Missouri entomologists team up with the military to solve the mystery of how honeybees are dying

In a sustained act of applied collaboration that harkens back to some of the great collaborations of our time, e.g., Watson and Crick collaborating to solve the structure of DNA, entomologists in Montana teamed up with military biologists in Maryland to make a real breakthrough in solving the epidemic of honeybee colonies collapsing in the United States.

If collaboration is “…the process of shared creation: two or more individuals with complementary skills interacting to create a shared understanding that none had previously possessed or could have come to on their own.” (Schrage, Shared Minds), this effort is a great example.

As the New York Times reports, “’Together we could look at things nobody else was looking at,’ said Colin Henderson, an associate professor at the University of Montana’s College of Technology and a member of …[the] ‘Bee Alert’ team. …Human nature and bee nature were interconnected in how the puzzle pieces came together. Two brothers helped foster communication across disciplines. A chance meeting and a saved business card proved pivotal. Even learning how to mash dead bees for analysis — a skill not taught at West Point — became a factor.”

Entomologists and fungus fans, click here for the full research article.