Former Lab Members

Researchers and visiting Scholar (2015-2016)


from left to right: Danny Minahan, Emmanuel Santa-Martinez, Rosy Link, Cibele de Castro and Austin Bauer

Former Researchers

Emmanuel Santa-Martínez

PhD in Entomology
June 2012 – Oct 2017

LabPhoto_Emma_Santa_optEmmanuel grew up in San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico, and received a B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico-Humacao (UPR-Humacao).  In 2012, he began graduate studies in the Department of Entomology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research project involved examining the foraging behavior of honey bees, bumble bees, and alfalfa leafcutting bees on alfalfa plants and quantifying their impact on selfing rate and reproductive success via male and female functions. He also examined how distinct bee species deposit pollen over successive flowers or the pollen deposition curves of distinct bee species. His research will improve our understanding of the impact of distinct pollinators on plant mating systems and the genetic structure of plant populations.


Mohl, E. K., Santa-Martinez, E., & Heimpel, G. E. (2016). Interspecific differences in milkweeds alter predator density and the strength of trophic cascades. Arthropod-Plant Interactions, 1–13.

Riday, H., Reisen, P., Raasch, J. A., Santa-Martinez, E., & Brunet, J. (2015). Selfing Rate in an Alfalfa Seed Production Field Pollinated with Leafcutter Bees. Crop Science, 55(3), 1087-1095

Rosabeth Link

Graduate Student – Master in Entomology
2014 – 2017

Rosy completed her Master Thesis in Entomology in 2017 studying the floral scent of alfalfa flowers. She identified the volatile organic compounds (VOC profile) of different alfalfa cultivars and of two wild subspecies. She examined the response of a bumble bee species, Bombus impatiens, to the differences in VOCs between these groups of plants. She also determined how the Common eastern bumble bee, Bombus impatiens and the European honey bees, Apis mellifera, responded to visual and olfactory cues of alfalfa cultivars. Rosy also participated in an experiment examining the response of bumble bee foraging for pollen to flower, floral display and reward sizes in dichogamous plants. 

Rosy is currently pursuing a PhD in the department of Botany at UW-Madison.


Brunet, J., M.W. Thairu, J.M. Henss, R.I Link and J.A. Kluever. 2015. The effects of flower, floral display and reward sizes on bumble bee foraging when pollen is the reward and plants are dichogamous. Int. J. Plant Sci. 176(9): 811-819.

Margaret W. Thairu

Graduate Student – Master in Entomology
2011 – 2014

Margaret’s project examined the role of bumble bee and hawkmoths in maintaining a polymorphism for flower color in populations of the Rocky Mountain Columbine, Aquilegia coerulea.

Margaret completed her Master Thesis in Entomology in Spring 2014 and is now pursuing a PhD in the department of Entomology at the University of Illinois. She recently followed her PhD advisor and moved to the University of California, Riverside to complete her PhD.


Margaret Thairu and Johanne Brunet. 2015. The role of pollinators in maintaining variation in flower colour in the Rocky Mountain columbine, Aquilegia coerulea. Annals of Botany 115:971-979.

Brunet, J., M.W. Thairu, J.M. Henss, R.I Link and J.A. Kluever. 2015. The effects of flower, floral display and reward sizes on bumble bee foraging when pollen is the reward and plants are dichogamous. Int. J. Plant Sci. 176(9): 811-819.

Austin Bauer

Graduate Student – Master in Entomology 2014 – 2016  

Austin website photo austin_optexamined and compared how three distinct bee species: honey bees (Apis mellifera), bumble bees (Bombus impatiens), and alfalfa leaf cutting bees (Megachile rotundata) responded to visual cues of alfalfa flowers. He also examined how these three bee species exerted selection on different visual traits, mostly flower color and floral display size. He also examined the impact of floral traits on bee movements.

Austin was assistant coach for tracks and field at Luther College.


Bauer AA, MK Clayton and J Brunet. 2017. Floral traits influencing plant attractiveness to three bee species and its consequences for plant reproductive success. American Journal of Botany 104: 1-10.

Dr. Cibele de Castro (Sabbatical visitor)

Dr. Cibele de Castro  was a sabbatical visitor from Brazil during the academic year 2015-2016.

LabPhoto_Cibele_optI am a professor at the Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, where I teach Botany in the Agronomy and Animal Science. My research is focused on the reproductive biology of plants, both in natural and managed areas. I have experience with reciprocal herkogamous species (heterostylous, enantiostylous), crop pollination, and effect of non-woody products extraction upon the reproductive performance of plants.

Deidre Jaeger- LA

Deidre was a temporary laboratory personnel between February and July 2016 and she is now a PhD graduate student in Boulder Colorado. She obtained an NSF graduate fellowship in 2016.

UT_Deidre_Bio_Photo_opt.pngI am a native plant enthusiast from    the Twin Cities, Minnesota with a growing love of bees. In 2012 I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison triple majoring in Botany, Conservation Biology, and Environmental Studies. Since graduating, I have worked on native plant projects with many federal agencies and botanic gardens in the western United States. I have learned so much working with the Chicago Botanic Garden Conservation and Land Management Intern Program, Bureau of Land Management in New Mexico, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in California, Red Butte Botanic Garden in Utah, US Forest Service in Utah, and the Rocky Mountain Research Station in Utah. While my first love is plant conservation, the interactions plants have within the environment are so important! This is why after specializing in Botany, I am broadening out to study Ecology and feel so excited about the pollinator work going on in the Brunet Lab. In fall 2016, I will begin a doctoral program at the University of Colorado-Boulder in Ecology as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow.

I am a yoga instructor and love biking, rock climbing, canyoneering, volleyball, and practicing yoga outside! Preparing locally-sourced food and fermenting wine, sourdough, and kombucha are also some of my favorite things to do around the house.

Jillian M. Henss- Research Technician

Research Technician
2013- 2016

  • M.S. University of Wisconsin, Botany
  • B.S. University of Iowa, Exercise Science/Biology

I am a Research Technician in the Brunet lab interested in plant biology, evolution and ecology. I have a M.S. in Botany from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Iowa. In graduate school my research focused on the phylogenetic relationships within the genus Calochortus (a group of plants native to the Pacific Northwest) and the geographic scale of genetic differentiation within Calochortus albus (one of the most wide-ranging species of the genus). Since graduate school I have been involved in research investigating the phylogenetic relationships among coral reef fish and the correlation between coral skeletal structure and bleaching susceptibility at the Field Museum. I am excited to be part of the Brunet lab working on the interaction of plants and pollinators and their impact on gene flow.

Jillian now lives in Portland and takes care of a wonderful son.

Publications from the lab

J. Brunet, M.W. Thairu, J.M. Henss, R.I. Link and J.A. Kluever. 2016. The effects of flower, floral display and reward sizes on bumble bee foraging behavior when pollen is the reward and plants are dichogamous. Int. J. Pl. Sc. 176(9): 811-819.

Previous publications

Marcelino LA, Westneat MW, Stoyneva V, Henss J, Rogers JD, Radosevich A, Turzhitsky V, Siple M, Fang A, Swain TD, Fung J, Backman V. Modulation of light-enhancement to symbiotic algae by light-scattering in corals and evolutionary trends in bleaching. (submitted to PLoS ONE).

Henss JM, Moeller J, Theim TJ, Givnish, TJ. Spatial scales of genetic structure and gene flow in Calochortus albus (Liliaceae). (submitted to Ecology and Evolution).

Givnish TJ, Millam KC, Mast AR, Paterson TB, Theim TJ, Hipp AL, Henss JM, Smith JF, Wood KR, Sytsma KJ. 2009. Origin, adaptive radiation and diversification of the Hawaiian lobeliads (Asterales: Campanulaceae). Proc. R .Soc. B 276(1656): 407-416.

 Coralie Deniot- Visiting Graduate Student

Coralie_pic  Visiting graduate student from SupAgro University of Advanced Agricultural Sciences in Montpellier – France

Coralie was a French exchange student passionate about pollinators. She came to the United-States to improve her knowledge about pollinators, and was studying in the Brunet Lab in the Entomology Department of the University of Wisconsin Madison. While she studied bee pollinators in the lab, she also learned about insects in general, their morphology, diversity, and behavior. Thanks to these studies,  she was pleased to discover a new interest for insects in general, even though her main passion remained with pollinators. 

While in Dr. Brunet’s lab, Coralie’s research focused on understanding bumble bee foraging rules for nectar on inflorescences. Her research took place in a greenhouse using artificial flowers. 

Megan Van Etten- Postdoctoral Associate

Postdoctoral Associate (2010-2012) Megan is an evolutionary biologist and worked on gene flow by distinct pollinators. She was a postdoctoral associate in the Institute of Agriculture and Environment at Massey University, New Zealand before moving to the University of Michigan. She recently moved to PA to start an assistant professor  job!

Publications from the Lab

M. Van Etten and J. Brunet. 2013. The impact of global warming on floral traits that affect the selfing rate in a high-altitude plant. Int. J. Plant Sciences 174: 1099-1108. This article is featured on the cover of the October print issue of the journal.

Megan Van Etten and Johanne Brunet. 2017. The demography of wild carrots in Wisconsin. Acta Horticulturae DOI 10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1153.40 

Zachary Larson-Rabin – Postdoctoral Associate

Zach worked on some projects on the Rocky Mountain columbine, While trained as a developmental genetics with a PhD in genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he learned some population genetics while in the laboratory 2008-2010. He went from there to do a postdoc in China and when he returned got a job as a scientist at Stine Seed Inc. in Iowa. He now resides in the Washington D.C. Metro Area  and is ‎Founder and Director of ‎Dama Horticultural Solutions.

Publications from the Lab

Brunet, J. and Z. Larson-Rabin. 2012. The response of flowering time to global warming in an alpine plant: the impact of genetics and the environment. Botany 90: 319-326.

Brunet, J. Z. Larson-Rabin and C.S. Stewart. 2012. The distribution of genetic diversity within and among Aquilegia populations: the role of gene flow, pollinators, and mating system. International Journal of Plant Sciences 173: 484-494.

Karsten Holmquist- Postdoctoral Associate

Karsten worked on gene flow by bumble bees and hawkmoths in wild populations of the Rocky Mountain Columbine.

Postdoctoral Associate (2005 – 2009)

Publications from the Lab

Brunet, J., and K.G.A. Holmquist. 2009. The influence of distinct pollinators on female and male reproductive success in the Rocky Mountain columbine. Molecular Ecology 18: 3745-3758.

Juan Zalapa – Postdoctoral Associate

(2005 – 2008) Juan was an NSF postdoctoral minority fellow who worked on hybridization between a native and an invasive elm species. He developed microsatellites in the native elm, Ulmus rubra, co-amplified them in the invasive elm, Ulmus pumila, and identified species-specific alleles that helped identify hybrids. He used these markers to determine the extent of hybridization and the pattern of introgression between U. rubra and U. pumila in Wisconsin and part of the Midwest. Juan is currently a cranberry geneticist with the USDA-ARS in Madison, WI and an associate professor in the department of Horticulture at UW-Madison.

Publications from the Lab

J. Brunet, J.E. Zalapa and R.P. Guries. 2016. Conservation of genetic diversity in slippery elm (Ulmus rubra) in Wisconsin despite the devastating impact of Dutch elm disease. Conservation Genetics 17: 1001-1010.

J. Brunet, J. E. Zalapa, F. Peccori and A. Santini. 2013. Patterns of Hybridization and introgression between the exotic Siberian elm, Ulmus pumila, and the native Field elm, U. minor in Italy. Biological Invasions 15: 2717-2730.

Zalapa, J.E., J. Brunet and R. P. Guries. 2010. The extent of hybridization and its impact on the genetic diversity and population structure of an invasive tree, Ulmus pumila (Ulmaceae) Evolutionary Applications, 3: 157-168. Special Issue on Invasion Biology.

Zalapa, J. E., J. Brunet and R. P. Guries. 2009. Patterns of hybridization and introgression between invasive Ulmus pumila (Ulmaceae) and native U. rubra. American Journal of Botany 96: 1116-1128.

Zalapa, J. E., J. Brunet and R. P. Guries. 2008. Genetic Characterization and Diversity in Dutch Elm Disease-Tolerant Ulmus pumila L. germplasm from China. Genome 51: 1-9.

Zalapa, J. E., J. Brunet and R. P. Guries. 2008. Isolation and characterization of microsatellite markers for red elm (Ulmus rubra Muhl.) and cross-species amplification with Siberian elm (Ulmus pumila L.) Molecular Ecology Resources 8: 109-112.

Heather Sweet – Graduate Student

Heather completed her Master degree at Oregon State University studying factors that influenced selfing rate in the Rocky Mountain columbine, Aquilegia coerulea.

Publications from the Lab

Brunet, J. and H. Sweet. 2006. Impact of insect pollinator group and floral display size on outcrossing rate. Evolution 60: 234-246.

Brunet, J. and H. Sweet. 2006. The maintenance of selfing in a population of the rocky mountain columbine. International Journal of Plant Sciences 167: 213-219.

Christy Stewart- Technician

Research Technician (2004- 2012)

  • M.S. Western Michigan University, Ecology and Evolution
  • B.S. Michigan State University

Research Interests

Pollinator-mediated gene flow, pollination biology, and plant evolution.

Publications from the Lab

Brunet, J. and C.S. Stewart. 2010.  Impact of bee species and plant density on alfalfa pollination and potential for gene flow. Psyche vol 2010 article ID 201858, 7 pages.  doi:10.1155/2010/201858.

Brunet, J. Z. Larson-Rabin and C.S. Stewart. 2012. The distribution of genetic diversity within and among Aquilegia populations: the role of gene flow, pollinators, and mating system. International Journal of Plant Sciences 173: 484-494.

Kristin Martin- LA

Temporary Employee 3 months in 2010;  helped with the greenhouse experiment examining the impact of temperature and water availability on floral traits.

Former Undergraduate Students

  • Emma Nelson 2016-2017
  • Cecilla Grinis 2016-2017
  • Gabrielle Stamas 2016-2017
  • Patrick Van House 2014-2016
  • Erica Shaffer 2015-2016
  • Kyle Krellwitz   2015-2016
  • Alexandra Klois 2015-2016
  • Danny Erikson 2013-2015
  • Nick Gretzon 2014-2015
  • Ryan Liengswangwong 2014-2015
  • Brett Marshall 2014-2015
  • Ross Ziobro 2011-2014
  • Jay Osvatic 2013-2014
  • Joshua Kluever 2013-2014
  • Jack Burnett 2012
  • RyanGeygan summer 2012
  • Carly Murphy 2012
  • Jesse Koyen 2011-2012
  • Conner Knellwolf 2011
  • Evan Eifler 2010
  • John Rehbeck 2009
  • Olger Nano 2007- 2009
  • Joe Palac 2006-2009
  • Ana Bravo 2007-2008
  • Joe Golebiowski 2007- 2009
  • David Silverman 2006
  • Aaron Bergsma 2005
  • Natasha Haynes 2006
  • Alex Means 2005-2006
  • Rebecca Rauwald 2005
  • Shama Virani 2006
  • Nathaniel Frasier 2005
  • Jeremy O’Connell 2004-2005
  • Jeremy Hoeck 2004

USDA-ARS and Department of Entomology, University of Wisconsin-Madison