforts to fund the proposed research.