USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics Dr. Gale A. Buchanan today presented the 2006 National Research Initiative (NRI) Discovery Award to Dr. Tanya Pankiw of Texas A&M University for her research in pheromone regulation of brood rearing in the honey bee. Pankiw's work led to a patented procedure that chemically manipulates a honey bee colony to significantly increase pollination of crops and increase the colony growth rate. The award includes a $10,000 supplement, and a one-year extension of the project.
“Bees pollinate approximately 130 agricultural crops in the United States, including fruit, fiber, nut and vegetable crops,” said Buchanan, who presented the award at the Texas A&M campus at College Station. “Dr. Pankiw's work clearly demonstrates the high-impact science supported by the National Research Initiative, and the Discovery Award illustrates the importance of that science on our nation's agriculture.”
The U.S. honey bee industry provides approximately $14.6 billion each year in added pollination services to the agriculture industry. Pankiw's research significantly increased the number of pollen and other foragers in the honeybee colony, and increased colony growth rate. Dr. Pankiw's research focuses on the effects of pheromones on honey bee neurosensory physiology, endocrinology, behavior, ontogeny and gene expression.
The NRI Discovery Award recognizes outstanding researchers in agriculture who have supported the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) mission and highlights the exceptional scientific and economic impacts of NRI-funded projects. NRI, the largest peer reviewed competitive grants program in CSREES, supports research, extension and education grants that address key problems of national, regional and multi-state importance in all components of agriculture.
CSREES advances knowledge for agriculture, the environment, human health and well-being, and communities by supporting research, education, and extension programs in the Land-Grant University System and other partner organizations. For more information, visit http://www.csrees.usda.gov.