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Laura Russo

Laura Russo

Assistant Professor

Research Interest

Pollination ecology, network theory, field biology, botany, entomology, invasion biology


B.A., Biology, Oberlin College

Ph.D., Ecology, Pennsylvania State University


I joined the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in August 2020. I came to UTK from Trinity College Dublin, in Ireland, where I completed a Marie Curie Sklodowska Individual Fellowship with Prof. Jane Stout. This was my third postdoctoral research experience: I participated in a USDA NIFA grant at Cornell University with Prof. Bryan Danforth, and an NSF DMS grant at Penn State University with Prof. Kat Shea. I have also worked at the University of Queensland in the Spatial Ecology Lab with Prof. Yvonne Buckley. My primary teaching responsibilities in the past included introductory biology and ecology and ecological modeling, but I have also helped to teach three international field courses (in Costa Rica and Kenya).


Please contact me if you are interested in learning more about research opportunities in my laboratory.



  • How do we identify win-win scenarios between conservation and agriculture?
  • How do networks of interactions form between plants and pollinators?
  • What are the patterns and processes that operate on these networks?
  • Can we manipulate and manage complex networks of species interactions?
  • Can we quantify diffuse coevolution acting on the interactions between plants and pollinators?


Representative publications are listed here.  For more publications, please visit Google Scholar.

  1. Russo, L, MacIvor, S, LeCroy, K, de Keyzer, C, Harmon-Threatt, A. Management and natural history mediate the impact of non-native bees on native bees. Current Opinions in Insect Science, 46, 43-49.
  2. Russo, L, Stout, H, Roberts, D, Ross, B, Mahan, C. Powerline right-of-way management and flower-visiting insects: How vegetation management can promote pollinator diversity. PLoS ONE, 16(1), p.e0245146.
  3. Russo, L, Buckley, Y, Hamilton, H, Kavanagh, M, Stout, J. (2020) Low concentrations of fertilizer and herbicide alter plant growth and interactions with flower-visiting insects. Agriculture, Ecosystems, and the Environment 304, 107141.
  4. Russo, L, Keller, J 1 , Vaudo, AD, Grozinger, CM, Shea, K. (2020) Warming increases pollen lipid concentration in an invasive thistle, with minor effects on the associated floral-visitor community. Insects, 11:20.
  5. Russo, L, Albert, R, Campbell, C, Shea, K. (2019) Experimental species introduction shapes network interactions in a plant-pollinator community. Biological Invasions, 21:3505-3519.
  6. Russo, L, Vaudo, AD, Fisher, CJ 2 , Grozinger, CM, & Shea, K. (2019) Bee community preference for an invasive thistle associated with higher pollen protein content. Oecologia, 190:901-912.
Laura Russo

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