BEEc - Bee Ecology, Evolution and Conservation

Welcome to BEEc – an interdisciplinary initiative that strives to advance research in the fields of bee ecology, evolution and conservation.


The mission of BEEc is to foster interdisciplinary, innovative, collaborative, and cutting-edge research to be used for the advancement of knowledge and implementation of policy changes to help sustain pollinators globally.


BEEc is a consortium connecting a network of interdisciplinary experts with the purpose of pushing innovative limits in bee research, education, public outreach, and policy. The team is comprised of researchers studying various topics relating to bees such as genomics, taxonomy, evolution, behaviour, disease control, pollination, ecology, and conservation. The objective of BEEc is to promote and support the exchange of cross-disciplinary expertise and use it to further our understanding of these vital organisms. The ultimate goal is to apply our collaborative efforts to the development of policies and environmental management for the long-term sustainability of bees and the ecosystem services they provide.


York University houses a diverse group of researchers studying various aspects of bee biology. Dr. Amro Zayed, YorkU’s research chair in Genomics and BEEc director, uses genomics to understand why native bees and honey bees are declining, and develops tools to circumvent these declines. Dr. Sheila Colla studies the variety of factors affecting native bee decline, and develops conservation efforts for these important pollinators with a special focus on at-risk bumblebees. Dr. Laurence Packer, a Distinguished Research Professor at YorkU, studies native bees and is constantly contributing new species records to the global list of over 20 300 species.  He has built and continues to maintain the largest Canadian collection of bees, currently estimated at over 500k specimens from all over the globe. Dr. Sandra Rehan is an expert on social insect genomics and pollinator health combining molecular evolution, behavioural ecology, population genetics, and phylogenetics to understand the sociobiology, biogeography, nutritional requirements, and sustainability of bees. Dr. Jane Heffernan, director of YorkU’s Center for Disease Modelling, is applying her modelling skills to help understand how pathogens and pests affect colony health. Collectively, BEEc is able to apply a diverse set of tools to carry out cutting edge scientific research on bees which will help secure their health and the health of important crops and plants that rely on bees for pollination.

More information about what we do and why we do it! BEEcInAction