Cariveau Lab Team

2019 Cariveau Lab Team Group Photo

Daniel Cariveau
Assistant 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 plants through pollinators at Colorado State University under Dr. Andrew Norton. He then 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.

CFANS 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Award Recipient

Extension and Research

Bethanne Bruninga-Socolar
Bethanne Bruninga-Socolar

Post-Doctoral Researcher

Research interests: I study plant-pollinator community ecology in restored habitats and the effects of variation in bee foraging behavior on plant pollination.

Projects: In the Cariveau lab, my projects focus on improving the effectiveness of and lowering the cost of restoring tallgrass prairie habitat for pollinators. I work at both the landscape scale and the small scale of experimental plots to determine how landscape context and diversity and density of prairie wildflower plantings affect plant establishment success and bee diversity.



PhD, Ecology & Evolution, 2018, Rutgers University

B.A. Biology, 2010, Swarthmore College

Elaine Evans
Elaine picture
Assistant 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 Bee Atlas and the Minnesota Bumble Bee Survey. 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

Christina Herron-Sweet
Christina Herron-Sweet among wildflowers.
Research Scientist

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


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

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

Katie Lee
Katie Lee headshot

Post-Doctoral Researcher

Research Interests: I am currently a post-doctoral researcher on the Minnesota Agriculture for Pollinators Project (MAPP) led by Dr. Dan Cariveau. The project assesses the benefits of pollinator plantings on both honey bees, wild bees, and natural enemies in southwest Minnesota. I lead the honey bee team that looks at how the surrounding percent natural area and pollination plot size affect honey bee health. My previous research focused on metrics that indicate honey bee colony and queen health. I developed a parasitic V. destructor sampling protocol that is now a nationwide standard. In collaboration with the non-profit organization the Bee Informed Partnership, I founded the Northern California and Upper Midwest honey bee Tech-Transfer Teams that provide services for commercial beekeepers by assessing colony health, sampling for pathogens and parasites, and testing breeding stock for disease resistance behaviors. I serve on the board of the American Beekeeping Federation and my long-term goal is to conduct research that generates practical information for beekeepers.


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 Photo

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 Universit, Adviser: Terry Griswold
B.S. Biology and Computer Science, 2009, Union College

Colleen Satyshur
Colleen Satyshur Portrait

Research Scientist

I am a Research Scientist at UMN working on three different stem and wood nesting wild bee projects. I have my Masters in Biology from the University of South Dakota studying the endangered Hine's emerald dragonfly. My undergraduate was in Biology from Cornell University. Between schooling I really enjoyed radio-tracking re-introduced whooping cranes and recording vocalizations of wild ones. I've worked at UMN since 2009, first as a research coordinator for the entomology portion of a study on using restored grasslands for both bioenergy and wildlife habitat. My three current projects are: 1. Native grassland plants used as nesting sites for wild bees, 2. Minnesota Bee Atlas-a citizen science project. 3. Minnesota Futures Grant called The Art and Science of Nesting Bees. My academic interests include ecology, grasslands, wild bees, and discovering the natural history and life cycles of stem nesting bees in particular. When not thinking about bees, I enjoy spending time with my husband, dog and two daughters, being outside, going to lots of playgrounds and parks. 

Find out more about the Art and Science of Nesting Bees here.


M.S. Biology, University of South Dakota

B.S. Biology, Cornell University

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


B.S. Biology, Lawrence University, WI

Michelle Boone
Michelle Boone with a Bombus griseocollis.

PhD Student

I’m a PhD student in the Entomology Department studying occupancy and detection probabilities of bumblebees in the Twin Cities, MN, including the federally endangered rusty-patched bumblebee (Bombus affinis Cresson). I'm interested in identifying habitat variables that are important for the presence of rusty-patched bumblebees and other Bombus species in the region. I'm interested broadly in conservation and learning how we can balance the needs of humans and wildlife in urban habitats. In addition to my interests in research and conservation, I'm passionate about social justice in higher education. Upon graduation, I'm interested in exploring career options as a wildlife biologist for federal agencies and non-profit organizations, in addition to research positions in academia.

2020 President's Student Leadership and Service Award Recipient

B.S. Biology, 2016, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN

A.A. Liberal Arts, 2010, North Hennepin Community College, Brooklyn Park, MN


2019 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship             

2019 CFANS Scholars of Color Fellowship

2018 CFANS Diversity Scholars Graduate Student Fellowship

2017 Diversity of Views (DOVE) Fellowship

Check out this video highlighting queen and male rusty-patched bumble bees at a nest location in Red Wing, MN:

CV: file:///C:/Users/Michelle/Desktop/Career%20Stuff/BooneCVjuly2020.pdf

Julia Brokaw
Brokaw portrait

PhD Student

Research interestsI 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.
B.S. Natural Resources; Applied Ecology, 2014, Cornell University
Ian Lane
Ian Lane Picture
PhD Candidate

Research Interest: I am interested in how both the landscape and local factors associated with prairie restorations affect patterns of local and spatial diversity in bee communities. Specifically, I am interested in question relating to biotic homogenization due to landscape simplification, as well as factors that limit bee communities in restorations similarity to prairie remnants. I am also interested in working with landmanagers to better communicate pollinator research and learn about restoration research priorities.

M.S. Floral Enrichment of Turf Lawns to Benefit Pollinating Insects, 2016, University of MN, Advisors: Marla Spivak and Eric Watkins

B.S. Crop and Soil Sciences, with a minor in entomology and a specialization in sustainable food systems, 2012, Michigan State University


2020 U of MN Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship

Amy Waananen
Amy Waananen Profile

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

Current Technicians

Emma Dombrow
Emma Dombrow holding a honey bee frame. Emma is wearing a full beekeepers suit.

Research Technician

During my time as an undergraduate student, I have had the opportunity to work at the Cariveau Lab since the fall of 2018.  As a technician, I am mainly involved in the MAPP project where I have spent two summers collecting, processing, and cleaning data on native bee presence and vegetation growth in planted pollinator plots.  I hope to transition the skills that I have learned from this valuable experience to a future career in the fields of plant ecology and entomology.
B.S. Environmental Science, Policy and Management with a minor in Geography, 2020, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Thea Evans
Thea Evans

Senior LabTechnician

I am the research technician for the citizen science project, Minnesota Bee Atlas and the cross-disciplinary project, The Art and Science of Nesting Bees. I am interested in bee nesting biology and nest parasites, forest pollinators - particularly in the forest canopy, climate change policy, and how all these things intersect with ecosystem restoration and management. Before working in the Cariveau native bee lab, I worked for many years designing and planting native plant gardens and I also worked as a naturalist for Minneapolis Parks and Recreation.

Find out more about the Art and Science of Nesting Bees here.

Education: B.S. Multidisciplinary Studies, University of Minnesota, 2015

Rita Morris
Rita Morris

Research Technician

I am interested in the field of conservation and disease ecology, and the intersection between these two. Prior to the bee lab, I assisted with vector borne disease research, which sparked an interest in research involving insects. I worked on the MAPP team for 5 months, where I helped with the collection and processing of native bee specimens. This position gave me the opportunity to learn about bees and the research being conducted regarding their conservation. I hope to use the information and skills I have gained to further my career in the field of conservation/entomology.


B.A. Zoology, with minors in Global Health and Environmental Studies, 2019, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Current Undergraduate Students

Damon Leach
Damon Leach

Undergraduate Research Technician


I am a senior at the University of Minnesota studying Statistics and minoring in both Biology and Management. I am interested in environmental statistics especially related to the conservation of endangered species. At the Cariveau Native Bee Lab, I have worked as a lab technician on projects such as roadside occupancy modeling of bumblebees, assisting in fieldwork, as well as cleaning and managing data for analysis.


2019 Robert C. Hodson Memorial Undergraduate Scholarship

2019 Garden Club of America Clara Carter Higgens Summer Research Scholarship

Jillian Neece
Jillian Neece kneeling among vegetation.

Undergraduate Research Technician

I am a senior at the University of Minnesota studying Plant and Microbial Biology with minors in Entomology and Sustainability Studies. I am currently working on the FFAR seed mix design project doing field work, data entry, and specimen processing in order to determine seed mix compositions that are both economically plausible and ecologically beneficial. My broader interests include prairie conservation and restoration, as well as sustainable agriculture and agroecology.