Katherine “Kass” Urban-Mead

PhD Student

I publish under my full name, Katherine R. Urban-Mead, and my updated publications can be found at my Google Scholar link. My website is

The Northeastern US is a heterogeneous landscape where agricultural, natural, and developed areas are nestled closely together. This creates a complex habitat matrix for small insects—including bees.

I am particularly interested in the role of forests in this matrix, not just for bee nesting but for the vast amounts of pollen produced by their flowering canopies. This oft-overlooked resource may be important to the wild, unmanaged bees that also pollinate NY’s beloved and economically important apple orchards. Where are wild bees found, and how are their movements between forest and orchard habitats governed by resources that vary across (a) space and (b) time? I employ the tools of landscape, network, community, and nutritional ecology to understand habitat occupancy and diet choice.

In the long term, I hope to be able to generate forest management recommendations to support important agricultural pollinators.

I grew up in the Hudson Valley where I raised 4-H dairy goats and turkeys and showed annually at the county fair (spent lots of time doing modern dance and musical theatre too!). Before I arrived at Cornell, I studied wild bee flower-visitation networks in old-field meadows at the Yale School of Forestry, and the functional traits of leaves and roots at CNRS in Montpellier France. As a Yale undergraduate, I completed a senior thesis in community ecology of wild bees with Os Schmitz, and spent two years assisting work characterizing the symbiotic gut microbiota of honey bees in Nancy Moran’s laboratory.

Research Interests

pollination services, forest bees, network & landscape ecology, biodiversity