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Abstract Detail

Symbioses: Plant, Animal, and Microbe Interactions

Smith, Tyler [1], Wang, Song [2], Javorek, Steve [3], Grant, Matt [4], Cardinal, Sophie [2].

Discovering plant-pollinator networks in lowbush blueberry cultivation with pollen metabarcoding.

Pollinator decline is a serious concern for the economic sustainability of blueberry production. North American growers produce close to 500 million pounds of blueberries each year, and the crop is entirely dependent on a combination of native and managed bee pollinators. Although the diverse bee fauna associated with lowbush blueberry is well described, the food sources necessary to sustain their populations before and after crop flowering (and in non-crop years) are poorly understood.
We are addressing this knowledge gap by applying an NGS metabarcoding protocol to identify pollens collected from wild and managed bees sampled in lowbush blueberry fields in Nova Scotia, Canada. This work is ongoing, and we will report on the technical challenges and lessons learned in processing the first half of the nearly 4000 samples collected for our project. We have overcome issues with pollen collection and DNA extraction, library preparation and sequencing. Having worked out the laboratory protocols, we are now optimizing the bioinformatics workflow, built around vsearch, and using our own ITS2 reference database. The bees from which the pollens were taken are being identified through a combination of morphological examination and DNA barcoding.
Once we have completed data collection, including the identification of our bees, we will be able to define the seasonal food web of the lowbush blueberry pollinator guild. Concurrent projects are assessing pathogen transfer between honeybees and native species, and blueberry pollination rates. We will use the complete data set to inform the development of vegetation management plans to provide nutrition to the blueberry pollinator community throughout the growing season.

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1 - Agriculture And Agri-Food Canada, 960 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0C6, Canada
2 - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 960 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0C6, Canada
3 - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 32 Main Street, Kentville, Nova Scotia, B4N 1J5, Canada
4 - Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 32 Main Street, Kentville, Ontario, B4N 1J5, Canada


Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 35, Symbioses: Plant, Animal, and Microbe Interactions
Location: 104/Mayo Civic Center
Date: Wednesday, July 25th, 2018
Time: 9:15 AM
Number: 35006
Abstract ID:725
Candidate for Awards:None

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