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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

Aijun An

Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, York University.


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.

Elizabeth Clare

Assistant Professor, Biology, York University

My research group works to measure biodiversity at all levels from molecular evolution to ecosystem function and food web structure. We develop and employ novel genomic techniques to identify species and the connections between trophic levels. We have reconstructed food webs in both tropical and temperate systems to investigate ecosystem functioning and implications for conservation. We work with frugivores, insectivores and pollinators in both temperate and tropical environments in many countries including Canada, the US, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Belize, Malaysia and the UK.

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.

Jason Gibbs

Assistant Professor, University of Manitoba.


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.

Scott MacIvor

Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Toronto Scarborough


My lab is interested in plant and pollinator interactions, community ecology and biodiversity in urban landscapes and other human-impacted environments in order to better understand and support ecosystem functioning and biological conservation in the planning and design of cities. Our goal is to link community-level conservation and ecosystem service delivery to urban planning and design. We believe that biodiversity can inform good design, and in turn, good design can support biodiversity.

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.

Lisa Myers

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


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.

Roderick MacRae

Associate Professor, Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change, York University.


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. 

Carly Rozins

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Science, York University.


I am a mathematical modeller. I use models to study the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases in livestock and wildlife populations. One area of interest is in how modern apicultural practices can impact local disease burden in managed and wild bees.

Research Associates

Sarah French

Post Doctoral Researcher, York University

I am an ecologist working with Dr. Zayed and the BeeCSI team to assess how hive-scale and landscape-scale factors and stressors interact to impact honey bee health in agricultural regions across Canada. My research interests include behavioural, community, and landscape ecology, and how these fields can be applied to conservation efforts. My past research has focused on invertebrate responses to environmental heterogeneity, spanning aquatic, terrestrial, and linked aquatic-terrestrial systems.

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.

Student Associates

Briann Dorin, PhD candidate

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

Nora Romero, PhD candidate

  • Research focus: taxonomic revision, systematics and biogeography of the Genus Liphanthus (Hymenoptera: Andrenidae).

Taylor Kerekes, MSc candidate

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

Taeyoon You, MSc candidate

  • Research focus: Identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms in Apis mellifera associated with expression levels of protein levels

Industry Associates

The BEEc Industry Associate category recognizes the importance of the community outside of academia in supporting the mandate of BEEc. Industry Associates may be affiliated with a research project, mentor students, host graduate research, or make other valuable contributions towards the success of BEEc and are subject to approval by the Executive Committee.

Sarah MacKell

Lead Biologist, Native Pollinator Initiative, Wildlife Preservation Canada

  • Sarah's graduate research was supervised by Dr. Sheila Colla and investigated whether urban honey bee hives negatively impact wild bees. Sarah collaborates with BEEc on priority research projects to conserve pollinators, especially bumble bees. WPC often co-supervises graduate student projects with BEEc researchers.