Students from University of South Carolina

Current Lab Past Groups Past Students University Of South Carolina


Boris Schlumpberger (2003-2005) Boris came to USC with funding from the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung, and studied the evolution of floral traits in a rapidly radiating species complex of Andean cacti (Echinopsis ancistrophora). He performed field work in collaboration with Andrea Cocucci and Alicia Sersic, Universidad Nacional de Cordoba, Argentina, and phylogenetic analyses with Lucinda McDade, at the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia. From 2006-2009, Boris was a postdoc with Susanne Renner's group at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat, Munchen. He now works as a director of the Herrenhausen Botanical Garden in Hannover. But to thousands of residents of Columbia, SC, Boris will always be the "Smoothie King".

Glenn Svensson (2003-2005) Glenn came to USC with funding from the Wenner-Gren Foundation, after completing his PhD with Christer Lofstedt in the Pheromone Group at Lund University. Glenn split his time between my lab and that of Olle Pellmyr at the University of Idaho. Glenn studied chemically mediated interactions between mutualistic (Tegeticula) and commensalistic (Prodoxus) moths and Yucca plants, from the Outer Banks of NC to the Chiricahua Mts. of southeastern AZ. Glenn has returned to Lund University and has expanded his studies to the newly discovered mutualisms between Epicephala moths and Asian trees in the Phyllanthaceae. Glenn has not stopped smiling since the Olympic Hockey final in 2006.

Grad Students

Katherine Goodrich (2002-2007) Kate came to USC after working with Michelle Zjhra at Keene State College, NH, and brought an unusual palette of skills from her previous experiences in theater stage design, phlebotomy, paramedic training and scientific illustration. Kate's PhD thesis addressed the evolution of floral phenotype in the North American genus Asimina, commonly known as Pawpaws. Kate's work revealed that the four red-flowered pawpaw species have fermented odors constrained by the mimicry of rotting fruit, while the four white-flowered species have species-specific odors presumably involved in honest advertisement of pollen rewards. After graduating in 2007, Kate did a postdoctoral fellowship with Richard Niesenbaum at Muhlenberg College, PA. She is now an assistant professor at Widener University, in Pennsylvania.

Joaquin Goyret (2004-2007) Joaquin joined my lab after completing MS research on honeybee trophallaxis at the Universidad de Buenos Aires. His interest in sensory integration and experimental design led to a thesis exploring context- and scale-dependent behavioral responses of Manduca sexta moths to visual, tactile, gustatory and olfactory floral cues, including carbon dioxide. Joaquin has studied the impact of larval dietary nutrition on plasticity in adult behavior and learning in collaboration with Almut Kelber in the Vision Group at Lund University. He completed his PhD at Cornell in May 2009.

Addie Williams (2005-2007) Addie completed her MS research in my lab by studying the adult feeding biology of hawkmoths, including Manduca sexta, Amphion floridensis and Darapsa myron. Addie's field work addressed niche specifcity of nectar vs. sap/fruit feeding by Amphion and Darapsa at the Belle Baruch Field Station in SC. She hopes to attend Vet School.


Ashley "Shanae" McConnell (2006) studied behavioral responses of Manduca sexta to striped petals on petunia and artificial flowers with Joaquin Goyret, and won third prize at the SCJAS meeting in 2006. She now attends the University of Maryland.

Katherine Collar (2003) studied correlated changes in flower color and odor in Heliotropium amplexicaule, following hand pollination.

Justin Young (2002) studied the ingestion of nicotine by Manduca sexta larvae at USC. He later attended USC, worked for the Bridgewater Group and has returned to USC for graduate studies.

Sarah Brice (2002) studied post-pollination odor change in Cirsium repandum flowers with Nina Theis at the Belle Baruch-USC Field station in Georgetown SC. She later attended Clemson University.

Dan McManus (2002-2003) did a Howard Hughes summer project using GC-MS to study the changes in floral scent chemistry associated with floral color change in Heliotropium flowers. He went on to the Medical University of South Carolina after graduating from USC.

Meredith Holmberg (2000-2002) joined my lab as a work-study student and became an expert GC-MS technician through work on Nicotiana sect. Alatae plants. After graduation from USC, she put her chromatographic skills to work in a water quality lab near Columbia, SC.

Larissa Saldana studied the behavioralresponses of Manduca sexta moths to water vapor, standing water and chrome. She was recognized as the top Biology student in her graduating class (2005) before moving on to med school at MUSC.

Sheetal Desai (2001) studied handling times & learning curves of Manduca sexta on real and artificial flowers with diverse morphologies and postures. She presented a poster at SICB 2002 in Anaheim, CA, co-authored a paper on larval diet and has moved on to medical school.

Michael Hickman (2004) studied population-level variation in the floral Scent of Yucca filamentosa with postdoc Glenn Svensson. He was co-author on one paper and spent a year as a junior curator at the US National Herbarium before beginning medical school at MUSC.

Jennie Clary (2003) was a USC Honors College student whose senior thesis focused on the volatile emissions of flowers from wind-pollinated trees (oaks, poplars), testing alternate hypotheses of defense vs release from selection.

Akilah Bates (2005-6) studied floral CO2 in red, spring blooming flowers (Pawpaws, Trilliums) that mimic rotting fruit or sap. She also spent two field seasons with us in the Tetons, collecting data on bee and hawkmoth visitation of Oenothera flowers. Akilah is now attending medical school at Meharry Medical College in Nashville.

Annie Simonin (2004-6) began as a work-study student caring for Manduca sexta larvae, then did a Howard Hughes summer research project at the Belle Baruch Field Station, where she studied niche partitioning between fruit and nectar-feeding butterflies in four different habitats of coastal SC. She was recognized as the top Biology student in her class (2007), and worked on the Oenothera project in Moab and the Tetons before moving on to med school at MUSC.

Shaniece Charlemagne (Benedict College SC): Shaniece worked with us from 2004-2005, primarily learning how to use the zNose fast GC and using SPME to characterize extreme odor variation in the carrion mimicking flowers of Aristolochia gigantea. Shaniece was funded through NSF and the SCAMP program (, graduated as valedictorian of Benedict College and went on to earn an MS in Epidemiology from USC.

Melissa Jurkiewicz (USC): Melissa began as a work study student caring for Manduca larvae (2001-2003) and took on a Howard Hughes summer project testing whether adult moths learn to avoid artificial flowers that have no nectar. She presented her results at the 2003 SCJAS meeting and won two student awards for her paper. She is now beginning graduate studies in Education at the Univ. of Georgia.

Shirin Modaresi (1999-2000) was the first student to do a Howard Hughes honors project with me at USC. Shirin trapped moths in the Congaree Swamp National Monument and took pollen from their tongues, finding that noctuids were leaving the swamp to find nectar in suburban gardens. Shirin now performs veterinary clinical research on feline diseases.

Bernard Blaney (2000-2001) did an independent study in GC-MS analysis of strawberry floral volatiles and helped nail down the identity of the pollen-specific odorthat attracts bees to hermaphroditic flowers. After USC, Bernard ran a quality control GC-MS lab for R.J. Reynolds in Winston-Salem, NC, got a Pharmacy degree and now is on the faculty at the Charleston Catholic School, SC.

Tamy Ojeda-Avila (Univ. de Puerto Rico, Mayaguez): Tamy spent summer 2000 and spring 2001 at USC working with me and Art Woods on manipulations of larval diet for Manduca sexta. Tamy co-authored two papers and presented a poster at SICB 2002 in Anaheim, CA. Tamy has an MS in nutrition and works in a Vet. Clinic.

Andrea LeClere (Iowa State Univ.): Andrea spent the summer of 2003 at USC working with Boris Schlumpberger on the proboscis extension responses of Manduca sexta to water vapor and floral scent. Andrea co-authored a paper and abstract at ISOT 2005 in Kyoto, Japan. She is now a doctoral student studying genetics at the University of Minnesota.

Poppy Markwell (Oberlin College): Poppy spent the summers of 2005 & 2006 at USC working with Joaquin Goyret on the behavioral responses of Manduca sexta to different floral stimuli, including CO2. She is co-author on two publications and presented a poster at SICB 2006 in Orlando, FL. Poppy is now studying Epidemiology at Tulane.