Laura Figueroa

Assistant Professor

Email: llf44 [at]

Office: Holdsworth 120

Website: Figueroa lab and Google Scholar

Dr. Figueroa is a conservation ecologist and entomologist interested in understanding how interacting stressors influence pollinator health and critically assessing the effectiveness of restoration/conservation efforts. Her work is primarily field based, and takes place in temperate and tropical forests, agroecosystems, and urban settings. She uses emerging machine learning bioacoustics methods to monitor bees in a standardized and non-lethal manner.

Primary Interests

Agroecology, applied ecology, pollinator health, invertebrate monitoring

Current Projects

NSF Funded Project: Integrating molecular, cellular, organismal and community scales to understand how plants structure pollinator-pathogen dynamics

DOE Funded Project: Informing Wildlife Conservation Strategies and Best Practice for Solar Facilities

Courses Taught

  • Insects and Human Society (NRC126)
  • Wildlife Conservation (NRC 261)


Post-Doc: University of Massachusetts, Amherst (2020-2022)

Ph.D. Entomology, Cornell University (2020)

B.S. Biology, University of Oklahoma (2015)


Updated 7/12/2023

16) Figueroa LL, Fowler A, Lopez S, Amaral VE, Koch H, Stevenson PC, Irwin RE, and Adler LS (2023) Sunflower spines and beyond: mechanisms and breadth of pollen that reduce gut pathogen infection in bumble bees. Journal of Functional Ecology, 37(6), 1517-1769. Cover Picture. Media attention in the Advanced Science News, Functional Ecologists, Daily Kos,, Science Daily, Health News, and

 15) Evans EC, , Strange JP, Sadd BM, Tripodi AD, Figueroa LL, Adams LD, Colla SR, Duennes MA, Lehmann DM , Moylett H, Richardson L, Smith JW, Smith TA, and Inouye DW. Parasites, parasitoids, and hive products that are potentially deleterious to wild and commercially raised bumble bees (Bombus spp.) in North America. Journal of Pollination Ecology, 33(3), 37-53.

 14) Figueroa LL, Sadd BM, Tripodi AD, Strange JP, Colla SR, Adams LD, Duennes MA, Evans EC, Lehmann DM, Moylett H, Richardson L, Smith JW, Smith TA, Spevak EM, and Inouye DW (2023). Endosymbionts that threaten commercially raised and wild bumble bees (Bombus spp.). Journal of Pollination Ecology, 33(2), 14-36. ( co-first authors).

 13) Strange JP, Colla SR, Adams LD, Duennes MA, Evans EC, Figueroa LL, Lehmann DM, Moylett H, Richardson L, Sadd BM, Smith JW, Smith TA, Tripodi AD, Spevak EM, and Inouye DW (2023). An evidence-based rationale for a North American commercial bumble bee clean stock certification program. Journal of Pollination Ecology, 33(1), 1-13.

 12) Fitch G, Figueroa LL, Koch H, Stevenson PC, and Adler LS (2022). Understanding effects of floral products on bee parasites: Mechanisms, synergism, and ecological complexity. International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife, 17, 244-256.

 11) Figueroa LL, Maccaro JJ, Krichilsky E, Yanega D, and McFrederick QS (2021). Why did the bee eat the chicken?: symbiont gain, loss, and retention in the vulture bee microbiome. MBio, 12(6) e02317-21. (co-first authors). Media attention: USA Today, CNN, Smithsonian Magazine, Business Insider, The Independent, ars TECHNICA,, SciTechDaily, NewsAtlas, Popular Science, Yahoo News, SciShow, Entomology Today, and The Bee Report’s Top 10 Bee-Related Stories of 2021.

 10) Figueroa LL, Maran A, and Pelini. Invertebrate communities influence decomposition under various climate change scenarios (2021). PLOS One, 16(11): e0259045.

 9) *Vaca-Uribe JL, Figueroa LL, Santamaría M, and Poveda K. Plant richness and blooming cover affect abundance of flower visitors and network structure in Colombian orchards (2021). Agriculture and Forest Entomology, 23(4), 545-556. (*Master’s student co-author).

 8) Figueroa LL, *Compton S, Grab H, and McArt SH. Functional traits predict pathogen prevalence in wild bees (2021). Scientific Reports,  11, 7529. (*undergraduate co-author).

 7) Figueroa LL, *Grincavitch C, and McArt SH (2021). Crithidia bombi can infect two solitary bee species while host survivorship depends on diet. Parasitology, 148(4), 435-442. (*undergraduate co-author).

 6) Figueroa LL, Grab H, Ng WH, Myers CR, Graystock P, McFrederick QS, and McArt SH (2020). Landscape simplification shapes pathogen prevalence in plant-pollinator networks. Ecology letters, 23(8), 1212 – 1222. Media attention: Cornell Chronicle,, EurekAlert, the Bee Report Podcast, among others.

5) Figueroa LL, *Blinder M, *Grincavitch C., *Jelinek A, *Mann EK, *Merva LA, *Metz LE, *Zhao AY, Irwin RE, McArt SH and Adler LS (2019). Bee pathogen transmission dynamics: deposition, persistence and acquisition on flowers. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 286, 20190603. (*undergraduate co-authors).

 4) Nelson AS, Scott T, Barczyk M, McGlynn TP, Avalos A, Clifton E, Das A, Figueiredo A, Figueroa LL, Janowiecki M, Pahlke S, Rana JD, and O’Donnell S (2018). Day/night upper thermal limits differ within Ectatomma ruidum ant colonies. Insectes Sociaux, 65(1), 183-189.

 3) Bergey EA and Figueroa LL (2016). Residential yards as designer ecosystems: effects of yard management on land snail species composition. Ecological Applications, 26(8), 2538-2547.

 2) Figueroa LL and Bergey EA (2015). Bumble bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) of Oklahoma: past and present biodiversity. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 88(4), 418–429. Media attention: The Guardian.

1) Bergey EA, Figueroa LL, Mather, CM, Martin, RJ, Ray, EJ, Kurien, JT, Westrop DR, and Suriyawong P (2014). Trading in snails: plant nurseries as transport hubs for non-native species. Biological Invasions, 16(7), 1441-1451.