A honeybee approaches the center of a yellow flower

Journal Club Article for August 20, 2021

This Fri­day, August 20, 2021, from 12–1pm, we will dis­cuss the linked arti­cle at our next week­ly Jour­nal Club meet­ing. The arti­cle is titled “Apply­ing pollen DNA metabar­cod­ing to the study of plant–pollinator inter­ac­tions”, and will be pre­sent­ed by STEM Research intern Isabelle Staco.


Premise of the study:
To study pol­li­na­tion net­works in a chang­ing envi­ron­ment, we need accu­rate, high-through­put meth­ods. Pre­vi­ous stud­ies have shown that more high­ly resolved net­works can be con­struct­ed by study­ing pollen loads tak­en from bees, rel­a­tive to field obser­va­tions. DNA metabar­cod­ing poten­tial­ly allows for faster and fin­er-scale tax­o­nom­ic res­o­lu­tion of pollen com­pared to tra­di­tion­al approach­es (e.g., light microscopy), but has not been applied to pol­li­na­tion net­works.

We sam­pled pollen from 38 bee species col­lect­ed in Flori­da from sites dif­fer­ing in for­est man­age­ment. We iso­lat­ed DNA from pollen mix­tures and sequenced
rbcL and ITS2 gene regions from all mix­tures in a sin­gle run on the Illu­mi­na MiS­eq plat­form. We iden­ti­fied species from sequence data using com­pre­hen­sive rbcL and ITS2 data­bas­es.

We suc­cess­ful­ly built a proof-of-con­cept quan­ti­ta­tive pol­li­na­tion net­work using pollen metabar­cod­ing.

Our work under­scores that pollen metabar­cod­ing is not quan­ti­ta­tive but that quan­ti­ta­tive net­works can be con­struct­ed based on the num­ber of inter­act­ing indi­vid­u­als. Due to the fre­quen­cy of con­t­a­m­i­na­tion and false pos­i­tive reads, iso­la­tion and PCR neg­a­tive con­trols should be used in every reac­tion. DNA metabar­cod­ing has advan­tages in effi­cien­cy and res­o­lu­tion over micro­scop­ic iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of pollen, and we expect that it will have broad util­i­ty for future stud­ies of plant–pollinator interactions.


Meet­ing ID: 549 554 5262

Mas­sas­oit STEM events are open to ALL Mas­sas­oit stu­dents, fac­ul­ty, and staff.

Mas­sas­oit Com­mu­ni­ty Col­lege encour­ages per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties to par­tic­i­pate in its pro­grams and activ­i­ties. If you antic­i­pate need­ing any type of accom­mo­da­tion or have ques­tions relat­ed to access for this event, please con­tact the Divi­sion of Sci­ence and Math­e­mat­ics at sciencemath@massasoit.edu in advance of your par­tic­i­pa­tion or vis­it.

Pho­to by Boris Smokrovic on Unsplash

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