People

 

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Dr. Rachael Winfree

Rachael Winfree is a Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. The goal of her work is to better understand the causes and consequences of biodiversity, particularly in real-world settings and at large spatial scales. Current projects in her research group include (1) the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem services, (2) biodiversity measurement, (3) plant-pollinator networks, and (4) pollinator conservation and restoration. Her work has been funded primarily by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and has been published in leading scientific journals including Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Ecology Letters, and Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. From 2015-2019 she was one of approximately 170 scientists worldwide (and one of approximately 20 women) on the list of highly cited researchers in the field of environment / ecology. Rachael is a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America and serves on the board of directors of the Xerces Society, which has the largest pollinator conservation effort of any nonprofit. She received her Ph.D. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from Princeton University in 2001 and her B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1990.

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POSTDOCS

Dr. Natalie Lemanski

Natalie is a theoretical ecologist and mathematical modeler who has worked extensively on social insects. Her work in the lab involves analysis of datasets on bee-plant interactions to explore questions about biodiversity, phenology, and ecosystem function. Natalie obtained her Ph.D from Rutgers, and completed two previous postdoctoral positions, at University of Tennessee and UCLA.  

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Dr. Katie Turo

Katie is a USDA NIFA Postdoctoral fellow who is interested in reconciliation ecology or advancing land management strategies to satisfy human needs while preserving healthy ecosystem functioning. Her Postdoctoral research goal is to develop climate resilient management for wild pollinators of spring fruit crops. Katie completed her Ph.D at The Ohio State University where she studied urban pollinator conservation.

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RESEARCH ASSOCIATES

Dr. James Reilly

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James is an ecological modeler who develops and analyzes mathematical and statistical models in collaboration with various members of the lab. James received his Ph.D from Cornell University in 2009.

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GRADUATE STUDENTS

Lucia Weinman

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Lucia Weinman is a 5th year PhD candidate. She is interested in the role of biodiversity in the functioning of plant-pollinator systems, as well as the inherent conflict between plants and their pollinators. For her dissertation, Lucia is using pollen analysis to study the pollen diets of spring-flying bee species in deciduous forest understories.  Using her data on bees’ pollen collection, she is quantifying the spatial variation in the identity of plants bees rely on for pollen. She is also comparing bees’ patterns of pollen collection with patterns of pollen transport. Lucia conducted her field work in National Parks in Michigan and Indiana. She graduated from Columbia University in 2014 with a BA in Environmental Biology.

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Dylan Simpson

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Dylan is a fourth-year PhD student interested in the intersections of biodiversity, community composition, and ecosystem function, especially in the contexts of conservation and land-use change. His Ph.D research uses population genetics to examine the structure and connectivity of bumble bee populations across land use gradients. He holds a BS in environmental science and an MS in biology.

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Andrew Aldercotte

Andrew is a second-year Ph.D student interested in community ecology, particularly in inter-trophic interactions and drivers of biodiversity. He is doing his field work in Borneo where he is studying the phenology of plant-pollinator interactions in the tropical forest canopy. Andrew holds a MSc in Forestry from Bangor University and a BA in Economics from University of California, Santa Cruz.

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Max McCarthy

Max is a second-year Ph.D student interested in studying floral resource use by bees and applying this information to conservation. For his Ph.D work, he is studying metapopulations of a rare specialist bee, Andrena parnassiae, in the fens of northern New Jersey. Max graduated from Tufts University, where he majored in Biology and Environmental Studies, in 2020. 

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Joanna Gunther

Joanna Gunther is a first-year Ph.D student interested in using Bayesian statistical modeling to understand the role of floral phenological variation in maintaining bee diversity. She plans to study this in forest bee communities, and hopes to apply her findings to pollinator conservation. Joanna received her B.A. in biology from George Fox University in 2021.

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UNDERGRADUATES

Aaron Scheiner

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Aaron is a junior in the Honors College at Rutgers and a double major in mathematics and computer science. He is working with Dylan Simpson on modeling North American firefly distributions and biodiversity, in collaboration with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

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LAB ALUMNI/AE – POSTDOCS

LAB ALUMNI/AE – GRADUATE STUDENTS

  • Colleen Smith, Ph.D 2020 – Postdoc in Forrest Lab at University of Ottawa
  • Michael Roswell, Ph.D 2020 – Postdoc at University of California, Davis and SESYNC
  • Bethanne Bruninga-Socolar, Ph.D 2018 – Postdoc in the Cariveau Lab at the University of Minnesota   web site / Google Scholar
  • Tina Harrison, Ph.D 2016 – Postdoc in the Genung Lab at the University of Louisiana  Google Scholar
  • Faye Benjamin, Ph.D 2015 – Adjunct Professor, Hofstra University Google Scholar
  • Molly MacLeod, Ph.D. 2015 – Senior Director, Science Communications and Engagement, BioMarin Pharmaceutical
  • Sean Griffin, MS 2015 – Postdoc in the Jha Lab at University of Texas, Austin website / Google Scholar

LAB ALUMNI/AE – UNDERGRADUATES

  • Casey Hamilton, ’19, MS student, Penn State University
  • Rosy Tucker ‘17, Graduate School of Education, University of Virginia
  • Joe Zientek ’16, Lab manager, Oakland University
  • Kurtis Himmler ’16, MS student in Biology, Loyola University
  • Tiffany Bennett ’16, Forester, Gracie and Harrigan Consulting
  • Hinal Patel ’15, MD student, Drexel College of Medicine
  • Abigail Cohen ’14, Ph.D student, University of Washington
  • Bridget Johnson ’13, Peace Corps, Paraguay
  • Samantha Hauser ’11Postdoc at University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

 


HONORARY LAB MEMBERS (Born to parents in the Winfree Lab)

Gavin Genung (dad Mark Genung, postdoc)

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Isabelle Socolar (mom Bethanne Bruninga-Socolar, Ph.D student)

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Zelda Keitel and Max Keitel (mom Faye Benjamin, Ph.D student)

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Violeta Bartomeus (dad Nacho Bartomeus, postdoc)

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Sophia Budny (mom Rachael Winfree, PI)

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