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Sandra Rehan

Sandra Rehan

Picture of Sandra Rehan
Sandra Rehan
Associate Professor



Eligible to Supervise

Biology Graduate Program


Office Location Farquharson Building, 109A
Phone Number (416)736-2100 x 77822 (Voicemail)

About Me

The Rehan lab research focus is bee biodiversity and social evolution. We have a special interest in the origin and maintenance of social behaviour in bees. The lab has three main foci: molecular phylogeny, behavioural ecology, and comparative genomics. We employ these three levels of biological integration to study bees at multiple evolutionary scales. Research in the lab ranges from natural history and taxonomy to molecular phylogenetics and biogeography. We study solitary and weakly social bees to understand the genetic underpinnings and ecological constraints selecting for social behaviour.  Work in the lab includes field observations to explore the life history and ecology of bees in their natural habitats and lab based experiments to investigate behavioural plasticity.  We use genomics to uncover the genetic basis of group formation and transcriptomics to understand the epigenetic modifications involved with social experience.

In studying bee biodiversity, we have a strong passion for documenting these charismatic species. Using macrophotography and microscope imaging, we are able to capture the distinct morphologies and showcase the beauty of wild bees. We also use these techniques to aid in training bee taxonomy, archiving specimens, and describing new species. The conservation of wild pollinators requires in-depth knowledge of their diversity, habitat requirements, and responses to environmental stress. We conduct long term studies of bee biodiversity across landscapes to determine plant-pollinator associations and the status of wild bee communities. Historical data and experimental manipulation of landscape settings allows us to determine the habitat requirements and status of wild bee species to make sustainable land use and conservation recommendations. Our biodiversity survey specimens offer invaluable data to discover cryptic species, study species ranges, adaptation and ecological niches using comparative morphology, population genetic, and geospatial modelling techniques.

Research Areas

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology