:: Lab Group ::


Nicole Rafferty

Assistant Professor



Postdoctoral Associates

Natasha de Manincor

Ph.D., University of Lille

Natasha is a community ecologist passionate about fieldwork, native bees and hoverflies. She is interested in studying the structure and functioning of plant-pollinator interaction networks and how they vary in space and time. The aim of her PhD was to understand and predict the effects of environmental changes on plant and pollinator communities by studying plant-pollinator associations along an environmental gradient, using an integrative approach that combined fieldwork observations and sampling, greenhouse experiments and statistical analyses. She is also interested in using pollen analysis and non-visual plant traits, such as volatile compounds, to improve our knowledge of how plant-pollinator associations are structured in different ecological contexts.

In the Rafferty Lab, she will study the effects of climate change on plant-pollinator interactions and how warming temperatures affect plant and pollinator phenology, traits and fitness, combining both greenhouse experiments and of course…fieldwork!


Alessandro Fisogni

Ph.D., University of Bologna


Alessandro is interested in studying different aspects of pollination ecology. During his PhD he approached this subject from a plant-centered point of view, studying the mating systems of three focal plant species and the efficiency and behavior of their pollinators. During his Postdocs he studied plant-pollinator interactions at the community level, with particular focus on the structure of plant-pollinator networks and how they change in time and space. He is also interested in bee taxonomy and in the conservation biology of wild plants and pollinators. During his academic career he has had the opportunity to work in different research groups and environments in Italy and France, and he is now excited about this new collaboration in the Rafferty Lab to expand knowledge about the relationship between climate change and plant-pollinator interactions.

Kaleigh Vilchez-Russell

Ph.D., University of California, Riverside


Kaleigh is interested in studying the effects of climate change on plant-pollinator interactions. During her PhD her research focused on the effects of warming on the microbes associated with plant nectar. As temperatures warm, nectar-inhabiting microbial communities can shift, altering nectar sugar concentrations and potentially pollinator feeding behavior. For her postdoc she will continue to look at how different aspects of climate change interfere with plant-pollinator relationships. She is specifically interested in desert ecosystems and the extreme temperatures, increased windstorms, and lack of precipitation that are affecting these landscapes.


Graduate Students

Elijah Hall

Ph.D. Candidate in EEOB


Elijah is interested in how global change impacts plants and pollinators. He is especially interested in community-level phenological patterns, the role of pollinators in plant reproductive success, and how those relationships change over space and time.

Chris Cosma

Ph.D. Candidate in EEOB

Chris is interested in how ecological communities respond to global change, and how we can apply our understanding of species interactions to biodiversity conservation. He is particularly interested in the effects of global climate change on plant-pollinator interactions, especially those involving nocturnal Lepidoptera.


Annika Rose-Person

Ph.D. Candidate in EEOB


Annika is interested in how anthropogenic global change affects community interactions. She is specifically interested in the links among underground plant-fungi interactions and pollinator communities, as well as how shifts in plant and fungal distributions may affect their connections.

Elena Kaminskaia

Ph.D. Student in EEOB


Elena is interested in the effects of global change on plant-pollinator interactions, and how these effects might inform our approaches to conservation of affected species. She is particularly interested in solitary bee communities and the effects anthropogenic climate change has on them.

starting fall 2022...


Undergraduate Students

(just a few of the outstanding students who have worked in the lab over the years...)

Erin Paulson

NSF REU Mentee (2019)

Erin conducted independent research on mutualisms under the guidance of Andrea Keeler at the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab.

Elizabeth Kenny

Research Intern (2019)

Elizabeth studied plant-pollinator interactions in the White Mountains with Elijah Hall and conducted independent research on floral display size.

Eva Morton

Visiting Scholar (2017)

Eva visited from the University of Manchester for a year. She worked at the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab and helped with projects at UCR. She also conducted independent research on plants and insects.

Stephanie Aguiar

CAMP Mentee (2018-2019)

Stephanie graduated with a degree in Environmental Sciences in 2019. With interests in soils and plants, she helped with our projects in the greenhouse and conducted independent research.


Former Graduate Students

Andrea Keeler

Ph.D. 2022


Dissertation: "Tritrophic mutualisms in a changing climate"

Currently: Visiting Professor at the University of Redlands

Other Alumni

Lindsey Agnew

Junior Specialist


Celebrating Lindsey's time in the lab

Huan Liang

Visiting Ph.D. Student


Liang studied interactions among bumble bees and wildflowers in the Himalaya-Hengduan Mountains. She has also worked on reproductive isolation in sympatric species of Pedicularis. Liang visited from the Kunming Institute of Botany, where she was a Ph.D. student in the lab of Hong Wang.