Research projects

O'Donnell lab members and collaborators

The PI...

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

Tropical field research travel - Natural history television work


Ph.D. students 

Meghan Barrett (Biology Department- PhD candidate).

Meghan is focusing on the neurobiology and ecology of bees with male alternative mating tactics.



Virgina Caponera (BEES Department- beginning PhD student).

Virginia is exploring possible work on ant thermal physiology and community ecology.


Katie Fiocca (Biology Department- PhD candidate).

Katie is working on social insect nutritional physiology, and on chemical ecology/pheromone communication.


Undergraduate researchers

Meghan Campbell (iSTAR fellow), Kelsey Capobianco, Rheanna Congdon, Emily Fanwick, Angelina Gomez, Lauren Hultgren, Devneet Kainth, Annette Kang, Cheyenne McNair (STAR fellow), Chandler Olson, Purnima Sachdeva, Michaela Schuster, Zack Smith



Former lab members


Dr. Sara DeLeon, PhD Cornell

Dr. Nicole Arcilla, PhD Univ. of Georgia


Graduate degrees

Kaitlin Baudier, PhD (Environmental Science) Spring 2017 - Thermal eco-physiology of army ants

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

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

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

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

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


Graduate researchers

Ant behavioral ecology: Kevin Purce

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: Robert Driver


Undergraduate researchers

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

Army ant population genetics: Cara Allen

Brain plasticity and evolution: Vishakha Hariawala, Kayla Helem (UW Mary Gates Fellow) , Annette Kang, Hans Kelstrup, Paulina Khodak, 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, Elisabeth Sulger (STAR fellow), Ceri Weber

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

Avian behavioral ecology: Francesca Dogias (STAR fellow), Emily Johnson (STAR fellow), Alyssa Klein (STAR fellow), Savanna Michener (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)

Behavioral genetics: 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 universities

Leticia Aviles, Univ. of British Columbia - Spider brain evolution

Sarah Farris, West Virginia Univ.- Evolution of brain development

Dan Janzen, Univ. of Pennsylvania- Paper wasp biodiversity

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

Michael Kaspari, Univ. of Oklahoma- Ant community ecology

Daniel Kronauer, Rockefeller Univ.- Ant population genetics, ant/microbe interactions

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

Piotr Lukasik, Univ. of Montana- Ant/microbe interactions

Kerry Naish, Univ. of Washington- Army ant population genetics

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

Scott Powell, George Washington Univ.- Ant community ecology

Josephine Rodriguez, Univ. of California- Paper wasp biodiversity

Barbara Thorne, Univ. of Maryland- Termite brain development

Robert Vander Meer, USDA-ARS Gainesville- Army ant chemical ecology