image for Molano-Flores, Brenda

Molano-Flores, Brenda

Interim Director
Principal Research Scientist, Plant Ecology
Research Associate Professor, NRES; Adjunct Assistant Professor, Entomology
Department Affiliate, Plant Biology

Address and Contact Information

1816 S. Oak St.
M/C 652
Champaign, IL  61820

Selected Publications

Molano-Flores, B., S.A. Johnson, P.B. Marcum, and M.A. Feist. 2023. Utilizing herbarium specimens to assist with the listing of rare plants. Frontiers in Conservation Science 4: 1144593. doi: 10.3389/fcosc.2023.1144593.  

Haines, A., A. Carter, M. Leu, B. Molano-Flores, and O. Davis. 2023. Editorial: Imperiled species recovery under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Frontiers in Conservation Science 4: 1257662. doi: 10.3389/fcosc.2023.1257662 

Johnson, S.A., D.N. Zaya, and B. Molano-Flores. 2023. Field validation as a tool for mitigating uncertainty in species distribution modeling for conservation planning. Conservation Science and Practice 5(8): e12978.

Johnson, M.D., A.D. Katz, M.A. Davis, S. Tetzlaff, D. Edlund, S. Tomczyk, B. Molano-Flores, T. Wilder, and J.H. Sperry. 2023. Environmental DNA metabarcoding from flowers reveals arthropod pollinators, plant pests, parasites, and potential predator–prey interactions while revealing more arthropod diversity than camera traps. Environmental DNA 5: 389-623.

Johnson, M.D., J.R. Freeland, L. Parducci, D.M. Evans, R.S. Meyer; B. Molano-Flores, and M.A. Davis. 2023. Review: Environmental DNA as an emerging tool in botanical research. American Journal of Botany 110(2): e16120.

Glass, N., E. Dias de Oliveira, B. Molano-Flores, R. Matamala, C.J. Whelan, M.A. Gonzalez-Meler. 2023. Root litter decomposition rates and impacts of drought are regulated by ecosystem legacy. Applied Soil Ecology 189(5): 104903.

Johnson, S.A., J. Coons, N.D. Zaya, and B. Molano-Flores. 2023. Assessing the reproductive ecology of a rare mint, Macbridea alba, an Endangered Species Act protected species. Plants 12: 1485. (Special Issue-Advances in Plant Reproductive Ecology and Conservation Biology).

Dunn, P.O., I. Ahmed, E. Armstrong, N. Barlow, M.A. Barnard, M. Belisle, T.J. Benson, L.L. Berzins, C.K. Boynton, T.A. Brown, M. Cady, K. Cameron, X. Chen, R.G. Clark, E.D. Clotfelter, K. Cromwell, R.D. Dawson, E. Denton, A. Forbes, K. Fowler, K.C. Fraser, K.J.K. Gandhi, D. Garant, M. Hiebert, C. Houchen, J. Houtz, T.L. Imlay, B.D. Inouye, D.W. Inouye, M. Jackson, A.P. Jacobson, K. Jayd, C. Juteau, A. Kautz, C. Killian, E. Kinnear, K.J. Komatsu, K. Larsen, A. Laughlin, V. Levesque-Beaudin, R. Leys, E. Long, S.C. Lougheed, S. Mackenzie, J. Marangelo, C. Miller, B. Molano-Flores, C.A. Morrissey, E. Nicholls, J.M. Orlofske, I.S. Pearse, F. Pelletier, A. Pitt, J. Poston, D.M. Racke, J.A. Randall, M.L. Richardson, O. Rooney, A.R. Ruegg, S. Rush, S. Ryan, M. Sadowski, I. Schoepf, L. Schulz, B. Shea, T.N. Sheehan, L. Siefferman, D. Sikes, M. Stanback, J.D. Styrsky, C.C. Taff, J.J. Uehling, K. Uvino, T. Wassmer, K. Weglarz, M. Weinberger, J. Wenzel, and L.A. Whittingham. 2023. Extensive regional variation in the phenology of insects and their response to temperature across North America. Ecology 104(5): e4036.

Johnson, S.A., and B. Molano-Flores. 2023. Is the Endangered Species Act living to its full potential? The reassessment of the conservation status and recovery of Macbridea alba Chapm. as a case study. Frontiers in Conservation Science 4: 1116848. (Special Issue-Imperiled Species Recovery Under the U.S. Endangered Species Act). doi:10.3389/fcosc.2023.1116848.

Harper, L.R., M.L. Niemiller, J.B. Benito, L.E. Paddock, E. Knittle, B. Molano-Flores, and M.A. Davis. 2022. BeeDNA: microfluidic environmental DNA metabarcoding as a tool for connecting plant and pollinator communities. Environmental DNA 5: 191-211.

Johnson, S., E. Janssen, N. Glass, P. Dickerson, C. Whelan, and B. Molano-Flores. 2022. The role of environmental stressors on reproduction, seed morphology, and germination: A case-study of Northern White Cedar, Thuja occidentalis L. Botany 100 (11): 839-847. doi:10.1139/cjb-2022-0007.

Naqvi, Q., P.J. Wolff, B. Molano-Flores, and J.H. Sperry. 2022. Camera traps are an effective tool for monitoring insect–plant interactions. Ecology and Evolution 12 (6): e8962.

Molano-Flores, B. 2021. The great USA Plant Conservation Challenge. Biodiversity and Conservation 30:1595-1597.   

Glass, N., B. Molano-Flores, E. Dias de Oliveira, E. Meraz, S. Umar, C.J Whelan, and M.A. Gonzalez-Meler. 2021. Does pastoral land-use legacy increase topsoil carbon and nitrogen accrual in tallgrass prairie restorations? Land 10, 735. (Special Issue Grassland Restoration)         

Molano-Flores, B., D.N. Zaya, and J. Coons. 2021. Population surveys and viability assessments for Coryphantha scheeri var. robustispina a federally protected cactus of the Sonoran Desert. Natural Areas Journal 41:213-217.

Wallace, C.*, J. Coons, and B. Molano-Flores. 2020. Pollen grain morphology of Physaria kingii subsp. kaibabensis and two congeners. Southwestern Naturalist 65(1):63-66.

Molano-Flores, B., and J. Coons. 2020. Reproductive ecology of Physaria kingii subsp. kaibabensis, an endemic species of the Kaibab Plateau, USA. Natural Areas Journal 40:345-354.

Janssen, E.*, D.N. Zaya, B. Molano-Flores, and L. Yao¥. 2020. Assessment of seed germinability after prolonged seed storage for Synthyris bullii (Plantaginaceae), a rare endemic of the Midwestern U.S.A. American Midland Naturalist 183:115-128.

Molano-Flores, B., D.N. Zaya, J. Baty, and G. Spyreas. 2019. An assessment of the vulnerability of Illinois’ rarest plant species to climate change. Castanea 84:115-127.

Annis, J.*, J. Coons, D.N. Zaya, and B. Molano-Flores. 2019. Environmental influences on foliar anthocyanin production in Pinguicula planifolia (Lentibulariaceae). Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 146:269-277.

Primer, S.*, B. Molano-Flores, D.N. Zaya, C. Helm, and J. Coons. 2018. Effect of habitat structure on reproduction and prey capture of a rare carnivorous plant, Pinguicula lutea.  Arthropod-Plant Interactions 12:671-683.

Molano-Flores, B., S. Primer*, J. Annis*, M.A. Feist, J. Coons, and R. Digges.  2018. Reproductive ecology of three rare North American Pinguicula species. Plant Species Biology 33:129-139.

Annis, J.*, J. Coons, C. Helm, and B. Molano-Flores. 2018. The role of red leaf coloration in prey capture for Pinguicula planifolia. Southeastern Naturalist 17:433-437.

Matthews, J.W., B. Molano-Flores, J. Ellis, P. Marcum, W. Handel, J. Zylka, and L.R. Phillippe. 2017. Impacts of management and antecedent site disturbance on restoration outcomes in a sand prairie.  Restoration Ecology 25:972-981.

Zaya, D.N., B. Molano-Flores, M.A. Feist, J. Koontz, and J. Coons. 2017. Population genetics assessment of the USA endemic carnivorous plant Pinguicula ionantha R.K. Godfrey (Lentibulariaceae). Conservation Genetics 18:171-180.

Zylka, J.J.*, C.J. Whelan, and B. Molano-Flores. 2016. Restoration implications of land management on aboveground vegetation and seed bank of grassland communities.  American Midland Naturalist 176:36-59.

Chi, K.* and B. Molano-Flores. 2016. Reproductive morphology of a rare endemic Midwestern species in association with habitat degradation.  The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 143:169-179.

Molano-Flores, B. and A.E. Faivre. 2015. Sexual differences in Lobelia spicata populations: floral morphometrics, stigma pollen loads, and pollen tube growth.  Plant Species Biology 30:202-211.

Kurylo, J.,S. Raghu, and B. Molano-Flores. 2015. Flood tolerance in common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica). Natural Areas Journal 35:502-507. 

Ruffatto, D.M., D.N. Zaya, and B. Molano-Flores. 2015. Reproductive success of the gynodioecious Lobelia spicata Lam. (Campanulaceae): female frequency, population demographics, and latitudinal patterns. The International Journal of Plant Sciences 176:120-130.

Pearion, M. and B. Molano-Flores. 2015. The reproductive ecology of Mononeuria patula (Michx.) Dillenb. and Kadereit (Caryophyllaceae). The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 142:38-50.

Helm, C. and B. Molano-Flores. 2015. New records of native and non-native bark and ambrosia beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae) for Illinois.The Great Lakes Entomologist 48:137-149.

Molano-Flores, B., L.R. Phillippe, P.B. Marcum, C. Carroll-Cunningham, J.L. Ellis, D.T. Busemeyer,  and J.E. Ebinger. 2015. A floristic inventory and vegetation survey of three dolomite prairies in northeastern, Illinois. Castanea 80:153-170.

Leja, M., K. Chi, and B. Molano-Flores. 2015. Presence and intensity of pre-dispersal seed predation in a rare plant in response to habitat quality and population metrics. Natural Areas Journal 35:542-549.

Chi, K. and B. Molano-Flores. 2015. Habitat degradation disrupts plant-pollinator interactions for a rare, self-compatible prairie species. Plant Ecology 216:1275-1283.

Chi, K. and B. Molano-Flores. 2014. Can floral display size compensate for Allee effects caused by low population abundance and density in Synthyris bullii (Plantaginaceae), a rare species? American Journal of Botany 101:428-436.

Molano-Flores, B. 2014. An invasive plant species decreases native plant reproductive success. Natural Areas Journal 34:465-469. 
Curtis, M., K. Chi, and B. Molano-Flores. 2013. Seed ecology of Synthris bullii (Plantaginaceae), a rare endemic of the Midwestern USA. Botany 91:884-889.
Wallner, A.M., B. Molano-Flores, and C.H. Dietrich. 2013. Using Auchenorrhyncha (Insecta: Hemiptera) to develop a new insect index in measuring North American tallgrass prairie quality.  Ecological Indicators 25:58-64.
Wallner, A.M., B. Molano-Flores, and C.H. Dietrich. 2013. Evaluating glacial drift hill prairie quality in Illinois using Auchenorrhyncha (Insecta: Hemiptera) and vascular plants. Biodiversity and Conservation 22:615-637.
Chu, S. and B. Molano-Flores. 2013. Impacts of landscape-use change on floristic quality assessment in northeastern Illinois wetlands. Urban Ecosystems 16:235-246.
Molano-Flores, B. and T. Bell. 2012. Projected population dynamics and extinction rates for a federally endangered plant under different climate change emission scenarios. Biological Conservation 145:130-138.

Molano-Flores, B. 2012. Diaspore morphometrics and self-burial in Hesperostipa spartea from loam and sandy soils. The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 139:56-62.

Wallner, A.M., B. Molano-Flores, and C.H. Dietrich. 2012. The influence of fire on Illinois hill prairie Auchenorrhyncha (Insecta: Hemiptera) diversity and integrity. Journal of Insect Conservation 16:433-445.

Spyreas, G., S. Meiner, J.W. Matthews, and B. Molano-Flores. 2012. Successional trends in floristic quality. Journal of Applied Ecology 49:339-348.

Molano-Flores, B., J.M. Coons, and J.B. Cunningham. 2011. Germination study of two seed types from three species of Dalea. Castanea 76:266-271.

Phillippe, L.R., B. Molano-Flores, M.J.C. Murphy, P.B. Marcum, and J.E. Ebinger. 2011. Status of endangered and threatened sand area species of the Illinois flora. Illinois Natural History Survey Bulletin 39:259-296.

Molano-Flores, B. and H. Mlynarski. 2011. The effects of carbon amendments on the growth and reproduction of a prairie plant. Ecological Restoration 29:327-329.

Molano-Flores, B. and H. Mlynarski. 2011. Testing carbon amendments in future prairie restoration site. Ecological Restoration 29:17-19.

Roberts, L.A.*, B. Molano-Flores, M.P. Ward, and D.C. Elbert*. 2011. Insect emergence variation in northern Illinois wetlands used by the Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus). Transactions of the Illinois State Academy of Science 104:85-91.

Molano-Flores, B., C.A. Danderson* and K. Patel¥. 2010. Relationship among awn number and seed self-burial, seed germination, and seedling survivorship for a species with hygroscopic awns. Ecological Restoration 28:126-129.

Danderson, C.A.* and B. Molano-Flores. 2010. Effects of herbivory and inflorescence size on insect visitation to Eryngium yuccifolium (Apiaceae) a prairie plant. The American Midland Naturalist 163:234-246.

Molano-Flores, B. and C.A. Danderson*. 2009. Gynomonoecy individuals in Lobelia spicata (Campanulaceae) populations. Rhodora 111:398-402.

Molano-Flores, B. 2009. Insect herbivory of ovules and seeds in native and reconstructed prairies. Restoration Ecology 17:187-191.

Danderson, C.A.*, B. Molano-Flores, and S. Raghu. 2008. Impact of floral herbivory by Coleotechnites eryngiella Bottimer (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) on the reproductive output of Eryngium yuccifolium Michaux (Apiaceae): a test of the reserve ovary model. Plant Ecology 197:277-284.

Molano-Flores, B., J.A. Koontz, and M.A. Feist. 2007. Genetic diversity of the threatened species Agalinis auriculata (Orobanchaceae) and two congeners using RAPD and allozyme markers. The American Midland Naturalist 158:279-291.

Scott, L.* and B. Molano-Flores. 2007. Reproductive output and biology of Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii (C.L. Boynt and Beadle) Cronq. (Sullivant’s coneflower, Asteraceae) a USDA Regional Forester Sensitive Species. The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 134:362-368.

Molano-Flores, B., M.A. Feist, and J.A. Koontz. 2007. Seed germination of the Illinois-threatened Agalinis auriculata (Michx.) Blake (Orobanchaceae). Castanea 72:116-118.

Scott, L.*, B. Molano-Flores, and J.A. Koontz. 2007. Comparisons of genetic variation and outcrossing potential between the sensitive species Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii (Asteraceae) and its cultivar. Transactions of the Illinois State Academy of Sciences 100:129-144.

Mulvaney, C.R.*, B. Molano-Flores, and D.W. Whitman. 2006. Is insect herbivory contributing to the threatened status of Agalinis auriculata (Orobanchaceae) in Illinois? The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 133:560-565.

Spyreas G., J. Ellis, C. Carroll, and B. Molano-Flores. 2004. Non-native plant commonness and dominance in the forests, wetlands, and grasslands of Illinois, USA. Natural Areas Journal 24:290-299.

Mulvaney, C.R.*, B. Molano-Flores, and D.W. Whitman. 2004. The reproductive biology of Agalinis auriculata (Michx.) Raf. (Orobanchaceae), a threatened North American prairie inhabitant. The International Journal of Plant Sciences 165:605-614.

Molano-Flores, B. 2004. Breeding systems of plants used for prairie restorations: a review. Transactions of the Illinois State Academy of Sciences 97:95-102.

Molano-Flores, B. 2004. Reproductive success of the federal endangered leafy prairie clover, Dalea foliosa in Illinois a third year of data. Castanea 69:9-14.

Brandon, A., G. Spyreas, B. Molano-Flores, C. Carroll, and J. Ellis. 2003. Can volunteers provide reliable data for forest vegetation surveys? Natural Areas Journal 23:254-262.

Molano-Flores, B., M.A. Feist, and C.J. Whelan. 2003. Seed germination, seedling survivorship, and host preference for Agalinis auriculata (Orobanchaceae), an Illinois threatened species. Natural Areas Journal 23:152-157.

Molano-Flores, B. 2002. Pollination biology and flower visitors of the gynodioecious species Lobelia spicata Lam. (Campanulaceae). The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 128:187-193.

Molano-Flores, B. 2001. Herbivory and calcium concentrations affect calcium oxalate crystal formation in leaves of Sida (Malvaceae). Annals of Botany 88:387-391.

Molano-Flores, B. 2001. The reproductive biology of Eryngium yuccifolium Michx. (Apiaceae), a prairie species. The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 128:1-6.

Molano-Flores, B. and S.D. Hendrix. 1999. The effects of population density and population size on the reproductive output of Anemone canadensis L. (Ranunculaceae). The International Journal of Plant Sciences 160:759-766.

Molano-Flores, B., S.D. Hendrix and S.B. Heard. 1999. The effect of population size on stigma pollen load, fruit set, and seed set in Allium stellatum Ker. (Liliaceae). The International Journal of Plant Sciences 160:753-757.

Molano-Flores, B. and S.D. Hendrix. 1998. Reproductive biology of candle anemone. The Prairie Naturalist 30:69-179.

Cordero, R.A. and B. Molano-Flores. 1996/1997. Germination of Tabebuia heterophylla seeds (Bignoniaceae) from a wet and dry forest of Puerto Rico. Revista de Biologia Tropical 44/45:79-86.


PhD, University of Iowa, Iowa City, 1997

MS, University of Puerto Rico, 1991

BSc, University of Puerto Rico, 1988

Research Biography

Research Interests

Plant-insect interactions, plant reproductive biology, threatened and endangered species, native and restored prairies.

Professional Affiliations

Botanical Society of America, Ecological Society of America, Illinois Native Plant Society, Illinois State Academy of Science, International Carnivorous Plant Society, Natural Areas Association, Society for Ecological Restoration, Southern Appalachian Botanical Society, Torrey Botanical Society, and Xerces Society.


LDAP Details for Molano-Flores, Brenda