Bethanne Bruninga-Socolar, Ph.D. – Albright College

Bethanne Bruninga-Socolar, Ph.D.

Bethanne Bruninga-Socolar, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biology
Science Center room 225

Ph.D., Rutgers University (Ecology & Evolution)
B.A., Swarthmore College (Biology)


My academic work explores the relationship between plants and bees. On a small scale, I am interested in how the spatial arrangement of flowering plants affects foraging decisions made by bees and how these decisions then affect plant reproduction. On a larger scale, I study how habitat restoration and management (e.g., prescribed fire, grazing by large herbivores, and mowing) impact bee diversity and conservation. When I am not busy with bees, I enjoy reading and spending time outdoors with my family. I particularly enjoy canoeing, hiking, camping, and taking blurry photos of bugs and moss! For more information, please visit my personal webpage.

Areas of Expertise

  • Plant-pollinator interactions
  • Bee foraging behavior
  • Restoration ecology
  • Pollination ecology
  • Ecology
  • Entomology

Areas of Research

Recent publications: (* indicates work done while the author was an undergraduate; x indicates a research technician; + indicates a graduate student)

  • Neece J*x, Coker Ax, Brokaw J+, Cariveau D, Bruninga-Socolar B. Quantifying nectar rewards in tallgrass prairie seed mixes. (in preparation for special issue of Restoration Ecology for the UN Decade of Ecosystem Restoration)
  • Bruninga-Socolar B, Socolar J, Konzmann S, Lunau K. Pollinator-mediated plant coexistence requires high levels of pollinator specialization. (In revision for The American Naturalist)
  • Portman Z, Bruninga-Socolar B, Evans EC, & Tucker RC. A survey of the bees of the Six Mile Marsh prairie restoration in Minnesota suggests benefits from haying. (In press at The Prairie Naturalist)
  • Bruninga-Socolar B, Winfree R, & Crone EE (2022) The contribution of plant spatial arrangement to bumble bee flower constancy. Oecologia 198: 471-481. doi:10.1007/s00442-022-05114-x
  • Bruninga-Socolar B & Branam E* (2022) Co-flowering plant densities affect bee visitation to a focal plant species, but bee genera differ in their response. Natural Areas Journal 42: 98-104. doi:10.3375/20-49
  • Bruninga-Socolar B, Griffin SR, Portman Z, & Gibbs J (2021) Variation in prescribed fire and bison grazing supports multiple bee nesting groups in tallgrass prairie. Restoration Ecology e13507. doi:10.1111/rec.13507
  • Griffin SR, Bruninga-Socolar B, & Gibbs J (2021) Direct and indirect effects of restoration management on wild bee communities of a tallgrass prairie. Basic & Applied Ecology 50: 144-154. doi:10.1016/j.baae.2020.12.004
  • Cariveau DP, Bruninga-Socolar B, & Pardee G (2020) A review of the challenges and opportunities for restoring animal-mediated pollination of native plants. Emerging Topics in Life Sciences 44: 99-109. doi:10.1042/ETLS20190073
  • Portman ZM, Bruninga-Socolar B, & Cariveau DP (2020) The state of bee monitoring in the United States: a call to refocus away from bowl traps and towards more effective methods. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 113: 337-342. doi:10.1093/aesa/saaa010
  • Griffin SR, Bruninga-Socolar B, Kerr Mx, Gibbs J, & Winfree R (2017) Wild bee community change over a 26 year chronosequence of restored tallgrass prairie. Restoration Ecology 25(4): 650-660. doi:10.1111/rec.12481
  • Bruninga-Socolar B, Crone EE, & Winfree R (2016) The role of floral density in determining bee foraging behavior: a natural experiment. Natural Areas Journal 36(4): 392-399. doi:10.3375/043.036.0406

Courses Taught

BIO 101: Concepts and Connections in Biology

BIO 152: General Biology II (Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics)

Currently developing a 300-level Entomology course.