Welcome to BEEc!
BEEc (pronounced bee-see) is an initiative that strives to advance research in the fields of bee ecology, evolution and conservation. The mission of BEEc is to foster interdisciplinary, innovative, collaborative, and cutting-edge research to be used for the advancement of knowledge and implementation of policy changes to help sustain pollinators globally.
Why do we research bees?
Ultimately, our goal is to apply our collaborative efforts to the development of policies and environmental management for the long-term sustainability of bees and the vital ecosystem services they provide.
Bees are incredibly important and diverse!
We currently know of more than 850 species of bee that are native to Canada, and over 20,400 species exist across the planet. Bees provide essential services through their role in the pollination of both agricultural crops and wild plants, thus sustaining natural ecosystems worldwide. The objective of BEEc is to promote and support the exchange of cross-disciplinary expertise and use it to further our understanding of these vital organisms.
Bee populations are declining across the planet!
Declines in diversity, health, and populations of wild and managed bees have been documented over the past decade. Scientists and the general public alike are concerned about the sustainability of their populations and conservation. Collectively, BEEc is able to apply a diverse set of tools to carry out cutting edge scientific research on bees which will help secure their health and the health of important crops and plants that rely on bees for pollination.
Why are bee populations declining?
The causes of these declines are variable, complex and context-dependent and exist in socio-ecological systems. In response, BEEc members and affiliated researchers plan to tackle some of the factors negatively impacting bee populations using tools from a variety of disciplines.
Who are we?
Dr. Amro Zayed, YorkU’s research chair in Genomics and BEEc director, uses genomics to understand why native bees and honey bees are declining, and develops tools to overcome these declines.
Dr. Sheila Colla studies the variety of factors affecting native bee decline, and develops conservation efforts for these important pollinators with a special focus on at-risk bumble bees.
Dr. Laurence Packer, a Distinguished Research Professor at YorkU, has built and continues to maintain the largest Canadian collection of bees, currently estimated at over 500k specimens from all over the globe!
Dr. Sandra Rehan is an expert on social insect genomics and pollinator health combining molecular evolution, behavioural ecology, population genetics, and phylogenetics to understand sociobiology, biogeography, and nutritional requirements.
Dr. Jane Heffernan, director of York University’s Center for Disease Modelling, is applying her modelling skills to help understand how pathogens and pests affect colony health.
Along with partnering organizations like Wildlife Preservation Canada, the W. Garfield Weston Foundation, and the Xerces Society of Invertebrate Conservation the BEEc hopes to expand the knowledge and understanding behind the determining factors for bee declines and utilize our interdisciplinary efficacy to try and overcome these issues.