The Dillon Lab
Michael Dillon, Principal Investigator
Professor & L. Floyd Clarke Chair, Department of Zoology & Physiology and Program in Ecology and Evolution at the University of Wyoming. I am a broadly trained integrative organismal biologist primarily interested in the interplay between organism physiology and the abiotic environment. In particular, mountains provide striking abiotic gradients matched by fascinating organismal responses; I spend a lot of time running up and down mountains chasing (mostly) insects. See Research and Publications and here is a (hopefully) up-to-date CV .
MEGAN DILLON, LABORATORY MANAGER
I received my BS in Zoology from the University of Washington. Since then I have worked as a research and diagnostic laboratory technician, specializing in molecular biology techniques. My current work focuses on macronutrient measurements of diapausing bumblebee queens.
DAVID M. SHAYNE DODGE, doctoral STUDENT IN ZOOLOGY & PHYSIOLOGY
I received a BS in Biology through the University of Wyoming at Casper program the fall of 2018. My previous research experience was funded by the Wyoming INBRE program, and led by Dr. Hayley C. Lanier (now at the University of Oklahoma) and Dr. Scott Seville (project PI, University of Wyoming). The scope of this periodical study covered the population dynamics and succession of plants and small mammals following large scale burns such as the 1988 Huckleberry Mt. Fire in Yellowstone National Park. Along with the succession research (2017), I conducted an experiment to test the effects of crypsis on predation rates in these post-burn environments among deer mice and southern red-backed voles. My current prospective PhD work centers around two main and related themes of bumble bee thermal physiology. The first involves using respirometry and other thermal tolerance methods to characterize the winter dormancy (diapause) of bumble bee queens, and the second pertains to understanding where heterothermic insects (bumble bees) fall on the “thermy-continuum” in relation to various types of dormancy exhibited across taxa.
CRAIG GARZELLA, DOCTORAL STUDENT IN program in ecology and evolution
I received my MS in Analytics and Modeling and my BS in Biology from Valparasio University in 2019 and worked as a data scientist investigating invasive species for the USGS and the NPS before starting my Ph.D. at the University of Wyoming in Program in Ecology and Evolution. My master’s studies focused on the identification of RNA-binding proteins using machine learning techniques, while my bachelors work focused on the investigation of non-random mating in Arabidopsis species. At UWYO my research is focused on applying data science techniques, statistics, and mathematical modeling to investigate the survivorship of overwintering bumblebees. My interests include applying agent-based models to investigate the fitness of ectotherms in microclimatic mosaics and broadly applying computational approaches to address question in ecophysiology. @GarzellaCraig
TAYLOR HATCHER, UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT IN BIOLOGY
ELLEN KEAVENY, DOCTORAL STUDENT IN PROGRAM IN ECOLOGY and evolution
In 2012, I received a BS in Environmental Biology and a BA in Spanish from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO with a thesis focused on the effects of Sudden Aspen Decline on understory microclimates and plant biomass. The following years I worked at a human tissue bank cleaning and processing donor grafts in an aseptic environment and ultimately coordinating grafts for transplant. As a second-year graduate student, I am focused on the cold tolerance of bumble bees, specifically looking at how diet and temperature influence bumble bee thermal physiology and cellular composition through lab and field studies. Broadly, I would like to link climate and altitude with floral phenology to identify the indirect cascading effects of environmental shifts on bumble bees.
RACHEL SUCHARSKI, UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT IN PHYSIOLOGY
SARAH WAYBRIGHT, DOCTORAL STUDENT IN PROGRAM IN ECOLOGY and evolution
Broadly, I study queen bumble bee overwintering physiology. I am currently exploring how where a queen bumble bee overwinters influences her survival and energy usage while overwintering, and/or her fitness post-winter. Through a combination of field work, lab work, and empirical modeling approaches, I aim to predict if the changing climate may impact bumble bee abundance and spatial distribution now and in the future.
SABRINA WHITE, MASTERS STUDENT IN ZOOLOGY & PHYSIOLOGY
I received my BS in Entomology and Nematology from the University of Florida in 2014, where I studied insect pest resistance to radiation under modified atmospheric conditions. Afterwards, I moved out west where I pursued work in the outdoor industry and served as an officer in the U.S. Navy. I am broadly interested in insect adaptations to living in extreme environments and I am currently focused on the effects of heat stress on bumble bee worker capabilities and how that in turn impacts a colony’s success.
CLAIRE CAMPION, MS ZOOLOGY & PHYSIOLOGY, 2022
Claire received her Master’s degree in December of 2022. She is now in Minnesota working as a Science Educator & Outreach Coordinator at the nonprofit Science from Scientists!
TRAVIS RUSCH, POST-DOCTORAL RESEARCHER, 2022
Travis’ postdoctoral research in the Dillon Lab focused on the thermal physiology of bumble and solitary bees. He accepted a postdoctoral position at the USDA in Manhattan, Kansas.
ETHAN ROWE, BS ZOOLOGY, 2021
Ethan was both a Wyoming Research Scholar and an recipient of a Wyoming NASA Space Grant fellowship. He coordinated between the Dillon lab and the Rule lab to use GC-FID to characterize fatty acid profiles for bumble bees, evaluated behavioral indicators of bumble bee queen rearing success, and characterized seasonal variation in sub-nivean insect communities and their thermal performance. He is now a PhD student in Michael Smith’s lab at Auburn.
SARAH WANNEMUEHLER, BS wildlife and fisheries biology and management, 2021
As a Wyoming Research Scholar and Wyoming NASA Space Grant fellow, Sarah studied how altitude and water affect dissolved oxygen in streams, rivers, and lakes and how, in turn, temperature and DO structure size distributions of aquatic invertebrates.
ROMAN WINTER, BS Zoology, 2021
Zach Parsons, BS Zoology, 2019
Olivia H.A. Nater, MS Zoology and Physiology, 2014
Olivia completed her MS on the impacts of recent climate change on native bee and plant populations. She is now working for the IUCN in Geneva, Switzerland.
Jonathan Rader, MS Zoology and Physiology, 2014
Jonathan completed his MS looking at morphological diversification and isotopic niches of Cinclodes ovenbirds. He is now a PhD student in Ty Hedrick’s lab at UNC.