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Fulbright Scholar Studies Bees in India

Integrative Biology doctoral student Allison Young will spend nine months in India as a Fulbright Scholar investigating some of the most vastly understudied and critically important species for the pollination of both agricultural and wild plants—tropical honey bees.

Allison, who is pursuing a dual degree in Integrative Biology and the Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior program, will focus on three native and one nonnative species of Indian honey bee to gain insight into the evolution of different foraging behaviors and how those differences relate to bee mortality and pollination efficiency. Her efforts will improve management of both domestic and wild bee populations and their habitats.

“I am deeply grateful and honored to receive this award and become part of the Fulbright family,” Allison said. “This fellowship will afford me the freedom to complete my research in India without financial concerns, while also providing invaluable opportunities for international collaboration and conservation outreach.”

Introduced by Senator J. William Fulbright in 1945, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the largest exchange program offering opportunities for students to undertake international graduate study and advanced research in more than 155 countries around the world. The program aims to increase the human ability to respond to global challenges with innovation, creativity and knowledge through international collaborative research.

With support from the Fulbright, Allison will conduct her research at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore. The scholarship also includes transportation to the host country, room and board, and incidental costs.

“This is a wonderful and well-deserved award, and just the latest of several honors Allison has received since she joined the Ph.D. program in IBIO and EEBB,” said Fred Dyer, Allison’s advisor and the integrative biology director of graduate studies. “Allison is helping to build collaborations with bee scientists based in India, which I hope will pave the way for other MSU students who might want to work there in the future.”

Allison also received a three-year, $102,000 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in 2017 to support her behavioral research into social bee foraging, especially the evolution of decision-making by honey bees as they make moment-to-moment foraging decisions.

Young is enthusiastic to build on her doctoral research in India during her time as a Fulbright Scholar.

“I am excited to work with colleagues in India on novel research dedicated to learning about and protecting Asian honey bees, which are some of the most important pollinator species in the world,” she said.