International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI2018), August 5-10, 2018 in Guarujá, Brazil.

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Acute air pollution exposure impairs olfactory learning and recognition

Author(s):
Ryan James Leonard, Ryan James Leonard , Thomas Pettit , Peter Irga , Clare McArthur , Dieter F. Hochuli
Institution(s):
School of Life and Environmental Sciences, The University of Sydney; School of Life and Environmental Sciences, The University of Sydney ; School of Life Sciences, University of Technology Sydney ; School of Life Sciences, University of Technology Sydney ; School of Life and Environmental Sciences, The University of Sydney ; School of Life and Environmental Sciences, The University of Sydney
While the ecological effects of pesticides have been well studied in honey bees, it is unclear to what extent other environmental contaminants including air pollution may negatively affect bee cognition. This is especially concerning given global trends of increasing air pollution, and especially rising PM10 and PM2.5 levels. Using a conditioned proboscis extension response (PER) assay we assessed the impacts of acute exposure to field-realistic levels of diesel generated air pollution on honey bee odour learning and memory (short- and long-term). Relative to the control treatment, bees exposed to increasing pollutant concentrations learnt more slowly, and their short- and long-term memory was significantly impaired. These results suggest that exposure to several field-realistic air pollutant concentrations has appreciable impacts on learning and memory; cognitive processes which are ultimately fundamental to individual bee behaviour and colony fitness.
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