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Authors

Jennifer L. Ison

Echinacea Project 2018

Assistant Professor of Biology, The College of Wooster (Wooster, Ohio), 2015 -present

Research Interests

Reproduction in flowering plants is particularly vulnerable to fragmentation and the loss of insect pollinators. Typically plants with hermaphroditic flowers have mechanisms that reduce the likelihood of pollination within the same flower and require a vector (i.e., wind or pollinator) for successful sexual reproduction. Native solitary bees are common pollinators for many plants species. However, pollination research has mainly focused on large social bees—bumblebees and the non-native honeybee. In addition, most studies only quantify seed set (i.e., the female fitness of a plant), thus ignoring fitness contributions from siring seeds (i.e., the male fitness of a plant).

This summer we will quantify how four generalist solitary bee taxa contribute to total male fitness in a mate-limited prairie plant, Echinacea angustifolia. We will also compare how each pollinator taxon varies in its relative contribution to a plant’s male and female fitness. To quantify male and female fitness, we will use a combination of a novel manipulative field experiment and previously developed genetic tools. This summer’s research will build on previous pollination research by College of Wooster thesis students. In 2016, we found that Echinacea’s pollinator community changes over the course of the flowering season (see: Ison, JL, LJ. Prescott, SW Nordstrom, A Waananen, and S Wagenius. 2018. Pollinator-mediated mechanisms for increased reproductive success in early flowering plants. Oikos. doi:10.1111/oik.04882)

Statement

Hi floggers! I’ve collaborated with the Echinacea project for many years (before there was even a flog!). I started as a Team Member back in 2003 after graduating from St. Olaf College. After few years, I started my dissertation research on Echinacea.  After completing my dissertation, I took a few years off the Echinacea Project to work on a plant that takes 30 days (instead of 7 years) to flower. However, I couldn’t stay away from Echinacea and have been examining Echinacea‘s pollinators since 2013. When I am not watching bees on Echinacea, I enjoy hiking and tennis. I also have a very active nearly-three-year-old who loves being outside.

Kristen Manion

Echinacea Project 2018

Plant Biology & Conservation, Northwestern University 2017-

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University if Kansas 2017

Research Interests

Broadly, I am interested in how landscape dynamics shape bee communities. Did you know that over 80% of bees in the prairie spend part of their life in the ground? We have lots of information about how bees forage and the kinds of pollen they forage for, but know very little about the kinds of conditions suitable for bees to build their nests. My thesis project explores how land use history and soil microhabitat indicators influence nesting densities. This summer I will explore how common land use treatments (remnant prairies, restorations, and old agricultural fields) influence where bees build their nests!

Statement

I am a Master’s student in Plant Biology & Conservation through Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden. I grew up moving all over the country but went to high school and college in the Kansas City area. I believe passionately in diversity and inclusion and try to do my part to make STEM a more equitable field for people of all backgrounds and identities. I am active on Twitter and Instagram and am learning how to use these platforms for science education and communication. I love to read in my spare time, but I also just enjoy learning/speaking Spanish, listening to good music, smelling candles, and cooking yummy food!

Some bees posing with me and a microscope!

Will Reed

Echinacea Project 2018

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado Boulder, 2018 –

Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota, 2018

Research Interests

I am broadly interested in the genetics of plant populations as well as investigating how phenotypes are expressed in different environments. I have estimated the heritability of flowering time in Echinacea angustifolia and I would like to evaluate selection on flowering time. I am also interested in learning about patterns of flowering across a fragmented landscape, like the one we study in western MN!

Statement

I am from Alexandria, MN, about 20 minutes east of our study site. This will be my fifth year working on the project! In my free time, I like to do outdoor things, I particularly enjoy fly fishing and hiking. I also enjoy finding and listening to new music. This summer I plan to spend lots of my free time playing with our new puppy!

Zeke Zelman

Echinacea Project 2018

Biology, College of Wooster 2018

Research Interests

I am interested in studying how different species of bees could have different effects on the fitness of flowering plants in the Prairie. More broadly I am interested in learning more about the pollination biology, and the prairie, and how both relater to conservation efforts and agriculture.

Statement

I am from Bennington, Vermont. I’m looking forward to spending some time in Minnesota. I haven’t had much experience studying plants, but I’m excited to learn. In my free time I like to to: play ultimate Frisbee, run, read, watch TV, hike, cross-country ski, etc.

Amy Waananen

Echinacea Project 2018

Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota, 2017-

Biology, St. Olaf College, 2015

Research Interests

I’m interested in how bees move pollen between isolated plant populations and whether this movement maintains connectivity between populations, potentially mitigating the genetic and demographic decline caused by habitat fragmentation and small population sizes. This summer, I’m hoping to understand this better by starting a project to look at pollen movement within and among the remnant populations of Echinacea, and how these movement patterns relate to individuals’ spatial isolation and phenology.

Statement

Hey flog, I’m back! I used to be an intern with Team Echinacea and now I’m a grad student in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior at the University of Minnesota. In my free time I like to garden, read, bake, cook, swim, run, ski, and fish! I’m very excited to be back in western Minnesota again this summer. I’m especially looking forward to collecting exciting data, learning about the exciting new projects the team is starting, eating watermelon, and writing flog posts! In the future, I hope to understand how habitat fragmentation affects the way bees move pollen around landscapes and win a trollphy at Flekkefest.

 

Here’s me with some flowers!

 

Michael LaScaleia

Echinacea Project 2018

Biology and Environmental Studies, Tufts University 2018

Research Interests

I have been interested in plants since I was old enough to explore the woods in my backyard. Since then, I have done research on plants throughout my college career everywhere from Costa Rica to Iceland and found myself incredibly intrigued by how changing landscapes affect ecosystem dynamics, particularly plant-insect interactions. I have never before been a part of a research project that has been as long-term as the Echinacea Project, nor have I ever been to the long grass prairie, let alone researched it.

Statement

I grew up in Sudbury, Massachusetts about 20 miles west of Boston, and just graduated to Tufts University about a month ago. In my free time, I enjoy running, hiking, reading, or just about any activity that involves being outdoors. I hope in the future to make field biology my career, and am very excited to join Team Echinacea!

Anna Vold

Echinacea Project 2018

Environmental Science, Wellesley College 2022

Research Interests

Growing up on a dairy farm, I am passionate about creating a sustainable planet and, of course, my cows! I would like to learn more about Minnesota prairie and plants like Echinacea angustifolia to better understand how to create more sustainable agricultural practices and make agriculture beneficial to all consumers and the environment.

So, this summer I am open to studying anything from pollinators to phenology to help me understand more about conserving the resources and land we have now.

Statement

I am from Glenwood, MN about half an hour south-east of the project base. As I mentioned above, my family owns and operates Dorrich Dairy. Even though I do not plan on majoring in agriculture at this point, I hope to maybe work with it in some aspect in the future. In my free time, I enjoy gardening, baking, traveling, eating pie, and playing tennis.

Mia Stevens

Echinacea Project 2018

Biology, College of Wooster 2020

Research Interests

I spent the last year working in the Ison lab at Wooster exploring pollinator efficiency of the American Bellflower and finishing lab work on interspecific pollen diversity of Echinacea which is carried by different solitary bees. This work and a population & community ecology class I took showed me how delicate mutualisms are. Also how the species involved control said mutualism. Another area of interest of mine is how plants respond to their environment.

Statement

I am a junior biology major and environmental studies minor at the College of Wooster. I grew up in Buffalo, NY, (and no it doesn’t always snow there). I spend the majority of my free time knitting and enjoying the great outdoors. I do this outdoor exploring with my trusty sidekick, my dog Ellie.

Brigid Mark

Echinacea Project 2018

Biology and Environmental Studies, College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, 2020

Research Interests

Last summer, I participated in a project which monitored flower phenology and I absolutely loved it. This fascination with flowers and the impact of humans on ecosystems drew me to the Echinacea Project. My research interests fall within the realms of environmental science and conservation ecology. I’m interested in the impact of climate change, habitat loss, and invasive species on ecosystems as well as plant-pollinator relationships and any research applicable to conservation and restoration efforts.

Statement

I’m originally from Olathe, Kansas and am currently attending college in Minnesota. Recently, I’ve become interested in climate justice activism because I feel it is unjust that environmental degradation tends to impact the least privileged populations first and worst. In my spare time I like to hike, play violin, try new foods, and play soccer.

Andy Hoyt

Echinacea Project 2018

History, Carleton College 2019

Research Interests

As a history major, I am interested in researching historical relationships with and understandings of the landscape. In addition to history, I am interested in ecology and conservation. I have taken several courses on ecology, evolution, and environmental studies at Carleton College. Last summer, with the Carleton Ecology Lab, I researched plant community composition in the Carleton Arboretum tallgrass prairie restorations in south Minnesota. This experience helped me hone my research interests and sparked my interests in tallgrass prairie ecology, plant population and community ecology, and habitat restoration. At the Echinacea project, I am excited to research continue learning about tallgrass prairie ecology, and I am specifically interested in prairie fragmentation and its effects on prairie plant communities and plant-pollinator interactions.

Statement

I was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky and I have been attending Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota for the last three years. Upon graduation from Carleton, I plan on pursuing a graduate degree in a conservation-related field. In my free time, I enjoy playing guitar and tennis, birding, hiking, and baking. I am excited to be a part of Team Echinacea this Summer!