Why study pollinators in New York state?

Pollination is a valuable ecosystem service. In New York, pollinators include managed honey bees (Apis mellifera) and wild native bees. Pollinated plants support a functioning environment by providing clean air, filtered groundwater, habitats for wildlife and an aesthetic landscape, in addition to one-third of the food we eat. Studying bees in New York ensures the health and stability of our ecosystems and economy.

Our pollinator research programs

Pinned carpenter bees are displayed neatly in rows

The Danforth Lab studies bee evolution, phylogeny, ecology and the important role that wild bees play as agricultural pollinators. They combine phylogenetic studies of bees based on molecular data with ecological studies of bees and their interactions with flowering plants.

PI: Bryan Danforth

a bumblebee pollinates an apple blossom

The McArt Lab studies the ecology of plant-pollinator interactions in natural and managed systems. They use tools from chemical and molecular ecology to assess how pesticides and pathogens impact pollinator health, ecology and the delivery of pollination services.

PI: Scott McArt

Robert Raguso collecting scents from a flower with a student

The Raguso Lab studies the sensory and behavioral aspects of plant-pollinator interactions, with an emphasis on the evolution of chemical signals and cues. Their studies span the full range of generalized to specialized pollination systems, including plants as exotic as Titan arums and Dracula orchids, and as local and economically important as apple and strawberry.

PI: Robert Raguso

A monarch butterfly rests on a milkweed plant

The Agrawal Lab studies the ecology and evolution of plant-insect interactions, including aspects of herbivory, pollination, community and chemical ecology, as well as coevolution. Research projects include work on local biodiversity, ecology of invasive plants, the biology of monarch butterflies and the evolution of plant strategies.

PI: Anurag Agrawal

Monica Geber crouches to examine a flower in a field.

The Geber Lab studies plant ecology and evolutionary biology, including interactions between plants and their bee pollinators. There are two ongoing projects involving wild bee pollinators: the ecology and evolution of specialist bee pollinator sharing in the plant genus Clarkia, and the impact of large solar energy facilities on wild bee populations in the eastern Mojave Desert.

PI: Monica Geber

A green sweat bee forages on a strawberry flower

The Poveda Lab studies plant-insect interactions in agricultural systems. Their goal is to find sustainable strategies that will manage pollinators, pests and natural enemies to increase yields. Past studies have investigated landscape-scale effects on strawberry pollinators and natural enemies in upstate New York.

PI: Katja Poveda

Other resources