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 Weston Family 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 more than 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 92 peer-reviewed articles, attracted over 10000 citations and achieved an H-index of 50. He is 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, and was elected to the College of New Scholars of the Royal Society of Canada in 2017.

For more on please see Nigel’s Q&A piece for Current Biology or check him out on Twitter (at) NigelERaine.

Dr. Amanda Liczner

Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2021-present)

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Amanda’s research examines how the foraging and dispersal behaviour of bumble bees change when exposed environmental stressors. Bumble bee movement behaviour will be monitored using radiotracking techniques in different landscapes. She is also working with University of British Columbia and Environment and Climate Change Canada researchers to synthesize challenges in conducting connectivity conservation research. Amanda completed her PhD in 2020 at York University supervised by Dr. Sheila Colla where she focused on identifying important habitat characteristics and conservation priority areas for North American bumble bee species. To find out more about Amanda’s research, visit her website or follow on Twitter.

Aaron Fairweather

PhD Student (2017-present)

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Aaron’s current research interests lie in investigating the sublethal effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on bee and ant behaviour. Their 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. They completed their BSc in Environmental Biology and their 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 their eight years of field collections at the New Brunswick Museum. Aaron loves to share their 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)

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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.

Kyr Lightburn

PhD student (2017-present)


Kyr is presently researching how grassland management impacts native pollinator communities, and how best to conserve biodiversity and pollination services in agricultural landscapes. Kyr’s PhD research is co-supervised by Profs. Rene Van Acker (Department of Plant Agriculture) and Nigel Raine (School of Environmental Sciences), and Kyr holds a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. Kyr completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at McGill University, before enrolling in OAC’s Bachelor of Science in Agriculture – Organic Agriculture program in 2012. 13 years of planting trees in the coastal mountain ranges of BC and the spruce swamps of Northern Alberta helped ignite Kyr’s passion for understanding biological systems and methods of minimizing human impact on biodiversity and natural ecosystems meanwhile producing adequate resources to promote healthy communities worldwide. In 2020 Kyr enjoyed teaching the University of Guelph’s Intro to Organic Agriculture course.  

Twitter @soil2skyecology   

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.

Samm Reynolds

PhD Student (2020-present)

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Samm 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 by email and found on Twitter (at) EntoSamm.

Tovah Kashetsky

PhD student (2022-present)

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Tovah is studying learning, memory, and decision-making in wild bees, and how these cognitive abilities vary across species and environments. After finishing her BSc in Biology and Psychology from Dalhousie University, she completed a MSc from McMaster University where I tested the effects of experience on collective decision-making using ants. Tovah is fascinated with animal behaviour and cognition, and would like to apply a cognitive perspective to conservation. Tovah’s PhD project is being co-supervised by Dr. Jessica Forrest at the University of Ottawa. She can be contacted via email tkash084 “at” or follow her on Twitter.

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. She can be contacted via email at sharkeyj (at) and found on Twitter (at) janean_sharkey

Hayley Tompkins

MSc student (2018-present)

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Hayley is working on an 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 have been 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. Hayley is also a passionate science communicator and national winner of the NSERC Science Action video competition in 2018. 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 Handler

Sage 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.

Lucie Vézina

MSc Student (2021-present)

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Lucie is working on MSc thesis (co-supervised by Dr. Dirk Steinke) analyzing the diversity of cavity-nesting pollinators and the pollen they collect across Canada. This project is in collaboration with the Bees@Schools program, where classrooms all over the country contribute to the data collection by setting up nest boxes at their school (or the teacher’s backyard to accommodate remote learning). Lucie will be using genetic barcoding methods to identify which species nested in the nest boxes and what pollen they gathered.

Lucie completed her undergraduate degrees at the University of New Brunswick with a BA in Sociology and a BSc in Biology. She is deeply passionate about the natural world and the different interactions that occur – including how people fit in. She is hoping to make science more accessible and understandable and combine her background in sociology with her love of the outdoors.

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.



Claire Rubens

Research Associate (2020-present)



Claire is currently working on bee biodiversity as part of a wider project assessing pollinator communities on farms subject to different grazing practices with Kyra Lightburn. Claire has been a 1in3mouthfuls team member since 2016 when she joined as an undergraduate researcher. Claire completed her MSc thesis, entitled “Changes in composition and structure of a wild bee community and plant-pollinator interactions in South-Central Ontario over a forty-nine year period”, in 2019 (