The grand diversity of bees allows us to uncover evolutionary strategies to promote beneficial microbes and maintain ‘public health’ for group living. Sociality evolved repeatedly among the bees, including lineages that are exclusively social and others that contain a mix of social, parasitic and solitary species. Still other species have flexible phenotypes and express both solitary and social behavior within species. Comparing the microbial associations connected with distinct social life history strategies will help us to uncover the co-evolution of microbial symbioses necessary for sociality, as well as those that are associated with other life history strategies. Bee-microbe symbioses offer interdisciplinary opportunities for work and study.
To uncover eco-evolutionary interactions between hosts and their microbiomes, and then to answer outstanding questions in ecological theory, provide evidence-based recommendations for applied conservation management, and enter into bioprospecting to improve human, wildlife and environmental health.
bee-microbe interactions, environmental microbiology.