We are a diverse group of individuals, with expertise in urban ecology, entomology, horticulture, landscape design and maintenance, and horticultural therapy.  We are united by a common interest in discovering and disseminating ways to harness the power of gardens to improve environmental and human health.

Prospective students are invited to get to know our work, prior to applying.  I accept students and post-docs (when funding is available) who have an interest in any of our core areas of expertise.  I do not anticipate accepting new graduate students until the Fall of 2018.

Interested in joining the lab? Please read this blog post, first.

I receive close to 100 graduate school queries, each year. I do not respond to generic emails that do not express why you are specifically interested in working in the Garden Ecology Lab, and what types of specific projects you would be interested in working on.

Fall 2017 (left to right: Signe Danler, Gail Langellotto, Lucas Costner, Isabella Messer, Michael Nelson, Aaron Anderson)

Current Lab Members

Gail Langellotto (Principle Investigator):  An entomologist by training, Gail coordinates the statewide Master Gardener program.  Her research and extension interests are focused on developing a better understanding of how to design and manage gardens and parks within urban/suburban landscapes to maximize ecosystem services such as pollination, pest control and human health and well-being.  Starting in 2017, she hopes to work closely with Master Gardeners in home and community gardens, to begin documenting garden biodiversity in Oregon.

Signe Danler, a lifelong gardener and plant nerd, brought her passion for plants to OSU and earned a Masters of Agriculture degree in 2014. Her wide-ranging interests were fulfilled by coursework in Horticulture, Urban Forestry, Environmental Science, and Soil Science. Her particular area of focus is urban horticulture and applying ecological principles to landscape design and maintenance. She is now teaching sustainable gardening as instructor of the online OSU Extension Master Gardener course, and designing ecologically sensitive gardens as a landscape designer.

Aaron Anderson is a M.S. student broadly interested in how ecological function can be incorporated into urban and agricultural landscapes. After dabbling in entomology, restoration ecology, and biological control, he became interested in studying urban systems. Aaron is fascinated by native beneficial insect conservation, especially in understanding how such species use urban green spaces as habitat to in turn inform how we manage these areas.

Lucas Costner is an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture with a focus on Ecological Landscapes and Urban Forestry. Motivated by the belief that improving human habitat also means working with and blurring the line between the built and natural worlds, he is primarily interested in the interrelations between ecology, sustainability, and horticulture in urban environments.

Isabella Messer is an undergraduate student at OSU pursuing a B.S. in Horticulture with a focus on plant breeding and genetics. She has just begun to explore the world of horticulture, entomology and garden systems. Isabella is excited to learn about the various branches within garden ecology and expand her knowledge of sustainable growing in general.

Laurent Bennett is a Masters of Natural Resources student pursuing her ecological interests in agricultural and urban landscapes. A longtime lover of gardening, Lauren is interested in studying public perception of native pollinator species with the hopes of understanding drivers, barriers and other factors that restrict or support pollination services and increase habitat connectivity across urban landscapes.


Michael Nelson: Michael received his Master’s of Horticulture in June 2018, as part of his overall plan to create a sustainable community of alternative learning and living. His work focused on urban garden soils. He is interested in community gardening, how private growers overcome their hurdles, and fostering the abundance possible if we all networked together to create our own food.

Past Lab Photos

Gardeb Ecology Lab
Fall 2016. (left to right: Robert Yarnall, Aaron Anderson, Michael Nelson, Gail Langellotto, Signe Danler)