COVID-19 era Zoom Lab Photo. Top Row: Max, Gail, Tyler; 2nd Row: Signe, Jen, Aaron; 3rd Row: Izzy, Gwynne, LeAnn; Bottom Row: Mykl; Missing: Cara, Mericos.

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 at least the Fall of 2024.

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.

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.

Aaron Anderson is a PhD 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.

Nicole Bell

Svea Bruslind is an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Zoology with minors in Photography and Chemistry. A born and raised Oregonian, Svea has spent most of her life outside exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Svea is currently assisting with a research project concerned with simulating bee vision using multispectral photography. Svea is interested in integrating photography into the scientific sphere and using it as a tool to explore the world.

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.

Jen Hayes is a graduate student pursuing a PhD degree in Horticulture & Entomology. Jen is a Vermonter who is passionate about pollinators; she fell in love with native bees as an undergraduate in the Ricketts Lab at the University of Vermont. Since her first exposure to bee research, she has had the opportunity work on pollinator studies in Vermont, Ecuador, North Dakota, and Oregon. She is interested in how human-developed landscapes, such as farms and gardens, can achieve dual goals of pollinator conservation and plant productivity.

LeAnn Locher

Mallory Mead is an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Sustainable Horticulture with a minor in Entomology. Mallory has always had an interest in the natural world and sustainability, and she is curious about pollination ecology and sustainable pest management. She is currently an assistant for Jen’s nativar study, and loves to photograph and identify bees in her free time.

Gwynne Mhuireach: Dr. Gwynne Mhuireach has a multi-disciplinary background, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, a Masters in Architecture, and a PhD in Landscape Architecture. With this unique perspective, Gwynne studies relationships between nature contact, environmental microbial communities, and human well-being. Her broader goal is to design healthier and more equitable cities, neighborhoods, and homes.

Mykl Nelson: Mykl 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 now creating new courses in Urban Agriculture for eCampus. 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.

Cara Still: Cara Still is a graduate student pursuing a Master’s in Horticulture. A born and raised Corvallis native, she has always loved getting out in the garden and creating some beauty. She took a brief hiatus from the area to obtain a Bachelor’s in Horticulture Science at Montana State University. She moved straight back to Oregon after all that and took a job growing for Westwind Gardens in Forest Grove. She is studying how breeding for sterility in butterfly bush (Buddleja) effects pollinator attraction, nutrition, and invasiveness. This research may serve as an example through which other ‘sterile’ cultivars of economically important invasive plants can be examined.

Tyler Spofford: Tyler is a lab and field technician who just graduated from OSU with a major in BioResource Research with the Sustainable Ecosystems option and a minor in Soil Science. He was born in Portland, OR and was raised with a deep respect for nature and his Japanese culture. He has been working for over a year in the Garden Ecology Lab, researching the costs and benefits of container-grown tomatoes, native pollinator preference of PNW native plants, and pollinator diversity on butterfly bush. During his undergraduate program at OSU, Tyler was also a TA for the Organic Soil Management class, a cultural mentor for MANNRs and SACNAS, and one of the 2021 REUU Grant recipients.

Past Lab Members

Angelee Calder: is an undergraduate Agricultural Science student at Oregon State University who is part of the OSU STEM Leaders Program. Angelee assists with general lab and field work.

Lauren Bennett received a Masters of Natural Resources in 2019. A longtime lover of gardening, Lauren studied public perception of native pollinator species, to better understand drivers, barriers and other factors that restrict or support pollination services and increase habitat connectivity across urban landscapes.

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. Lucas has moved from Corvallis, and is continuing his studies through OSU ECampus.

Cliff Brock: Cliff Brock grew up in rural Monticello, Georgia. He spent most of his twenties moving around studying music and working as an organist at various churches.  He lived in New York City for three years (2003-2005), before briefly moving to Asheville, NC.  After this “nomadic” period he came back to the University of Georgia and completed a B.S. in horticulture in 2011.  He did an internship at the New England Wildflower Society and then worked as a gardener at Plant Delights Nursery in Raleigh, NC.  For the past 5 years he worked as curator of the perennial garden at the State Botanical Garden of Ga in Athens, Ga.  He is interested in how humans relate to the natural world through assisted migration, habitat reconstruction, garden and collecting

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. She is currently working on an independent research project, to better understand how habitat context influences bee visitation to individual flowers.

Mericos Rhodes: Mericos Rhodes was born in Seattle in 1991. His dad owned and operated a retail nursery outside the city while he was young, and passed a love for plants and animals to Mericos. After studying philosophy in college, Mericos started working on organic farms, eventually co-founding Spoon Full Farm in Thorp, Washington, before moving down to Oregon State University. Mericos started his masters project in our lab group, but has since transferred to a group that focuses more on the non-fiction writing aspects of his project. His interdisciplinary masters project examines and compares production, ecology, research, and policy in organic, permaculture, biodynamic, and regenerative farm and garden systems.

Max Simon worked in our lab for two terms, supporting various projects. He will be starting graduate school in the Fall of 2021, working with Ramesh Sagilli in the OSU Honey Bee Lab.

Robert Yarnall was pursuing his Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies in our lab, for a short time, before switching to a sociology program. We were sad to lose Robert, but agree that his interests in social justice and horticulture were better served by the sociology department, than our lab group.

2019 Garden Ecology Lab Members (Left to Right): Isabella Messer, Angelee Calder, Gail Langellotto, Aaron Anderson, Signe Danler, Mykl Nelson.

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

Gardeb Ecology Lab

Fall 2016. (left to right: Robert Yarnall, Aaron Anderson, Mykl Nelson, Gail Langellotto, Signe Danler)