Globe and Mail science feature on the Kerr lab research project, eButterfly.

Interview on Quirks and Quarks following announcement of a national ban on neonicotinoid pesticides: link here. Canada will join France as the second country in the world with this ban. A triumph for evidence-based decision-making.

Jeremy’s full interview on Quirks and Quarks on neonicotinoid pesticides is live.

Jeremy Kerr is quoted in Popular Science on the issue of how and why neonicotinoid pesticides harm pollinators.

Calgary’s hive hobbyists raise awareness for honeybees
Media: The Globe and Mail
Date: September 25, 2015
Encouraging honeybee colonies in cities can be helpful but let’s remember the native pollinators also. 

Vanishing Canada: Why we’re all losers in Ottawa’s war on data
Media: Maclean’s 
Date: September 18, 2015
Harper’s Government has destroyed/degraded Canada’s capacity to measure most everything. Ideology before evidence.

How climate change shrank the tongues of  long-tongued bumblebees
Media: The Atlantic, Science Magazine, The Scientist, Mother Jones, Grist, etc. 
Date: September, 2015
Comments/perspectives on new research on rapid evolution in bumblebee traits as an indirect result of climate change.

1 in 6 species at risk without action on climate change, study finds 
Media: The Globe and Mail
Date: Thursday, April 30, 2015
Consensus predictions for climate change impacts indicate sharp increases in extinction rates 

‘Brontosaurus’ comes thundering back in science’s name game
Media: The Ottawa Citizen
Date: Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Taxonomic revisions are common and can change the public perceptions of well-known species.

Three species of bats added to Ottawa’s endangered animals list
Media: The Globe and Mail
Date: Friday, December 19, 2014
After a two year delay, and in contrast with rapid provincial action, the federal government has at last responded positively to the emergency listing request put forward by COSEWIC in 2012.

Protection for at-risk species falters
Media: The Globe and Mail
Date: Monday, December 1, 2014
Canada’s federal government has prevented new species from being added to the at-risk list for years, in apparent contravention of the requirements of the Species At Risk Act.

Bumblebees in trouble 

Media: CBC Radio 1
Date: Thursday, June 5, 2014
Bumblebee species are in danger of extinction and they need your help. Citizen science for bumblebees! 

Long winter may have lasting effects across Ontario
Publication: Global News
Date: Tuesday, April 15, 2014
After a long and cold winter, the first of its kind in decades, there could be substantial biological consequences, like rolling back newly-established populations of giant swallowtails across Eastern Ontario. Such species arrived recently because of rapid climate changes.

UN climate body backtracks on risk of species extinction
Publication: Toronto Star
Date: Monday March 31st, 2014
With regards to the risk of species extinction and climate change, Jeremy Kerr, Department of Biology, discloses that, "there is a lot of evidence of biological impact (of climate change) but there is not much evidence of specific extinction."

Biologists wait to see whether warm-weather insects survived brutal winter
Publication: Ottawa Citizen
Date: Tuesday April 1st, 2014
The giant swallowtail is a gorgeous butterfly from Canada’s extreme south. Biologists won’t know for certain until warm weather begins, but they’re watching to see whether the butterfly and other warm-weather insects will survive the coldest winter in 20 years. Jeremy Kerr, Department of Biology, reveals that this year will be especially insightful for understanding how climate change is going to alter the geographic range of species.

Monarch butterfly count in Mexico reveals steep decline
Publication: Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Austrian Tribune, Ottawa Citizen
Date: Tuesday March 26, 2014
Overwintering monarch butterflies in Mexico have declined sharply once again. The latest population size is the smallest ever recorded. Jeremy Kerr, uOttawa Research Chair in Macroecology and Conservation, comments on causes and prospects for recovery.

A Note on Media Engagement:
The Kerr Lab does a lot of media work around biodiversity conservation, climate change, and the need to defend science in Canada, among other areas. It’s just a normal part of the job, but it is important to remember that working with the media means keeping a different set of rules in mind when having a conversation. First and foremost: YOU’RE ON THE RECORD. It is possible to have conversations on background information, but this must be agreed explicitly in advance. Otherwise, when you say something, you might be quoted on it. This can be embarrassing if you get taken out of context. Everyone makes mistakes when working with the media - might as well just accept that - but learn from every experience. Refine. Repeat. Improve. And be very careful about distinguishing what can be said confidently on the basis of scientific knowledge and what may be a matter of personal opinion, ethics, politics, etc. 

We’ve been on CBC’s The National several times, other national news things (Global and CTV), local TV news, lots in the Toronto Star and Ottawa Citizen (never in the National Post though.... and I’m fine with that) and other papers in North America, and a lot of radio, especially CBC Radio 1. We did a show with Rick Mercer once around our anti-malaria intervention and research - that was an incredibly interesting experience too. He’s extraordinarily funny and none of his hilarious remarks with us were scripted. 

The trick is: care about what you’re saying and say it concisely, accurately, memorably, and WITHOUT JARGON. 

We also give a fair number of science presentations in areas beyond traditional scientific venues. We think this is particularly important these days, as there is an unusual amount (for Canada) of disinformation about basic scientific evidence for conservation and global change. We need to present the evidence as it actually exists to enable more informed decision-making. 

Public decision-making isn’t going to be made better if scientists don’t help the general public and political establishment understand the nature of discovery and the evidence that exists for some of the most pressing environmental challenges.


Media engagement around “Climate change impacts on bumblebees converge across continents”, published in Science in July, 2015

Media coverage for this paper was global and in many languages. We have not tracked all coverage. The publication of this paper, edited by Dr. Sacha Vignieri at Science, was the subject of a press event that the American Association for the Advancement of Science organized. The AAAS and their chief press officer, Natasha Pinol, decided this work seemed significant (we were just happy to have addressed the reviewers’ comments) and we worked with them and our colleagues at York and University of Calgary to assemble multimedia materials for the onsite press event. Natasha’s efforts deserve great credit and so do those of the uOttawa media crew. Here is a partial list of media that excludes much non-English coverage and most radio broadcasts. We will expand the list when we have a more complete picture of how this work was covered.

The broadcast media and newspapers continue to include excellent, highly professional people who try to get the facts correct. There are also “the crazies”, but they’re not very subtle and so far we’ve avoided them successfully (except around the bumblebee work - they found us). It takes practice to communicate in brief and comprehensible terms, but I don’t usually find it too hard to do. Practice helps. So does a bit of background reading on how to work with the media without leaving your scientific integrity at the door.

We were misquoted a few times and some media outlets suggested that climate change is a silver bullet killer for bumblebees, and that nothing else matters. That just isn’t right at all and it isn’t what we said. It isn’t even what we implied. We did find a distinct effect of climate change that was not due to neonicotinoids or habitat changes, but we already know those factors kill bees. Honestly, how anyone can find it surprising that insecticides kill insects is beyond me (neonicotinoids are insecticides). Nevertheless, neonics and habitat losses are not a silver bullet explanation any more than climate change is. We are hitting bees with everything we’ve got. It’s like claiming that because smoking causes lung cancer, it is impossible to suffer health problems for any other reasons. 

Oh, and this work led to many wingnut emails also. We have been informed, in no uncertain terms, that we are secret agents for the pesticide industry, that cell towers cause global pollinator declines, and that Satan is responsible. Oh yes, and that tomatoes don’t need bumblebees. Ever. The climate change deniers trolled out over this too, but didn’t say anything unusual or factual. We receive many nice messages also. 

Similar publications:      
Bumblebees being crushed by climate change (Science Magazine)
Climate change crushes bee populations (Nature Magazine)
Climate change causing bumblebee habitat loss, say scientists (The Guardian)
Bumblebees trapped by warming climate, study finds (Globe and Mail)
Le territoire des bourdons se rétrécit sous l'effet du réchauffement climatique (Le Monde)
El mundo se queda sin abejorros (El Pais, in Spain and Brazil)
Klimawandel verkleinert Lebensraum fur Hummeln (Frankfurter Neue Presse)
Bees Are Losing Their Habitat Because of Climate Change (Time Magazine)
Buzz Kill for Bumblebees: climate change is shrinking their range (NPR All Things Considered)
Bumblebees Are Being Bumped Off by Climate Change, Scientists Say (NBC News)
10 Things to know for Friday (ABC News)
Bumblebees feeling the sting of climate change (CBS News)
Buzzkill: Global Warming Is Wiping Out the Bees (U.S News and World Report)
Climate 'vice' constricts bumblebees' natural ranges (BBC News)
Climate vice squeezes bumblebee habitat from north and south (New Scientist)
Climate Change Is Shrinking Where Bumblebees Range, Researchers Find (New York Times)
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Rising temperatures due to climate change are latest threat to bumblebees (Los Angeles Times)
Bumblebees Are Getting Trapped In A 'Climate Vise' As Hotter Temperatures Shrink Habitats (Think Progress)
Bumblebees Are Getting Squeezed by Climate Change (
Climate change is killing off bumblebees: study (CBC National)
Global warming shrinks range of pollinating bumblebees (Scientific American)
We’re boiling the bumblebees (Business News Network)
Bumblebees Can't Handle the Heat, Can't Escape the Kitchen (Slate Magazine)
Buzzkill: global warming shrinks range of pollinating bumblebees (Daily Mail UK) (Aussi paru dans | Also appeared in 3 autres sources d'information | 3 other news outlets)
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Le fragile vol du bourdon (Le Devoir)
(21:27 - 23:55) The National for July 9, 2015 (CBC News The National)
Study blames climate change for shrinking bumble bee populations (CTV News National) (Aussi paru dans | Also appeared in 27 autres sources d'information | 27 other news outlets)
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(3:20 - 5:40) Global National – July 9 (Global News National)
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Bumblebees squeezed by 'climate vise,' study says (Ottawa Citizen) (Aussi paru dans | Also appeared in 8 autres sources d'information | 8 other news outlets)
Déclin rapide des bourdons en raison des changements climatiques (Le Droit)
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Bumblebees and Narrowing Range: Climate Change is Only Reason (Nature World News)
A 'Climate Vise' is Squeezing Bumble Bees' Range (Climate Central)
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Earth Is Losing Its Bumblebees (Live Science)
Climate Change is Destroying Bee Habitat and Shrinking Bumblee Populations (Science World Report)
Global Warming Causing Great Loss of Bumblebee Habitat, Say Researchers (Sci-News)
Here's Why All the Bees Are Dying (Mother Jones)
It's too hot for bumblebees in the south—and they're not moving north (Quartz)
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Bumble bee ranges rapidly shrinking across continents due to climate change (660 News)
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