Katherine Urban-Mead

PhD Student

I am interested in bee conservation in agroecological systems at multiple scales: from the life histories of individual bee species, to the diverse communities of wild bees that visit apple trees, the networks of other wild trees and flowers those bees visit, to the land management decisions that can alter the species composition and health of those bee communities. Here at Cornell, I am co-advised by both Bryan Danforth and Scott McArt. I plan to use quantitative network ecology and spatial ecology to understand the importance of early-season woody shrub and tree species for wild bees, especially those bees that are important for fruit-tree pollination. I hope to explore the nutritional, phenological, and morphological traits of flowers that govern bee preferences for different floral resources. I’m committed to science communication and outreach, and in translating scientific findings into action-able management steps for growers.

I grew up in the Hudson Valley where I raised 4-H dairy goats and turkeys and showed annually at the county fair–and 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