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Fundamental research provides an opportunity to better understand the mechanisms that cause different observable outcomes and how to predict future outcomes. Beyond this research, researchers at the Centre for Bee Ecology, Evolution and Conservation is also actively involved with on-the-ground projects to connect with people outside of academia and improve outcomes for bees. Find some of our active projects below:

Finding Flowers Project

“Finding Flowers”, focusses on pollinator conservation through ecology, art and pedagogy and aims to take a biocultural and interdisciplinary approach to investigate plant-pollinator biodiversity in Canada, while also expanding Indigenous art history and curatorial practices.

Lead researchers: Dr. Sheila Colla and Lisa Myers
Media provided by: Dana Prieto
Video editing, voice-over and audio: Kennedy Halvorson

Finding Flowers Project is supported in part by funding from the Government of Canada’s New Frontiers in Research Fund (NFRF).

Follow the project on Instagram!


The causes of honey bee declines are complex, variable over space and time, and often difficult to identify. Beekeepers and government regulators lack the appropriate tools to quickly diagnose and differentiate among the multiple stressors impacting colonies, which has hindered their ability to manage and improve bee health.

Our Genome Canada funded project aims to improve the health of honey bees by developing BeeCSI - a new health assessment and diagnosis platform.

Led by Professors Amro Zayed (York University) and Leonard Foster (University of British Columbia), our team of researchers from 5 provinces across Canada is performing experiments to identify biomarkers for specific stressors. Our biomarkers can then be used to quickly screen for stressors affecting bees before colonies decline.

Bumble Bee Watch

Bumble Bee Watch is a community science project through the partnership of The Xerces Society, the University of Ottawa, Wildlife Preservation Canada, BeeSpotter, The Natural History Museum, London, and the Montreal Insectarium.

Participating in Bumble Bee Watch is simple and you can get started now! Once you have an account, go out and check your garden, in parks, or any other natural areas you frequent for bumble bees. Be sure to snap a photo (learn more about how to photograph bees here) and then sign in and submit your data via our Bumble Bee Sightings form. Have fun while learning more about bumble bees and the vital role they play in our environment!

Download the app!

Toronto Pollinator Protection Strategy

The goal is to identify what additional actions can be taken by the City and the community to protect, enhance and create habitat for pollinators, such as bees and butterflies. The City of Toronto is already doing many things to support pollinators, but we know there is more to be done.

For more information on the strategy, please visit: livegreentoronto

Packer Lab Bee Galleries

Each gallery includes images of one male and one female of each taxon, with some exceptions. If you have specimens of any taxon that are not present in our image bank, please consider letting us borrow a nice specimen for imaging or taking an image for us.

The Packer Lab Bee Collection contains over 300,000 specimens from over 100 different countries and representing approximately 90% of the ~510 known bee genera, globally!

Research Publications

The projects on this page are supported by the fundamental research conducted by faculty, students, partners, and associates of the Centre for Bee Ecology, Evolution and Conservation (BEEc).

While based at York University, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, BEEc is a interdisciplinary research unit that collaborates with other researchers across the planet.

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.