|Source: Wikimedia Commons|
Researchers have been struggling to figure out exactly what is killing the honeybees, an essential part of many ecosystems due to their role as pollinators. It took four years, but a joint team from the United States Army and the University of Montana are reporting that the culprit in the honeybee killing spree is an co-attack by a virus and a fungus. The researchers believe that the virus and the fungus may be interacting to disturb the absorption of nutrients, although the exact ways in which the bee's internal systems are thrown off is not yet known.
This is interesting for two reasons:
1. A virus and a fungus interacting to kill a species is rare
2. The United States Army teaming up with Academia isn't rare itself, but most partnerships occur to speed things up or keep costs down. This partnership was to really figure out what was causing the bees to die which is unusual.
New York Times coverage of the bees: Scientists and Soldiers Solve a Bee Mystery.