Welcome to the Northfield lab group

Welcome to the Northfield lab group

We are located in Wenatchee, WA in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, where there is a rich history of research leading to a simultaneous reduction in the environmental impact of agriculture and improvement of food production. In tree fruits these advancements have included early and continued research identifying the unintended consequences for broad-spectrum pesticides on beneficial predators of pests, the use of species-specific pheromones to disrupt pest mating, and the use of mathematical models to apply pest controls only when they are most effective. We aim to build on this legacy by improving our understanding of the interactions pests have with other organisms and their environment to identify novel, environmentally sustainable methods of pest management.

While our group is becoming focused on improving pest management in Pacific Northwest tree fruits, we have experience in a variety of systems. In particular, Tobin has moved recently to Washington State University from James Cook University in tropical Cairns, Australia where Tobin advises students working on projects such as the development of insect-specific pathogens to control banana pests, and the improvement of pest and pollinator management in cocoa. We have also worked to develop ecological theory that can then be applied to understand processes governing pest outbreaks and evaluate the long-term sustainability of pest management strategies.

Lab news

Amy makes television debut

Amy McGuire interviewed on ABC Australia's Landline

Congratulations Amy McGuire on a great interview with the ABC Australia national television program “Landline” highlighting our collaborators, Frank and Dianne Sciacca, as well as Amy’s exciting research into sustainable management of banana pests. Let’s hear it for fungi!

Amy speaks at JCU graduation

Amy McGuire

Amy McGuire was given the tremendous honor of representing the students as the speaker at the JCU Cairns graduation commencement. Congratulations Amy on both, an incredible Honours project and the opportunity to speak at commencement.

Ryan publishes popular article on soil management

Ryan Orr

Ryan Orr recently published an article in the popular journal Science Trends summarizing the ways to manage soils on banana farms to reduce your chances of getting the dreaded Panama disease. Great work Ryan!

Butterflies in sugarcane, tropical forests, and the suburbs

Hemchandranauth Sambhu

Congratulations Hemchandranauth Sambhu on publishing your paper in Ecology and Evolution! He surveyed butterfly populations in the margins of Australian sugarcane farms, tropical forests, and suburbs and found that farm margins supported the most butterfly species, forests generally supported the most individuals, and urban areas had the greatest variation in community composition. Great work!

Samantha honored for industry partnership

Samantha Forbes

Samantha Forbes was a finalist for the Business Higher Education Round Table award for her masters research which along with the Puglisi family identified methods to improve cocoa production by conserving pollinator and predator habitat. Congratulations Samantha! She attended the award ceremony in Melbourne. To be a finalist for a single masters degree project demonstrates the impact of her research. Congratulations also to the winners: a collaboration between Monash University, University of Queensland, Soochow University, Bega, Devondale, Tartura, and Fonterra.

Samantha interviewed on Science Friday

Midge pollinating a cacao flower

Samantha Forbes joined Prof. Stacey Philpott and Science Friday to discuss the importance of insects for pollination and pest control in tropical agriculture. The interview is available from Science Friday. Great job Samantha!

Tobin Northfield

Assistant Professor

Department of Entomology

Washington State University

Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center

Wenatchee, WA 98801,

Phone: 509-293-8789

email: tnorthfield@wsu.edu