Norah Warchola

Norah Warchola

Robinson Hall, Room 352
200 College Avenue, Medford, MA


  • Postdoctoral fellow, Tufts University, 2013 - 2015
  • Postdoctoral fellow, Harvard Forest, Harvard University, 2010 - 2013
  • PhD, Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook University, 2003 - 2010
  • BS, Stony Brook University, 1999 - 2003


Ecology and Ecological Physiology

Research Interests

I am interested in ecology, evolution, population biology, how organisms move through landscapes, and how we can combine these fields to conserve at-risk species.

My graduate work focused on the movement of butterflies in fragmented landscapes. I worked with fruit-feeding nymphalid butterflies and studied how they identified habitat vegetation, how they reacted to habitat edges and how they moved through non-habitat vegetation. These processes have important implications when species are existing in fragmented habitat patches that may be imbedded in inhospitable landscapes.
During my postdoctoral training, I worked with a variety of at-risk butterflies. I studied how habitat management, in the form of prescribed fire, affected populations of the endangered Fender's blue butterfly lcaricia icarioides fenderi in Oregon's Willamette Valley. I found that while fire initially negatively impacted populations, it had positive effects on population growth that began one season post-fire and persisted for several years. I also monitored populations of the state listed frosted elfin Callophrys irus in Massachusetts and studied the movement behavior of Bartram's scrub-hairstreak Strymon acis bartrami in southern Florida. I am currently beginning a project on the way Monarch population dynamics are affected by their shifting phenology and that of their host plants, nectar plants and the parasite OE.

Selected Publications and Presentations

Warchola, N., Bastianelli, B., Schultz, C.B. and Crone, E.E. (2015) Fire increases ant-tending and survival of the Fender's blue butterfly larvae. Journal of Insect Conservation 19:6, pp 1063–1073. doi:10.1007/s10841-015-9822-1

Warchola, N., Crone, E. E. and Schultz, C. B. (2017), Balancing ecological costs and benefits of fire for population viability of disturbance-dependent butterflies. Journal of Applied Ecology. Accepted Author Manuscript. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12983

Teaching/Courses Taught

Bio 14: Ecological Physiology
Bio 142: Population and Community Ecology