Alana Pindar Taylor

Ph.D., York University
M.Sc., York University
B.Sc., Acadia University
Email: antaylor@yorku.ca

Research Interests

Ultimately, the long-term goal of my PhD research is to contribute to our understanding of how fauna, in particular bees, respond to fire. The response to fire by plant species is well known. Clarke (2008) discusses the importance of fire in ecosystems worldwide and cautions' meeting the needs of plant species alone to manage fire dependent ecosystems. In comparison to the number of studies that have reported the impacts of fire on plants, the number of studies that have investigated how fauna respond is much less. This is alarming since so many land managers believe that fire increases biodiversity in a habitat, yet the evidence for this is generally lacking.

The response to fire by pollinators, particularly bees, has rarely been examined worldwide. Surprisingly, even though fire has been re-introduced to oak savannah habitat, the effects have not been studied, until recently. Taylor (2007) examined changes in bee communities over a 20-year period in 3 oak savannah remnants in Southern Ontario. Results show that after a fire, bee communities responded rapidly to the changing habitat conditions. Post fire bee communities were higher in diversity, however this increase in diversity was short lived.

The purpose of my current work is to provide further insight into how bee faunas respond to fire, examine how bee communities re-colonize a habitat after a fire, assess whether fire is a positive or negative disturbance to bee communities overall and whether it impacts different guilds, or species within a guild, in different ways. While my MSc research examined impacts on samples collected based on historical fire events my PhD will be the first research, which investigates the impacts of fire on bee communities experimentally. This work will be done by conducting controlled burns within an experimental design framework. A controlled burn plan was established in conjunction with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources in oak savannah sites that have never been burned.


  • Kerr JT, Pindar A, Galpern P, Packer L, Potts SG, Roberts SM, Rasmont P, Schweiger O, Colla SR, Richardson LL, Wagner DL, Gall LF, Sikes DS, Pantoja A. 2015. Relocation risky for bumblebee colonies-Response. Science 350: 287. doi: 10.1126/science.350.6258.287 Full text
  • Kerr JT, Pindar A, Galpern P, Packer L, Potts SG, Roberts SM, Rasmont P, Schweiger O, Colla SR, Richardson LL, Wagner DL, Gall LF, Sikes DS, Pantoja A. 2015. Climate change impacts on bumblebees converge across continents. Science. 349: 177-180. doi: 10.1126/science.aaa7031 Full text
  • Sheffield CS, Pindar A, Packer L, Kevan PG. 2013. The potential of cleptoparasitic bees as indicator taxa for assessing bee communities. Apidologie, 44:501-510. doi: 10.1007/s13592-013-0200-2 Full text
  • Sheffield CS, Kevan PG, Pindar A, Packer L. 2013. Bee (Hymenoptera: Apoidea) diversity within apple orchards and wild habitats in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia. The Canadian Entomologist, 145: 94-114. doi: 10.4039/tce.2012.89 Full text
  • Taylor A, Catling P. 2011. Bees and butterflies in burned and unburned alvar woodland: evidence for the importance of postfire succession to insect pollinator biodiversity in an imperiled ecosystem. The Canadian Field-Naturalist 125(4): 297-306. Online
  • Taylor A, Packer L. 2007. Bees as bioindicators for oak savannah restoration. Journal of Insect Conservation and Diversity.

Favorite Recipe

[Alana and Sean]

Whatever Sean is making!


  • Ask Sean


  1. Ask Sean

[Sean fooling around]

Funniest Research Story

I was collecting in Southern Ontario (Turkey Point to be exact) one afternoon in July 2008 and after lunch I thought I would check out my pan traps and see if they had caught anything in the morning. I was just about finished checking the traps when I heard a rumble behind me. Not taking it serious at all, I continued checking my traps when all of a sudden a giant turkey came out of no where and chased me and pecked my behind as it was chasing me! I was screaming so loud in the park that the superintendent heard from his office and came to find me. I was OK until the next day when I returned to the lab and could not sit down for my lower half was extremely sore. So yes, I was attacked by a wild turkey in Turkey Point checking pan traps.

[Laurence in a good mood]
Dr. Laurence Packer
Ph.D. (Toronto)
Professor of Biology
416-736-2100 ext. 22663
[Packer Collection @ York University]
[Biology Department @ York University]
Lumbers Building 345
York University
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, Ontario
M3J1P3, Canada