The diversity and abundance of insect pollinators are in a global state of decline. This decline represents a serious threat to the integrity of natural ecosystems and the production of many crops. Both managed pollinators (e.g., honeybees, leafcutter bees, bumblebees) and wild pollinators (e.g., numerous native bees, flower flies, moths) are suffering from a range of threats, including diseases, pesticide exposure, malnutrition, habitat loss and climate change.
In order to protect the vital ecological and agricultural services that insect pollinators provide, it is critical to develop a better understanding of pollinators, the plants that they serve and how environmental factors influence pollination systems. NSERC-CANPOLIN offers a unique, integrative approach to exploring the full scope of the pollination problem in Canada, from pollinator health and conservation to gene flow in plants, the impact of climate change and the economics of pollination.
With 44 researchers at 26 institutions across Canada, NSERC Canadian Pollination Initiative Challenge (CANPOLIN) brings together many of the nation’s leading experts in entomology, plant biology, ecology, genomics, predictive modeling and economics. Research activities fall under four themes (Pollinators, Plants, Ecosystems, and Prediction and Economics), and each theme has two working groups. Extensive connections exist between themes and working groups, and most Network members belong to at least two working groups, reflecting the truly multidisciplinary scope of the Network.
The Network secretariat is based at the University of Guelph, where Dr. Peter Kevan serves as the Scientific Director. Research activities are overseen by a Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) consisting of academic, industry and government stakeholders, international advisors and theme leaders from the Network. A Board of Directors provides overall governance, as well as financial and scientific leadership. The Network also has several government, industry and NGO partners.
NSERC-CANPOLIN will make major contributions to the conservation of pollinator and plant biodiversity, improve the health of managed bees, enhance pollination by native pollinators and increase our knowledge of flower/pollinator interactions and gene flow in plants. The Network will also provide critical information on the economic aspects of pollination and future management needs based on expected changes in climate and land use. Ultimately, the information gained by the Network will provide policy makers and the wider public with the necessary tools to better protect and conserve some of Canada’s most important natural resources.