Professor Nigel Raine

Rebanks Family Chair in Pollinator Conservation

Nigel Raine

Nigel is a global leader in the fields of animal behaviour, pollination ecology and pollinator conservation. He is the Rebanks Family Chair in Pollinator Conservation at the University of Guelph, a position endowed by The W. Garfield Weston Foundation. Nigel’s work combines internationally excellent research, significant engagement with policy-makers and other conservation-relevant stakeholder groups, and teaching the world’s first pollinator conservation course.

Nigel has been lucky enough to spend two decades investigating bees and their intimate relationships with flowers on three continents. Before moving to Canada in 2014, he studied at the University of Oxford, worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Sheffield and Queen Mary University of London, and held his first faculty position at Royal Holloway University of London.

Nigel has published 74 peer-reviewed articles, attracted almost 6000 citations and achieved an H-index of 40 (see Google Scholar). He is a member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada, and an elected fellow of both the Royal Entomological Society (FRES) and the Linnean Society of London (FLS). In 2014, Nigel was recognized as a World Economic Forum Young Scientist – one of 40 “outstanding researchers under the age of 40 from around the globe pioneering new fields and leading in the pursuit of answers for global impact and the common good”.

For more on Nigel please see his Q&A piece for Current Biology.

Dr. Alana Pindar

Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2015-present)

Alana Pindar

Alana’s current research involves investigating the impacts of global change on wild bees: specifically, how stressors interact and which play the most significant roles in affecting wild bee populations (see publications). She recently led a comprehensive review to identify, prioritize and assess evidence from the peer-reviewed and grey literature and produce a report on the Status and Trends for Pollinator Health in Ontario for the Ontario Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). Alana was the 2016 recipient of the prestigious Webster Postdoctoral Fellowship in Environmental Sciences. In 2015 she coauthored a significant paper in Science on the responses of bumblebees to climate change around the world. Alana has a strong track record of fieldwork, sampling wild bees and pollinators throughout her MSc and PhD studies (“The effect of fire disturbance on bee community composition in oak savannah habitat in Southern Ontario, Canada“, supervised by Prof. Laurence Packer). She is a skilled taxonomist with expertise identifying the wild bees of Ontario and Eastern Canada, an invaluable asset to the provincial pollinator monitoring work of the Raine lab.

Dr. Ana Montero-Castaño

Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2018-present)

Ana Montero smaller

Ana’s research focuses on understanding the factors that shape and alter pollination interactions and their cascading effects on plant-pollinator communities. In that sense, she is interested in both the disruptive effects of global change drivers, and also in the success of conservation measures to maintain and restore such interactions. During previous work at Doñana Biological Station, Ana studied the effects of invasive plants and commercial pollinators on native pollinator communities across multiple levels of organization (from individuals to communities) and a range of spatial scales (from immediate vicinity to landscape) (see publications). Her goal now is to explore the role of different conservation measures in maintaining abundant, rich and healthy pollinator communities while providing pollination services. For that reason, Ana is especially interested in agricultural and urban systems, where several conservation measures (e.g., floral strips, artificial nests, pollinator gardens, etc.) are already applied, mainly in Europe and North America. However, evidence about the efficacy of these conservation measures is still lacking as well as about the implications for pollinator health, behaviour and evolution of attracting them to human altered ecosystems.

Aaron Fairweather

PhD Student (2017-present)

Aaron Fairweather for web

Aaron’s current research interests lie in investigating the sublethal effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on bee and ant behaviour. His goal is to explore eusocial insect behaviour including colony establishment, foraging, and interspecific interactions, as well contribute to the body of literature on a class of insecticides whose potential effects on non-target organisms are of current concern. Aaron’s expertise is in ecology, entomology, and taxonomy. He completed his BSc in Environmental Biology and his MSc “How is ant diversity impacted by anthropogenic disturbance” (supervised by Prof. Alex Smith) both at the University of Guelph. Aaron has received New Brunswick Wildlife Trust Fund support from 2014-2017, and recently created a species list of the ants of New Brunswick using his eight years of field collections at the New Brunswick Museum. Aaron loves to share his enthusiasm for entomology, leading educational hikes on ants and pollinators, and was interviewed for the “Every Living Thing: experiencing a Bioblitz documentary”.

Kiera Newman

PhD Student (2017-present)

Kiera website pic

Kiera is a PhD candidate exploring the behavioural and biological responses of pollinators to various environmental stressors and the conservation strategies needed to ensure healthy future populations. Her work will assess current nesting and foraging resources of wild bees and monarch butterflies and the impact of anthropogenic influences on those resources. Kiera will also be studying the intersection between monarch conservation practices and the impact of massive floral plantings on wild bee populations. Her research goals aim to inform conservation planning for productive agricultural systems and biodiverse natural ecosystems.

Kyra Lightburn

PhD student (2017-present)

Kyra Lightburn

Kyra is particularly interested in researching how agro-ecosystem management impacts native pollinator communities, and how best to conserve biodiversity and pollination services in agricultural landscapes. Her PhD research is co-supervised by Profs. Ralph Martin (Department of Plant Agriculture) and Nigel Raine (School of Environmental Sciences), and she holds a Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science & Technology and a University of Guelph Graduate Entrance Excellence Scholarship. Previously, Kyra completed a BSc in Agricultural Science at the University of Guelph and a BA in English at McGill University.

Kayla Mundy-Heisz

PhD student (2017-present)

Kayla Mundy

Kayla is working on an MSc thesis, studying interactive effects of pesticides on the life cycle of bumblebees. She is particularly interested in expanding current end-point assessments of pesticide toxicity to bumblebees and has a host of broader interests including pollinator ecology, interactive stressors in the environment, integrative pest management and agri-environment schemes.


Sabrina Rondeau

PhD student (2018-present)

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Sabrina is currently studying the exposure and impact of pesticide mixtures in ground-nesting bees, using the hoary squash bee (Peponapis pruinosa) and the common eastern bumble bee (Bombus impatiens) as agriculturally relevant model species. More precisely, her PhD research aims to (1) explore exposure to pesticide residues in soil for bees that nest or hibernate underground, and (2) address the potential sublethal effects of a combined exposure to field-realistic levels of fungicides and insecticides on the development of ground-nesting bees and on the hibernation success and colony initiation of bumble bee queens. Sabrina has a broad interest in sustainable food production, with a research focus at the interface of pollinator conservation and crop protection. Concurrently with her studies, Sabrina has the honour to collaborate with the Arrell Food Institute as an Arrell Scholar. She is also the co-initiator of Abeilles citoyennes, a citizen science project monitoring pollinator biodiversity in Quebec’s agricultural areas, as well as the recipient of a Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies (FRQNT) Doctoral Scholarship. Sabrina previously studied the biocontrol of varroa mites in honey bees during her master’s in Plant Biology at the Université Laval (Quebec). To learn more about her research, visit ORCID, ResearchGate, or follow her on Twitter.

Leah Blechschmidt

MSc student (2017-present)

Leah Blechschmidt - Headshot

Leah is an M.Sc. student in the Raine lab studying how land use impacts pollinator populations in apple orchards across Ontario. This will provide insights into how the design of agroecosystems and the surrounding landscape impacts natural populations of bees, as well as whether habitat loss can be mitigated by on-farm habitat. Additionally she will investigate whether differences in diversity and abundance of wild pollinators have apparent impacts on the resulting fruit quality of apples. Leah has received numerous awards for her research including NSERC, the Macson Entrance scholarship, and the Graduate Excellence Entrance scholarship. Throughout her studies she has also had the honour of working with the Arrell Food Institute, including as a member of the inaugural cohort of research assistants in the Food From Thought-Arrell Food Institute collaboration. Prior to starting her Master’s, Leah completed a B.Sc. in biology from the University of Waterloo and then went on to work in various sectors including research in mining, invasive species, species at risk, environmental consulting, and English instruction abroad in South Korea.

Emily Agar

MSc student (2016-present)

Emily Agar

Emily rejoined the lab in January 2018 to start her MSc project examining the impacts of anthropogenic and environmental changes on Pennsylvania bee communities over the last century, in collaboration with Dennis VanEngelsdorp. In 2017 Emily graduated from the BSc in Wildlife Biology and Conservation, with a minor in Geographical Information Systems, at Guelph. She has been heavily involved in the comprehensive Ontario wild pollinator monitoring project since first joining the team as a work studies student in January 2016, and has also completed an an independent research project assessing the effects of land use changes on population dynamics of wild bee communities in Caledon county as part of her undergraduate studies.

Janean Sharkey

MSc student (2018-present)

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Janean is a MSc student in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph. During her graduate research she is assessing factors which influence native bee success under different levels of restoration and management in tallgrass prairie and oak savanna, a rare fragmented habitat in southern Ontario. The projects key aim is to link overall native bee community metrics with habitat selection, nest density and spatial ecology of bumble bees to inform habitat management strategies to support native bee populations and contribute to a better understanding of native bee ecology and life history. She was the recipient of the rare Ages Foundation Bursary in 2018 and the Ontario Graduate Scholarship in 2019.

Janean graduated from Trent University with a BSc degree in Biology with an emphasis in Conservation Biology after completing her honours thesis using laboratory and field trials to study tallgrass prairie restoration success. She has over a dozen years of experience conducting biological research and has pursued practical applications of conservation and community ecology for both private and public sectors, primarily working in BC, where she was a Registered Professional Biologist with the College of Applied Biology, as well as in Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick and Washington State. Much of her work has involved species at risk, biodiversity monitoring, habitat restoration and research in disturbed habitats.

Hayley Tompkins

MSc student (2018-present)

Hayley Tompkins_Field Photo

Hayley is in the first year of her MSc project in the Raine Lab. Her research, in collaboration with Wildlife Preservation Canada (WPC), focuses on the use of artificial nest boxes to study nesting habits and colony development of wild bumblebees. Artificial nest boxes will be installed and monitored at sites historically or currently occupied by species at-risk, to determine the efficacy of artificial nest boxes as a conservation and monitoring tool. In 2017, Hayley served as the Field Biologist in Ontario for WPC’s Native Pollinator Initiative, and was selected as a LoyaltyOne Young Conservation Leader. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Geography with a minor in GIS and Environmental Analysis from the University of Guelph, and is a graduate of Seneca College’s Environmental Technician – Sampling and Monitoring program. Hayley is a passionate field biologist, and enjoys studying bumblebees and other pollinators. In the off-season, Hayley works as a part-time faculty member at Seneca College, to share her passion for pollinator conservation with her students.

Sage Handler

MSc Student (2019-present)

Sage HandlerSage is working on her MSc thesis investigating the distribution of wild cavity-nesting bees across Canada. She is collaborating with the Bees@Schools project which is run by her co-supervisor Dr. Dirk Steinke from the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics. Sage will use DNA barcoding to identify the bee larvae that nest in the nest boxes and the pollen they eat. She has been a part of the Raine Lab since summer 2017 as an undergraduate research assistant and led volunteer organization for the Ontario Wild Pollinator Monitoring Program for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. She can be contacted via email at shandler (at) and found on Twitter (at) HandlerofBees.

Samm Reynolds

MSc Student (2020-present)

photo Sarah MackellSamm is currently working on a MSc thesis investigating the effect of different habitat types on the abundance and diversity of native pollinators. Her work is conducted on agricultural land in Ontario in hopes of understanding how to increase sustainable agriculture practices. She is focusing her work primarily on flower flies and native bees and identifying each specimen to species level using taxonomic keys and DNA barcoding! Samm has been collaborating on this project with the Canadian Wildlife Federation and expert fly taxonomist Dr. Jeff Skevington since the summer of 2019. Her master’s project is being co-supervised by Dr. Andrew Young and Dr. Nigel Raine. Samm is a passionate conservationist and loves to discuss all things nature and sustainable living in her free time. She can be contacted at and found on twitter @EntoSamm.

Sarah Mackell

BSc Student (2017-present)

Sarah MackellSarah is a BSc student in the Environmental Science (Co-op program), majoring in ecology. She has completed four co-op terms related to how agricultural practices impact the environment including soil, water and the atmosphere. Sarah is conducting an independent research project course to investigate the potential effects of neonicotinoid exposure on bumblebee (Bombus impatiens) flower choices. Her research interests are how multiple stressors in agricultural settings impact bumblebee population dynamics and pollination services.

Eden Gerner

BSc Student (2017-present)

Eden Gerner

Eden is a BSc student in the Environmental Biology major and is working on an independent research project to investigate wild bee abundance and diversity in raspberry crops in southern Ontario. Previously, she has worked on wild pollinator monitoring projects in horticulture crops with Hannah Fraser (OMAFRA).

Amanda Hill

BSc Student (2017-present)

Amanda Hill crop

Amanda is a BSc student in the Environmental Sciences, majoring in ecology. She joined the team as a work studies student and is working on the lab Ontario wild pollinator monitoring project.


Sisley Irwin

BSc Student (2018-present)

Sisley Irwin crop

Sisley is a BSc student in the Wildlife Biology and Conservation major.  She is funded by an NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA) and will be working alongside members of this lab on a project using automatic radio tracking of pollinator movements at a landscape scale.


Rachel Lee

Lab Coordinator (2018-present)

Rachel Lee

Rachel helps track grant funding and coordinate purchasing for the Raine lab’s research efforts. She is also a part of the Feeding 9 Billion initiative, working to develop evidence-based educational materials around the issue of food security.