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Title. Ecology and evolution of host-plant specialisation in wild bees.

Funding. FRFC 2.4613.10, FNRS (Belgian National Funds for Research), 2010-2014.

Partners. ULG (Prof. G. Lognay), ULB (Prof. P. Mardulyn) and UMons (Dr. D. Michez and Prof. P. Rasmont).

Contact. Denis Michez.

Abstract. Pollination of flowering plant (Angiosperm) by bees (Hymenoptera, Apoidea, Anthophila) is among best examples of beneficial plant-insect interactions. However, despite their high economic and ecological impacts, the fundamental mechanisms explaining this interaction are still debated. The main goal of this project was to identify key factors driving host-plant specialization of bees. We focused on the following points: (i) origin of bees at geological level; (ii) evolution of host-plant choices in clades of specialist bees; (iii) chemical constraint in host-plant shifts. We considered bee-plant chemical communication, chemical composition of pollen, bee physiology and genetics to study explore these questions in different clade of bees.

Vanderplanck, M., Michez, D., Vancraenenbroeck, S. & Lognay, G. 2011. Micro-quantitative method for analysis of sterol levels in honeybees and their pollen loads. Analytical Letters, I.F. 1.1, 44: 1807-1820.
Michez D., M. Vanderplanck & M. S. Engel 2012. Chapter 5. Fossil bees and their plant associates. Pp 103-164, in Evolution of Plant-Pollinator Relationships (Ed. Patiny S.). Cambrige University press, ISBN-13: 9780521198929.
Gosselin M, Michez D, Vanderplanck M, Roelants D, Glauser G, Rasmont P, 2013. Does Aconitum septentrionale chemically protect floral rewards to the advantage of specialist bumblebees? Ecological Entomology, I.F. 2.0, 38: 400-407.
Danforth BN, Cardinal S, Praz C, Almeida EAB, Michez D, 2013. The impact of molecular data on our understanding of bee phylogeny and evolution. Annual Review of Entomology, I.F. 11.4, 58: 57-78.
Dellicour S, Lecocq T, Kuhlmann M, Mardulyn P, Michez D, 2014. Molecular phylogeny, biogeography, and host plant shifts in the bee genus Melitta (Hymenoptera: Anthophila). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, I.F. 4.1, 70: 412-419.
Vanderplanck M, Leroy B, Wathelet B, Wattiez R, Michez D, 2014. Standardized protocol to evaluate pollen polypeptides as bee food source. Apidologie, I.F. 2.3., 45: 192-204.