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BEEc Associates

The Centre for Bee Ecology, Evolution and Conservation (BEEc) is a network of interdisciplinary researchers and community members with the purpose of pushing the limits in bee research, education, public outreach, and policy. 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.

There are numerous ways in which researchers, students and community members can be part of the work that we do. Please read about the membership categories below an consider applying. If you feel that you do not fit within one of these categories, please contact us to find out other ways to get involved.

Faculty Associates

Dr. Aijun An, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, York University. Website:

Dr. Jennifer Bonnell, Associate Professor, History, York University

As an environmental historian, I aim to provide historical context to contemporary environmental crises and concerns. My current research explores the role of nineteenth- and early-twentieth century beekeepers in the Great Lakes Region in advocating for protection from a range of threats associated with agricultural modernization, including arsenical insecticides and loss of bee forage. Nineteenth-century beekeepers in Ontario and neighbouring states were among the earliest collective voices to speak out against the dangers of indiscriminate insecticide use. The arguments they used, and the strategies they employed, provide important context for pollinator protection efforts today.

Dr. Clement Kent, Adjunct Professor, Department of Biology, York University


In genomics I work on analysis of whole-genome evolutionary trends. The explosion of published genomes now allows us to address many open questions in genome evolution. One area of particular interest is differences between species in nucleotide and amino acids usage in coding regions. I am interested in the parallel question of how to understand broad changes between species in neural genes, and then how to separate these broad changes from evolutionary pressures on individual genes. I work in collaboration with both researchers and with non-profits and community groups to understand how to improve urban environments for pollinators. This work ranges from helping to establish pollinator gardens and pollinator corridors in cities, to measuring the impact of these floral changes on pollinator communities, to collaborating with advocacy groups and urban governments to improve policy in ways that benefit native plants, pollinators, and people.

Dr. Jason Gibbs, Assistant Professor, University of Manitoba. Website:

Dr. Robert Hanner, Associate Professor, University of Guelph


My lab specializes in molecular biodiversity research, spanning diverse environments and species. We are developing DNA-based methods that are poised to revolutionize biotic surveys and inventories to make them more comprehensive, standardized and scalable. We collaborate closely with a variety of partners, including various ecological consulting firms and the primary industries they represent, government agencies and non-profit organizations. Applications of DNA-based biosurveillance in our lab have targeted invasive alien species, species-at-risk and other valued ecosystem component species to support evidence-based decision making in relation to conservation and restoration ecology.

Dr. Scott MacIvor, Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Toronto Scarborough. Website:

Dr. Jenny McCune, Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences & Graduate Studies, University of Lethbridge


I am a plant community ecologist focused on quantifying long-term changes in plant communities on human-dominated landscapes and the conservation of plant species at risk. I am interested in the response of plants to landscape fragmentation, modelling suitable habitat, and plant translocation for conservation purposes. The pollinators of many of Canada's rarest plant species are unknown or understudied, and I look forward to collaborating with BEEc colleagues to tackle this knowledge gap.

Dr. Lisa Myers, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York University. Website:

Dr. Joel Ong, Director, Sensorium; Assistant Professor, Computational Arts, York University


A serial collaborator, Professor Ong is invested in the broader scope of Art-Science collaborations and is engaged constantly in the discourses and processes that facilitate viewing these two polemical disciplines on similar ground. His graduate interdisciplinary work in nanotechnology and sound was conducted at SymbioticA, the Center of Excellence for Biological Arts at the University of Western Australia and supervised by BioArt pioneers and TCA (The Tissue Culture and Art Project) artists Dr. Ionat Zurr and Oron Catts.  In his doctoral studies, he was mentored by Dr. Edward Shanken, author of the canonical “Art and Electronic Media” published by Phaidon Press in 2009, and was his Research Assistant in the “Systems” publication in the Whitechapel Documents of Contemporary Art series.  Since 2014, Professor Ong has been a visiting artist at the UCLA ArtSci Center. His works have been shown at festivals and conferences around the world including Ars Electronica, Currents New Media Festival, the Ontario Science Centre, ISEA and Siggraph. Previously he has held residencies at locations such as the Coalesce Centre for Biological Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Toronto, and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts.

Dr. Roderick MacRae, Associate Professor, Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York University. Website:

Dr. Sarah Rotz, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York University.

As a geographer and political ecologist, my work is grounded in themes of environmental justice, with a focus on land and food systems. Much of my research aims to situate political economic processes – such as agri-food industrialization, financialization, and policy – within a lens of settler colonial patriarchy and racial capitalism. I also explore the consequences of these processes for sovereignty, justice and resistance movements more broadly. My work has focused on topics ranging from the political economy and ecology of farmland tenure and critical perspectives of big data in agriculture, to the ways that settler colonial logics and gendered narratives uphold extractive practices and relationships on the land. My research is often interdisciplinary and collaborative in nature, and I have a keen interest in the ethics, politics and process of research itself. 

Research Associates

Dr. Jessica Vickruck, Research Scientist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada


I am an ecologist and evolutionary biologist who is broadly interested in beneficial insect behavior, community ecology and conservation. Sometimes this means watching bees in observation nests, sometimes it means using molecular markers to understand population structure, and sometimes it means driving all over to see what insect species we find in different landscapes. While I have primarily worked with wild bees, recently the lab has started to include other beneficial insects such as carabid beetles and even springtails (not technically an insect, I know!). Since 2019, I have been located in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where I am a research scientist for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Graduate Associates

Briann Dorin, PhD candidate

Research focus: the impact of landscape and local variables on native bee communities within vineyard agroecosystems

Taylor Kerekes, MSc candidate

Research focus: competition between wild and managed bees in urban areas

Industry Associates

BEEc Industry Associates are active in the field, working directly (in a paid or otherwise capacity) with a government agency, relevant industry, or non-profit organization. This membership category recognizes the importance of the community outside of academia in supporting the mandate of BEEc. Industry Associates are affiliated with a research project, mentor students, host graduate research, or make other valuable contributions and are subject to approval by the Executive Committee.

Sarah MacKell, MSc, Lead Biologist, Native Pollinator Initiative, Wildlife Preservation Canada

Sarah's graduate research was supervised by Dr. Sheila Colla, where she investigated whether urban honey bee hives negatively impact wild bees. She is now working with Wildlife Preservation Canada (WPC) as the Lead Biologist for their Native Pollinator Initiative (NPI). WPC collaborates with BEEc on priority research projects to conserve pollinators, especially bumble bees, and WPC often co-supervises graduate student projects with BEEc researchers.