EVENTS

To build this envisioned international coalition — and invite you into it — we’re organizing two online series to bring us all together: a quarterly Symposia Series and Honey Bee Watch Café. Both are free and open to the public.

Symposia Series
Each symposium will feature one issue integral to HBW — monitoring, data rights and sharing, defining “wild” during the 2023 year — with invited guests presenting a brief overview of their individual projects, plus experiences with and thoughts on the respective topics. A panel discussion will ensue, followed by an audience Q&A (time permitting).
To register, send an email with your name and which session(s) you'd like to attend to ambeessadors@gmail.com. Registrants will receive speakers' materials to review in advance. Sessions will be recorded and the videos sent to everyone on the list.

Honey Bee Watch Café
During the interim months, we'll host supplemental gatherings, aka Cafés, whereby you and other participants from around the world can present your free-living honey bee stories. If you'd like to share yours, fill out our quick application (scroll to the bottom of the page). Zoom link below.

 

Symposia Series

#1 — 28 June 2023 (17–19h CEST)
The Case for Protocol Standardization: Monitoring

The kickoff symposium tackles protocols, namely which data points we request citizen scientists and research partners collect when monitoring free-living nests and untreated colonies in apiaries, the two types of naturally surviving honey bee populations that we're studying.

Intending to become the world’s greatest repository of data on survivors, Honey Bee Watch strives to standardize protocols to a great degree, then share them far and wide in order to ensure parity of data globally. But how do you converge monitoring protocols from projects with different research goals, that have spanned varying time frames, that do or do not involve citizens, and with origins in countries as diverse as Serbia, Ireland, UK, US, and beyond?

Meet these four experts, who will share their projects, stories, opinions, and monitoring protocols:

DR. JOVANA BILA DUBAIĆ
UNIVERSITY OF BELGRADE, RS

Jovana holds a PhD in ecology and works as an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Biology, University of Belgrade. Her area of expertise includes ecology, biogeography, and environmental protection, with her research focusing not only on honey bees, but on all bee species and their roles in the context of agro- and urban ecology. In the last 5 years, Jovana has developed a special interest in free-living honey bees. Her passion for science and biology extends beyond academia, as she actively engages with a wide audience through social media, public lectures, talks, scientific events, and workshops. CENTER FOR BEE BIOLOGY, INSTAGRAM
DR. GRACE MCCORMACK 
UNIVERSITY OF GALWAY, IE

Grace is a Professor of Zoology at University of Galway, Ireland, and runs its Honey Bee Research Centre. Her interests lie in evolutionary biology and particularly in using molecular data to understand how organisms are related to each other and the impacts this may have on conservation and the evolution of organismal traits. Grace has been beekeeping for seven years and currently manages 15 colonies. She became interested in free-living colonies in 2015, and has been investigating their survival, diversity, and distribution since as part of the Wild Honey Bee Study. She is interested both in conservation of Apis mellifera mellifera and resilience of untreated bees to Varroa and other challenges introduced by humans.
UNIVERSITY OF GALWAY, GALWAY HONEY BEE RESEARCH CENTRE
FILIPE SALBANY 
BLENHEIM PALACE, UK


Filipe’s work involving wild and managed honey bees across different environments in Africa, North America, Europe, and the UK, led him to discover a special population at Blenheim Estate, a 3,000-acre property featuring the largest collection of ancient oaks in Europe. In order to protect this rare ecosystem, especially its treasured Apis mellifera population, he’s written a Conservation Covenant, which strives to preserve a massive 12,000-acre area. Supported by more than half a decade of experience, he’s committed to protecting local ecotypes, researching tree-canopy and -cavity dynamics, and investigating the resilience of unmanaged honey bees in their natural settings. BLENHEIM ESTATE
PROF. THOMAS SEELEY 
CORNELL UNIVERSITY, US (NY)

Thomas is the Horace White Professor in Biology Emeritus at Cornell University, within the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior. From 1980–2020, he taught courses on animal behavior and conducted research on the behavior, social life, and ecology of honey bees. He’s also an avid beekeeper, which he started in high school in the late-60s. In recognition of his scientific discoveries and books — Honeybee Ecology, The Wisdom of the Hive, Honeybee Democracy, Following the Wild Bees, The Lives of Bees, and Bee Works — he was elected a member of both the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the German National Academy of Sciences. He writes, “For me the most important ‘prizes’ are the discoveries I’ve made about the natural lives and inner workings of honey bee colonies.” CORNELL UNIVERSITY

#2 — 28 September 2023 (17–19h CEST)
Sharing Is Caring: Unraveling Data Rights & Sharing

Citizen science prioritizes collaboration, with scientists relying on the contributions of individuals, who collect essential data for their research. A simple enough concept, but when you scratch the surface, complexities and nuances are quickly revealed.

As a participating Bee Guardian citizen registering qualifying colonies into Honey Bee Watch, would you willingly share the bees' locations, periodic observational details, your name, contact info? As a researcher 
potentially entering into a global study like ours, what general concerns do you have regarding data rights, data sharing, crediting, publishing, etc.?

We'll discuss these questions and more with three panelists, who have been collecting data from scores of individuals across vast lands, and who have dealt with data sharing issues before:

ROGER DAMMÉ 
HONEY BEE WILD, LU


After studies in Information Technology, Roger first worked for a bank, then a hospital. He has been a hobby beekeeper since 1997, and was active for about 20 years in the local beekeeping association as well as in the Luxembourg Beekeeper Federation. He's also a member of Mouvement Ecologique, a Luxembourg environmental association, where he volunteers to monitor pollinators and pesticides. Since a few years ago, he has also been participating in the search for and monitoring of free-living honey bees within the Honey Bee Wild initiative. HONEY BEE WILD
PAOLO FONTANA 
EDMUND MACH FOUNDATION, IT

Paolo is a naturalist, entomologist, and apidologist. Born in Vicenza in 1965, he has always lived in Isola Vicentina (Veneto, Italy). After graduating in Agricultural Sciences and getting a PhD in Applied Entomology, he worked at the University of Padua until 2009, and since then at the Edmund Mach Foundation. He is the author of about 280 scientific and popular publications, as well as several monographs, including Il Piacere delle api (2017), which was published in English as The Joy of Bees in 2019. He has been a beekeeper for more than 30 years and recently founded a professional beekeeping company.
EDMUND MACH FOUNDATION
NOA SIMÓN DELSO 
BEELIFE, EU

Noa is Scientific Director and Project Manager at BeeLife, a nonprofit working to improve conditions for bees and pollinators by influencing regulatory issues at an EU level. She holds a PhD in Agricultural Science and Bioengineering; an MSc in Economy, Management and Consumer Studies; and is also a veterinarian. She specializes in environmental toxicology (particularly on bees), environmental policy, and honey bee health, and through such projects as Apimondia’s BeeXML, The Internet of Bees, and the EU Pollinator Hub (and previous developmental phases The Bee Hub proof of concept and The Bee Partnership Prototype Platform) has worked extensively in the fields of data standardization and implementation.
BEELIFE

#3 — 13 December 2023 (17–19h CET)
"Wild", "Free-Living", "Feral": Definitions for Consistency

Honey bees are in a rare category within the animal kingdom, straddling wild and domesticated. In 2014, the IUCN assessed Apis mellifera in Europe, conferring a “data deficient” Red List status due to the difficulty of identifying and discerning wild populations. What defines “wild”? Why is this term so controversial? Does "wild" apply to the colony itself or entire self-sustaining populations too?

If scientists can accept a common definition, will we then be able to accurately reassess their Red List status as well as advance with coordinated conservation efforts internationally? During this talk, our guests will also talk about the usefulness of standardizing other terms and the benefits of widely distributing such a shared glossary.

DR. HANNES BONHOFF 
HONUNGSBIFÖRENINGEN, SE


Originally from Berlin, Hannes was drawn into the world of bees and beekeeping when he inherited his father's apiary about a decade ago in Sweden. With a background in research, Hannes soon immersed himself in scientific texts about bee biology. Inspired by the insights gained, he now seeks to support honey bees by adopting bee-friendly and sustainable methods, protecting wild honey bee colonies in his hometown Halmstad, designing and producing loghives, as well as writing a blog, magazine articles, and a book (in the works); maintaining a Facebook group; offering courses and talks; pursuing research; and serving as co-founder and chairman of the honey bee association, Honungsbiföreningen. HONUNGSBIFÖRENINGENINSTAGRAM
M. ALICE PINTO 
INSTITUTO POLITÉCNICO DE BRAGANÇA, PT


Alice developed a keen interest in honey bees during her PhD research, while studying a fascinating feral population living in oak trees on a wildlife refuge in Texas, US. For her dissertation she examined the genetic changes in this population undergoing Africanization. Currently, her main research interests involve uncovering the processes, both natural and human-mediated, that shape extant genetic diversity patterns in honey bee populations, with a specific focus on understanding the basis of local adaptation in different subspecies. CIMO
DR. FABRICE REQUIER
UNIVERSITÉ PARIS-SACLAY, CNRS, IRD, UMR EGCE, FR


Fabrice is a researcher in ecology based in the EGCE lab (Évolution, Génomes, Comportement et Écologie), University of Paris-Saclay, France. His research focuses on pollinator responses to changes in landscape structure, exposures to agrochemicals and pressures from (invasive) biotic factors, as well as the subsequent implications for biological conservation and ecosystem services. For this he generally combines the use of lab experiments, field monitoring, and modeling techniques, and has a growing interest in inclusive socio-ecological approaches. Fabrice's work is oriented towards applied perspectives, including the development of decision-support tools for informing environmental policies and stakeholders. EGCE
MICHAEL JOSHIN THIELE 
APIS ARBOREA, US (CA)

Michael’s pioneering approach to apiculture and honey bee conservation has appeared in national and international magazines, books, and films. He has presented his work at Harvard University & New York University, consulted for the USDA, and in 2006 founded Gaia Bees to advance biodynamic practices in apiculture. In 2017 he founded Apis Arborea to create new pathways of apiology, promote self-willed ecological processes, and the use of a holistic, system- and science-based framework in working with bees. Michael was born and educated in Germany, and currently lives with his family and an infinity of bees in the oak woodlands of Northern California.
 APIS ARBOREA, INSTAGRAM
Honey Bee Watch Café

During the months in between symposia, we'll host informal gatherings, whereby you can share real-life experiences with free-living honey bees, whether related to science, personal observations, theory, or practice. These will be free-form "virtual handshake" sessions, a place to hear people's stories, learn about studies around the globe, glean new ideas, make connections, get inspired, and become part of our family of bee experts and enthusiasts. 

Thursday, 20 July (19–20h30 CEST // 18–19h30 BST // 1–2:30pm EDT // 10–11:30am PDT)
Thursday, 17 August —
CANCELLED
Thursday, 19 October (19–20h30 CEST // 18–19h30 BST // 1–2:30pm EDT // 10–11:30am PDT)
Thursday, 16 November (19–20h30 CET // 18–19h30 GMT // 1–2:30pm EST // 10–11:30am PST)


No registration required. Just sign into Zoom and join the conversation.

If you'd like to sign up to give a 10–minute talk, fill out this Google Form application. We'll review applications and pick up to four talks per event. If you have any questions, email Steve Rogenstein at ambeessadors@gmail.com.

Contacts

Project Director: Steve Rogenstein at The Ambeessadors
Science Director: Arrigo Moro at University of Galway

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