Patrick Pennarola - Ph.D. Student
University of Connecticut, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 2013
I’m studying insect conservation in prairies. Specifically, I’ll be investigating the differences in plant and insect
communities in prairie remnants that have been managed through prescribed burns and through conservation
There’s something amazing about the fact that an insect can live its entire, complex life, often in very small
habitats. The landscape is full of niches that insects alone can exploit. It makes the world seem a whole lot larger
if you have an eye for the little things.
Why University of Minnesota? What is your favorite thing about UMN?
I was very impressed by the work Karen Oberhauser’s lab was doing. Monarch butterflies are such interesting
and arresting organisms, making them perfect not only for conservation work but also for public education. The
interplay between those two areas, research and outreach, definitely excited me.
I love the community I’m finding at UMN. The graduate students and faculty have been great peers and
mentors. It’s energizing to be surrounded by people with similar interests, yet astoundingly different
backgrounds and focuses.
I would ultimately love to share the joy of insects with other people. I want to inspire other people to walk a bit
slower, listen a bit harder, and take the time to appreciate the web of life that goes on all around them.
I have a strange fondness for weevils. Those “snouts” and antennae are just too goofy.
Other interests/Hobbies. What makes YOU unique?
I enjoy playing the piano (mediocrely), the banjo (poorly), and golf (very poorly). I inherited a dabbling interest in
many art-forms from my father and occasionally paint, sketch, and sculpt.
Coffee or Tea?
Tea for pleasure, coffee for necessity.