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Welcome to the Russell Lab at Missouri State University! We focus on the behavioral and evolutionary ecology of interactions among plants, animals, and their microbial associates, with a particular emphasis on pollinator cognition.

We care deeply about equity and science education, we strive to be anti-racist, and we are dedicated to communicating our passion about insects, plants, and natural history, and facilitating diversity, equity, and inclusion in science.

We live and work on unceded traditional territory of the Kiikaapoi, Sioux, and Osage. We recognize that acknowledging the provenance of the land is the minimum and working to ‘land back‘ is the goal.


Lab achievements

September 2021

Graduate researcher Parker Campbell is awarded a Thesis Funding Grant from MSU!

May-August 2021

Post-bac researcher Vanessa Morales is awarded the Outstanding Senior Award from MSU, is accepted into the Animal Behavior Society’s Turner Program, Dartmouth’s EEES Scholars Program, and Cornell’s Diversity Preview Weekend!

April 2021

Graduate researcher Maggie Mayberry is awarded a Sigma Xi Grant in Aid of Research!

Undergraduate researcher Vanessa Morales is awarded an Honorable Mention for her poster at the MoLSAMP Undergraduate Research Symposium 2021 and also gives an oral presentation at the Missouri Academy of Sciences!

Undergraduate researcher Abilene Mosher gives an oral presentation at Beta Beta Beta Research Symposium and leaves for her REU at Oregon State University!

February 2021

Undergraduate researcher Vanessa Morales is awarded a 2021 Minority Scholarship from the Conservation Foundation of Missouri Charitable Trust!

Graduate researcher Parker Campbell is awarded a Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) Grant in Aid of Research!

January 2021

Undergraduate researcher Abilene Mosher gives an oral presentation at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology!

November 2020

Undergraduate researcher Vanessa Morales gives a research talk at the Idea Network of Biomedical Research (INBRE) and is awarded an honorable mention!

Undergraduate researcher Abilene Mosher gives a poster presentation at the CNAS Undergrad Research Symposium and is awarded 2nd place!

October 2020

Undergraduate researcher Abilene Mosher is awarded a Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta) Honor Society research grant!

June 2020

Undergraduate researcher Stephanie Sanders is awarded a Sigma Xi Grant in Aid of Research!

In the news

2021

Interview with Tim Vandervoet at Entomology Society of America on mentoring and the lab!

Interview by Vanessa Morales with Ashley Lenahan at CNAS NewsWatch on Vanessa’s bee host specialization research!

Interview by Parker Campbell with Ashley Lenahan at CNAS NewsWatch on Parker’s gut-brain bee behavior research!

Russell Lab featured in a Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology blog post!

Russell Lab members featured in a Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology video interview!

2020

Interview with Ashley Lenahan at CNAS NewsWatch on our floral mimicry and bee cognition research!

2019

Interview with David Cornelison at KSMU Stem Spots on bee behavior and cognition, flower evolution, and microbial interactions!

Interview with Kimberly Barlow at Pittwire on bee friendly habitats!

Interview and podcast with Matt Candeias at In Defense of Plants on bee behavior and cognition, flower evolution, and microbial interactions!

2018

Our Journal of Insect Science work on cactus bee mating behavior makes the front cover (in the Nov 2018 issue) and is in Entomology Today by Joe Rominiecki!

Our Evolution work on the evolution of floral sonication behavior makes the front cover, is in Scientias by Jente Ottenburghs and in University of Arizona News by !

2017

Our Behavioral Ecology work on flexible and effective pollen foraging in the absence of learning, in University of Arizona News and EurekAlert! by Daniel Stolte and in the SICB BioScience Talks podcast!

Our Scientific Reports work on patterns of bee foraging specialization, in University of Arizona News and EurekAlert! by Daniel Stolte, in Digital Trends by Dyllan Furness, in The Daily Wildcat by Rebekah Ulmer, in The RFID Journal by Claire Swedberg, in Discovery Channel – Canada, and Televisa Chapultepec!

2016

Our Animal Behaviour work is covered by the New York Times!

Our Evolutionary Ecology work on bees’ biased color learning covered by Dr. Peter Zschunke in Albiflora!

Interview with Steve Goldstein at National Public Radio KJZZ 91.5 on our Animal Behaviour work!

Our Animal Behaviour work on bees not needing to learn how to collect pollen, in the New York Times, by Robin Lindsay and James Gorman!

Our Behavioral Ecology pollen foraging research, in University of Arizona News, by Robin Tricoles!


All photos copyright Avery Russell