Professor Geraldine Wright
Professor of Insect Neuroethology
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6667
- Address: Henry Wellcome Bldg
Institute of Neuroscience
Newcastle upon Tyne
DPhil Zoology Oxford
MAS Statistics Ohio State
BSc(Hons) Botany Wyoming
My lab studies of the behaviour, neurophysiology, and nutritional ecology of honeybees and bumblebees.
Honeybees and bumblebees live in eusocial colonies comprised of a reproductive queen and her sterile daughters (workers). All of the bees in a colony eat floral nectar and pollen collected by the workers. My lab studies how worker bees learn to identify floral traits like scent with nutrients they find in nectar. We also study how bees regulate their intake of macronutrients like carbohydrates and proteins.
Flowers sometimes harbour nectar and pollen that contains deadly toxins. We are currently studying the mechanisms bees have for detecting and avoiding toxins found in food. Surprisingly, we found that some plant toxins act like drugs to influence bee behaviour. For example, we found that caffeine in the floral nectar of coffee and citrus plants causes bees to have better memories of their floral scents. We have also recently identified that bees are attracted to eat more of foods containing certain pesticides found in nectar. These pesticides (neonicotinoids) target nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in insects and cause complex changes in bee behaviour that include altering their perception of the rewarding qualities of nectar.
BIO3006 Plant-Animal Interactions
BIO3022 Residential Field Course (Millport and Crete)
BIO3096 Undergraduate Research Projects
- Barlow SE, Wright GA, Ma C, Barberis M, Farrell IW, Marr EC, Brankin A, Pavlik BM, Stevenson PC. Distasteful nectar deters floral robbery. Current Biology 2017, 27(16), 2552-2558.e3.
- Stevenson PC, Nicolson SW, Wright GA. Plant secondary metabolites in nectar: impacts on pollinators and ecological functions. Functional Ecology 2017, 31(1), 65-75.
- Simcock NK, Gray H, Bouchebti S, Wright GA. Appetitive olfactory learning and memory in the honeybee depend on sugar reward identity. Journal of Insect Physiology 2017, ePub ahead of print.
- Simcock NK, Wakeling LA, Ford D, Wright GA. Effects of age and nutritional state on the expression of gustatory receptors in the honeybee (Apis mellifera). PLOS One 2017, 12(4), e0175158.
- Ma C, Kessler S, Simpson A, Wright G. A novel behavioural assay to investigate gustatory responses of individual, freely-moving bumblebees (Bombus terrestris). Journal of Visualized Experiments 2016, 113, e54233.
- Vaudo AD, Stabler D, Patch HM, Tooker JF, Grozinger CM, Wright GA. Bumble bees regulate their intake of essential protein and lipid pollen macronutrients. Journal of Experimental Biology 2016, 219(24), 3962-3970.
- Wright GA. To feed or not to feed: circuits involved in the control of feeding in insects. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 2016, 41, 87-91.
- Kessler S, Tiedeken EJ, Simcock K, Derveau S, Mitchell J, Softley S, Stout J, Wright GA. Bees prefer foods containing neonicotinoid pesticides. Nature 2015, 521(7550), 74-76.
- Stabler D, Paoli PP, Nicolson SW, Wright GA. Nutrient balancing of the adult worker bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) depends on its dietary source of essential amino acids. Journal of Experimental Biology 2015, 218(5), 793-802.
- Tiedeken EJ, Stout JC, Stevenson PC, Wright GA. Bumblebees are not deterred by ecologically relevant concentrations of nectar toxins. Journal of Experimental Biology 2014, 217(9), 1620-1625.
- Simcock NK, Gray HE, Wright GA. Single amino acids in sucrose rewards modulate feeding and associative learning in the honeybee. Journal of Insect Physiology 2014, 69, 41-48.
- Paoli PP, Donley D, Stabler D, Saseendranath A, Nicolson SW, Simpson SJ, Wright GA. Nutritional balance of essential amino acids and carbohydrates of the adult worker honeybee depends on age. Amino Acids 2014, 46(6), 1449-1458.
- French AS, Simcock KL, Rolke D, Gartside SE, Blenau W, Wright GA. The role of serotonin in feeding and gut contractions in the honeybee. Journal of Insect Physiology 2014, 61, 8-15.
- Hurst V, Stevenson PC, Wright GA. Toxins induce 'malaise' behaviour in the honeybee (Apis mellifera). Journal of Comparative Physiology A 2014, 200(10), 881-890.
- Williamson SM, Willis SJ, Wright GA. Exposure to neonicotinoids influences the motor function of adult worker honeybees. Ecotoxicology 2014, 23(8), 1409-1418.
- Wright GA, Baker DD, Palmer MJ, Stabler D, Mustard JA, Power EF, Borland AM, Stevenson PC. Caffeine in Floral Nectar Enhances a Pollinator's Memory of Reward. Science 2013, 339(6124), 1202-1204.
- Palmer M, Moffat C, Saranzewa N, Harvey J, Wright GA, Connolly CN. Cholinergic pesticides cause mushroom body neuronal inactivation in honeybees. Nature Communications 2013, 4, 1634.
- Miyamoto T, Wright GA, Amrein H. Nutrient sensors. Current Biology 2013, 23(9), R369-R373.
- Williamson SM, Wright GA. Exposure to multiple cholinergic pesticides impairs olfactory learning and memory in honeybees. Journal of Experimental Biology 2013, 216(10), 1799-1807.
- Choudhary AF, Laycock I, Wright GA. γ-Aminobutyric acid receptor A-mediated inhibition in the honeybee’s antennal lobe is necessary for the formation of configural olfactory percepts. European Journal of Neuroscience 2012, 35(11), 1718-1724.
- Bateson M, Desire S, Gartside SE, Wright GA. Agitated honeybees exhibit pessimistic cognitive biases. Current Biology 2011, 21(12), 1070-1073.
- Wright GA, Mustard JA, Simcock NK, Ross-Taylor AAR, McNicholas LD, Popescu A, Marion-Poll F. Parallel Reinforcement Pathways for Conditioned Food Aversions in the Honeybee. Current Biology 2010, 20(24), 2234-2240.
- Wright GA, Schiestl FP. The evolution of floral scent: the influence of olfactory learning by insect pollinators on the honest signaling of floral rewards. Functional Ecology 2009, 23(5), 841-851.
- Wright GA, Choudhary AF, Bentley MA. Reward quality influences the development of learned olfactory biases in honeybees. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 2009, 276(1667), 2597-2604.
- Wright GA, Mustard JA, Kottcamp SM, Smith BH. Olfactory memory formation and the influence of reward pathway during appetitive learning by honey bees. Journal of Experimental Biology 2007, 210(22), 4024-4033.