Jennifer L. Ison

Jennifer L. Ison
Echinacea Project 2019
Assistant Professor of Biology, The College of Wooster (Wooster, Ohio), 2015 -present

Research interests

I’m a plant ecologist who is interested in how plants in human-altered landscapes mate. In particular, I’ve examined how spatial isolation and variation in flowering times limit mating opportunities between plants. Recently, we have examined how visits by different native bee species impact reproduction in insect-pollinated plants. We have found that the specialist-solitary bee, Andrena rudbeckia, is the most efficient Echinacea pollinator, both in terms of pollinating florets (individual flowers) and removing pollen (Page et al. submitted; Zelman 2019 thesis). However, we have also found that Andrena is typically only found in the largest Echinacea populations and is only active during early and peak flowering time (Ison et al. 2018 Oikos).

Last summer we conducted a large field experiment to understand how visits from different native bees contribute to a plant’s male fitness (siring success). For more information about this project please read Mia’s great flog post about the project. This summer Mia, Avery, Miyauna, and Ren are working genotyping the offspring from this study using previously developed genetic tools.


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 a 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, especially with my very active nearly-four-year-old.


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