I joined the Isaacs lab in the fall of 2008 after graduating from Illinois College with my B.S. in Biology/Chemistry. My undergraduate research on the propagation of endangered orchid species led me to become interested in plant-insect interactions, specifically the mechanics of pollination ecology.
My Ph.D research at MSU is centered around the development and validation of a deterministic model of blueberry pollination. With this research I am exploring alternative pollination strategies that incorporate both honey bees and bumble bees and my goal is to identify those strategies that provide optimal pollination efficiency under variable environmental conditions. The application of this research is highly relevant in light of recent concerns surrounding managed pollinator decline, and I hope it will help ensure the long-term sustainability of pollination-dependent agricultural crops.
Photos from the 2010 season:
The top photo shows me in a blooming blueberry field with my field assistant Kyle (right) and a visiting Chilean scientist, Leo (left).
The bottom photos are from growth chamber experiments to determine the base temperature of five cultivars of highbush blueberry and greenhouse experiments to determine blueberry flower viability with respect to increasing age.