Honey bee and soil research projects funded for U of Guelph
By University of Guelph
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) awarded strategic partnership grants to Rod Merrill, professor in the department of molecular and cellular biology, and Claudia Wagner-Riddle, professor in the school of environmental sciences, both at the University of Guelph.
In total, 94 grants worth $50 million were awarded, supporting early-stage research that’s expected to enhance Canada’s economy, society or the environment in the next decade.
Merrill will use his three-year, $810,000 grant to develop natural products into agents to treat deadly diseases in honey bees, including bacteria-borne American foulbrood and parasitic mite infections.
Pollinator declines threaten managed and natural ecosystems, and hurt farmers and beekeepers. Although colony losses remain largely unexplained, many experts believe stress on honeybees makes them more vulnerable to disease.
Wagner-Riddle will use a $614,353 grant to help improve soil quality. She will look at cropping practices that mimic natural ecosystems and improve resiliency to climate change. The research team will compare conventional and perennialized annual cropping systems (where the soil is never left unseeded) using corn, winter wheat and soybeans.
Researchers from three U of G departments are involved, as well as scientists from the University of Saskatchewan, Western University and the University of Toronto.