Hanifah Muhammad
Muhammad, Hanifah
Year: 2022
Faculty Advisor: Scott McArt
Mentor: Paige Muniz

“Does Size Matter? Crithidia Bombi and Body Size in Wild Bees”

Project Summary:

Crithidia impacts the productivity of wild bees. It causes symptoms related to dysentery and has been found to affect multiple families of bees. Our research is focused on surveying the general rate of infection in native species around Ithaca as well as the factors that aid in infection, such as body size.

To collect data, wild bees were caught with aerial nets and dissected to screen for Crithidia in gut content. 993 samples with known genus information were measured using intertegular distance to compare body size to assess the effect of body size on Crithidia accumulation.

The main result of the measurement assessment is that rate of Crithidia accumulation varies among body sizes in different patterns among different genera. Overall, body size is not a main factor in infection. While our results do not have any implications for further body measurement studies, they do show that general Crithidia infection is high. Future surveys will include foraging locations and Crithidia presence on flowers.

My Experience:

The BTI REU Program was an amazing source of new opportunities and experiences for me this summer. I enjoyed most the new skills I learned and people I met. I was mentored by multiple researchers that participated in the program and worked in Cornel entomology. The best experience I had this summer was confronting my fear of bees. I am leaving Ithaca as a more confident researcher with a new love for ecology and plant research. I am now planning on continuing plant research at my home university.