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Publications

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. 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.
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.

Research

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 www.macrosystems.ucr.edu
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: vicsbi.eri.ucsb.edu
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People

Current

Jacob Cecala (Ph.D. candidate): pollination ecology in natural, semi-natural and agricultural ecosystems (email)
Chris Allen (Ph.D. student): shifts in pollinator communities driven by invasive species, migratory hummingbirds, and pathogens (email)
Rochelle Hoey-Chamberlain (assistant specialist): Metabarcoding of predators and pollinators
David Rankin (researcher): hummingbird foraging ecology, interactions between invasive and native floral visitors (email)
Giselle Lozano (assistant specialist): diet and pathogens of pollinators; drought impacts on`pollinators and their nutrition
Jacob Jones (undergraduate researcher): water and pesticide impacts on floral rewards in Phacelia tanacetifolia
Tara Boyer (undergraduate researcher): water and pesticide impacts on floral rewards in Salvia clevelandii
Martha Velasco Flores (undergraduate researcher): detection and identification of nocturnal pollinators and predators using eDNA techniques

Alumni/Alumnae

Rachel Norris (M.S. 2020, co-advised with Kerry Mauck): non-consumptive effects of predators on pest populations
Jenny Hazlehurst (postdoc): (A new assistant professor at CSU East Bay later this year!) pollination networks, animal behavior, plant-animal interactions, coevolution of pollinators and flowering plants, trait-mediated indirect effects. (email) (website)
Kevin Loope (postdoc): (Now at Georgia Southern University!) social evolution, chemical ecology, and the evolutionary ecology of invasive wasps and honeybees (email) (website)
Jong Soon Lee (junior specialist): Metabarcoding of predators and pollinators
Ashley Kim (undergraduate researcher): hummingbird responses to insect defense compounds
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
Phi Phan (undergraduate researcher): ant-bee interactions and rare plant pollination ecology
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): (Now at Michigan!) trophic ecology, arthropod/avian-mediated ecosystem services, molecular genetics and ecology, tropical forest biodiversity and conservation
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)
Korie Merrill (MS, 2015): invasive ant ecology and eradication. Now at the Center for Natural Lands Management
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
email: erin.rankin@ucr.edu
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 Fall 2020 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. Exact responsibilities will depend on the COVID-19 situation. Remote research responsibilities will include: searching scientific literature for relevant studies, analyzing foraging data already collected by the lab, and searching iNaturalist for documentation of species interactions. If in-person research is permitted by the university, 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.