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The ontogeny of immunity in the honey bee, Apis mellifera L.

Laughton, Alice Martha (2009) The ontogeny of immunity in the honey bee, Apis mellifera L. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the ontogenetic development of the honey bee immune system in an ecological immunity context. I have optimised established immunological techniques to examine how aspects of the constitutive and induced innate immune response in the honey bee, Apis mellifera L., are affected by life-history and parasite infection. I have used three optimised immune assays to gain a measure of the timing and magnitude of specific immune effector systems in the honey bee, and explored the consequences of variation in immune efficacy throughout development and aging. The major findings of this thesis are: 1. Neither workers or drones employ phenoloxidase for immune defence in the pre-pupal stages 2. Sexual selection does not eliminate the need for an immune response in adult drones 3. In both sexes, there is an ontogenetic up-regulation in immune function with adult age 4. In the case of workers, this increase in immune response is not linked to age polyethism, but rather a continuous increase in investment beginning immediately after adult eclosion 5. Immune challenge results in a decrease in phenoloxidase activity, and an increase in antimicrobial peptide production in adults 6. The antimicrobial peptide immune response shows signs of senescence in immune challenged adult workers and drones 7. Colony investment in immune responses acts on a temporal scale and responds positively to an increased threat of parasitism 8. Parasitism produces variation in colony defence strategies 9. Rainfall is an important factor in the successful establishment of an infestation by the varroa mite, varroa destructor, in honey bees.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > Animal and Plant Sciences (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.500213
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2017 16:50
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2017 16:50
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/15107

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