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

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

  • Müller U, Bruninga-Socolar B, Brokaw J+, Cariveau DP, & Williams NM (Accepted at Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment) Joining perspectives on ecology, conservation value, and policy of bee pollinator seed mixes.
  • Bruninga-Socolar B, Socolar J, Konzmann S, Lunau K (2023) Pollinator-mediated plant coexistence requires high levels of pollinator specialization. Ecology & Evolution 13(8): e10349. Doi: 10.1002/ece3.10349
  • Bruninga-Socolar B, Lonsdorf E, Lane IG, Portman ZM, & Cariveau DP (2023) Making plant-pollinator data collection cheaper for restoration and monitoring. Journal of Applied Ecology. Doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.14472
  • Neece J*x, Coker Ax, Brokaw J+, Cariveau D, Bruninga-Socolar B (2023) Seeding density of wildflower mixes affects nectar production in a focal plant species. Restoration Ecology e13912. Doi: 10.1111/rec.13912
  • Moore C, Shaw A, Bruninga-Socolar B, Caves E, Karnish A, Kiesewetter K, Nelson A, & Pringle E (2023) The movement ecology of mutualism (CSEE/ESA 2022, OOS17). Bulletin: Ecological Society of America 104(2): e2603. Doi: 10.1002/bes2.2063
  • Brokaw J+, Bruninga-Socolar B, Portman ZM, & Cariveau DP (2023) Prescribed fire increases the number of ground-nesting bee nests in tallgrass prairie remnants. Insect Conservation and Diversity 16(3): 355-367. Doi: 10.1111/icad.12628
  • Lane IG+, Portman ZM, Herron-Sweet CR, Petersen JD, Bruninga-Socolar B, & Cariveau DP (2023) Higher floral richness promotes rarer bee communities across remnant and reconstructed tallgrass prairies, though remnants contain higher abundances of a threatened bumble bee (Bombus Latrielle). Biological Conservation 279: 109862. Doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2022.109862
  • Portman Z, Bruninga-Socolar B, Evans EC, & Tucker RC (2022) A survey of the bees of the Six Mile Marsh prairie restoration in Minnesota suggests benefits from haying. Prairie Naturalist Special Issue 1: 41-53.
  • 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/Systematics
BIO 113/313: Tropical Ecology of Costa Rica
BIO 211: Ecology
BIO 383: Entomology