Ph.D. 2008, Entomology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
M.S. 2002, Biology, Wake Forest University
B.A. 1998, Biology, Wabash College
Insect pollinators are vital for the production of many fruits, nuts and vegetables, including apples, blueberries, almonds, tomatoes and pumpkins. These crops are also vulnerable to pests and diseases, which are often controlled by farmers using pesticides. However, pesticides may be toxic to insect pollinators, setting up a conflict between the need for pollination and the need for pest and disease control.
In our lab we are seeking to understand how to protect pollinators from the pesticides and toxins they encounter. The managed European honey bee, Apis mellifera, serves as a model pollinator for toxicological testing. While the honey bee is the most economically important pollinator in the U.S. and serves as an excellent model species, we are also interested in understanding pesticide toxicity in other pollinating insects as well.
Current projects include:
1. Comparative toxicogenomics between pollinating bee species: honey bees (Apis mellifera), bumble bees (Bombus impatiens), alfalfa leafcutter bees (Megachile rotundata) and squash bees (Peponapis pruinosa)
2. Assessment of honey bee immature survival using a photographic method and analysis by volunteers at http://broodmapper.com
3. Comparing the success of managed honey bee colonies in urban and rural environments in Ohio
Beekeeping (Entomology 2200) Spring 2013
Teeters BS, Johnson RM, Ellis MD & Siegfried BD. 2012. Video-tracking honey bee behavior after pesticide exposure. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 31: 1349-1354. doi: 10.1002/etc.1830
Johnson RM, Mao W, Pollock HS, Niu G, Schuler MS, Berenbaum MR. 2012. Ecologically appropriate xenobiotics induce cytochrome P450s in Apis mellifera.PLoS ONE. 7: e31051. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031051
Johnson RM, Ellis MD, Mullin CA & Frazier M. 2010. Pesticides and honey bee toxicity – USA. Apidologie 41: 312-331 doi: 10.1051/apido/2010018
Johnson RM, Evans JD, Robinson GE &Berenbaum MR. 2009. Changes in transcript abundance relating to colony collapse disorder in honey bees (Apis mellifera). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 106: 14790-14795 doi: 10.1073/pnas.0906970106
Johnson RM, Pollock HS &Berenbaum MR. 2009. Synergistic interactions between in-hive miticides in Apis mellifera.Journal of Economic Entomology 102: 474-479 doi: 10.1603/029.102.0202
Johnson RM, Wen Z, Schuler MA, & Berenbaum MR. 2006. Mediation of pyrethroid insecticide toxicity to honey bees (Hymenoptera :Apidae) by cytochrome P450 monooxygenases. Journal of Economic Entomology 99:1046-1050 doi: 10.1603/0022-0493-99.4.1046