Research projects

 O'Donnell lab members and collaborators  

Sean O'Donnell Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison (1993)

Tropical field research travel - Natural history television work


Postodoctoral researchers

  Dr. Susan Bulova (PhD Wisconsin 1994) research associate. Susie has worked on antipredator behavior of lizards and thermal ecology of desert tortoises, and on conservation biology of snakes. In the O'Donnell lab she is focusing on evolution of brain structure in social insects.

   Dr. Nicole Arcilla (PhD Univ. of Georgia 2008) postdoctoral fellow . Nicole's postdoctoral research examines the behavior and interactions of birds that follow army ants, using a novel automated radio tracking system, and the evolution of brain structures (hippocampus and olfaction) in ant following birds.


Ph.D. students 

Kaitlin Baudier (Drexel University- Biology) . Kailtin's thesis work focuses on the evolution of thermal physiology and ecology in Neotropical army ants, but she is also working on human safe insecticide discovery, and the evolution of larval adhesion in ants.

    Kevin Purce (MS- CUNY City College; Drexel Biodiversity, Earth & Environmental Science). Kevin has worked on the behavioral ecology of socially parastic slavemaking ants (Temnothorax) and is now exploring the biology of temperate fungus-gardening ants (Trachymyrmex).


Undergraduate researchers

Francesca Dogias, Paulina Khodak, Savanna Michener, Elisabeth Sulger. Paulina and Lizzy are collecting data on brain architecture in diverse wasp and ant species; Francesca and Savanna will be working on bird/army ant interactions in Costa Rica.


 Former lab members

Former Postdoc

Dr. Sara DeLeon, PhD Cornell


Graduate degrees

Thomas Soare, PhD (Psychology- Animal Behavior) Summer 2012 - Population genetics and behavioral ecology of army ants

Anjali Kumar, PhD (Psychology- Animal Behavior) Summer 2008 - Behavioral ecology of army ants/Conservation biology

Yamile Molina, PhD (Psychology- Animal Behavior) Summer 2009 - Evolution of caste differences in brain structure in paper wasps

Adam Smith, PhD (Psychology- Animal Behavior) Summer 2005 - Evolution of social structure in tropical bees

Jason Stafstrom, MS (Psychology- Animal Behavior) Spring 2011 - Spider brain evolution


Former graduate researchers

Brain plasticity and brain evolution: Marie Clifford, Robin Harris, Ben Land

Paper wasp behavioral ecology field research: Sara Ranger, Doug Wacker, Bill Wood

Termite caste development: Dan Markiewicz

Avian behavioral ecology field research: Robert Driver


Former undergraduate researchers

Paper wasp biodiversity: Sean Tully (NSF-REU and Psychology honors)

Army ant population genetics: Cara Allen

Brain plasticity and evolution: Kayla Helem (UW Mary Gates Fellow) , Hans Kelstrup, Josh Matlock, Nola McAloon (STAR fellow), Skye Miller, Abigail Mudd (STAR fellow), Justin Neste (NSF-REU), Anna Pollock (Honors student), Andrea Repetto (NSF-REU and UW Mary Gates Fellow), John Salvo, Ceri Weber

Army ant ecology/behavior: Katie D'Amelio, Tessa Erickson, Elise Koncsek, Rumaan Malhotra , Sharon Stein

Avian behavioral ecology: Emily Johnson (STAR fellow), Alyssa Klein (STAR fellow), James Warren (research co-op)

Bumble bee behavior: Amelia Brunskill (UW Mary Gates Fellow), Tina Gray, Mary Kotschwar (Univ. of Puget Sound), Janake Nathan (Univ. of Chicago), Monica Reichardt (UW Hughes Fellow), Linnaea Renz, Geoff Valentine, Dave Verdirame (Univ. of Puget Sound)

Genetic markers: Olivia Gelow, Tarn Adams, Katie Edwards, Kristin Haff, Alisa Hove (UC Davis), Amy Kasameyer (UC Davis), Meredith Klacking, Ana Kobayashi, Tina Stremick, Yoko Takahashi

Behavioral physiology: Natalie Bostwick, Mark Burns, Jen Gee, Melissa Nakanishi

Caloric restriction: Joel Greenwood

Paper wasp behavioral ecology: Andrea Repetto (NSF-REU), Nick Spang

Termite caste development: Chris Dalinkus 

Collaborators from other departments and universities

Leticia Aviles, University of British Columbia - Spider brain evolution

Sam Beshers, Univ. of Illinois- Haploid susceptibility and the evolution of sociality

Sarah Farris, West Virginia University- Evolution of brain development

Jim Hunt, North Carolina State Univ.- Social wasp behavior

Dan Janzen, Univ. of Pennsylvania- Paper wasp biodiversity

Robert Jeanne, Univ. of Wisconsin- Social wasp behavior, ecology, and evolution

Theresa Jones, Univ. of Texas- Neural plasticity and behavior

Frank Joyce, Monteverde, Costa Rica- Social wasp ecology and evolution

Michael Kaspari, Univ. of Oklahoma- Ant community ecology

Daniel Kronauer, Harvard University - Ant population genetics

John Lattke, Univ. of Central Venezuela- Ant community ecology

Kerry Naish, UW Aquatic & Fishery Sciences - Army ant population genetics

Christine Nalepa, USDA/North Carolina State Univ.- development and evolution of termite brain architecture

Scott Powell, George Washington University- Ant community ecology

Josephine Rodriguez, Univ. of California- Paper wasp biodiversity