We are part of the entomology department at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Current research projects are focused on honey bee behavior and health, and wild bee agroecology, but past projects have used a number of different arthropod species, and the lab thrives on a broadly comparative scientific framework.
Big questions of interest:
- How do social interactions “get under the skin” and cause behavioral change?
- Why do some social experiences have lifelong impacts while others do not?
- How do the brain and peripheral systems interact to regulate behavior?
- What are the common evolutionary principles of behavioral regulation?
- How are behavioral and health traits connected?
- The impacts of early-life environment on honey bee behavior and health
- Neural, social, and ecological regulation of high-energy phenotypes
- The molecular mechanisms that link behavior to health resilience
- Floral landscape impacts on wild bee communities and honey bee health and behavior
- The relationship between nutrition and honey bee viral load
Recent student publications:
Grume, G.J., S.P. Biedenbender, and C.C. Rittschof (2021) Honey robbing causes coordinated changes in foraging and nest defence in the honey bee, Apis mellifera. Animal Behaviour. 173: p. 53-65.
Carr, H.M., Palmer, J.H., and Rittschof, C.C. (2020) Honey bee aggression: evaluating causal links to disease-resistance traits and infection. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 74:9.
Harrison, J.W., Palmer, J.H., and Rittschof, C.C. (2019) Altering social cue perception impacts honey bee aggression with minimal impacts on aggression-related brain gene expression. Scientific Reports. 9: 1-8.
Preston, S.R., Palmer, J.H., Harrison, J.W., Carr, H.M., and Rittschof, C.C. (2019) The impacts of maternal stress on worker phenotypes in the honey bee. Apidologie. 50: 704-719.
Other representative publications:
Rittschof, C.C. et. al. (2019) The transcriptomic signature of low aggression in honey bees resembles a response to infection. BMC Genomics. 220.
Rittschof, C.C. et. al. (2019) Biogenic amines and activity levels alter the neural energetic response to aggressive social cues in the honey bee, Apis mellifera. Journal of Neuroscience Research. 97: 991-1003.
Rittschof, C.C. et. al. (2018) Brain mitochondrial bioenergetics change with rapid and prolonged shifts in aggression in the honey bee, Apis mellifera. Journal of Experimental Biology. 221.
Rittschof, C.C. & K.A. Hughes. (2018) Advancing behavioural genomics by considering timescale. Nature Communications. 9: 489.
Rittschof, C.C. (2017) Sequential social experiences interact to modulate aggression but not brain gene expression in the honey bee (Apis mellifera). Frontiers in Zoology. 14: 1-10.
Rittschof, C.C. & S. Schirmeier (2017) Insect models of central nervous system energy metabolism and its links to behavior. Glia. 66: 1160-1175.
Rittschof, C.C. et. al. (2015) Early-life experience affects honey bee aggression and resilience to immune challenge. Scientific Reports. 5:15572.
Rittschof, C.C. et. al. (2014) Neuromolecular responses to social challenge: common mechanisms across mouse, stickleback fish and honey bee. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 111: 17929-17934.