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!
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!
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.
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.
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 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 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!
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 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 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!