Erin Krichilsky

Science Nomad

I am a certified Apoidea nerd, with a keen interest in bee and wasp systematics. I have conducted research spanning from pathology and behavior to taxonomy and phylogenomics.

I started as an undergraduate student in the Danforth lab in 2015, where I worked closely with Heather Grab, a now post-doctoral researcher, on the fungal pathogen Ascosphaera and its relationship with the solitary mason bee Osmia cornifrons. The primary goal of our work was to understand how Ascosphaera prevalence in O. cornifrons nests interacts with changing landscape composition and pesticide use. This work was produced into my senior thesis, a manuscript for publication, and presentations at local and national conferences. Our work continues in collaboration with Kate LeCroy, a graduate student in the Roulston lab, who studies Ascosphaera in Osmia species across Virginia.

Since graduating with a B.S. in Entomology in December 2017 I have worked to narrow my interests in bee biology. I lived for 7 months on Barro-Colorado Island in Panamá as a technician with graduate student Callum Kingwell and the Wcislo lab at STRI, studying the behavior of the nocturnal sweat bee genus Megalopta. After STRI I took the Bee Course to enhance my skills in bee identification and began a year long journey working for the USDA Pollinating Insects Research Unit. At the USDA I work in the Branstetter lab, where we often collaborate with the Danforth lab, conducting phylogenomic studies using ultraconserved elements to better understand the bee tree of life. 

Though my research experience has been broad, systematics has been my consistent pull. During my time as an undergrad I also worked for the CUIC curating Pompilidae wasps, and with Danforth lab graduate student Katherine Urban-Mead identifying Andrena. Since graduating I have developed and curated reference collections for STRI, volunteered in Costa Rica with Paul Hanson at the UCR identifying, curating, and collecting bees and wasps, and through the above mentioned experiences with my current appointment at the USDA.  

It has been an exciting journey with the Danforth Lab as my continuous hub and source of inspiration. For inquiries about my work contact or stay tuned with all my nomadic Apoid adventures on Twitter @Bee_Whiz


Research Interests

Bee and wasp biology and diversity, systematics, evolution, and phylogenomics