Elizabeth Crone headshot

Elizabeth Crone – Professor, UC Davis Department of Evolution & Ecology / Affiliate Professor, Tufts University Biology Department

Keywords: population ecology of bees, butterflies & wildflowers

My research focuses on population ecology, especially of plants and insects, and plant-animal interactions. Specifically, I am interested in how environmental changes translate to changes in population dynamics: For example, is there a simple, linear matching of changes in resources to abundance of consumers, or do interactions among individuals and species moderate these responses? Much of my research also involves developing novel quantitative approaches to predict long-term dynamics from small scale observations and experiments. Current research focuses largely on insect population viability in changing environments, with some continuing work on plant population dynamics and mast-seeding. Past projects include syntheses of structured population dynamics, application of ecological theory to restoration, and some of the best documented examples of cyclical dynamics in plants and spatial metapopulation dynamics in animals. I was also one of the first ecologists to use generalized linear mixed models to parameterize stochastic population models.

Postdoctoral scholars

Collin Edwards (Ph.D. Cornell University) – currently studying changes in abundance and phenology of butterflies throughout the United States

Keywords: Mathematical ecology, statistical ecology, phenology, community ecology, plant-insect interactions

Emily Erickson (Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University) – currently studying non-migratory monarch butterflies in urban gardens

Keywords: Urban ecology, monarchs, plant-pollinator communities

Ph.D. Students

Brendan Carson (Tufts University)

Keywords: Disease dynamics, movement ecology, checkerspot butterflies

After studying ecology and anthropology at the University of Michigan, Brendan spent several years teaching experiential ecology to middle school students in Texas and California. He earned an MS in entomology at Michigan State University in 2013, and then worked as a Research Associate and Lecturer at Loyola University Chicago. While at LUC, Brendan helped pioneer innovative research in wetland management and restoration in the Great Lakes and provided mentorship to aspiring young environmental scientists. In 2018 he joined the Biology department at Tufts University to earn a PhD studying under Colin Orians and Elizabeth Crone. “There is nothing I enjoy more than sharing my love of the natural world with others, and I feel privileged to be able to spend my life working towards understanding and stewarding life on this planet.”


Nick Dorian (Tufts University)

Keywords: solitary bees, bet-hedging, diapause, community education, animal migration

Nicholas (Nick) Dorian is a 6th year Ph.D. candidate in Crone Lab based at Tufts University broadly interested in the population ecology and natural history of wild bees. His dissertation is focused on life history variation and dispersal of blueberry cellophane bees (Colletes validus). Nick is also the founder and co-president of Tufts Pollinator Initiative, which promotes urban pollinator conservation through habitat creation and community education. His passion for teaching led him to give a Tedx Tufts talk inspring 2022 titled “We’re Saving the Wrong Bees.

Contact: nicholas.dorian[at]tufts.edu  Website: https://nicholasdorian.weebly.com/


Sylvie Finn (UC Davis)

Keywords: bumble bees, phenology, diapause, life history

Sylvana (Sylvie) Finn started her graduate career with Elizabeth Crone at Tufts University and is now a PhD student in the Graduate Group of Ecology at UC Davis. Her dissertation focuses on studying phenological variation in a widespread bumble bee (Bombus vosnesenskii).  Her interests lie in life history theory, phenology, and ecology of bumble bees. Sylvie holds a MS in Biology from Tufts University and a BA in Biology from Skidmore College. When not chasing bumble bees, Sylvie likes to play with her cat Oreo.

Contact: srfinn [at] ucdavis.edu Twitter: @FinnSylvana


James Michielini (UC Davis)

Keywords: geographic range shifts, butterflies, phenology, pipevine swallowtails

James Michielini started his graduate career with Elizabeth Crone at Tufts University and is now a PhD student in the Population Biology Graduate Group at UC Davis. His research focuses on the range expansion of the eastern population of pipevine swallowtails.

Contact: jpmichielini [at] ucdavis.edu



Atticus Murphy (Tufts University)

Keywords: urban conservation, pollinators, social contagion, insect ecology

Atticus attended the University of Toronto for undergrad and has been a PhD student with the Crone Lab at Tufts since 2018. Atticus started his PhD studying movement in monarch butterflies and ant-tending in silvery blues, but since 2020 has primarily been focused on urban gardening. Atticus studies how urban gardening may be socially contagious, leading to the passive spread of this conservation practice through neighborhoods. He also examine the effects of this contagion on ecological processes in insect pollinators (monarchs and bees).
Contact: atticus.murphy [at] tufts.edu Website: atticuswmurphy.com

Masters Students

Karen Dooley (Tufts University)

Keywords: Urban ecology, insect conservation

I’m a graduate student at Tufts University studying Biology with a concentration in Ecology. I completed my undergraduate degree at Tufts (A22) with a double major in Biology and French. I am broadly interested in pollinator conservation, and my specific research interests include insects and gardening in urban environments. As an undergraduate, I worked with Atticus Murphy in the Crone lab to complete a Senior Honors Thesis on monarch butterfly egg laying behavior in urban environments. For my graduate degree, I am now examining the foraging behavior of the bi-colored striped sweat bee at different spatial scales. Outside of research, I enjoy partaking in scientific outreach through the Tufts Pollinator Initiative, spending time outside, creating art, and rowing.


Undergraduate Honors Students


Chloé Markovits (Tufts University) – Do sweat bees cross roads?  (with Nick Dorian)

Keywords: solitary bees, urban ecology, population ecology

I study patterns of urban garden use by metallic green sweat bees (Agapostemon virescens). In particular, I’ve been interested in quantifying fidelity to gardens throughout their life cycle and assessing how roads influence their movement.



Former Cronies

Postdoctoral Scholars

Rachael Bonoan, Assistant Professor at Providence College

Graduate Students

Genevieve Pugesek (Ph.D. 2021) – Currently Postdoctoral Scholar at University of Madison-Wisconsin

Natalie Kerr

Undergraduate Students