The Kinross Canada-Brazil Network
for Advanced Education and
Research in Natural Resource Management


Peter G Kevan

Position: Professor
Institution: University of Guelph
Mail Address: Department of Environmental Biology
University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1 Canada
Phone: 519 824 4120 ext. 52479
FAX: 519 873 0442

Academic Credentials

B. Sc. (Honours Zoology), McGill University
Ph. D. (Entomology), University of Alberta
Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society

Undergraduate Teaching Activities

ENVB*2210 Introductory Apiculture
This course is designed to acquaint the student with the broad field of beekeeping. It will include honey bee biology and behaviour, management for honey production, products of the hive, pests and enemies and the value of bees as pollinators of agricultural crops. (Also offered through distance education format.)

ENVB*3300 Applied Ecology and Environment
Environmental issues require scientific analysis. The applications of ecology, the science of diversity, abundance, and activities of living things and their interactions with the physical and biotic environment, are presented as the basis for sustainable agricultural practices, ecosystem rehabilitation, and conservation. Use of ecological principles in planning and policy are debated in local, regional, national, and global contexts.

ENVB* 4260 Field Entomology (Section II) (also as Arctic & Boreal Entomology (see below)).
An introduction to insect sampling, observation, and experimentation in field situations. Lectures and discussions on the biology of the insect fauna of the field site. Students conduct two projects (individual or small group): (1) a diversity study involving the observation, collection and identification of selected groups of insects and (2) a behaviour/ecology study utilizing experimental techniques to test hypotheses. Student evaluation based on participation in course activities and written reports. Course fees cover the costs of room, board, equipment, and transportation to the field station.

ZOO*4610 Arctic Ecology (co-teach with Prof Paul Hebert) The Arctic Ecology field course is designed to provide students with an introduction to Canada's arctic. The course provides experience with the plant and animal life found in marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems in the arctic.

Post-graduate Teaching Activities

ENVB*6520 Pollination Biology
Pollination biology is discussed from both entomological and botanical viewpoints, stressing fundamental and applied aspects. The diversity of pollination systems is discussed through examining the biodiversity of pollinators and the huge array and floral adaptations of plants requiring pollination by animals (insects, birds, bats) and wind and water. Energetics of pollinator foraging are coupled with floral characteristics that attract (colour, scent, size, shape, and other features) and reward (nectar, pollen, oils and others) pollinators and other insect visitors. The breeding and mating systems of plants are discussed, with evolutionary and conservation considerations. The complexities of community ecology with multiple species of pollinators and plants are discussed in terms of co-evolution, biogeography, interacting arrays of co-acting mutualists, and applications to conservation, environmental health, sustainability, and food and fibre security.

Other Teaching Activities

Arctic & Boreal Entomology (co-teach with Prof Rob Roughley, University of Manitoba)
in field school of The University of the Arctic and Churchill Northern Studies Centre.

This course is an introduction to the diversity, abundance, and activity of insect life across the northern tree-line.  Field visits to look for insects are made to the various habitats for the region, including seaweed strand, intertidal and flooded lands, brackish and fresh water seeps, streams, pools, ponds and lakes, wet and dry tundra meadows, peatlands, krumholtz, glacial morraines within and outside treed habitats, anthropogenically disturbed areas, undisturbed and burned forest.  Insect-plant and insect-flower associations are studied in all the appropriate habitats, and the insects, and other micro-arthropods of soils are examined.  Great emphasis is placed on the collection of insects by various methods from general and quantified sweep-netting and methods for collecting aquatic insects, and through passive collections methods by pit-fall, malaise, intercept, suction and light traps.  Berlese funnels are in play to obtain soil arthropods throughout the course.  Specimens collected are preserved by standardized methods, including pinning and preservation in liquid media, and are identified as far as possible as they are curated and labelled.  Field observations for insect behaviour and habitat preferences are stressed as important and are placed into the context of adaptations to the northern, and often chilly environment. 

Recent/Current Research Activities

  1. Conservation and pollination in fractured Carolinian forests in Ontario.
  2. Using pollinating bumblebees to vector biocontrol agents against greenhouse pests in vegetable production greenhouses.
  3. Pollination ecology in urban settings and City of Guelph pollination park.
  4. Honeybee dietetics and health.
  5. Comparative perception and learning in four species of managed pollinating bees.
  6. Biodiversity and genetic barcoding of insects in the Arctic.
  7. Biodiversity and genetic barcoding of Canadian bees.
  8. Floral features and pollination problems in greenhouse vegetable production.
  9. Principal Investigator for Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council proposal for national strategic network The Canadian Pollination Initiative.

General Research Interests

My general research interests are in ecology, especially of mutualisms and the composition of communities. The relationships of biodiversity and species abundances coincide in ecosystem function, stability, and health. My main focus has been in pollination biology from both zoological and botanical viewpoints in ecosystems from the tropics to the arctic, in agriculture from tropical plantations to temperate zone field crops and orchards to hydroponic greenhouses, and for conservation and sustainability. From a practical stand point, I am involved in studies on the biocontrol of plant pest insects and pathogens by using pollinators as vectors of the agents.
Through my interests in insect and flower interactions, I have an ongoing interest in the behaviour, perception and learning in insects, especially bees, and how to understand floral characteristics as they are used by insects.

Five Most Significant Publications

1) Taki, H., P.G. Kevan, J.S. Ascher. 2007. Landscape effects of forest loss in a pollination system. Landscape Ecology 22(10): 1575-1587.

2) Al-mazra’awi, M.S., J.L. Shipp, A.B. Broadbent and P.G. Kevan. 2006. Biological control of Lygus lineolaris (Hempitera: Miridae) and Frankliniella occidentalis (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) by Bombus impatiens (Hymenoptera: Apidea) vectored Beauvaria bassiana in greenhouse sweet pepper. Biological Control 37: 89-87.

3) das Neves, E.L., H. Taki, F.O. da Silva, B.F. Viana and P.G. Kevan. 2006. Flower characteristics and visitors of Merremia macrocalyx (Convolvulaceae) in the Chapada Diamantina, Bahia, Brazil. Lundiana 7(2):97-102.

4) Kevan, P. 2006. Entomology: A Celebration of Little Wonders. Gold Medal Address. Bulletin of the Entomological Society of Canada38(1): 4-7.

5) Kevan, P.G. and V. Imperatriz-Fonseca (Eds with assistance from G.W. Frankie, C. O’Toole, R. Jones and C.H. Vergara). 2006. Pollinating Bees: The Conservation Link between Agriculture and Nature (2nd edition). Ministry of Agriculture, Brasilia, Brazil. 336 pp.

Copyright University of Guelph 2008