Erin Krichilsky

Undergraduate Student

As a freshman in college at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, I took a course on honeybees. Having minimal knowledge of biology, I quickly became enthralled upon seeing the word “Super-organism.” From reading about iridescent Euglossa bees in Panama to storing members of the local bee fauna in my dorm room freezer, I was quickly thrust into an unwavering curiosity for insects. Since then I have transferred to Cornell in pursuit of all things Entomological. I am broadly interested in the order Hymenoptera, with a consistent pull towards bees and wasps. I find all aspects of bee biology fascinating, from larval ecology to microbial symbioses, and I want to continue to broaden my perspective with research. Through my studies, I aim to explore how the diversity of bee life histories and behaviors plays a role in larger ecological questions.

In the Danforth lab, I work closely with graduate student Heather Grab on studies of bee fungal pathogens. I am particularly interested in how solitary bees and their fungal associates intersect. I am also interested in how molecular and visual identification techniques differ in effectiveness for pathogen detection. My research addresses the presence and patterning of the fungal pathogen, Ascosphaera, in Osmia cornifrons nests. The primary goal of this project is to understand how infection rates of Ascosphaera in O. cornifrons nests vary among landscapes that differ in their composition.

Outside of the lab, I work in the Cornell University Insect Collection curating pompilid wasps and enjoy engaging in outreach projects that deepen public appreciation of all chitinous, 6-legged critters.

Research Interests

bee biology and diversity, larval ecology, microbial interactions, symbiosis