I am currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Tobin Disturbance Ecology Lab in the School of Environment and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington, located in Seattle, Washington. I hold a Bachelor of Science in plant breeding and genetics from the University of Minnesota. My doctoral research examines the foraging habits of the native mason bee based on DNA sequencing of pollen provisions collected by bees across a range of urban park systems in western Washington. My current dissertation projects include:
(1) DNA sequence analysis of native bee pollen collected from study sites across King County, WA, identifying plant genus and species visited by the bees, and the general rate of visitation over three years across a variation of landscape characteristics.
(2) Genetic analysis and identification of bacteria found in pollen collected from native bees across multiple foraging periods (early, late season) across multi-year periods.
(3) Determining how plant visitation and bacterial composition changes affect bee developmental success across multi-year periods.
My work is funded by the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture McIntire-Stennis Capacity Grant. My research is driven by my love for pollinators, my background in genetics during my undergraduate degree, and my desire to work outdoors as much as possible during my doctoral research. There is so much we still don’t know about pollinator habits and the impact that landscape changes, invasive species introductions, and climate change will have on the health of native bees. I am always excited to share my ongoing work and findings with the general public, and embrace the communication of science in various forms.