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.



Will Bjorndal


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.


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


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

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.


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.

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


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


B.S. Biology, Lawrence University, WI


Chan Dolan


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.


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.


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


Maya Vellicolungara


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. 


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



Luke Tonsfeldt


Research Technician

I am a senior at the University of Minnesota studying Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior with a minor in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology. I work as a MAPP field technician, performing native bee and vegetation sampling and various lab tasks such as pinning specimens. I’m interested in the ecology of human-dominated landscapes, such as urban environments and agricultural regions, and I hope to work in conservation and ecology post-graduation.


Geena Zebrasky


a person looks down into tall grass

Research Technician

I am a technician working on Chan Dolan's Bumblebee Nest Surveying/Monitoring project. I love everything about the prairie, especially the insects and plants found there. I'm interested in insect-plant relationships, as well as understanding how particular landscapes have come to be, and how humans interact with them. I recently graduated in the spring of 2023, and am hoping to continue to do work studying pollinators and prairie ecology in the future, or pursuing science communication.


BA in Biology and Geography from Gustavus Adolphus College



Rachel Runzheimer


Lab Technician

I am a senior at the University of Minnesota majoring in Spanish Studies and Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, with an emphasis in Ecological and Environmental Engineering. I've worked as a lab technician since the fall of 2021, pinning many bees! I'm interested in ecosystem restoration and sustainable agriculture.



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

Alan Ritchie, MS 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.


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