Lab Members


Rachel Bonoan Rachel Bonoan
I am broadly interested in social insects, insect pollinators, and ecology. For my PhD thesis, I investigated how environmental changes in the availability of nutritional resources (i.e. flowers!) affect foraging behavior and fitness in honey bees. As part of both the Crone Lab here at Tufts and the Schultz Lab at Washington State University, I aim to better understand the natural history of the relationship between Puget blue (Plebejus icarioides blackmorei) caterpillars and their ant attendants. I will also examine how possible phenological shifts in one, or both, of these insect populations may affect caterpillar survivorship and thus, Puget blue butterfly populations.
Ailene Ettinger Ailene Ettinger
My research aims to understand how plant populations and communities respond to global change. It spans population modeling from orchids to old growth trees, uses meta-analysis to forecast biological impacts of climate change, and leverages citizen science data to aid global change research. I have worked in diverse systems, and am compelled to study anthropogenic impacts because humans exert a large and growing influence on Earth's biota, and because I believe we can simultaneously learn about basic ecology and address applied problems in natural resource management.
Email  |  Website

Research Associates

Leone (Lee) Brown Leone (Lee) Brown
Leone (Lee) Brown has returned to the Crone lab where she was previously a postdoc 2013‐2015. She is currently a Research Associate on a new DoD SERDP project, Will climate‐mediated phenological shifts affect population viability? A test with butterflies on Department of Defense lands. She is also contributing to a DoD Legacy grant studying population declines in western monarch butterflies. Her interests include population ecology (particularly of birds and butterflies in response to anthropogenic change), movement ecology, landscape ecology, conservation biology, translational ecology, and the intersections of art and science.
Norah Warchola Norah Warchola
I study the ways organisms are affected by heterogeneous landscapes, with a focus on the movement and demography of Lepidoptera. Recently my work has focused on the Fender's blue butterfly (Plebejus icarioides fenderi), an endangered species found in the Willamette Valley of Oregon and the frosted elfin (Callophrys irus) in Massachusetts. In the past, I primarily worked with temperate fruit feeding Nymphalid butterflies, studying their movement in fragmented landscapes and the environmental cues they use to make movement decisions.

Graduate Students

Natalie Kerr
My research interests involve using population models to evaluate life history strategies and trade-offs in insects. More specifically, I am currently investigating size variation in bumble bees (Bombus vosnesenskii) as well as delineating age-based differences between the invasive cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae) and its native counterpart, the mustard white butterfly (Pieris oleracea). I am a fifth-year Ph.D. student who graduated from the University of Queensland with bachelor of Environmental Science with first class honours majoring in Natural Resources Science.
Email  |  Linkedin
Genevieve Pugesek
I am a second year graduate student in the Crone lab. My aspiration is to conduct impactful research and advocate change in conservation strategy. I am broadly interested in community ecology and conservation genetics as they relate to agroecosystems. I am particularly interested in pollinators, as the ecosystem services they provide are significant to both ecological and agricultural systems. After completing my Ph.D. studies, I would like to conduct research centered on the establishment of populations of feral organisms and their impact on ecological communities. Though underappreciated, understanding the impacts of this ongoing change is relevant to conservation of biodiversity.
Nick Dorian Nick Dorian
I am a first-year PhD student in the Crone Lab funded by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. I am interested in the population ecology of pollinators in the context of a changing environment. Specifically, I study the demographic consequences of climate-induced phenological mismatch for plant-pollinator interactions. I am also an avid naturalist and have previously worked with bumble bees in Massachusetts and California, stingless bees in Costa Rica, songbirds in The Bahamas, and endangered butterflies in Florida and New Hampshire. I graduated with my B.S. in Biology and Environmental Studied from Tufts in 2016.
Email  |  Website
Kirsi Alahuhta
I am a graduate student in ecology at the University of Oulu, Finland, and I am working together with Dr. Crone to model the population dynamics of plant species with prolonged dormancy. Since true fate of a plant that does not sprout is unknown (dormant or dead), researchers have been forced to make simplifying assumptions when estimating survival of such plants. I studied, both analytically and empirically, how these assumptions affect the projections of matrix population models for two orchids, Isotria medeoloides and Epipactis atrorubens. In the future I would like to expand my theoretical research to variety of ecological systems.
Email  |  Linkedin


June Arriens June Arriens
I'm originally from Connecticut. I graduated from UConn in 2016 with a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and now I'm working in the Crone lab studying the Baltimore checkerspot butterfly.

Visiting Scholar

Xianfeng Yi Xianfeng Yi
While broadly interested in the interactions between plants and animals, my research tends to focus on the seed dispersal by food hoarding animals. I am especially interested in how seed traits and rodent behaviors shape the mutualist interactions between plants and animals. Currently, I am seeking to investigate the role of hippocampus-based spatial memory in scatterhoarding animals.

Lab Manager

Rob Bosso Rob Bosso
My role is to ensure that every aspect of the lab runs efficiently, with a primary focus on sponsored research administration. I am also involved in the management of technological and physical resources. This position combines my experience in university administrative support with my academic background in biology and sustainability. Previously, I was employed at Harvard University.