Introduction to people involved in the Echinacea project:

This page serves as an introduction to people involved in the Echinacea project. We have a special page dedicated to volunteers who are working on and have worked on the project. The Echinacea project would not exist in its current form without the incredible work of many dedicated volunteers. We have another page of summer field researchers. Every summer the Echinacea project provides employment and internships for undergraduate students, recent graduates, graduate students, and others starting off in their science or conservation careers. Our summer researchers receive training, gain skills, and get much and diverse experience. In turn, summer field researchers contribute immensely to the project. We accomplish a lot every summer and our datasets are hard-won.

Stuart Wagenius

Stuart Wagenius

Stuart started the Echinacea project as part of his dissertation research in 1995. He had no idea he would be measuring the same plants for over ten years! Stuart supervises field activities and lives at the research site with his family during the summer. He works as a conservation scientist at the Chicago Botanic Garden and advises graduate students and teaches in the Plant Biology and Conservation Program at Northwestern University. Stuart's web page.

Ruth Shaw

Ruth Shaw

Ruth has been involved with Echinacea since the beginning, as a member of Stuart's committee and as the founder of the Minnesota Center for Community Genetics, one of the early funders of the Echinacea research. Ruth & Stuart led the Echinacea part of the NSF Biocomplexity project that funded Echinacea research 2000-2005. Ruth is a professor at the University of Minnesota and serves on several graduate faculties. She welcomes inquiries from prospective graduate students interested in the Echinacea project. Ruth's web page.

Gretel Kiefer

Gretel Kiefer

Gretel conducted her thesis research on the reproductive biology of Phlox pilosa (U Wisconsin--Madison 1999) in the study area and has been involved in many aspects of the Echinacea project since then. Gretel is the fastest plant measurer of all time. Since March 2006 Gretel Kiefer has been the database manager for the Echinacea project.

Jennifer Ison

Jennifer Ison

Jennifer is a graduate student in the Ecology & Evolution and LEAP Ph.D. program at University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focuses on the effects of flowering phenology on the ecology and evolution of prairie plants, including Echinacea. Jennifer's web page.

Christine Dumoulin

Christine Dumoulin started as a graduate student in the Plant Biology and Conservation Program at Northwestern University in 2007. Christine is interested in the evolution and population dynamics of self-incompatible plants.

Amy Dykstra

Amy Dykstra

Amy Dykstra is a graduate student in the Plant Biology Ph.D. program at the University of Minnesota. Amy is interested in seedling recruitment. Her research addresses the role of seedling recruitment in population dynamics and investigates the extent of local adaptation in seed and seedling traits.

Kate Gallagher

Kate Gallagher

Kate Gallagher started as a graduate student in the Plant Biology and Conservation Program at Northwestern University in 2009. Kate's thesis research addresses the role of seed origin in restoration success. She is investigating three important prairie grasses: Big bluestem, Indiangrass, and Sideoats grama.

Caroline Ridley

Caroline Ridley

Caroline joined the Echinacea project in September 2008 as a post-doctoral researcher. She graduated with her PhD in Plant Biology from the University of California Riverside, completing her dissertation on interspecific hybridization and the evolution of invasiveness in California wild radish in August 2008. She now happily turns her attention to the evolutionary genetics and demography of a native species.

Megan Jensen

Megan Jensen

Megan is a graduate student in the Plant Biology and Conservation Program at Northwestern University. Her research involves determining the breeding systems of prairie plants.

Charlie Geyer

Charlie has developed the aster statistical analysis, which is essential for characterizing fitness of long-lived plants (like Echinacea--and many other organisms) and made it available to all researchers through the free software package R. You can read all about the aster analysis and how to use it at the aster website. Charlie is a professor of statistics at the U of MN; here's Charlie's web page.

Andy McCall

Andy McCall worked on the Echinacea project during summer 2007 as a visiting researcher. He is interested in florivory and floral displays and their effects on insect visitation and plant reproduction. During 2007 we took about 800 hours of video of Echinacea heads in the main common garden to assess insect visitation. Andy is an assistant professor at Dension University. Andy's web page.

Julie Nicol

Julie Nicol was the Echinacea project research assistant at the CBG from June 2007 - June 2008. She graduated from Carleton College in June, 2007, and went straight to work for the Echinacea project at the field site. She intends to figure out approximately where her research interests fall on the ecology-evolution continuum (the axis of evo) before continuing her education. Helen Hangelbroek

Helen Hangelbroek

Helen was a post-doctoral researcher on the Echinacea project from November 2003- November 2005. Her main research interest was in the evolution and ecology of plant-animal interactions. Helen worked on several Echinacea projects, including spearheading two experiments that she is currently writing up: the first characterizes spatial patterns in the diversity and abundance of arthropod visitors of Echinacea, the second experiment investigates the role of an Echinacea plant's inbreeding level on the stoichiometry of its ant and aphid associates. Andrea Southgate

Andrea Southgate

Andrea was the first graduate of the Master's Program in Plant Biology and Conservation Program at Northwestern University. Her thesis title is "The influence of population size on the effect of inbreeding and outbreeding on early plant traits in the prairie native Echinacea angustifolia (Asteraceae)." Andrea's web page.

Steph Pimm

Steph Pimm

Steph Pimm was an intern at the CBG from June 2004 - June 2005. For her independent project, Steph investigated the effects of prairie landscape attributes on bee diversity and abundance. She is now a graduate student with an NSF predoctoral fellowship at the University of Wisconsin--Madison.

Claudia Neuhauser

Claudia was a collaborator on the modeling effort in the Echinacea project. Claudia was a member of Stuart's committee and was head PI on the NSF Biocomplexity project that funded the Echinacea project from 2000-2005 and a member of the MN Center for Community Genetics. Claudia's a mathematician interested in the role of space in population and genetic dynamics. Claudia's web page.

Eric Lonsdorf

Eric was a collaborator on the modeling effort in the Echinacea project. As a graduate student at the U of MN, Eric was involved in several other aspects of the Echinacea project including investigating the role of population size and heterozygosity on C:N ratios in individual plants. Eric is currently at Lincoln Park Zoo. Eric's web page.

Monica Poelchau

Monica was an intern at the CBG from June 2002 - April 2003. She was a member of the "crossing crew of 2002" and was instrumental in the Herculean task of germinating all of the resulting seeds, growing the seedlings, and measuring everything. She escaped the midwest to Panama and is now a graduate student with an NSF fellowship at the University of Georgia. Monica's page.

Former lab & greenhouse researchers

& more people

We have a special page dedicated to volunteers, past & present.

We have another page of former summer field researchers.