Cariveau Lab Team

Dr. Daniel Cariveau

A person wearing a jacket stands in front of a lake and snow-covered mountains

Associate Professor

Dan is a community ecologist with an interest in understanding the factors that drive biodiversity and how biodiversity may influence ecosystem function. His work focuses on native bee communities with a strong emphasis on pollination ecology. Most recently, his work focuses on restoration ecology as a way to conserve biodiversity and as a tool for examining basic questions in ecology.

He earned his PhD studying the interaction among native and invasive plants through pollinators at Colorado State University under Dr. Andrew Norton. He studied native bee community ecology and the role of native bees in crop pollination as a postdoctoral research associate at Rutgers University with Dr. Rachael Winfree.

 


EXTENSION AND RESEARCH



Cristian Beza-Beza

A smiling person displays two very large beetles on their arm

President’s Postdoctoral Fellow

Cristian’s research focuses on understanding the role of biogeography and trophic specialization in insect diversification. Specifically, the geographical patterns of biodiversity resulting from processes such as restricted distributions and isolation. Additionally, He is interested in studying the causes and consequences of trophic specialization and the evolution of new phenotypes, particularly in highly specialized clades like the saproxylophagous (wood-feeding) beetles of the family Passalidae.

Education:

Ph.D. 2019. The University of Memphis. Advisor: Duane McKenna.
M.S. 2013. Wichita State University Co-advisors: Mary Liz Jameson and James Beck.
Licentiate Degree. 2009. Universidad del Valle de Guatemala. Co-advisors: Jack Schuster and Enio Cano. 

 

Will Bjorndal

(he/him/his)

Staff Scientist

Since spring 2021 I have been with the Cariveau Lab, first as a field technician and now as a researcher on the Minnesota Agriculture for Pollinators Project. Previously, I volunteered for the Minnesota Bee Atlas while working as an interpretive naturalist. I am fascinated by the relationships between the prairies, wildflowers, native bees, and people of southwest Minnesota, all of which I became intimately familiar with during MAPP field seasons.

Education:

B.A. Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance, 2016, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

 

Marissa Chase

A person stands in front of a mountain overlook

Postdoctoral Researcher

Marissa's PhD research focused on understanding how forest management practices like prescribed fire affect bee functional and taxonomic composition and ecosystem function. Additionally, she explored the use of active remote sensing technologies (LiDAR) in modeling bee biodiversity within temperate deciduous forests. In the Cariveau Lab, her work will determine the extent to which soil texture and host plant interact to influence the presence of rare species.  In collaboration with the Minnesota DNR, findings from this study will be used to determine the range and conservation status of a subset of oligolectic bees in Minnesota to better guide conservation actions and direct future land protections. 

Education:

Ph.D. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. 2023. Co-advisors: Alex Harmon-Threatt and Jen Fraterrigo
B.S. UC Berkeley. Molecular Environmental Biology (Insect Biology Concentration) and minor in Forestry. 2018. 

 

Elaine Evans

Elaine Evans

Associate Extension Professor

Research interests: I work on questions related to wild bee diversity and bee conservation. I am currently assessing the status of Minnesota wild bee communities in comparison to historic records as well as monitoring population of the endangered rusty-patched bumble bee and examining habitat associations.

Outreach and education: I work on bee citizen science efforts including the Minnesota Bumble Bee Atlas. I also work on education efforts to increase awareness of wild bee habitat needs and instill action to create effective pollinator habitat.

U of MN 2019 Outstanding Community Service Award Recipient

Education:
PhD, Entomology, 2016, U of MN, Advisor: Marla Spivak
M.S. Entomology, 2011, U of MN, Dept of Entomology, Advisor: Marla Spivak
B.S. Biology, 1993, Evergreen State College, Olympia WA

Books:  Befriending Bumble Bees, Managing Alternative Pollinators

 

Zachary Portman

Zachary Portman

Research Scientist & Bee Taxonomist

Research Interests: I am a bee taxonomist, broadly interested in the evolution, ecology, and conservation of bees. My PhD work focused largely on the genus Perdita (Andrenidae). I am currently working on the regional taxonomy of Minnesota bees.

Website: www.zportman.com

Education:
PhD, Ecology, 2017, Utah State University, Adviser: Terry Griswold
B.S. Biology and Computer Science, 2009, Union College

 

Rebecca Zerlin

A person wearing a backpack, baseball cap, and sunglasses holds a PVC quadrat up, a blue sky and dry, scrubby grassland in the background

Lab Manager

I have a wide variety of interests and experiences including monitoring rangelands for the Bureau of Land Management as a range technician, working with sea turtles for the National Park Service, and monitoring monarch butterflies for the Cape May Bird Observatory. My master’s research looked at the effects of prescribed burning on butterfly populations in south Texas.   

Research Interests: My interests include fire and restoration ecology; specifically, how they relate to insect and community ecology, particularly in terms of spatial and temporal ecology.

Education:
M.S. Rangeland and Wildlife Management, 2022, Texas A&M University-Kingsville
B.S. Wildlife/Ecology, 2014, Unity College


CURRENT GRADUATE STUDENTS


Maggie Anderson

Maggie Anderson

PhD Student

Maggie is a PhD student in the Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior Department. She is interested in the effects of plant functional traits on the diversity of wild bee communities. She wants to understand how climate change and habitat fragmentation can alter patterns of plant phenology and ultimately impact pollinator communities in the future. The findings of her work will have conservation and management applications

Education:

B.S. Biology, Lawrence University, WI

 

Chan Dolan

(she/her/hers)

M.S. Student

In the lab, my research interests revolve around bumble bee ecology, identification, and natural history. Specifically, my master's thesis research involves learning more about bumble bee nesting biology and habitat preferences, a very understudied aspect of bumble bee life. I also am interested in working with the public to explore and observe bumble bees, plants, and other organisms alike to help others build a connection to the organisms around us.

Education:

B.A. Biology, 2019, University of Northern Iowa

 

Mary Powley

A person wearing a black windbreaker stands in front of trees in the forest

PhD Student

Fueled by a passion for bees, I've worked on numerous bee-related research projects over the past few years. As a PhD student, I am interested in pursuing research related to the topics of native bee, community, and pollination ecology. Part of my research will focus on assessing habitat associations and occupancy modeling of bumble bees in eastern Wisconsin.

Education:

B.S. Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources, 2019, Rutgers University - New Brunswick

 

Maya Vellicolungara

(she/her/hers)

M.S. Student 

Research Interests: I am interested in how different restoration and land management methods impact pollinators. I also would like to explore how anthropogenic disturbance and land use patterns affect the success of restorations. My master's thesis focuses on bumblebee floral use and occupancy on Conservation Reserve Program lands and remnant prairies. 

Education: 

B.S. Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior with a minor in GIS, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, 2021


CURRENT UNDERGRADS


Sean Hampton

A person wearing a backwards baseball cap stands in front of a group of black cows on a grassland

(he/him/his)

Lab Technician

I started with the lab during the summer of 2023 working as a field tech for a joint project between the USFWS and the UMN, and am a junior at the University of Minnesota studying biology and international politics. My interests range from community ecology to Alzheimer's research, to cybernetic prostheses and geopolitics, with a recently sparked interest for native bees. 

 

Sam Hellstrom

A smiling person holds a small bird in their hand.

(he/him/his)

Lab Technician

I am a junior Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology major at the University of Minnesota. I started as a lab technician in the Winter of 2023 to help with bee pinning and labeling. I love anytime outdoors camping and hiking, and my interests consist of predator-prey interactions, population behavior related to climate change, and of course bees! 

 

Ella Vadnais

A smiling person sits in front of a mountain covered with scrubby vegetation

Lab Technician

I am a senior at the University of Minnesota majoring in Forest and Natural Resource Management. I joined as a lab technician in the winter of 2023 to help pin bees! I love nature and the outdoors, and am interested in sustainable forest management.

 


CARIVEAU LAB ALUMNI


Students

Michelle Boone, Ph.D. 2023 is now a Project Manager for the U.S. National Park Service Inventory and Monitoring Division (IMD).

Julia Brokaw, Ph.D. 2023 is now a Plant-Pollinator Database Specialist at the The Xerces Society.

Alan Ritchie, M.S. 2020 is now an Easement Acquisition Specialist at the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources.

Ian Lane, Ph.D. 2021 is now an Inventory and Monitoring Data Manager at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


Postdocs

Bethanne Bruninga-Socolar is now a professor of Biology at Albright College. Bethanne’s Website

Uta Mueller is a restoration ecologist working in Germany.

Gabriella Pardee is now a postdoc at Jha Lab at the University of Texas at Austin. Gabriella’s website


Staff Scientists

Emma Dombrow, Kiley FriedrichChristina Herron-Sweet, Michelle Vohs