Dr. Avery L. Russell



Role: Faculty
Campus: Springfield

Postal mail

Missouri State University
901 S. National Ave.
Springfield, MO 65897


Dr. Avery Russell is a behavioral ecologist, interested in pollinator cognition and its evolutionary consequences. He is an assistant professor of biology at Missouri State University, studying how reciprocal exploitation between plants and pollinators shapes foraging behavior and the display traits, rewards, and microbiome of flowers.

He is also passionate about outreach, mentoring  and inclusion in science and enjoys long walks with the bees. More information about his lab's research and activities can be found at https://therusselllab.net.



  • PhD, Entomology and Insect Science, 2016, University of Arizona

Professional experience

  • Active member, Sigma Xi
  • Active member, Animal Behavior Society
  • Active member, The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology

Research and professional interests

My research focuses on the behavioral and evolutionary ecology of interactions among plants, animals, and their microbial associates, with a particular emphasis on pollinator cognition. I care deeply about science education and facilitating diversity, equity, and inclusion in academia.

Additional resources

Area of expertise


Media appearances

Are June Bugs Dangerous? How to Get Rid of These Beetles Before They Become a Major Pest
Good Housekeeping
Entomologist Dr. Avery Russell weighs in.

Some bumble bees may be hyperventilating as the world warms
Entomologist Dr. Avery Russell addresses the threat to bumble bee species.

8 award-winning photos of nature’s stranger things
Popular Science
Entomologist Dr. Avery Russell explains the mating behavior of cactus bees.

Fun fact Friday: When it comes to tomato genes, humans just can’t ketchup
The Standard
Biologist Dr. Avery Russell explains about genes in humans, animals and plants.

NO! We don’t have murder hornets in Missouri; Here’s what you are seeing
Entomologist Dr. Avery Russell cautions confusing European hornets with Asian hornets.

Ladybugs prompt Cox Branson to postpone a few surgeries
Springfield News-Leader
Entomologist Dr. Avery Russell explains why ladybugs move indoors.