22 October 2010

Study finds bee memory function worsens with age

It is common knowledge that, along with most mammals, the human memory fades with age. And while honeybees are usually incredible navigators, able to maneuver from visits to flowers through complex landscapes to return to their nests, a recent study reveals that aging impairs a bee’s memory as well.

Scientists from Arizona State University and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences were behind the investigation of honeybee's changing memories.

Gro Amdam, an associate professor in the School of Life Sciences at ASU states, "From previous studies, we knew that old bees are characterized by poor learning when trained to floral odors in the laboratory. So, we wanted to test whether aging also affects learning behavior that is important for a bee's survival in the wild."

The scientists believe that their research offers a new understanding of the variability found between individual bee brain functions. Showing that, not only do human brains vary from person to person, but that bee brains vary according to the individual as well.

Julia is a student who has a passion for veganism, animal welfare, and religious studies.

Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/22381319@N05