Robert Paxton

Robert Paxton
Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg | MLU · Institute of Biology

About

335
Publications
95,108
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12,944
Citations
Citations since 2017
137 Research Items
7468 Citations
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201720182019202020212022202305001,0001,500
201720182019202020212022202305001,0001,500

Publications

Publications (335)
Article
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Microplastics (MPs), in the form of fragments and fibers, were recently found in honey samples collected in Ecuador as well as in honey bees collected from Denmark and China. However, little is known about how MPs impact bee health. To fill this knowledge gap, we investigated the potential toxicity of irregularly shaped polystyrene (PS)-MP fragment...
Article
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Nosema ceranae is a microsporidian that infects Apis species. Recently, natural compounds have been proposed to control nosemosis and reduce its transmission among honey bees. We investigated how ethanolic extract of Tetrigona apicalis's propolis and chito-oligosaccharide (COS) impact the health of N. ceranae-infected Apis dorsata workers. Nosema c...
Article
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The bee genus Andrena is both species-rich and taxonomically challenging due to inter- and intra-specific variation, particularly for bivoltine taxa. One such case involves the subgenus Hoplandrena. Two species within this subgenus are widespread across the West Palaearctic, one of which is bivoltine and the other usually univoltine. The two specie...
Article
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To accommodate an ever-increasing human population, agriculture is rapidly intensifying at the expense of natural habitat, with negative and widely reported effects on biodiversity in general and on wild bee abundance and diversity in particular. Cities are similarly increasing in area, though the impact of urbanisation on wild bees is more equivoc...
Article
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1. Deformed wing virus (DWV), notorious for its virulence in the western honey bee (Apis mellifera) when vectored by the ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor, is also widespread among wild bumble bee species, presumably through spillover from honey bees. Experimental studies on the virulence of DWV in Bombus spp. have provided equivocal results and...
Article
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Stingless bees are ecologically and economically important species in the tropics and subtropics, but there has been little research on the characterization of detoxification systems and immune responses within them. This is critical for understanding their responses to, and defenses against, a variety of environmental stresses, including agrochemi...
Article
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There is growing evidence that pesticides may be among the causes of worldwide bee declines, which has resulted in repeated calls for their increased scrutiny in regulatory assessments. One recurring concern is that the current frameworks may be biased towards assessing risks to the honey bee. This paradigm requires extrapolating toxicity informati...
Article
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Bee species are thought to vary in their pollination efficiency, but they are rarely compared, particularly in the tropics. Here we determined the role in the pollination of 13 native bee species (Apis mellifera and 12 other wild bee species) when visiting pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) flowers across two growing seasons in Cameroon. Using observations...
Article
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Understanding how niche-based and neutral processes contribute to the spatial variation in plant-pollinator interactions is central to designing effective pollination conservation schemes. Such schemes are needed to reverse declines of wild bees and other pollinating insects, and to promote pollination services to wild and cultivated plants. We use...
Article
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To provide a complete portrayal of the multiple factors negatively impacting insects in agricultural landscapes it is necessary to assess the concurrent incidence, magnitude, and interactions among multiple stressors over substantial biogeographical scales. Trans-national ecological field investigations with wide-ranging stakeholders typically enco...
Article
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Urbanisation is a global phenomenon that can affect fitness and could challenge the persistence of most species, including wild bee pollinators. Yet, how and which environmental features affect bee health and fitness within the urban ecosystem remain unclear. Here, we placed experimental Bombus terrestris colonies in sites spanning from the edge in...
Article
The gut microbiome plays an important role in bee health and disease. But it can be disrupted by pesticides and in-hive chemicals, putting honey bee health in danger. We used a controlled and fully crossed laboratory experimental design to test the effects of a 10-day period of chronic exposure to field-realistic sublethal concentrations of two nic...
Article
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The western honey bee (Apis mellifera) is of major economic and ecological importance, with elevated rates of colony losses in temperate regions over the last two decades thought to be largely caused by the exotic ectoparasitic mite Varroa destructor and deformed wing virus (DWV), which the mite transmits. DWV currently exists as two main genotypes...
Article
Beekeeping with the western honey bee (Apis mellifera) is important in tropical regions but scant information is available on the possible consequences of global warming for tropical beekeeping. We evaluated the effect of heat stress on developmental stability, the age at onset of foraging (AOF) and longevity in Africanized honey bees (AHBs) in the...
Article
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Defense castes are know from highly eusocial insects yet have rarely been described in social species with a small colony size. In nests of Euglossa viridissima, an orchid bee exhibiting primitively eusocial behavior, we recorded one subordinate female per nest to specialize in guarding in the presence of a dominant and a second subordinate who spe...
Article
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Cross-species transmission of a pathogen from a reservoir to a recipient host species, spillover, can have major impacts on biodiversity, domestic species and human health. Deformed wing virus (DWV) is a panzootic RNA virus in honeybees that is causal in their elevated colony losses, and several correlative field studies have suggested spillover of...
Article
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Stingless bees are the largest group of eusocial pollinators with diverse natural histories, including obligate cleptobionts (genus Lestrimelitta) that completely abandoned flower visitation to rely on other stingless bees for food and nest materials. Species of Lestrimeliita are thought to specialize upon different host species, and deception thro...
Article
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Viruses are omnipresent, yet the knowledge on drivers of viral prevalence in wild host populations is often limited. Biotic factors, such as sympatric managed host species, as well as abiotic factors, such as climatic variables, are likely to impact viral prevalence. Managed and wild bees, which harbor several multi-host viruses with a mostly fecal...
Article
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Pollinator declines have prompted efforts to assess how land-use change affects insect pollinators and pollination services in agricultural landscapes. Yet many tools to measure insect pollination services, require substantial landscape-scale data and technical expertise. In expert workshops, 3 straightforward methods (desk-based method, field surv...
Article
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Mitigating pollinator declines in agriculturally dominated landscapes to safeguard pollination services requires the involvement of farmers and their willingness to adopt pollinator-friendly management. However, farmer knowledge, perceptions, and actions to support on-farm pollinators and their alignment with science-based knowledge and recommendat...
Article
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Oceanic islands have long been considered engines of differentiation and speciation for terrestrial organisms. Here we investigated colonisation and radiation processes in the Madeira Archipelago and the Canary Islands of the Andrena wollastoni group of bees (subgenus Micrandrena ), which comprises six endemic species and five endemic subspecies on...
Data
A plain langauge 2 page overview of the paper "Opportunities to reduce pollination deficits and address production shortfalls in an important insect-pollinated crop" designed for non-acedemic audiences (or very busy acedemics). Please feel free to pass this along.
Article
Cultivation of pollinator-dependent crops has expanded globally, increasing our reliance on insect pollination. This essential ecosystem service is provided by a wide range of managed and wild pollinators whose abundance and diversity are thought to be in decline, threatening sustainable food production. The Western honey bee (Apis mellifera) is am...
Article
Over the past two decades, the cultivated area of oilseed rape (Brassica napus L. or OSR), a mass-flowering crop, has markedly increased in Europe in response to bioenergy demands. As well as representing a major shift in floral composition across the landscape, mass-flowering OSR may alter pollination services to other simultaneously blooming crop...
Article
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Pollinators face multiple pressures and there is evidence of populations in decline. As demand for insect‐pollinated crops increases, crop production is threatened by shortfalls in pollination services. Understanding the extent of current yield deficits due to pollination and identifying opportunities to protect or improve crop yield and quality th...
Preprint
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PoshBee is a 5-year funded project (2018-2023) that aims to support healthy bee populations, sustainable beekeeping, and consequently pollination for crops and wildflowers across Europe. To do this we take a range of approaches, from the laboratory to the field, from molecules to ecosystems, and from fundamental science to risk assessment. This doc...
Article
In temperate regions of the world dominated by intensive agriculture, cities harbor a rich diversity and abundance of bee species, often exceeding those of the rural environment. In less industrialized tropical countries, in contrast, stressful conditions may exist in cities for bees with perennial colonies such as stingless bees because of the lac...
Preprint
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This protocol was developed for the COST-Action “Super-B”, whose purpose was to coordinate research, outreach and policy towards sustainable pollination1-3. The protocol addresses the detection of parasites and pathogens across bee species, as one of several possible drivers of bee decline4,5. It consists of four major components: 1. A sample colle...
Article
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In eusocial insects, chemical communication is crucial for mediating many aspects of social activities, especially the regulation of reproduction. Though queen signals are known to decrease ovarian activation of workers in highly eusocial species, little is known about their evolution. In contrast, some primitively eusocial species are thought to c...
Article
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Eusocial insect queens are remarkable in their ability to maximise both fecundity and longevity, thus escaping the typical trade-off between these two traits. Several mechanisms have been proposed to underlie the remoulding of the trade-off, such as reshaping of the juvenile hormone pathway, or caste-specific susceptibility to oxidative stress. How...
Article
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The life-prolonging effects of antioxidants have long entered popular culture, but the scientific community still debates whether free radicals and the resulting oxidative stress negatively affect longevity. Social insects are intriguing models for analysing the relationship between oxidative stress and senescence because life histories differ vast...
Article
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The exceptional longevity of social insect queens despite their lifelong high fecundity remains poorly understood in ageing biology. To gain insights into the mechanisms that might underlie ageing in social insects, we compared gene expression patterns between young and old castes (both queens and workers) across different lineages of social insect...
Article
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Adult honey bees host a remarkably consistent gut microbial community that is thought to benefit host health and provide protection against parasites and pathogens. Currently, however, we lack experimental evidence for the causal role of the gut microbiota in protecting the Western honey bees (Apis mellifera) against their viral pathogens. Here we...
Preprint
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Life’s most dramatic innovations, from the emergence of self-replicating molecules to highly-integrated societies, often involve increases in biological complexity. Some groups traverse different levels of complexity, providing a framework to identify key factors shaping these evolutionary transitions. Halictid bees span the transition from individ...
Article
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Multiple global change pressures, and their interplay, cause plant-pollinator extinctions and modify species assemblages and interactions. This may alter the risks of pathogen host shifts, intra- or interspecific pathogen spread, and emergence of novel population or community epidemics. Flowers are hubs for pathogen transmission. Consequently, the...
Article
Pollinator biodiversity may benefit crop pollination. Yet benefits in agro-ecosystems may be context-dependent and offset by agronomic or other limiting orchard-specific or tree-specific factors that obscure biodiversity-ecosystem service relationships. To test if crop pollination benefitted from pollinator biodiversity, we sampled local wild bee c...
Article
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Urbanisation is a global phenomenon with major effects on species, the structure of community functional traits and ecological interactions. Body size is a key species trait linked to metabolism, life‐history and dispersal as well as a major determinant of ecological networks. Here, using a well‐replicated urban‐rural sampling design in Central Eur...
Article
PoshBee is a 5-year funded project (2018-2023) that aims to support healthy bee populations, sustainable beekeeping, and consequently pollination for crops and wildflowers across Europe. To do this we take a range of approaches, from the laboratory to the field, from molecules to ecosystems, and from fundamental science to risk assessment. This doc...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract. For 160 years, Anthrenus pimpinellae isabellinus Küster, 1848 has been considered a subspecies of A. pimpinellae Fabricius, 1775. However, habitus shape differs between the subspecies with A. p. isabellinus being broader than A. p. pimpinellae and resembling more closely A. dorsatus Mulsant & Rey, 1868. Here A. p. pimpinellae and A. p. is...
Article
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Bees and flowering plants are two closely interacting groups of organisms. Habitat loss and fragmentation associated with urbanisation are major threats to both partners. Yet how and why bee and floral richness and diversity co-vary within the urban landscape remain unclear. Here, we sampled bees and flowering plants in urban green spaces to invest...
Article
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The decline of insect pollinators threatens global food security. A major potential cause of decline is considered to be the interaction between environmental stressors, particularly between exposure to pesticides and pathogens. To explore pesticide–pathogen interactions in an important pollinator insect, the honey bee, we used two new nicotinic ac...
Preprint
Full-text available
Eusocial insect queens are remarkable in their ability to maximise both fecundity and longevity, thus escaping the typical trade-off between these two traits. In species exhibiting complex eusocial behaviour, several mechanisms have been proposed to underlie the remoulding of the trade-off, such as reshaping of the juvenile hormone pathway, or cast...
Article
Full-text available
Wild and managed bees are essential for global food security and the maintenance of biodiversity. At present, the conservation of wild bees is hampered by a huge shortfall in knowledge about the trends and status of individual species mainly due to their large diversity and variation in life histories. In contrast, the managed Western honey bee Api...
Article
Full-text available
Pathogen spillover represents an important cause of biodiversity decline. For wild bee species such as bumblebees, many of which are in decline, correlational data point towards viral spillover from managed honeybees as a potential cause. Yet, impacts of these viruses on wild bees are rarely evaluated. Here, in a series of highly controlled laborat...
Article
Pathogen spillover represents an important cause of biodiversity decline. For wild bee species such as bumblebees, many of which are in decline, correlational data point towards viral spillover from managed honeybees as a potential cause. Yet, impacts of these viruses on wild bees are rarely evaluated. Here, in a series of highly controlled laborat...
Article
Full-text available
Honey bees (Apis mellifera) can be infected by many viruses, some of which pose a major threat to their health and well-being. A critical step in the dynamics of a viral infection is its mode of transmission. Here, we compared for the first time the effect of mode of horizontal transmission of Black queen cell virus (BQCV), a ubiquitous and highly...
Conference Paper
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Muchos estudios han discutido sobre la fuerte influencia de la pérdida de hábitat sobre la dispersión y diversidad genética de las poblaciones de abejas. Sin embargo, existen otros factores no considerados en los estudios sobre diferenciación genética de poblaciones de abejas que también pueden causar cambios importantes en las poblaciones. Estos f...
Article
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Agricultural intensification and associated loss of high‐quality habitats are key drivers of insect pollinator declines. With the aim of decreasing the environmental impact of agriculture, the 2014 EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) defined a set of habitat and landscape features (Ecological Focus Areas: EFAs) farmers could select from as a requir...
Article
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Nosema ceranae is a widespread obligate intracellular parasite of the ventriculus of many species of honey bee (Apis), including the Western honey bee Apis mellifera, in which it may lead to colony death. It can be controlled in A. mellifera by feeding the antibiotic fumagillin to a colony, though this product is toxic to humans and its use has now...
Article
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Though social insects generally seem to have a reduced individual immunoresponse compared to solitary species, the impact of heat stress on that response has not been studied. In the honey bee, the effect of heat stress on reproductives (queens and males/drones) may also vary compared to workers, but this is currently unknown. Here, we quantified t...
Article
A genetically engineered honey bee gut bacterium knocks down two major bee threats
Article
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Urbanisation is an important global driver of biodiversity change, negatively impacting some species groups whilst providing opportunities for others. Yet its impact on ecosystem services is poorly investigated. Here, using a replicated experimental design, we test how Central European cities impact flying insects and the ecosystem service of polli...
Article
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The global increase in the proportion of land cultivated with pollinator‐dependent crops implies increased reliance on pollination services. Yet agricultural practices themselves can profoundly affect pollinator supply and pollination. Extensive monocultures are associated with a limited pollinator supply and reduced pollination, whereas agricultur...
Article
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Plant‐pollinator‐interactions are often highly specialised and may even lead to coevolution. Yet when plants and pollinators coevolve, it is not clear if this will also result in frequent cospeciation. Here we investigate the mutual evolutionary history of South African oil‐collecting Rediviva bees and their Diascia host plants, in which the elonga...
Article
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Deformed wing virus (DWV) is an emerging infectious disease of the honey bee (Apis mellifera) that is considered a major cause of elevated losses of honey bee colonies. DWV comprises two widespread genotypes: the originally described genotype A, and genotype B. In adult honey bees, DWV-B has been shown to be more virulent than DWV-A. However, their...
Article
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Adaptation to local host plants may impact a pollinator’s population genetic structure by reducing gene flow and driving population genetic differentiation, representing an early stage of ecological speciation. South African Rediviva longimanus bees exhibit elongated forelegs, a bizarre adaptation for collecting oil from floral spurs of their Diasc...