Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter, Stephan Härtel, Harmen Hendriksma
Funding: German ministry for education and research
Duration: March 2008 – September 2011
Analyzing effects of multi insect resistant Bt-maize on honey bees
Pollinators provide key ecosystem services by maintaining both the biodiversity of wild plants and agricultural productivity at an estimated value of US $217 billion yearly. The most abundant pollinator species worldwide is the honey bee Apis mellifera, with populations present in all countries growing genetically modified (GM) crops. Consequently, honey bees are a key non-target test species for assessing the potential adverse impacts of GM crops on pollinators. The current risk assessment project is part of the BMBF consortium on environmental risk assessments of multiple insect resistant Bt maize. The main focus of our project is to assess Bt mediated adverse effects on honey bees. Potential GMO risks are assessed i) in the laboratory (feeding experiments on honey bee larvae and adults), ii) on experimental colonies under semi-field conditions and iii) on a landscape scale. The BMBF project produce data and methods which will make it possible to evaluate GM effects on Apis mellifera at different relevant scales.
Species groups: honey bee larvae, groups of adult bees, small test colonies, large colonies
Research areas: Bayreuth, Braunschweig, Würzburg
Methods: In vitro larvae rearing, feeding experiments in the lab, semi-field approaches, GIS, colony level experiments on a landscape scale, waggle dance decoding, behavioral tests in the lab.