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Speaker Series

The goal of the Centre for Bee Ecology, Evolution and Conservation (BEEc)'s Speaker Series is to provide opportunities for BEEc associates and invited guests to learn from each other. While only open to BEEc associates, we often are able to record presentations for others to view - please see below for those recordings, or subscribe to our YouTube Channel to receive the most up-to-date notifications on new recordings!

At 11am Eastern Time, on the second or third Friday of every month, we will feature a different topic related to bees. These will be presented through a private Zoom meeting: please check your e-mail for the meeting link, which will be sent out to all BEEc Associates each month. Check out the line-up of speakers who will be joining us:

Upcoming Talks (all at 11am Eastern Time)

Friday, January 12, 2024 - Dr. Makaylee Crone, Nutritional ecology across bee species


Most bee species consume pollen and nectar produced by flowering plants, which vary considerably in their macro- and micronutrient concentrations, to meet their nutritional needs. Bees’ nutritional needs vary by physiological condition (e.g., developmental stage, disease state, etc.) and across species. The Nutritional Geometric Framework theory predicts that bees will forage across plants with different nutrient ratios to meet their nutritional requirements. Thus far, studies of the nutritional needs of bees and nutritional properties of plants have been limited to only a small number of taxa. To design plant communities and habitats to best support bees, we must improve our understanding of bee nutrition across species and physiological states, as well as how we can meet these needs with different plant taxa. Here, I increase our understanding of bee nutritional ecology by (1) evaluating how physiological state (exposure to pesticides) influences nutritional needs of honey bees (Apis mellifera L.), (2) characterizing, for the first time, the nutritional needs of mason bees (Osmia cornifrons Radoszkowski) during development and describing foraging preferences and behaviors of egg-laying females as they provision their brood cells, and (3) determining how urban landscape area influences the foraging preferences, nutritional preferences, and brood cell production of the large-headed resin bee (Heriades truncorum L.). 

Friday, February 9, 2024 - Hadil Elsayed, Bee community composition across various landscapes in a protected area


Rapid global declines in insect biomass and diversity are threatening essential ecological functions and many ecosystem services that humans rely on. One such ecosystem service is pollination, where many flowering plants require the pollination services of insects, primarily bees to survive. This global decline is a multifaceted dilemma that is impacted by land-use change, the introduction of alien species, and climate change. Protected areas act as important habitat refugia for bees in highly human-affected landscapes and are important for their long-term conservation with the increasing impacts of anthropogenic threats. The Long Point World Biosphere Reserve, Ontario’s first Priority Place, is one such important area that is the focus of this study. Bees were sampled using malaise traps within different protected areas and landscapes in the region from May – August over three years (2021 – 2023). The goal of this research is to understand how bee diversity differs across different landscapes within protected areas and how this diversity is being impacted in the short-term by interannual climate variation.

Friday, March 8, 2024 - Shelby Gibson, Pollination of culturally significant medicine and food plants in the Great Lakes Region


Both plant and pollinator populations have experienced declines globally in recent years. While species declines have been examined for their impact ecologically, little is known about how species declines will impact humans culturally. Many Indigenous cultures in North America use plant species for food and medicine. Plants considered important to a specific culture are known as cultural keystone species. With the global decline in plant and pollinator species, this study aims to determine the role of wild pollinators to cultural keystone plant species. Access to information on breeding systems and important pollinators is crucial information for management of a plant species, especially if the plant is experiencing population declines (e.g. at-risk, endangered). This research focuses on the breeding system and pollination of culturally significant Three Sisters garden system, Hopi tobacco (Nicotiana rustica) and common bearberry (Arctostaphylos uvaursi).

Friday, April 12, 2024 - Briann Dorin, Bee conservation in pollinator-independent crop systems


Bee diversity is important for the pollination of many agricultural crops and wild plants. However, in agricultural landscapes bees are exposed to many threats including habitat loss and degradation, pesticide exposure, and interactions with non-native organisms such as managed bees. With resulting concerns over bee declines, research has aimed to determine how we can best promote and conserve bees in agricultural lands - oftentimes with the goal of maintaining or enhancing crop pollination services. This has left many crop systems, primarily those that do not require animal pollination, understudied. I will discuss our current state of knowledge on bee conservation in pollinator-independent crops and the results of a research project in one such crop type - the wine grape (Vitis vinifera). Grapes are grown in several regions globally across various environments and within Canada are the third largest fruit crop in terms of total planted acreage. My research project aimed to determine the impacts of several vineyard management practices and surrounding land-use variables on wild bee communities in Niagara, ON vineyards. Through collaboration with grape growers, this research hopes to inform pollinator conservation actions and the policy supports required for their widespread adoption. Future research directions and knowledge mobilization plans will be discussed.

Watch your e-mail for a private Zoom meeting link to view these presentations live.

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Scroll down for Past Presentations, Videos of Selected Presentations

Keep scrolling down the page to see the list of past presentations and recordings (where permissions were given for public posting). Or visit our YouTube Channel to see the recordings from all our speaker series, webinars, conferences.

Past events:

2022-2023 Speaker Series Events

September 15th 2023: Pollen foraging mediates exposure to dichotomous stressor syndromes in honey bees with Dr. Sydney B. Wizenberg (No Recoding Available)
October 20th 2023: Economic implications of reduced stress testing in honeybee colonies with Sam Luik (No Recoding Available)
November 10th 2023: Regulatory changes underly the transition to social behavior in C. calcarata with Dova Brenman-Suttner (Recording will not be made public until results are published)
January 12th 2024: Nutritional ecology across bee species with Dr. Makaylee Crone

2022-2023 Speaker Series Events

September 16, 2022: Systems biology of complex phenotypes, with Dr. Syed Abbas Bukhari (No Recording Available)

October 21, 2022: Evolution of sociality and parental care in Ceratina bees, with Dr. Michael Mikát

November 18, 2022: Honey bee exposure to multi-stressor landscapes, with Dr. Sarah French (No Recording Available)

December 16, 2022: Metagenomics and metatranscriptomics of small carpenter bees (Ceratina calcarata), with Dr. Katherine Chau

January 13, 2023: The Evolution of Bee Brood Parasitism, with Dr. Trevor Sless

February 17, 2023: Effects of dune stabilization on bees and aculeate wasps in the southern Canadian prairies, with Dr. Tom Onuferko

March 17, 2023: The evolution of protein soup in male ejaculate, with Dr. Bahar Patlar. (Note: recording will not be made public until results discussed are published).

April 14, 2023: Solutions for Farmers and Food for Bees : From knowledge on bee nutrition to actions promoting bee conservation, with Dr. Mathilde Tissier

2021-2022 Speaker Series Events

The talks below were those where the speakers gave us permission to record and share their presentations. We thank the other speakers who shared their knowledge with us as well.

April 1, 2022: Rare Plants in Southern Ontario's Woodlands: Where Are They, What Limits Them and Who Pollinates Them?

with Dr. Jenny McCune, Assistant Professor, University of Lethbridge - view the poster

March 4, 2022: The Role of Heterogeneity in supporting Wild Bee Biodiversity in Canadian Agroecosystems

with Dr. Jess Vickruck, Research Scientist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada - view the poster

Dec 3, 2021: Recommendations for Canada's First National Pollinator Strategy

with Dr. Rachel Napela, York University - view the poster

Nov 5, 2021: Bees, Math, & Collaborations

with Drs. Jane Heffernan and Amro Zayed, York University - view the poster

Oct 1, 2021: Early Insecticide Controversies and Beekeeper Advocacy in the Great Lakes Region

with Dr. Jennifer Bonnell, York University - view the poster

Summer 2021 - Beyond the Buzz: Examining Bees Through an Interdisciplinary Lens

Bees, People, Science & Others

  • July 9, 2021 with Kathleen Law, Pollinator Partnership Canada, and Dr. Clement Kent, York University - view the poster

Bees, Land & Food Justice

  • June 4, 2021 with Dr. Sheila Colla, York University, Adrianne Lickers Xavier, McMaster University, Dr. Sarah Rotz, York University - view the poster

2020-2021 Speaker Series Events