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.

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

Kirsi Alahuhta 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
Brendan Carson Brendan D. Carson, MS
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 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
Nathaniel Murphy Nathaniel ("Atticus") Murphy
I am a first-year PhD student in the Crone Lab. I graduated with BSc in Ecology & Evolution from University of Toronto in 2018, where my undergraduate work was first in the community assembly of mutualist microbes living on plant roots and then in the nectar resources available to pollinating bumble bees. I am broadly interested in the evolutionary ecology of mutualisms and their role in maintaining natural populations, especially insect interactions. In the Crone lab, I plan to study the relationship between Puget blue butterflies (Plebejus icarioides blackmoeri) and the ants that protect them in exchange for sugar rewards.
Genevieve Pugesek 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.


June Arriens June Arriens
I am a research assistant in the Crone Lab, working with Baltimore checkerspot butterflies. As well as conducting research at our field sites in Maryland, I am also looking at phenological changes in the butterflies and the plants that they use. I graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2016 with a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

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.