Wild bees and their world.

Our lab focuses on the biology and evolution of wild, solitary bees. We use phylogenomics to reconstruct evolutionary relationships, employ collections-based data to document local and global patterns of biodiversity, use metagenomics to characterize the microbial community of the bee brood cell, and seek to understand the role that wild bees play in crop pollination.

Areas of Interest


We are actively researching bee and wasp phylogenetic relationships through the use of high throughput DNA sequencing.


Bee Diversity

We are currently involved in a three-year exhaustive survey of the bees of New York State. This project is part of the larger National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators [pdf].

Bee-microbe Interactions

We are exploring the diversity of microbes associated with solitary bee brood cells through high-throughput DNA sequencing.

Pollination Biology

We are documenting the important role of wild, native bees in agricultural pollination.

Bryan Danforth

Principal Investigator

Bryan N. Danforth

Department of Entomology
Cornell University

Recent Publications

The Solitary Bees: Biology, Evolution, Conservation

Danforth, B.N., R.L. Minckley, J.L. Neff (2019). The Solitary Bees: Biology, Evolution, Conservation. Princeton University Press [purchase a...

Pollenivory and the diversification dynamics of bees

Murray, E.A., S. Bossert, B.N. Danforth (2018). Pollenivory and the diversification dynamics of bees. Biology Letters 20180530...

Agriculturally dominated landscapes reduce bee phylogenetic diversity and pollination services

Grab, H., M.G. Branstetter, N. Amon, K.R. Urban-Mead, M.G. Park, J. Gibbs, E.J. Blitzer, K. Poveda, G. Loeb, and B.N. Danforth (2019)....

On the universality of target‐enrichment baits for phylogenomic research

Bossert, S. & B.N. Danforth (2018). On the universality of target‐enrichment baits for phylogenomic research. Methods in Ecology and...

The impact of GC bias on phylogenetic accuracy

Bossert, S., E.A. Murray, B.B. Blaimer, & B.N. Danforth (2017). The impact of GC bias on phylogenetic accuracy using targeted enrichment phylogenomic data.

Lab News

Wild Bees Amidst the Trees

The New York Forest Owner, January/February 2020. Article on Kass Urban-Mead’s work on bee diversity in the forest canopy

Bees! Diversity, Evolution, Conservation

Our new exhibit, Bees! Diversity, Evolution, Conservation, opened September 27th at the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, NY. The exhibit will run through June 1, 2020.

Hive Mind: With its long tradition of honey bee research, Cornell is a leader in the fight to protect pollinators

Cornell Alumni Magazine, September 2019. Article on bee research at Cornell.

Natural habitats, bee diversity key to better apple production

Cornell Chronicle, 17 January, 2019. Article on Heather Grab’s work on landscape simplification and “phylodiversity” of apple pollinator communities.

The interaction between mass flowering in apples and fruit set in strawberries

Cornell Chronicle, 30 March, 2017. Article on Heather Grab’s work on the implication of co-flowering in strawberry and apple on wild bee abundance and seed set.

The Bee Course 2020

August 16-26, 2020

The Bee Course is a nine day intensive workshop offered for conservation biologists, pollination ecologists, and other biologists who want to gain greater knowledge of the systematics and biology of bees. Details of the course are provided on the Bee Course website.

NYS Bee Diversity Survey

New York Natural Heritage Program

Our lab is involved in a state-wide survey of bees and other pollinators as part of an effort led by the NY Natural Heritage Program to develop an “Empire State Native Pollinator Survey”. The goal of the Empire State Native Pollinator Survey is to determine the conservation status of a wide array of native insect pollinators in non-agricultural habitats, including bees.