October 16-17, 2018 | Lincoln, Nebraska
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2018 NRIC speakers
portrait of Kasie Raymann


Kasie Raymann
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
The effects of antibiotics and pesticides on the gut microbiome and health of honeybees
Since 2006, the world's honeybee colonies have undergone elevated mortality, and annual colony losses continue to rise. The reasons for this phenomenon are not fully understood, but several possible causes have been suggested, such as pesticides, habitat fragmentation, climate change, and various diseases and parasites. However, no single stressor has been shown to account for the declines. Gut microbial communities influence animal health, and perturbed gut communities can be detrimental to host health. Honeybees are exposed to a number of chemicals, such as pesticides and antibiotics, which are potent sources of disturbance to microbial communities. In view of growing evidence for the importance of the gut microbial communities in animal health and the largely unexplained decline of honeybee colonies, the effects of chemical exposure on the honeybee gut microbiome are of major interest. My research aims to determine how exposure to chemicals affects the composition of the gut microbiome of honeybees and, in turn, how this impacts honeybee health. Additionally, I am interested in how microbiome perturbations affect susceptibility to pathogens. My results show that chemically induced gut microbial community imbalances can decrease the survival rate of honeybees and suggest that this reflects increased susceptibility to pathogens.
Kasie Raymann is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. As an evolutionary biologist, Kasie’s broad interest is in understanding how microbes evolve and adapt as populations and communities. Her research has addressed microbial evolution both at the broad-scale (e.g. ancient evolutionary relationships) and fine-scale (e.g. microbial community response to perturbation). Currently, the Raymann lab uses the honeybee, an important agricultural and environmental pollinator, as a model system to study the evolution and dynamics of host-associated microbial communities. Kasie is interested in understanding how chemical and environmental perturbations impact the population dynamics of the honeybee gut microbial communities and how these perturbations impact honeybee health. In addition, she is also uses the honey bee model system to study how microbial community imbalance influences pathogen susceptibility, what role resident microbes play in protecting their host, and how and when opportunistic pathogens become virulent.