Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Lab News

Welcome new team members!

Tawnee MeltonJeremy Roberts with museum fish specimenCesar Reyes Corral holding plants

In fall 2020 the lab has welcomed the addition of Tawnee Melton, a new research technician with many year’s entomology experience working at WSU in Wenatchee, and new graduate students, Jeremy Roberts, Cesar Reyes Coral,  and Aldo Hanel. They bring experience and skills from a wide range of disciplines such as plant pathology, molecular techniques, computer science, and predator-prey ecology, and will contribute to integrated pest management in cherries, apples and pears. We are thrilled to have them join the lab!

Libby making waves

PhD student Olivia (Libby) Rowley has been doing a lot of media outreach lately on her dissertation research on deadly jellyfish. You can listen to her recurring radio spot at ABC, listen to her two episodes on the Marine Conservation Happy Hour podcast, watch one of her television interviews, or read her latest paper on drones and jelly fish. Great job Libby!

X disease

In the summer of 2019 Tobin agreed to lead a task force on little cherry disease, which has been rampant throughout stone fruit (cherry, peach, plums, etc.) orchards in Washington and Oregon. Currently the primary culprit is X disease, a phytoplasma vectored by leafhoppers. Abby and Tobin toured many farms and spoke with growers and industry representatives in the field to better understand the disease and identify paths forward. We were extremely fortunate to get Prof. Emeritus Alexander (Sandy) Purcell to tour orchards with us, and meet with industry and researchers. Having researched the last X disease outbreak in the 1970s and 1980s in California, his expertise was invaluable.

Alexander Purcell (UC Berkeley) and Garrett Bishop (GS Long) in the field

Alexander Purcell (UC Berkeley) and Tobin holding X disease-infectedcherries
Alexander Purcell (UC Berkeley) and Tobin discussing X disease in cherries

Abby, Ines Hanrahan (WTFRC), and Garrett Bishop (GS Long) discussing trees removed after X disease was detected
Abby, Ines Hanrahan (WTFRC), and Garrett Bishop (GS Long) discussing trees removed after X disease was detected

Welcome Abby!

Abigail Clarke

We′re excited to announce the newest addition to the team: Abigail Clarke. Abby will be conducting her MSc in the Entomology Department at WSU. Her research will focus on insect-plant interactions and IPM in Pacific Northwest fruit trees.

Ed and Jessa each publish review articles

Ed EvansJessa Thurman

Congratulations Ed for publishing an article about scorpion venom costs and optimization, and Jessa for publishing an article about weaver ants and their role in tropical tree crops. Both articles were published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.

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!