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Robyn R. Oster
Student
National Student Exchange Program
University of Maine at Presque Isle
The Buzz about Colony Collapse Disorder: Causes, Effects, and Cures

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), the widespread loss of honeybees, has devastating repercussions for the environment, industry, and the economy. This case study explores the possible causes, effects, and treatments for CCD by focusing on a family of honeybee workers who travel across the U.S. throughout the year helping to pollinate crops in California, Florida, Maine, and Pennsylvania with their honeybee colonies. Written in an interrupted format to be presented in two 50-minute class periods, the case contains an optional section on the process of RNA silencing (and how that is applicable to insects such as honeybees) that can be used depending on the level of the students. The last section reviews encourages students to consider changes in agricultural practices that would result in a healthier environment for pollinators. Originally designed for a college-level course in invertebrate biology, the case could easily be adapted for use in an ecology or environmental science course.