Cariveau Lab Team

Dr. Daniel Cariveau

Dan Cariveau

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


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 the MAPP field season.

Education:

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

 

Emma Dombrow

(she/her/hers)

Staff Scientist

Research Interests:  I’m interested in ecological restoration with specific passion on the role that the human dimensions of conservation plays within this area of study.  I am currently managing the MAPP Project, which is investigating the best way to create pollinator habitats based upon seed mix, habitat size, and surrounding landscapes while working with landowners and other stakeholders.

Education:

B.S. Environmental Science, Policy and Management with a minor in Geography, 2020, 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

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

 

Christina Herron-Sweet

Research Scientist

Christina Herron-Sweet

Research Interests: I am passionate about connecting research to conservation practice. The research projects I work on aim to understand how to implement prairie restoration to best improve conditions for pollinators and other insects. Specifically, the project I am currently working on the Minnesota Agriculture for Pollinators Project (MAPP) will help us determine how flower planting size, seed mix, and landscape composition interact to influence native bee communities, honey bee health, and natural enemies of crop pests.

2019 CFANS Civil Service/Bargaining Unit Staff Award Recipient

2020 CFANS Diversity and Inclusion Award Recipient

Education: 

M.S. Land Resources and Environmental Science, 2014, Montana State University

B.A. Environmental Studies, 2012, Saint Olaf College

 

Dr. Katie Lee

Katie Lee

(she/her/hers)

Extension Educator and Researcher

I am the Apiculture Extension Educator, a Bee Squad team member, and a post-doctoral researcher on the Minnesota Agriculture for Pollinators Project led by Dr. Dan Cariveau. My work focuses on the parasitic mite Varroa destructor, metrics that indicate queen bee and colony health, and the benefits of pollinator plantings on bee health. I developed a parasitic mite sampling protocol that is now a nationwide standard. For the Bee Informed Partnership, I founded two extension teams that provide colony assessment services for commercial beekeepers. I serve on the boards of the Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers Association and the American Beekeeping Federation and co-chair the education and research committees.

Education

PhD, Entomology, 2018, U of MN, Advisor: Marla Spivak M.S. Entomology, 2009, U of MN, Advisor: Marla Spivak B.S. Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, 2005, U of MN

 

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

 


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

 

Julia Brokaw

Julia Brokaw

PhD Student

Research interests: I am interested in how to establish and restore prairies for native plants and wild bees and the driving factors that make restoration successful at both local and landscape levels. Additionally, I am interested in connecting policy decisions with prairie and pollinator conservation that help both people and the environment.

Education:

B.S. Natural Resources; Applied Ecology, 2014, Cornell University

 

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

 

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


Amy Waananen

Amy Waananen

PhD Candidate

Research Interests: I'm interested in studying how plant-pollinator interactions are maintained in fragmented habitats. In particular, I'm interested in how pollinators connect isolated populations of native wildflowers by moving pollen through the landscape and the implications this movement has for plant population ecology and evolution. In my free time I like to visit roadside attractions in western Minnesota.

Education:

B.A. Biology, 2015, St. Olaf College

 


CURRENT TECHNICIANS



 


CURRENT UNDERGRAD STUDENTS


Nina Crawford

(she/her/hers)

Lab Technician

I am a senior at the University of Minnesota studying Environmental Science, Policy, and Management and I am currently assisting the MAPP project as an undergraduate research technician. I am interested in pollinator and disturbance ecology and I hope to continue in the research field by pursuing graduate school!

 

Rachel Runzheimer

(she/her/hers)

Lab Technician

I am a junior at the University of Minnesota studying Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, with an emphasis in Ecological and Environmental Engineering, and a minor in Spanish Studies. I work as a lab technician, pinning bees for the MAPP project. I am interested in ecosystem restoration and sustainable agriculture. 

 

 

Luke Tonsfeldt

(he/him/his)

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.

 


CARIVEAU LAB ALUMNI


Students

Alan Ritchie, MS 2020 is now an ecologist at Great River Greening.

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

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


Staff Scientists

Kiley Friedrich, Michelle Vohs