Mary Centrella

Director of the Pesticide Management Education Program ; former PhD Student

Mary has moved just up the road! Please visit PMEP’s website to learn more about the work Mary now directs at the Pesticide Management Education Program.


My research focuses on pollinator fitness in agro-ecosystems. Wild pollinator communities face stressors such as agricultural intensification, pesticide exposure, and shifts in host plant availability. These stressors have measurable impacts on bee communities. My work aims to understand how individual bee species respond to these three stressors. If we can understand how these factors impact one species’ fitness, this will help us better predict how the broader community of bees might respond. I chose mason bees in the genus Osmia to conduct my work. I am studying the environmental impacts on their historic distributions across the eastern United States, as well as the factors affecting their fitness in apple orchards in the Fingerlakes Region of New York. My results will give us insights into what pesticides, host plants, and landscapes are most important and most harmful for mason bees, and how these factors might interplay with one another. My aim is to share my results not only with the scientific community, but also the growers and the community at large to help drive positive management changes for bees. My career goal is to become a science educator, inspiring our community to become involved in science that supports nature and humanity.

My interest in ecology stems from collection trips in the cloud forests of Ecuador during my undergraduate years. I received my BS in Zoology and BA in Spanish for the University of Wyoming. There, I worked on taxonomy of gall-wasps with Dr. Scott Shaw and developed a pollen library to help inform bee research with Dr. Michael Dillon. I am currently a Ph.D. student in Entomology at Cornell University and am co-advised by Dr. Bryan Danforth and Dr. Katja Poveda.

 Research Interests

pollination ecology, conservation, pollinator health, landscape ecology