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Cory Stanley-Stahr, PhD

Post-Doctoral Researcher

Ph.D. — Utah State University, Logan, Utah

B.S. — Weber State University, Ogden, Utah           

I completed my Ph.D. research at the USDA-ARS BBSL in Logan, Utah, where I learned unique skills and techniques for working with solitary and native bees. My Ph.D. research centered on defining nesting behaviors of the blue orchard bee, Osmia lignaria, and alfalfa leafcutting bee, Megachile rotundata, that were previously only known anecdotally. I determined ways to take advantage of these nesting behaviors to increase retention of bee populations on commercial fruit and alfalfa farms.  The research required innovation and creativity to allow collection of the needed data while minimizing confounding effects of extraneous bee behaviors.  I examined the role of olfactory cues in nest selection and how cues may be exploited to increase nesting success.  I investigated whether practices involving rough handling of overwintering O. lignaria nest cells decrease population retention during bloom.  I developed novel methods to measure bee learning in response to olfactory cues. 

Currently I work for the UF HBREL, where I am directly responsible for the Florida component of Project Integrated Crop Pollination (ICP), a nationwide project with the objective of developing best practices for improving pollination in specialty crops.  This ambitious project identifies wild and managed bees already present on farms, the extent of pollination services they are providing, and the efficacy of habitat enhancements and alternative managed pollinators. To determine what factors influence pollinator presence and effectiveness, it also examines current farm management practices and the surrounding environment. Other components include developing outreach practices to teach growers how to enhance pollination and determining the cost-effectiveness and monetary value of various farm practices. My team is working with Florida blueberry and watermelon growers to accomplish the goals of Project ICP.  

In other current research, I am also testing fungicide effects on bee learning and memory, and thus, pollination efficiency.  I am assessing toxicity and sub-lethal effects to O. lignaria of fungicide and adjuvant mixtures commonly used in apple and almond orchards. Furthermore, I mentored an undergraduate researcher in evaluating the efficacy of powdered sugar treatments used for varroa mite suppression on Utah populations of the honey bees.  My future research interests include continued development of management practices to increase pollination success in specialty crops and continued exploration of the sublethal effects of pesticides on bees.

Phone: 352-273-3902

Curriculum Vitae [ 89 KB pdf]

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