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Conservation Biology Schultz Research Group






Cheryl Schultz






Cameron Thomas






Sam Bussan






Cassandra Doll






Kelsey King






Rachael Bonoan






Leone Brown

Principal Investigator

Cheryl Schultz

Office: (360) 546-9525
Lab: (360) 546-9692
Fax: (360) 546-9064
Located in Life Sciences (VSCI) 230


Current Lab Members

Rachael Bonoan
Postdoctoral Researcher (email)
Rachael received her Ph.D. in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution from Tufts University in 2018. She is broadly interested in social insects, insect pollinators, nutritional ecology, and behavioral ecology. As part of both the Schultz Lab here at WSU and the Crone Lab at Tufts University, Rachael is investigating the natural history of the symbiosis between Puget blue caterpillars and their attendant ants. She will also examine how phenological shifts in the caterpillar-ant symbiosis may affect Puget blue butterfly population dynamics.


Sam Bussan
Ph.D. Student, Biology (email)
Sam completed a B.S. in Forest Ecosystem Restoration and Management from University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point in 2015. Her interests include butterfly biology, agroecology, sustainable agriculture, and restoration ecology. Her work as a member of the Schultz Lab focuses on butterflies on working lands—specifically, cattle and dairy farms—in the south Puget Sound. She is studying how different grazing management regimes affect butterfly community composition and diversity.


Kelsey King
Ph.D. Student, Biology (email)
Kelsey completed a B.A. in Biology and Environmental Studies at Cornell College in 2015 and spent the next several years working with Crane Trust in Nebraska. As a member of the Schultz Lab, Kelsey will be examining the natural history of Puget blue butterfly, a candidate species for listing in Washington, as well as investigating phenological shifts between the butterfly, plant community, and other associated species.



Cassandra Doll
M.S. Student, Biology (email)
Cassandra comes to us from the University of Florida, where she obtained a B.S. in Biology in 2017. She is broadly interested in insect ecology and conservation biology with an emphasis on Lepidoptera. As a graduate student in the Schultz Lab, she is examining the efficacy of using selective herbicides as a primary restoration tool in Oregon silverspot butterfly habitat. Her work involves large-scale greenhouse rearing of a related subspecies, Zerene fritillary.


Cameron Thomas
Research Technologist (email)
Cameron completed an M.S. in Zoology in 2017 as a member of the Schultz Lab. His thesis work focused on the mutualistic interaction between ants and larvae of the endangered Fender’s blue butterfly, specifically, biotic and abiotic factors that affect the mutualism as well as the effect of the mutualism on larval survival. He is currently a technologist in the lab and works on lab and field components of various projects involving threatened and endangered butterflies, including our current western monarch projects.


Former Lab Members

Graduate Students

Leland Bennion
M.S. in Biology, 2018
Leland’s thesis work examined effects of grass-specific herbicide use on plant communities in Fender’s blue butterfly habitat. He is currently working on finishing analyses for the Schultz lab and working as a laboratory manager at the University of Pittsburgh.


Joey Smokey
M.S. in Zoology, 2017
Joey is a quantitative ecologist and is currently a Ph.D. student studying Computational Biology at Memorial University in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. His thesis work investigated the the relative impact of different fire management practices on population dynamics of Fender’s blue butterfly.

Thesis: Is fine-scale fire disturbance better for insect populations? Evaluating population growth rate in response to management plans for an endangered butterfly metapopulation

Jessica Zemaitis
M.S. in Environmental Science, 2015

Thesis: Effects of a graminicide on three Euphydryas species, surrogates for endangered and at-risk checkerspots

Rachel Glaeser
M.S. in Environmental Science, 2014

Thesis: Characterizing a contentious management tool: the effects of a grass-specific herbicide on the silvery blue butterfly

Rhiannon Thomas
M.S. in Environmental Science 2013

Thesis: Sex-specific nectar plant use and selection by an endangered butterfly: implications for conservation and recovery

Alexa Carleton
M.S. in Environmental Science 2011

Thesis: Restoration action and species response: oviposition habits of Plebejus icarioides fenderi (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) across a restoration chronosequence in the Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA

Erica Henry
M.S. in Environmental Science 2010

Thesis: A first step towards successful habitat restoration and reintroduction: understanding oviposition site selection of an imperiled butterfly, Mardon skipper

Caitlin LaBar
M.S. in Environmental Science 2009

ThesisInvestigating the use of herbicides to control invasive grasses in prairie habitats: effects on non-target butterflies

Loni Beyer
M.S. in Environmental Science 2008

Thesis: Oviposition selection by a rare grass skipper, Polites mardon, in montane habitats: advancing ecological understanding for developing conservation strategies

Cheryl Russell
M.S. in Environmental Science 2008

Jason Dzurisin
M.S. in Environmental Science 2005

ThesisCaptive rearing and endangered butterfly recovery: captive environments and implications for propagation


Postdoctoral Researchers

Norah Warchola
Postdoctoral Researcher, 2013 – 2015
Norah split her time between WSUV and the Crone Lab at Tufts University. Her work at WSUV focused on the demography and movement of Fender’s blue butterfly and how the species reacted to prescribed burns of its prairie habitat.


Dina Roberts
Postdoctoral Researcher

Aldina Franco
Postdoctoral Researcher

Paul Severns
Postdoctoral Researcher


REU Students

Aramee Diethelm
Portland State University, REU 2016
Aramee is currently pursing a Ph.D. at the University of Nevada, Reno. As an REU student, she studied larval growth rates of monarch (Danaus plexippus) larvae on three different milkweed (Asclepias) species and the sublethal effects of neonicotinoids from seed treatments in co-occurring agricultural crops.



Zach Freed
Lab Technician

Christopher Jason
Lab Technician

Undergraduate Assistants

Rebecca Neville
B.S. in Environmental Science

Kim Harless
B.S. in Environmental Science