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Conservation Biology Schultz Research Group






Cheryl Schultz






Kelsey King






Izzy Bur






Erica Henry







Michelle Boone







VR Seagal







Bree Sheffield

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


Collin Edwards
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Biology (email)

Collin defended his PhD in Ecology at Cornell University in 2019. As a theoretical ecologist, the tools Collin uses (dynamic models, computer simulations, and an array of statistical techniques) can be applied to diverse questions in ecology and evolutionary biology. He’s interested in three pressing questions in ecology: (a) How do plant defenses impact insect herbivores and structure plant and insect communities? (b) How do weather conditions and climate change impact population dynamics and phenology (the timing of life history events) for at-risk insects? (c) What structures communities of microbiomes, like those on cheese or in the human body? In the Schultz lab, Collin is discovering the fates of at-risk butterfly species, and determining how the yearly range expansion of Western Monarch butterflies has changed as their population crashed.


Erica Henry
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Environmental Science (email)

For her MS, Erica studied the egg laying habitat requirements of a rare butterfly, Mardon skipper, with Dr. Cheryl Schultz at Washington State University. She then moved to the Florida Keys where she worked with Dr. Nick Haddad at NC State to develop abundance estimates and monitoring protocols for one of the rarest butterflies in the world, Miami blue. She then pursued her PhD with Dr. Haddad studying the role of disturbance in the conservation of at-risk butterflies. In early 2021, she was recruited back to Washington State University to lead a research effort that aims to evaluate the effectiveness of different management strategies for Oregon silverspot butterflies.


Michelle Boone
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Biology (email)

Michelle earned her B.S. in Biology at the University of St. Thomas in 2016 and her Ph.D. in Entomology at the University of Minnesota in 2023. Her doctoral work focused on using detection probabilities to optimize imperiled bumble bee monitoring, using the rusty-patched bumble bee as the focal species. She also completed an internship with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service where she provided technical support for firefly field surveys along the Delaware Coast and compiled a report on threats to the Bethany Beach firefly. Michelle’s professional interests include endangered species conservation, pollinator ecology, and leadership development, and she is an active member of the Entomological Society of America. In the Schultz Lab, Michelle works on a Western monarch breeding phenology project and is developing non-lethal methods for surveying bees that visit milkweed patches.


Kelsey King
Ph.D. Candidate, 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. 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 and nectar plants.



Izzy Bur
M.S. in Biology, Current (email)

Izzy completed a B.S. in Conservation Biology and Entomology at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities in 2021. She previously worked with at-risk butterflies in captive rearing programs and conducted field research for St. Francis’ satyr in North Carolina, Dakota skipper in Minnesota, and Poweshiek skipperling in Michigan. She joined the Schultz lab in 2022 and is studying Oregon silverspot dispersal and population dynamics.


Emma Dombrow
M.S. in Biology, Current (email)

Emma joined the Schultz lab in 2022 and is studying Oregon silverspot habitat management.



VR Seagal, M.S.

Monarch Technician, Current (email)

VR works with the Western Monarch Legacy Project to study habitat across the Western United States.



Nico Strappazon

Nico is an undergraduate student who joined the lab in 2022 and is assisting with the Western Monarch Legacy project to study habitat across Washington, Oregon and Idaho.


Jasper Klamfoth
Undergraduate, Biology

Jasper is an undergraduate student studying biology. Their interests are conservation, mammalogy, and entomology.





Dominick Rose
Undergraduate, Biology

Dominick is an undergraduate student pursuing his degree in biology with a minor in environmental science. His interests include environmental biology, conservation, and land management. While not studying, he enjoys fishing, boating, and hiking. He looks forward to interning in the Schultz lab.


Sukyoung Kim

Sukyoung is an upcoming senior at Mountain View High School who plans on pursuing a major in biology. During the summer of 2023, she will be working in the Schultz Lab as an intern to help rear monarch butterflies.



Bree Sheffield
Undergraduate, Environmental Science and Biology (email)

Bree is an undergraduate student pursuing her degree in environmental science with a minor in biology. She spent the spring and summer of 2021 and 2022 living and working on the Oregon coast conducting research on the Oregon silverspot butterfly on behalf of the Schultz lab. Her interests include wildlife conservation, restoration ecology, and utilizing disturbance as a management tool.


Kate Glover
Undergraduate, Biology and Mathematics (email)

Kate is an undergraduate studying biology and minoring in mathematics. Her interests include entomology, conservation, and ecology. She was given a grant in spring of 2022 from the College of Arts & Sciences to participate with the Schultz lab on a SERDP-funded project assessing the connection between abundance & phenology for at-risk butterfly species. She spent the spring and summer of 2022 working at Mount Hebo and Nestucca Bay Wildlife Refuge on the lab’s study on the endangered Oregon silverspot butterfly, and she is currently analyzing oviposition survey data from the 2022 field season.


Lilianne de la Espriella
Communications and Outreach Coordinator (email)

Lilianne is the Communications and Outreach Coordinator for the Western Monarch Mystery Challenge. As a first generation American originally from Florida, she set her sights on UC Santa Cruz to study Ecology and Environmental Studies and graduated as a highly productive student researcher, science communicator, and amongst the top of her class. Now she is working at the intersection of science and the general public to bridge the two worlds in a seamless way.


Emily Erickson
Research associate in collaboration with UC Davis (email)

Emily defended her PhD in Entomology at the Pennsylvania State University in 2021 and is currently a postdoc in the Crone Lab at UC Davis. Emily studies population dynamics and demography of western monarch butterflies in the San Francisco Bay Area. As a research associate with the Schultz Lab, Emily leads the Western Monarch Mystery Challenge, a community-science initiative to track western monarch distribution in early spring.


Former Lab Members

Graduate Students

Samantha Bussan
Ph.D. in Biology 2022
Sam’s dissertation focused on butterflies on working lands—specifically, cattle and dairy farms—in the south Puget Sound. She studied how different grazing management regimes affect butterflies.


Cassandra Doll
Technician, M.S. in Biology 2021
Cassandra’s thesis examined the efficacy of using selective herbicides as a primary restoration tool in Oregon silverspot butterfly habitat, and she completed a Fellowship in the Directorate Fellow’s Program in the summer of 2020.


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.


Chelsea Thomas
M.S. in Zoology, 2017
Chelsea’s thesis work focused on the mutualistic interaction between ants and larvae of the endangered Fender’s blue; factors that affect the mutualism and mutualist effect on larval survival. He then worked in the lab as a technologist on lab and field components of various projects on threatened and endangered butterflies, including western monarchs.


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

Rachael Bonoan
Postdoctoral Researcher (2018-2020)
Rachael was part of both the Schultz Lab here at WSU and the Crone Lab at Tufts University, Rachael investigated the natural history of the symbiosis between Puget blue caterpillars and their attendant ants given potential phenological shifts.


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.


Hannah Machiorlete (“mash-or-let”)
Hannah was a technician in 2021-2022 assisting with the at-risk butterfly phenology project and the Western Monarch Mystery Challenge.  She is currently a MS student at the College of William & Mary studying sexual and clonal reproduction in milkweeds. Please email with any questions.



June Arriens

June joined the lab in October 2019, and worked part-time between WSU and Tufts University. Her WSU work focused on analyzing long-term Fender’s blue data, and assisting with South Sound fieldwork.



Christopher Jason

Jason joined the lab in spring 2019 and has assisted on various projects including a season of fieldwork in the South Sound tracking butterfly movement in response to grazing regime and the Western Monarch Mystery Challenge in 2020 and 2021.


Zach Freed
Lab Technician


Undergraduate Assistants


Rebecca Neville
B.S. in Environmental Science

Kim Harless
B.S. in Environmental Science