People | Department of Biological Sciences


Photos of the lab at work and play

Principal Investigator

Dr. Elinor Lichtenberg - Assistant Professor


Dr. Lichtenberg is a behavioral and community ecologist. She is interested in how plant-pollinator interactions change with the biological community in which they are taking place under global change. She combines empirical (field and lab), modeling and meta-analytic approaches, and conducts research in both temperate and tropical systems.

Dr. Lichtenberg's CV, Twitter account and Mastodon account

Research Staff

Laura Taylor - Lab Manager


Photo of a young white woman standing at the shore of a lake with arms outstretched and an excited faceLaura joined the lab in September 2021. Previously, she worked at Purdue University, evaluating the impacts of Conservation Reserve Program pollinator-specific seed mixes on pollinator abundance and diversity, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, evaluating th eimpact of a native predator species on pollinator behavior and plant seed set. She is broadly interested in the intersection between behavioral, conservation and urban ecology. Laura obtained her BS in Biology and Environmental Studies in 2020 from Trinity University.

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Laura's Twitter account

Grad students

Shannon Collins - MS student


Shannon joined the lab in January 2021. She currently studies the impacts of livestock grazing on ground-nesting bee communities via changes to nesting and foraging resources. Broadly, Shannon is interested in disturbance ecology, soil-plant-pollinator interactions, and regenerative land management. She is also passionate about socio-environmental justice and sustainable community development.

Avery Pearson - MS student

Avery joined the lab in Fall 2022. She is interested in pollination networks and exploring the strengths of different pollination mutualisms. Previously, Avery worked at the USDA-ARS NPARL station in Montana, studying the native pollinator communities of the Northern Great Plains and biocontrol agents for invasive plants in the region. She obtained her B.A. in Biology from the College of Wooster in 2020, where she investigated the impacts of different pollinator groups on the male reproductive fitness of a prairie flower for her senior thesis. Outside of research, Avery loves to hike, swim, read, and try out new dessert recipes.

Pronouns: she/her

Rob Whyle - PhD student


Rob joined the lab in fall 2021. He is interested in communication between prairie wildflowers and various insect functional groups via plant chemicals. His interests lie in chemical, community, and conservation ecology, and how genotype interacts with environmental factors to influence ecological interactions. Rob obtained his BS in Biological Sciences in 2014 and MS in Biological Sciences in 2020, both from Oakland University. His career goal is to run his own lab as a university professor.

Pronouns: He/him/his

Rob's Twitter account

Undergraduates & postbacs

Christopher Graffam

Christopher joined the lab in 2021. He has been fascinated with zoology since early childhood, and is working towards a BS in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. Christopher is interested in evolutionary biology, field work, and biodiversity of remote habitats.

Isaac Eastland

Isaac joined the lab in the summer of 2022.

John Linogao

John joined the lab in the summer of 2022.

Brandon Meadows

Brandon joined the lab in the summer of 2022.

Marie Muniz

Marie joined the lab in 2020. She is majoring in Ecology for Environmental Sciences, and minoring in Chemistry. Marie's interests include ecology, human impacts on the environment, climate science, and environmental policy.

Brand Richter


Brand joined the lab in February 2021. He is pursuing a B.S. in Geography- Environmental Studies with an Urban Policy and Planning Minor. He is interested in urban ecology, community resiliency, and the relationship of people and nature in built environments. Brand also works as a research assistant in the Ponette Ecosystems Lab at UNT and serves on the City of Denton's Sustainability Committee.

Pronouns: he/him

Lab Alumni

Michelle Vohs - Our first Lab Manager! (2020-2021)

Michelle helped launch the lab. She is now the Gender Justice Organizer with the Asian American Organizing Project. Michelle obtained her BS in Conservation Biology with an Entomology minor in 2017 from the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities.

Pronouns: she, her, hers

Undergraduate research assistants

Alejandra Gage (BS Ecology for Environmental Science, 2021)

Alyssa Kinman (2021-2022)

Pablo Lopez (BS Ecology for Environmental Science, BA Integrative Studies 2021-2022)

Karla Montanez (2022)

Devin Pedraza (BS Ecology for Environmental Science, 2022)

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