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

Isaac Eastland

Isaac joined the lab in summer 2022.

Aidan McKinnis

Aidan joined the lab in spring 2023. Aidan is pursuing a BS in Ecology for Environmental Science and has broad interest in conservation, habitat restoration, and urban ecology. As a member of the UNT Pollinative Prairie Committee, Aidan documents taxa found at the Pollinative Prairie. In Aidan's free time, they enjoy walking trails and taking care of their many house plants.

Pronouns: any/all

Jada Martinez


Jada joined the lab in summer 2023. They are pursuing a BS in Ecology for Environmental Science and a GIS certificate, and anticipate graduating in spring 2025. Jada has an interest in plants, insects, habitat restoration, and regenerative agriculture. In their free time, they iNaturalist while hiking and take care of their two cats.

Pronouns: they/them

Brandon Meadows

Brandon joined the lab in summer 2022.

Nick Medina


Nick joined the lab in summer 2023. He is pursuing a BS in Ecology for Environmental Science and will be a senior starting in fall 2023. Nick has gained experience with prairie ecosystems through UNT's Society for Ecological Restoration chapter and Pollinative Prairie Committee. Nick is also involved in a project focusing on live mammalina, reptile, and amphibian trapping in urban environments around the Denton area.

Pronouns: he/him

Julian Moore


Julian joined the lab in summer 2023. He is currently pursuing a BS in Ecology for Environmental Science. His interests include conservation ecology and invertebrate biology. Julian is a member of UNT's Society for Ecological Restoration chapter and is involved in praire restoration projects.

Pronouns: he/him/they/them

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.

Sarah Paroski

Sarah joined the lab in summer 2023. She is pursuing a BS in Ecology for Environmental Science with certificates in Water Resources and Sustainability. Sarah is interested in aquatic conservation ecology and habitat restoration. She is part of UNT's Society for Ecological Restoration Greenhouse Crew where she helps plant native North Texas species at the Pollinative Prairie.

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Ethan Phillips

Ethan joined the lab in summer 2023. He is pursuing a BS in Ecology for Environmental Science with a minor in German. Ethan is extremely excited to *bee* in the lab and learn more about the amazing world of pollination! Ethan is a member of UNT's We Mean Green Fund and is leading a project that aims to strengthen local mason bee populations by providing shelter and food.

Brand Richter


Brand joined the lab in February 2021. He is pursuing a BS 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 at the Lewisville Aquatic Ecosystem Research Facility and serves on the City of Denton's Sustainability Committee.

Pronouns: he/him

Abbey Schedler


Abbey joined the lab in summer 2023. She is pursuing a BS in Ecology for Environmental Science with anticipated graduation in spring 2024. Abbey is interested in land management and forestry. Abbey previously worked as an intern with Keep Denton Beautiful and is a meber of the UNT Society for Ecological Restoration chapter.

Pronounds: she/her

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)

Christopher Graffam (BS Biology with Chemistry minor, 2021-2022)

Alyssa Kinman (2021-2022)

John Linogao (BS Ecology for Environmental Science, 2022-2023)

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

Karla Montanez (2022)

Devin Pedraza (BS Ecology for Environmental Science, 2022)