What's New?


CANPOLIN Research Digest Now Available!

booklet cover CANPOLIN is pleased to announce that "Pollination Nation", a plain language research digest that highlights over 30 research projects from the Network, is now available. Click on the link below to learn more about what went on in the labs and field sites of CANPOLIN researchers.

Pollination Nation (for viewing online)

Pollination Nation (high res version for printing)

New Webinar Announcement

webinar graphic Join us in December for two additional webinars. The first will focus on bee-vectored biocontrol technology. The second will address the current status of coffee pollination and areas for future research.

As always, participation is free, but pre-registration is required.

For more details about each webinar, click on the webinar of interest:

Bee-Vectored Biocontrol Technology
Thursday, December 4, 2014 **note NEW time**
11am-12pm Eastern Standard Time (Toronto/New York)   

Coffee Pollination - Thursday, December 4, 2014
12:30pm-1:30pm Eastern Standard Time (e.g. Toronto, New York)
11:30am-12:30pm Central Standard Time (e.g. Mexico City, Regina)

Completed webinars will also be available for viewing on the CANPOLIN Youtube channel.

Pollination in Lowbush Blueberry:
A Summary of Research Findings from the Canadian Pollination Initiatve

booklet cover Lowbush blueberry served as a model system for several CANPOLIN researchers exploring questions around insect pollination and plant reproduction. The Network is pleased to announce the release of a resource booklet for lowbush blueberry growers that summarizes five years of research in this important crop.

The booklet is available in both English and French (click on the language of your choice below to download as a PDF).

English | Francais (for viewing online)

English | Francais (high res versions for printing)

Canadian-Latin American Crop Pollination Webinars Announcement

webinar graphic Join us this month for a three-part webinar series on crop pollination. Each webinar will focus on a crop of joint interest to Canadian and Latin American agriculture: greenhouse crops, pome fruits and oilseeds. The webinars will feature expert presentations that address our general state of knowledge and identify areas for future research, and provide an on-line discussion forum. Participation in each one-hour webinar is free of charge but pre-registration is encouraged.

For more information about webinar presenters or how to join, click on the webinar of interest:

Greenhouse Pollination - Friday, March 21 @ 11 am EDT    REGISTER NOW
Pome Fruit Pollination - Tuesday, March 25 @ 12 pm EDT    REGISTER NOW
Oilseed Crop Pollination - Thursday, March 27 @ 2:30 EDT    REGISTER NOW

WATCH completed webinars online on CANPOLIN's Youtube channel.

Floral Calendar for all of Canada Launched

floral calendar Floral calendars are an essential tool for beekeepers. They provide information on the yearly cycles in the flow of nectar for honey production and availability of pollen. With most traditional information on floral resources now largely out of print, NSERC-CANPOLIN has developed two online floral calendars with financial support from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and in-kind support from Seeds of Diversity. The original site focuses just on Ontario, and the new expanded sites includes plants for all of Canada. Mobile versions are also available. Click on the links below to explore the sites!

Canada Floral Calendar (+ mobile version)
Ontario Floral Calendar (+ mobile version)

Bumble Bees Learn by Observation and In-Hive Communication

BMP Bumble bees surprise researchers with their apparent ability to teach their sister bees how to forage on a strange new artificial flower resource – sometimes without even leaving the hive. Researchers at the University of Guelph say the bees appear to be learning by observation and, in some cases, by some mysterious form of in-hive communication.

Read the full press release here.

Symposium & Roundtable Highlight Major Research Findings

AGMCANPOLIN's final AGM was held on October 22 as part of the Entomological Society of Canada's Annual Meeting in Guelph, Ontario. Participants enjoyed a full day symposium highlighting the Networks' achievements over the last five years. The day was capped off with a banquet for Network members. Many of the presentations can be downloaded in PDF form from the Presentations page.

A special roundtable event, "Mobilizing Pollination Research in Canada" followed on October 23rd. Co-hosted by the U of Guelph, the event was held to share research results with stakeholders and to create a forum to discuss next steps. Working group leaders and representative from government, industry and ENGOs all participated and the roundtable generated much enthusiasm and ideas. Download the final report here.

You can also read more about this event in the Guelph Mercury.

Photos: (top) Peter Kevan launches the CANPOLIN Symposium at the ESC meeting; (middle) Etienne Normandin, Valerie Fournier and Amelie Gervaise at the CANPOLIN banquet;(bottom) Jeremy Kerr presents a synthetic overview of CANPOLIN's research progress at the Roundtable.

Short Course Teaches Bee Diagnostics

course participants Thanks to researchers in WG2, a big part of CANPOLIN's legacy is a new found capacity in Canada for diagnosing and quantifying honeybee pathogens including viruses, Nosema and American Foulbroud. This expertise now resides in labs at the Universities of Guelph and Manitoba, as well as the new National Bee Diagnostic Centre associated with Grand Prairie Regional College in Beaverlodge, Alberta. In late August, CANPOLIN sponsored a week-long course at the NBDC where six participants working in the field of bee health were trained in a variety of diagnostic techniques. This unique short course represents an important step in transfering to end-users some of the knowledge and technology developed by CANPOLIN bee health researchers, and it is hoped that similar training opportunities can be offered again in the future.

Grad Students Share Learnings and Hone Professional Skills

BMPEighteen CANPOLIN graduate students from across Canada gathered at Simon Fraser University in late July to share research techniques in pollination biology and hone some of their professional skills. The three-day workshop featured a day of presentations by graduate students sharing methodologies they have refined or developed through their individual research projects followed by a special half-day workshop on R led by CANPOLIN post-doc Scott Chamberlain. The workshop then switched gears to address a range of professional skills, including grantsmanship, time management, writing an effective CV and public speaking. The event wrapped up with a special career roundtable with guests discussing career options in different sectors.

Download the "Tips and Tricks Guide" (based on student presentations)

Photos: Some of the techniques shared during the workshop included conducting pollen limitation studies(top); exacavating the nests of ground nesting bees (middle left); and quantifying and sampling pollen (middle right). Bottom: Q&A during the career roundtable.

Climate Change and Invasive Species Front and Centre at Workshop

BMPCANPOLIN and the Arctic Institute of North American co-hosted a workshop at the Kluane Lake Research Station in the Yukon on July 22-25. About 25 researchers from academia, government and First Nations took part in the workshop. Participants took advantage of the opportunity to share learnings, identify emerging issues and develop new collaborations to address issues related to pollination, climate change and invasive species in northern and alpine ecosystems.

Right (top):I Participants in the workshop pose for a group photo at the Kluane Lake Resarch Station (bottom): a view of the local scenery at Kluane National Park and Reserve.

Researchers Using Math to Answer Bee Questions

arizonaA special CANPOLIN one-day workshop on bees and math took place in Tempe, AZ on June 14. CANPOLIN researchers and colleagues from the US, Australia and Europe shared new mathematical approaches to a range of questions including the economics of crop pollination, hive population dynamics, modelling air flow within hives and applying artificial intelligence models to understand pollination networks in ecology.

CANPOLIN Researchers in the News

Vancouver Sun Laurence Packer is interviewed by Radio Canada International and Elizabeth Elle discusses bee decline with the Vancouver Sun.

PLUS! Read the recent special in The Walrus magazine on"The Fight of the Bumblebee" which features interviews with several Network members.

“Thieving" Bees Serve as Window to Health of Bee Communities

BMPA recent study by CANPOLIN researchers offers a new perspective on how to judge the health of bee communities: use cleptoparasitic bees as ecological indicators. Cleptoparasitic bees or "cuckoo" bees don't collect pollen, instead parasitizing the nest of other bees. Their dependence on other species makes them especially useful in evaluating the health of the overall bee community.

Read the full press release here.

CANPOLIN Launches New Website on Crop Pollination

BMPNSERC-CANPOLIN is pleased to announce the launch of a new website dedicated to best management practices for crop pollination in Ontario. The site is packed with information about pollinators and plant mating systems, and how to maximize pollination and production in over 35 crops. The website was created with the financial support of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and the University of Guelph through the Knowledge Translation and Transfer (KTT) program. Seeds of Diversity is hosting the website.

Click here to explore the website.

CANPOLIN Hosts Workshop on Pollination and Land Rehabilitation

On September 29 & 30, CANPOLIN hosted a workshop in Columbus, Ohio, dedicated to exploring the role of pollination in land rehabilitation. This event provided a timely and valuable opportunity to assess the current state of knowledge and to identify research priorities. Approximately 30 pollination biologists, conservationists, and restoration ecologists from academia and non-governmental organizations participated.

The final report from the workshop is available here.

gravel pit








Fungus Fights Deadly Bee Mites in a Two-Pronged Attack

Varroa miteBee researchers at the University of Guelph have found that fungi used in the biological control of Varroa mites may protect bees by both infecting the mites and preventing suppression of the bees' own immune response.

Read the full press release here



Secrets of the Museum: Historical Insect Collections Reveal Several Bee Species in Decline

A new study of North American bumble bees by CANPOLIN researchers has identified 11 species indecline and recommends immediate conservation efforts for the most endangered species.

Read the full press release here




Cross-Atlantic Researchers Collaborate on Analyzing
Pollination Network Data

CANPOLIN mathematicians and their colleagues in the European research Network STEP (www.step-project.net) joined forces for a three day workshop at Aarhus University in Denmark August 22-24, 2012 to address STEP and CANPOLINthe important topic of how to interpret and analyze data from plant and pollinator network studies. This workshop featured a day of public presentations, followed by two days of brainstorming sessions and identifying joint projects. The workshop was hailed by all participants as a great success, and will result in a real synergy between the two research groups.

Click here for more information about the workshop.




Bees + Math = x ?

This years Annual Meeting of the Society for Mathematical Biology, being held July 26 in Knoxville, Tennessee, will feature a mini-symposium on bees and pollination. Presentations include "Modelling plant-pollinator interactions with mixtures of linkage rules" by WG5 grad student Liam Callaghan, and "On honeybees, varroa destructor,and deadly diseases: A mathematical approach" by WG2 researcher and symposium organizer Hermann Eberl.Further information is available from the Society's website.


Special Issue of Botany Showcases CANPOLIN Research


A special issue of the journal Botany is set to showcase to the world the multipronged-approach that Canadian researchers are bringing to the study of pollination biology. The journal's July issue features articles from NSERC-CANPOLIN researchers examining topics that range from the effect of flower structure on pollinator activity to the impacts of recent climate change on pollinator ranges.

Read the full press release here

Botany (July 2012), vol.90 no. 7



Bee Researchers Develop New Tool to Fight Honey Bee Virus

apis mellifera wing virusFeeding honey bees double stranded RNA can protect them against the destructive Deformed Wing Virus, a pathogen linked to colony losses.

Read the full press release here.

Watch the video on CBC news here.




summit poster
Buying Into Biodiversity

Last week, the 2012 Muskoka Environmental Summit brought together prominent scientists and influential policy makers to discuss critical questions about biodiversity and the environment.

CBC's radio program "Ideas" presents highlights from closing panel discussion featuring Karen Kraft Sloan (Chair of the Board of Directors), Jeremy Kerr (Predictions Working Group Leader) and other prominent environmental scientists.

To listen to the show, click here.

Dancing in the Dark: The Intelligence of Bees

honey bees

Bees are remarkable among insects. They can count, remember human faces, and communicate through dance routines performed entirely in the dark. But are they intelligent? Even creative? Bee aficionado and former CANPOLIN writer-in-residence Stephen Humphrey, along with a hive of leading bee researchers and scientists, investigates the mental lives of bees on the CBC radio program "Ideas".

To listen to the show, click here.

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yellow banded bumblebee

Mystery of bumblebee declines continues

Disease spread from commercial greenhouses,
pesticides, and habitat loss are not as important in recent bumblebee declines as previously suspected, according to a new study by CANPOLIN researchers in the journal Conservation Letters.

Read the full press release here.


Bees in the Neighbourhood

WG5 Research Associate Tom Woodcock was featured on the CBC radio program Ontario Today, where he advised gardeners how to deal with ground nesting bees.

To listen to the interview, click here


WG7 Launches New Monitoring Tool for Pollinators

eButterfly is a new online interactive Lepidoptera database that invites contributions from butterfly enthusiasts across the country. The data will help researchers understand and mitigate impacts of global change on Canadian butterfly diversity, and help conservation biologists decide where conservation efforts should be focused.

Read the full press release here or connect straight to eButterfly.ca



CANPOLIN Holds Second Pollinator Identification Course

This year’s course was highly successful, with 19 students from various institutions attending five days of bee and five days of syrphid identification.  We received very positive feedback on this year’s course and our thanks goes out to everyone for their participation.  Tremendous gratitude as well to instructors Chris Thompson and Jeff Skevington (Syrphids), Corey Sheffield and Jason Gibbs (Bees), and TA’s Andrew Young and Michelle Locke, whose expertise was invaluable in making this year’s course a worthwhile experience.  2012 Course Participants

In the News: WG4 Researcher David Greene discusses the impacts of a warming climate on pollen allergies

CANPOLIN researcher David Greene

Read the full article in the Montreal Gazette

CANPOLIN researcher helps solve mimicry mystery in the Syrphidae

Toxomerus geminatus

Many species of flower flies resemble, to varying degrees, wasps and bees. This mimicry helps avoid predation by birds, but biologists have often wondered how species with only a passing likeness have persisted, when conventional wisdom suggests they should be selected against. WG1 researcher Jeff Skevington and colleages at Carleton University have determined that the most likely explanation is related to body size - there is less selection for "mimetic fidelity" in smaller hoverfly species because they are less profitable as prey. The findings have been published in Nature. Read the BBC write up here.


Pollinating Bees Can Now Suppress Crop Pests

Read about new developments in pollinator biovectoring in field and greenhouse crops in a recent article in The Grower.


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CANPOLIN researcher Elizabeth Elle discusses British Columbia's native bees and their importance to BC agriculture in "Profitable Pollinators"


New Audio Bee Booth Installed at Greenway Blooming Centre


With financial support from TD Friends of the Environment, NSERC-CANPOLIN is pleased to have facilitated the installation of an “Audio Bee Booth” at Greenway Blooming Centre, a CANPOLIN partner. The Audio Bee Booth is an amplified nesting cabinet which provides habitat for wild solitary native bees (which are not social insects such as honey bees or bumble bees) while providing an accessible window to the public to enhance our understanding and appreciation of our local pollination ecology. Aesthetically compelling, immersive and informative, the Audio Bee Booth melds habitat interpretation, bio-art, sound-installation and sculpture, providing a unique public outreach and education tool.

For more information about the Audio Bee Booth, please visit the Resonating Bodies website by installation artist Sarah Peebles. (Photo by Rob Cruikshank; Woodburnings by Chris Bennett)



CANPOLIN Hosts Joint Canadian-Latin America Crop
Pollination Workshop

Researchers from NSERC-CANPOLIN met with their Latin-American counterparts at a workshop held in Cholula, Mexico, on June 30. The workshop, held in conjunction with the X International Symposium of Pollination, was designed to bring together pollination experts to assess the state of knowledge on pollination on crops of mutual interest, and to establish a foundation for future collaborative research. Funding for the workshop was provided by NSERC’s Strategic Network Enhancement Initiative.


Participants at the Crop Pollination Workshop held at the Cholula Ethnobotanical Gardens.


CEC Urged to Consider Importance of Pollinators


Melanie McCavour, an associate of CANPOLIN at Concordia University, was invited to speak to federal environment ministers of Canada, Mexico and the United States about importance of
tri-lateral action to protect pollinators as part of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation's annual Council session. The statement was well received and there is considerable interest in including pollinator protection under the auspices of the CEC.

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Winter 2013 (PDF)

Spring 2013 (PDF)

Winter 2012 (PDF)

Spring 2012 (PDF)

Winter 2011 (PDF)

Spring 2011 (PDF)

Winter 2010 (PDF)

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Winter 2009 (PDF)

Summer 2009 (PDF)

Spring 2009 (PDF)

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