Christine Elliott

 Contact Info 
E-mail: chelliot [at] hawaii [dot] edu

Research Interest: Plant-Insect interactions, Tropical Ecology, Conservation

Curriculum Vitae

Research Overview

  The Hawaiian Islands are a biodiversity hotspot that boasts some of the highest rates of endemism in the world. Unfortunately, with those high rates of endemism comes increased risk of extinction for certain species. One such species is Manduca blackburni, Blackburnʻs sphinx moth, a federally listed endangered species with low density disjunct populations known to occur on only three of the seven main Hawaiian Islands. Despite its endangered status and its brush with extinction in the 1970s and 1980s, little is known about this large charismatic endemic moth. My research seeks to elucidate the population ecology of this species in order to inform conservation efforts and preserve this iconic Hawaiian moth.


University of Texas at San Antonio, College of Sciences.
  Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, December 2007.

Past Experience

Research Experience

Oct 2016 - present: University of Hawaii at Manoa, Rubinoff Lab.

  • Population ecology of Manduca blackburni
  • Analyzing Pleocoma tularensis emergence patterns
  • Hawaiian native plant propogation within a greenhouse setting
  • Impact of non-native ants on the success of native Hawaiian dry forest restoration

Jun 1998 - Apr 2004: USDA-ARS Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, Imported Fire Ant and Household Insect Unit.

  • Infrabuccal filtration capabilities of Solenopsis invicta with implications for pesticide efficacy
    • I designed an experiment to ascertain size limitations of infrabuccal filtration in female alates of Solenopsis invicta using fluorescent electron microscopy. Data was analyzed using SAS and results presented at an in-facility symposium.
  • Impact of Thelohania solenopsae on larval development in the red imported fire ant
    • Samples of eggs from colonies of S. invicta infected with the microspordium Thelohania solenopsae were reared to adulthood. Adult workers were checked for infection. Developmental time and mortality were compared between infected colonies and an uninfected control group. Results were presented at an in-facility symposium.
  • Agonistic interactions between Solenopsis invicta and Linepithema humile with implications for invasion success
    • Start-up colonies of S. invicta consisting of a mated queen and a number of workers ranging from 0 to 500 were introduced to contained habitats already inhabited by a colony of L. humile. Establishment success of S. invicta was noted. Results were presented at a in-facility symposium.
  • Assisted with long-term research of Thelohania solenopsae as a biological control agent for Solenopsis invicta throughout Florida and Georgia
  • Assisted with research into the parasitic ant Solenopsis daguerrei as a biological control agent for S. invicta and S. richteri in a quarantine setting
  • Assisted with colony collection and rearing of numerous species of pest ant

Volunteer Experience

Jun 2002 - Oct 2002: Dallas Arboretum, Dallas, TX

  • Curated and maintained aquatic gardens and provided interpretive tours to visitors

May 2000 - Aug 2000: Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Miami, FL

  • Curated and maintained native and exotic water gardens and aided in the digitization of specimens from the Fairchild Herbarium

May 1996 - May 1999: Paynes Prairie State Preserve, Gainesville, FL

  • Volunteered weekly in the visitor center, maintained trails, and assisted in regularly scheduled guided nature walks


  • First place for the Entomological Society of Americaʻs 2018 Student Competition for the Presidents Prize in Evolution and Behavior
  • MinoruTamashiro Scholarship 2018
  • Hawaii Conservation Alliance Student Scholarship 2018
  • Tanada Family Entomology Scholarship 2017
  • Wallace Mitchell Scholarship 2017


  • November 2018: Joint Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America. Ecological life table of Manduca blackburni (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae).
  • September 2018: Lyon Centennial Symposium. Restoration implications of Hawaiian seedling survivorship in a common garden greenhouse environment.
  • May 2018: Hawaiʻi Native Seed Conference. Restoration implications of Hawaiian seedling survivorship in a common garden greenhouse environment.
  • February 2018: Nahelehele Dryland Forest Symposium. Poster Presentation. Evading Extinction: Relative abundance of the Endangered Blackburnʻs sphinx moth on its novel non-native larval host plant.
  • November 2017: Joint Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America. The riddle of the Sphinx: conservation of Hawai'i's endangered Blackburn's Sphinx Moth, Manduca blackburni (Lepidoptera:Sphingidae)


Mediros, M.J., J. Kirkpatrick, C.H. Elliott, A. Prestes, J. Eiben, D. Rubinoff. Two New Day-Flying Agrotis (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) From Alpine Summit of the Maunakea Volcano. (In Press)

Elliott, C.H., S.E. Weber, J.B. Meyer, And D. Rubinoff. Assessing Rainfall Accumulation and Temperature as Catalysts for Pleocoma Tularensis Leach, 1933 Emergence in the Central Sierra Nevada (Coleoptera: Pleocomidae: Pleocoma). Pan-Pacific Entomologist 93(2):65-70. 2017