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Wilson Rankin, E.E. JL Knowlton, AJ Shmerling and R Hoey-Chamberlain (2023) Diets of two non-native praying mantids (Tenodera sinensis and Mantis religiosa) show consumption of arthropods across all ecological roles. Food Webs. 35: e00280 10.1016/j.fooweb.2023.e00280
Argueta-Guzman, M., West, M., Gaiarsa, M.P., Allen, C.W., Cecala, JM, Gedlinske, L., McFrederick, QS, Murillo, AC, Sankovitz, M and Wilson Rankin, E.E. and Rankin, D.T. (2023) Words matter: how ecologists discuss managed and non-managed bees and birds. Scientometrics. 128: 1745-1764 10.1007/s11192-022-04620-2
Wilson Rankin, E.E. and Rankin, D.T. (2023) Secondary nectar robbing by Lycaenidae and Riodinidae: Opportunistic but not infrequent. Ecology. 104(2): e3892 10.1002/ecy.3892
Sankovitz, M., KJ Loope, Wilson Rankin, E.E. and Purcell,J. (2023) Unequal reproduction early in a social transition: insights from invasive wasps. American Naturalist. 201(2): 241-255 10.1086/722514
Garcia, K., Olimpi, E. M., M'Gonigle, L., Karp, D. S., Wilson Rankin, E.E., Kremen, C., & Gonthier, D. J. (2023) Semi-natural habitats on organic strawberry farms and in surrounding landscapes promote bird biodiversity and pest control potential. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 347: e108353. 10.1016/j.agee.2023.108353
Miner, MC and Wilson Rankin, E.E. (2023) Bumble Bee Avoidance of Argentine Ants and Associated Chemical Cues. Journal of Insect Behavior. 36: 20-32 10.1007/s10905-023-09815-w
Sidhu, C.,Lozano, GE, Miner, MC, Howe, E, and Wilson Rankin, E.E. (2023) Pollination ecology of island endemic lants: a case study on the California Channel Islands. Western North American Naturalist. Available at:


Saldivar, J., A. Romero, and Wilson Rankin, E.E. (2022) Community science reveals high diversity of nectaring plants visited by painted lady butterflies (Vanessa cardui) in California sage scrub. Environmental Entomology.201(2): 241-255 10.1093/ee/nvac073
Knowlton, JL, RE Crafford, BA Tinoco, PS Padron, and EE Wilson Rankin. (2022) High foraging fidelity and plant-pollinator network dominance of non-native honey bees (Apis mellifera) in the Ecuadorian Andes. Neotropical Entomology. 51: 795-800 10.1007/s13744-022-00967-6
Smith, O; Kennedy, CM.; Echeverri, A; Karp, D; Latimer, C ; Taylor, J;Wilson Rankin, EE, Owen, JP and WE Snyder. 2022. Complex landscapes stabilize farm bird communities and their expected ecosystem services. Journal of Applied Ecology 59(4): 927-941 10.1111/1365-2664.14104
J. M. Cecala and E. E. Wilson Rankin. 2022. Diversity and turnover of wild bee and ornamental plant assemblages in commercial plant nurseries. Oecologia 198(3): 773-783 10.1007/s00442-022-05135-6
J Taylor, J., OM Smith, M. Edworthy, CM Kennedy, CE Latimer, JP Owen E. E. Wilson Rankin and WE Snyder. 2022. Bird predation and landscape context shape arthropod communities on broccoli. Ornthithological Applications 24(2): duac005 10.1093/ornithapp/duac005
Rankin, DT, KJ Loope, and E. E. Wilson Rankin. 2022. Seasonal phenology and colony longevity patterns in a predatory social wasp. Western North American Naturalist 82(1): e13
J. M. Cecala and E. E. Wilson Rankin. 2022. Petals and leaves: quantifying the use of nest building materials by the worlds most valuable solitary bee. Ecology e03584 10.1002/ecy.3584
Smith, O., E. M. Olimpi, N. Navarro-Gonzalez, K. A. Cornell, L. O. Frishkoff, T. D. Northfield, T. M. Bowles, A. Edworthy, J. E. Z. Fu, K. Garcia, D. J. Gonthier, M. S. Jones, C. M. Kennedy, C. E. Latimer, J. P. Owen, C. Sato, J. M. Taylor, E. E. Wilson Rankin, W. E. Snyder, and D. S. Karp. 2022. A trait-based framework for predicting food safety risks associated with wild birds. Ecological Applications. 10.1002/eap.2523


Spence, A. R., E. E. Wilson Rankin, and M. W. Tingley. 2021. DNA metabarcoding reveals broadly overlapping diets in three sympatric North American hummingbirds. Ornithology 139. 10.1093/ornithology/ukab074
Scarparo, G., M. Sankovitz, K. J. Loope, E. E. Wilson Rankin, and J. Purcell. 2021. Early queen joining and long-term queen associations in polygyne colonies of an invasive wasp revealed by longitudinal genetic analysis. Evolutionary Applications. 14:2901-2914. 10.1111/eva.13324
Cecala, J. M., and E. E. Wilson Rankin. (2021) Wild bee functional diversity and plant associations in native and conventional plant nurseries. Ecological Entomology 46:1283-1292. 10.1111/een.13074
Cecala, J. M., and E. E. Wilson Rankin. (2021) Pollinators and plant nurseries: how irrigation and pesticide treatment of native ornamental plants impact solitary bees. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 288(1955): e20211287. 10.1098/rspb.2021.1287
Rothman, J. A., K. J. Loope, Q. S. McFrederick, and E. E. Wilson Rankin. (2021) Microbiome of the wasp Vespula pensylvanica in native and invasive populations, and associations with Moku virus. Plos One 16:e0255463. 10.1371/journal.pone.0255463
Kim AY, Rankin DT, Wilson Rankin EE. (2021) What is that smell? Hummingbirds avoid foraging on resources with defensive insect compounds. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 75:132. doi: 10.1007/s00265-021-03067-4
Wilson Rankin EE. (2021) Emerging patterns in social wasp invasions. Current Opinion in Insect Science. 46:72-77. doi: 10.1016/j.cois.2021.02.014
Muletz-Wolz CR, Wilson Rankin EE, McGrath-Blaser S, Venkatraman M, Maldonado JE, Gruner DS, Fleischer RC. (2021) Identification of novel bacterial biomarkers to detect bird scavenging by invasive rats. (2021). Ecology and Evolution. 11:1814-1828. doi: 10.1002/ece3.7171
Loope KJ, Wilson Rankin EE. (2021) Viral load, not food availability or temperature, predicts colony longevity in an invasive eusocial wasp with plastic life history. Scientific Reports. 11:e10087. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-89607-4
Barney S, Leopold D, Francisco K, Flaspohler D, Fukami T, Giardina C, Gruner D, Knowlton J, Pitt W, Wilson Rankin EE. (2021) Successful management of invasive rats across a fragmented landscape. Environmental Conservation. 48:1-8. doi: 10.1017/S0376892921000205
Hazlehurst JA, Rankin DT, Clark CJ, McFrederick QS and Wilson Rankin EE. (2021) Macroecological patterns of resource use in resident and migratory hummingbirds. Basic and Applied Ecology. doi: 10.1016/j.baae.2021.01.003


Phan P, Purcell J and Wilson Rankin EE. (2020) Formica francoeuri responds to pheromones and defensive chemical cues of social bees. Insectes Sociaux 67: 547-556. doi: 10.1007/s00040-020-00788-z
Wilson Rankin, EE, Barney SK and Lozano GE. (2020). Reduced water negatively impacts social bee survival and productivity via shifts in floral nutrition. Journal of Insect Science. 20(5): e15. doi: 10.1093/jisesa/ieaa114
Cecala JM, Baronia DA and Wilson Rankin EE. (2020) Sugar content of diet does not buffer against chronic oral imidacloprid exposure in the alfalfa leafcutting bee (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 113: 2705-2712. doi: 10.1093/jee/toaa194
Wilson Rankin EE, Cecala JM, Hernandez Pineda N, Lu QY, Pelayo E and Choe D-H (2020). Differential feeding responses of several bee species to sugar sources containing iridomyrmecin, an Argentine ant trail pheromone component. Journal of Insect Behavior. 33:83-90. doi: 10.1007/s10905-020-09748-8
Harrop TWR, Guhlin J, McLaughlin GM, Permina E, Stockwell P, Gilligan J, Le Lec MF, Gruber MAM, Quinn O, Lovegrove M, Duncan EJ, Remnant EJ, Van Eeckhoven J, Graham B, Knapp RA, Langford KW, Kronenberg Z, Press MO, Eacker SM, Wilson-Rankin EE, Purcell J, Lester PJ and Dearden PK (2020) High-quality assemblies for three invasive social wasps from the Vespula genus. G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics 10: 3479-3488. doi: 10.1534/g3.120.401579
Cecala, J. M., and Wilson Rankin, Erin E (2020) Mark-recapture experiments reveal foraging behavior and plant fidelity of native bees in plant nurseries. Ecology e03021. doi: 10.1002/ecy.3021
Olimpi EM, Garcia K, Gonthier DJ, De Master KT, Echeverri A, Kremen C, Sciligo AR, Snyder WE, Wilson-Rankin EE, Karp DS. (2020) Shifts in species interactions and farming contexts mediate net effects of birds in agroecosystems. Ecological Applications e02115. doi: 10.1002/eap.2115


Bodden J, Hazlehurst JA, Wilson Rankin Erin E (2019) Floral traits predict frequency of defecation on flowers by foraging bumble bees. Journal of Insect Science 19:e2 doi:10.1093/jisesa/iez091
Loope, K. J., J. W. Baty, P. J. Lester, and E. E. Wilson Rankin. 2019. Pathogen shifts in a honeybee predator following the arrival of the Varroa mite. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 286(1894):20182499.

2018 and earlier

Wilson-Rankin EE, Knowlton JL, Flaspohler DJ, Buckhardt A, Fukami T, Giardina CP, Gruner DS, Pitt WC. 2018. Hawaiian forest birds show vertical niche partitioning via behavioral plasticity in response to invasive rats across a gradient of forest patch size. PLoS One. 13(9): e0202869.
Melgarejo V, Wilson-Rankin EE, Loope KJ. 2018. Do queen cuticular hydrocarbons inhibit worker reproduction in Bombus impatiens? Insectes Sociaux. 65: 601-608.
Johnston CA, Wilson-Rankin EE, Gruner DS. 2018. Foraging connections: Patterns of prey use linked to invasive predator diel movement. PLoS One. 13: e0201883.
Miller SE, Bluher SE, Bell E, Cini A, Silva RCD, de Souza AR, Gandia KM, Jandt J, Loope K, Prato A, Pruitt JN, Rankin D, Wilson-Rankin EE, Southon RJ, Uy FMK, Weiner S, Wright CM, Downing H, Gadagkar R, Lorenzi MC, Rusina L, Sumner S, Tibbetts EA, Toth A, Sheehan MJ 2018. WASPnest: a worldwide assessment of social Polistine nesting behavior. Ecology. 99:2405. doi: 10.1002/ecy.2448
Sidhu, CS & EE Wilson Rankin. 2018. Distribution and characterization of wild bee nesting sites on San Clemente Island, California Channel Islands. Western North American Naturalist. 78(4): 811–819.
Loope, K. J., J. G. Millar, & EE Wilson Rankin. 2018. Weak nestmate discrimination behavior in native and invasive populations of a yellowjacket wasp (Vespula pensylvanica). Biological Invasions. 20: 3431. doi: 10.1007/s10530-018-1783-3
Levan, K. E., S. K. Barney, & EE Wilson Rankin. 2018. Introduced ants reduce interaction diversity in a multi-species, ant-aphid mutualism. Oikos. 127: 1132–1141.
Merrill, K. C., C. L. Boser, C. Hanna, D. A. Holway, I. Naughton, D. Choe, & EE Wilson Rankin. 2018. Argentine Ant (Linepithema humile, Mayr) Eradication Efforts on San Clemente Island, CA, USA. Western North American Naturalist. 78(4): 829–836.
Rankin, D. T., C. J. Clark, & EE Wilson Rankin. 2018. Hummingbirds use taste and touch to discriminate against nectar resources that contain Argentine ants. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 72:e44.
Knowlton, J. L., D. J. Flaspohler, E. H. Paxton, T. Fukami, C. P. Giardina, D. S. Gruner, & EE Wilson Rankin. 2017. Movement behavior of native Hawaiian birds in a naturally fragmented landscape. Journal of Avian Biology . 48: 920-931.
Dobelmann, J., K. J. Loope, EE Wilson Rankin, O. Quinn, J. W. Baty, M. A. M. Gruber, & P. J. Lester. 2017. Fitness in invasive social wasps: the role of variation in viral load, immune response and paternity in predicting nest size and reproductive output. OIKOS. 126: 1208-1218
Sidhu, C.S., S.M. Calloway, S.K. Barney & EE Wilson Rankin. 2016. Host records of Grammia ursina Schmidt, 2009 on San Clemente Island and its potential effect on rare plant restoration (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae: Arctiinae). Pan Pacific Entomologist. 92(3): 151-156.
Rust, M.K., D. Choe, EE Wilson Rankin, K. Campbell, J. Kabashima, & M. Dimson. 2016. Controlling Yellowjackets with Fipronil-based Protein Baits in Urban Recreational Areas. International Journal of Pest Management. DOI: 10.1080/09670874.2016.1227883
Sidhu, CS & EE Wilson Rankin. 2016. Honey bees avoiding ant harassment at flowers using scent cues. Environmental Entomology. 45(2): 400-426
Wilson Rankin, EE. 2015. Level of experience modulates individual foraging strategies of an invasive predatory wasp. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 69: 491-499
Wilson Rankin, EE. 2014. Social context influences cue-mediated recruitment in an invasive social wasp. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 68:1151-1161
Wilson, EE* & EM Wolkovich. 2011. Scavenging: how carnivores and carrion structure communities. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 26: 129-135.
Wilson, EE*, CS Sidhu, KE LeVan & DA Holway. 2010. Pollen foraging behavior of solitary Hawaiian bees revealed through molecular pollen analysis. Molecular Ecology. 19: 4823-4829.
Wilson, EE* & DA Holway. 2010. Multiple mechanisms underlie displacement of solitary Hawaiian Hymenoptera by an invasive social wasp. Ecology. 91: 3294-3302.
Wilson, EE*, CV Young & DA Holway. 2010. Predation or scavenging? Thoracic muscle pH and rates of water loss reveal cause of death in arthropods. Journal of Experimental Biology. 230: 2640-2646.
Wilson, EE*, LM Mullen & DA Holway. 2009. Life history plasticity magnifies the ecological effects of a social wasp invasion. Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences. 106: 12809-12813.
Eckles, MA, EE Wilson*, DA Holway & JC Nieh. 2008. Protein quality elevates thoracic temperatures of foraging western yellowjackets, Vespula pensylvanica (Hymenoptera: Vespidae). Naturwissenschaften. 95: 787-792.
Wilson, EE*, DA Holway & JC Nieh. 2006. Cold anesthesia decreases foraging recruitment in the New World bumblebee, Bombus occidentalis. Journal of Apicultural Research. 45: 169-172.
Weiss, MR, EE Wilson*, & I Castellanos. 2004. Predatory wasps learn to overcome the defenses of their larval prey. Animal Behaviour. 68: 45-54.
* Prior to 2014, Dr. Wilson Rankin published under the name EE Wilson.


Pollinators and pollination ecology: We are interested in examining pollinators in both urban and natural landscapes and across the urban-natural interface. In urban areas, we are examining how threats from invasive species, drought and human disturbances affect plant-pollinator interactions and pollinator health. These pollinators include bees, butterflies and birds, and plants include drought-tolerant garden species. In natural areas, we are examining pollination of rare and endemic plants for conservation and factors that affect their pollinator communities. Across the California Floristic Province, our macrosystems team is examining how migration of pollinators affects plant-pollinator networks and disease dynamics. For details on this migratory pollinator project, please visit
Influence of climate and diet on invasiveness of social insects: Some yellowjacket species exhibit plasticity in colony cycle in their introduced ranges to include annual and perennial life histories. In western yellowjackets (Vespula pensylvanica), we are looking at how temperature and food availability contribute to the shift in life history (switching from annual colony cycle to perennial colony cycle). Because perennial colonies overwinter and develop very large worker population sizes, perenniality can have a large negative impact on prey species and the ecological services provided by these prey.
Impact of invasive species on food webs and the ecosystem services provided by consumed taxa: Utilizing next-generation sequencing, we can gain a quantitative overview of how species are interacting in an ecosystem before and after invader removal. Combining such diet analyses with landscape scale sampling, we can assess the stability of the ecosystem services provided by affected taxa (natives consumed by the invader or the invader itself).
Molecular approaches to detecting and quantifying invasive species and trophic impacts: We are adapting environmental DNA (eDNA) screening approaches to the soil arthropod communities to identify areas invaded by non-native taxa. In mesocosms, quantitative lab experiments are establishing (1) what is the lowest density at which we can detect invader DNA, and (2) how long invader genetic material will remain detectable after the invader leaves or dies. With an understanding of latency of eDNA in the soil and the sensitivity threshold of detection, we can employ this approach to sample across a large geographical scale in a cost-effective manner.
In the works: Learn about the Virtual Center for the Study of Biotic Interactions (ViCSBI), a new, multi-campus research initiative under development by ecologists and evolutionary biologists at UC Santa Barbara, Berkeley, Riverside, and Davis. PIs Susan Mazer, Katja Seltmann, Isaac Park, Brent Mishler, Nicole Rafferty, Emily Meineke, Matt Daugherty, Erin Wilson-Rankin, Christiane Weirauch, Noah Whiteman, Louie Yang, and others are joining botanical and entomological forces to investigate the effects of climatic and other environmental disruptions on mutualistic and anatogonistic interactions in wild and agricultural California ecosystems. To understand more about our mission, please check out our overview of ViCSBI:



Jolene Saldivar (Plant Biology Ph.D. candidate, 2024 exp): impacts of invasive plants and climate change on plant-pollinator interactions in sagescrub ecosystems (email)
Rochelle Hoey-Chamberlain (associate specialist): Metabarcoding of predators and pollinators
David Rankin (researcher): hummingbird foraging ecology, interactions between invasive and native floral visitors (email)
Patty Sanchez (undergraduate researcher): native ant foraging behavior in sage scrub ecosystems
Mia Henriquez (Senior Thesis researcher): plant-pollinator interactions on the urban UCR campus
Molly Barber (incoming PhD student): joining the lab this fall!


Andrea Romero (undergraduate researcher): using iNaturalist to assess plant-insect interactions. Now in the UCR Plant Biology PhD program!
Madison Dee (undergraduate researcher): host plant associations of painted lady larvae and plant-pollinator interactions
Chris Allen (Entomology M.S. student, 2022): broad patterns in floral associations and pathogens of sage scrub pollinator communities. Now a PhD student with Boris Baer studying comparative proteomics in honeybee lineages! (email)
Jacob Cecala (Ph.D. 2021): pollination ecology in natural, semi-natural and agricultural ecosystems. Now a USDA Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Davis with Rachel Vannette! (email) See Jake's papers: 10.1002/ecy.3584, 10.1111/een.13074, 10.1098/rspb.2021.1287, 10.1093/jee/toaa194, 10.1007/s10905-020-09748-8, 10.1002/ecy.3021
Tara Boyer (undergraduate researcher): water and pesticide impacts on floral rewards in Salvia clevelandii
Giselle Lozano (assistant specialist): diet and pathogens of pollinators; drought impacts on`pollinators and their nutrition. See Giselle's papers:
Martha Velasco Flores (undergraduate researcher): detection and identification of nocturnal pollinators and predators using eDNA techniques
Jacob Jones (undergraduate researcher): water and pesticide impacts on floral rewards in Phacelia tanacetifolia
Rachel Norris (M.S. 2020, co-advised with Kerry Mauck): non-consumptive effects of predators on pest populations
Jenny Hazlehurst (postdoc): (Now an assistant professor at CSU East Bay) pollination networks, animal behavior, plant-animal interactions, coevolution of pollinators and flowering plants, trait-mediated indirect effects. (email) (website) See Jenny's papers: 10.1016/j.baae.2021.01.003, 10.1093/jisesa/iez091
Jonah Bodden (undergraduate researcher): factors influencing defecation on flowers by bees and implications for disease transmission. See Jonah's paper:10.1093/jisesa/iez091
Kevin Loope (postdoc): (Now at Virginia Tech University!) social evolution, chemical ecology, and the evolutionary ecology of invasive wasps and honeybees (email) (website) See Kevin's papers: 10.1111/eva.13324, 10.1371/journal.pone.0255463, 10.1038/s41598-021-89607-4, 10.1098/rspb.2018.2499, 10.1007/s10530-018-1783-3
Jong Soon Lee (junior specialist): Metabarcoding of predators and pollinators
Vicente Melgarejo (undergraduate researcher, honor's thesis student): pheromonal communication in social bees. See Vicente's paper: 10.1007/s00040-018-0651-6
Ashley Kim (undergraduate researcher): hummingbird responses to insect defense compounds. See Ashley ' s paper:
Karen Argumedo (undergraduate researcher): influence of diet and secondary compounds on bee longevity and pathogen sensitivity
Nohely Hernandez Pineda (undergraduate researcher): ant-bee interactions and foraging behavior. See Nohely's paper: 10.1007/s10905-020-09748-8
Phi Phan (undergraduate researcher): ant-bee interactions and rare plant pollination ecology. See Phi's paper: 10.1007/s00040-020-00788-z
Michelle Constanza Miner (MS, 2018): (Now at Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum!) native bee biology and diversity, pollination, protected lands management, desert and Mediterranean ecology
Chien Yu (undergraduate researcher): pollinator diversity across the urban to natural landscape gradient
Sarah Barney (junior specialist): trophic ecology, arthropod/avian-mediated ecosystem services, molecular genetics and ecology, tropical forest biodiversity and conservation. See Sarah's papers: 10.1111/oik.05043, 10.3956/2016-92.3.151,, 10.1017/S0376892921000205
C. Sheena Sidhu (postdoc): pollination ecology, conservation, and ecosystem services within and across natural-urban interfaces. Now at San Mateo County Department of Agriculture (email) See Sheena's papers: 10.3956/2016-92.3.151, 10.1093/ee/nvv230, 10.3398/064.078.0420
Korie Merrill (MS, 2015): invasive ant ecology and eradication. Now at the Center for Natural Lands Management. See Korie's paper: 10.3398/064.078.0422
Veronica Fernandez (technician): Vespula population genetics and eDNA detection of invasive species
Nicole Gutzmann: molecular genetics and eDNA detection of biological invasions

Contact Us

900 University Ave, Riverside, CA 92521

Our lab is located on the first floor of the Entomology Bldg on the University of California Riverside campus.

Erin Wilson Rankin
phone: 951 827 5735

What we study

In the Wilson Rankin lab, we study invasive species ecology, investigating species interactions and their effects on food webs and ecosystem services both at the landscape-level (such as invasive species removal and mitigation) and the individual-level (such as foraging strategies and genetic diet analyses). Much of our work involves native pollinators and invasive social insects in and across the interface of agricultural, natural and urban landscapes. Specific areas of current research involve the effects of drought and fire on pollinator health and diversity, life history evolution of invasive species, disruption of ecosystem services by invasive generalists and trophic impacts of multi-channel omnivory.

Educational and Employment Opportunities

Opportunity to study Pollinator and Predator Behavior and Interactions! The Wilson-Rankin lab is seeking motivated undergraduates for Spring and Summer 2023 with an interests in botany, entomology, biology, and/or ecology to assist on a variety of projects studying species interactions at nectar resources. Volunteer (without salary) position, roughly 10-15 hours per week. Responsibilities would include preparing bees and wasps collected from field work for preservation and subsequent identification, maintenance of plants for foraging observations, and field observations of bees and wasps and their behavior on floral resources. An interest in pollinators, predators, wildlife conservation, community ecology, and/or urban biodiversity is preferred. Must be willing to work with live insects if in-person research is permitted by the university. If interested, please email Prof. Rankin..

Any undergraduate students interested in volunteering or seeking research experience are encouraged to contact Dr. Rankin.