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Insect pheromones are crucial for survival and reproduction because they influence insect behavior, communication, and interactions within and outside the colony. Honey bees (Apis mellifera) have one of the most complex pheromonal communication systems. One pheromone, known as Queen Mandibular Pheromone (QMP), is released by the queen bee to regulate physiology, behavior, and gene expression in the female worker caste. The pheromone acts as a signal of queen presence that suppresses worker reproduction. In the absence of reproduction, young workers focus on taking care of the queen and larvae, known as nurse tasks, while older workers forage. In nurse bees, QMP has fundamental physiological impacts, including increasing abdominal lipid stores and increasing the protein content of hypopharyngeal glands (HPG). The HPG are worker-specific glands that can synthesize royal jelly used in colony nourishment. In workers, larger HPG signifies the ability to secrete royal jelly, while shrunken glands are characteristic of foragers that do not make jelly. While it is known that QMP increases abdominal lipid stores, the underlying mechanism is unclear: Does the pheromone simply make workers consume more pollen which provides lipids and protein, or does QMP also increase lipogenesis? In this study, I measured abdominal lipogenesis as fatty acid synthase (FAS) activity and monitored abdominal protein content and HPG size in caged, nurse-aged worker bees. In cages, workers were exposed to QMP or not, and they were provided with a lipid less diet in a full factorial design experiment. I found that QMP did not influence abdominal FAS activity or protein, but significantly increased HPG size. The data also revealed a significant positive correlation between abdominal protein and HPG size. My results do not support the idea that QMP modulates lipogenesis in worker bees, but my data can be interpreted to reflect that QMP mobilizes abdominal protein for the production of jelly in the HPG. This finding is in line with a previous study revealing a role of honey bee Brood Pheromone in mobilization of a major protein used in jelly production. Overall, my results support a fundamental role of QMP in worker metabolic processes associated with colony nourishment.
Visual presentation of information is one method of learning that has the ability to enhance STEM learning compared to learning solely through text. Educational psychology research is ongoing in the STEM field for how students can learn better through visual representations in their course material. The goal of this study was to assess student responses to visual mini-lessons related to course content in the cardiovascular unit in Animal Physiology (BIO360) at Arizona State University. Study participants completed a series of eight mini-lessons and a survey on their experience with the visual lessons. The results of the survey identify increased desire for visual learning materials in STEM courses. The study participants reported that they felt more visual aids in their STEM courses would increase their understanding of course content and that their classroom performance would improve.
The study of broad therapeutic advantages of dance is a growing field of interdisciplinary study. Yet, direct health benefits of dance from a molecular standpoint are still largely unknown. Literature review of dance performance displays in birds as well as other creatures and use of creative tools to analyze the diverse, lifelong experiences of dancers helped shed some light on the subject. Although dance experience exposes harms tied to the social constraints of how the form is experiences buried under joyful takeaways of dance, research supports overall health benefits from moderate amounts of dance maintained in perfect equilibrium.
“Tell It to the Frogs: Fukushima’s nuclear disaster and its impact on the Japanese Tree Frog” is a representation of the work from Giraudeau et. al’s “Carotenoid distribution in wild Japanese tree frogs (Hyla japonica) exposed to ionizing radiation in Fukushima.” This paper looked to see if carotenoid levels in the tree frog’s vocal sac, liver, and blood were affected by radiation from Fukushima’s power plant explosion. Without carotenoids, the pigment that gives the frogs their orange color on their necks, their courtship practices would be impacted and would not be as able to show off their fitness to potential mates. The artwork inspired by this research displayed the tree frog’s degradation over time due to radiation, starting with normal life and ending with their death and open on the table. The sculptures also pinpoint where the carotenoids were being measured with a brilliant orange glaze. Through ceramic hand building, the artist created larger than life frogs in hopes to elicit curiosity about them and their plight. While the paper did not conclude any changes in the frog’s physiology after 18 months of exposure, there are still questions that are left unanswered. Why did these frogs not have any reaction? Could there be any effects after more time has passed? Is radiation leakage as big of a problem as previously thought? The only way to get the answers to these questions is to be aware of these amphibians, the circumstances that led them to be involved, and continued research on them and radiation.