Paul J. CaraDonna, Ph.D.

Conservation Scientist; population and community ecology of plants and pollinators
(847) 835-6935
Curriculum Vitae: 
Teaching and Research Affiliations: 
  • Assistant Professor, Plant Biology and Conservation, Northwestern University
  • Graduate School Faculty, Plant Biology and Conservation, Northwestern University
  • Principal Investigator, The Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, Gothic, CO
Selected Professional Associations: 
  • Ecological Society of America
  • American Society of Naturalists
Research Interests: 
  • Population & community ecology
  • Plant-pollinator interactions
  • Phenology and temporal ecology
  • Ecology of climate change
  • Ecology of native bees
  • Ecological networks

Research in the CaraDonna Lab investigates the interplay among species interactions, population dynamics, and community patterns — mostly with plants and pollinators (but sometimes with other organisms, like marmots or protists). We are also particularly interested in temporal ecology. For example, how do the interactions between plants and pollinators play out over various time scales? We tend to ask our research questions from a basic ecological perspective to better understand how plant and animal populations and communities operate in nature, but with the ultimate goal of improving conservation efforts in light of various global changes (e.g., climate change, pollinator declines, urbanization).
We address research questions using a variety of approaches including: observational field studies that leverage existing natural variation; field and laboratory experiments that build upon knowledge of this natural variation; analysis of long-term datasets; and analytical tools like network analysis and simulation models. We also very much value natural history, and we love working as a collaborative team.

Selected Publications: 

Seeing through the static: the temporal dimension of plant-animal mutualistic interactions. 

Accepted. CaraDonna, P.J., L. Burkle, B. Schwarz, J. Resasco, T. Knight, G. Benadi, C. Dormann, Q. Fang, J. Fründ, B. Gauzens, C. Kaiser-Bunbury, R. Winfree, and D.P. Vázquez. Ecology Letters.

Temporal flexibility in the structure of plant-pollinator interaction networks. 
2020. CaraDonna, P.J. and N.W. Waser.  Oikos, 129: 1369-1380. doi:10.1111/oik.07526

Temporal scale-dependence of plant-pollinator networks.  
2020. Schwarz, B., D.P. Vázquez, P.J. CaraDonna, T.M. Knight, G. Benadi, C. Dormann, B. Gauzens, E. Motivans, J. Resasco, N. Blüthgen, L. Burkle, Q. Fang, C.N. Kaiser-Bunbury, R. Alarcón, J.A. Bain, N. Chacoff, S.Q. Huang, C. Olito, T. Petanidou, C. Rasmussen, M. Simanonok, and J. Fründ. 
Oikos, 129: 1289-1302. doi:10.1111/oik.07303

First records of Megachile apicalis (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) from Illinois found in heavily urbanized areas within the City of Chicago. 
2020. Gruver, A.M. and P.J. CaraDonna.  The Great Lakes Entomologist

Untangling the seasonal dynamics of plant-pollinator communities.  
2020. Bramon Mora, B., E. Shin, P.J. CaraDonna, and D.B. Stouffer. Nature Communications, 11:4086

Contrasting effects of climate change on seasonal survival of a hibernating mammal.
2020. Cordes, L.S., K.B. Armitage, D. Blumstein, P.J. CaraDonna, D.Z. Childs, B.D. Gerber, M. Oli, and A.Ozgul. 
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 117: 18119–18126

Reproductive losses due to climate-induced earlier flowering are not the primary threat to plant population viability in a perennial herb. Iler, A.M., A. Compagnoni, D.W. Inouye, J.L. Williams, P.J. CaraDonna, A. Anderson, and T.E.X. Miller. 2019. Journal of Ecology

Two-year bee, or not two-year bee? How voltinism is affected by temperature and season-length in a high elevation solitary bee. Forrest, J.R.K., R. Cross, and P.J. CaraDonna. 2019. The American Naturalist 193: 560–574.

Experimental warming in the field delays phenology and reduces body mass and survival: implications for the persistence of a pollinator under climate change. CaraDonna, P. J., J.L. Cunningham and A.M. Iler. 2018. Functional Ecology 32: 2345–2356.

Atypical flowers can be as profitable as typical hummingbird flowers. Waser, N.M., P. J. CaraDonna, M.V. Price. 2018. The American Naturalist 192: 644–653.

Interaction rewiring and the rapid turnover of plant-pollinator networks. CaraDonna, P. J., W.K. Petry, R.M. Brennan, J.L. Cunningham, N.M. Waser, J.L. Bronstein, and N.J. Sanders. 2017.  Ecology Letters 20: 385–394.

Frost sensitivity of leaves and flowers of subalpine plants is related to tissue type and phenology. CaraDonna, P. J. and J.A. Bain. 2016. Journal of Ecology 104: 55–64.

Phenological responses to climate change do not exhibit phylogenetic signal in a subalpine plant community. CaraDonna, P. J. and D.W. Inouye. 2015. Ecology 96: 355–361.

Phenological shifts and the fate of mutualism. Rafferty, N.E., P. J. CaraDonna, J.L. Bronstein. 2015. Oikos 124: 14–21.

Shifts in flowering phenology reshape a subalpine plant community. CaraDonna, P. J.*, A.M. Iler* and D.W. Inouye. 2014. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 111: 1619–1621. *equal author contributions.

Phenological overlap of interacting species in a changing climate: an assessment of available approaches. Rafferty, N.E., P. J. CaraDonna, L.A. Burkle, A.M. Iler, and J.L. Bronstein. 2013. Ecology & Evolution 3: 3183-3193.

Asynchronous changes in phenology of migrating Broad-tailed Hummingbirds and their early-season nectar resources. McKinney, A.M., P. J. CaraDonna, D.W. Inouye, W.A. Barr, C.D. Bertelsen, and N.M. Waser. 2012. A Ecology 93: 1987-1993.

Reproductive assurance for a rewardless epiphytic orchid in Puerto Rico, Pleurothallis ruscifolia (Orchidaceae, Pleurothallidinae).  CaraDonna, P. J. and J. D. Ackerman. 2012. The Caribbean Journal of Science 46 (2–3): 249-257.

Graduate Students: 
Justin Bain
Andrea Gruver
Jackie Fitzgerald
Victoria DeLira
Amelia Litz (co-advised)
Alex Zink (co-advised)
Jane Ogilvie