Interested in seeing bess beetles, some of mother nature's champion recyclers, at work? Now is a great time, blogs Bug of the Week's Professor Raupp. Bess beetles can be spotted scurrying across the forest floor recycling wood of fallen trees.
Moths and butterflies play a vital role in pollinating plants on wild and manged lands. So how vital are they? Associate Professor and Extension Specialist, Cerruti Hooks, and Assistant Professor, Anahi Espindola pair up to respond. The two blog in Maryland Agronomy News about the efficiency of moths and butterflies as pollinators and advocate for the conservation of these important insects.
Congratulations to Dr. Marcia Shofner who has been awarded the Provost’s Excellence Award for Professional Track Faculty. This well-deserved recognition celebrates Marcia’s use of active learning approaches in her classes, her work with TLTC redesigning her introductory class and her participation in NSF-funded grants to revamp BSCI curriculum. In addition to acknowledging Marcia as a dynamic lecturer in both the in-person and online environments, she is recognized for her service. She is on various college and university committees and engaged with groups that work to promote more diverse student participation in science.
TikToks About Strawberries With Bugs In Them Are Going Viral, But Experts Say It’s Rare, reports Bustle. "When we eat any food, animal or vegetable, we are actually consuming many different types of organisms, bacteria, fungi, and yes, sometimes insects or parts of insects," Professor Emeritus. Mike Raupp, tells Bustle.
There has been much confusion about whether murder hornets are in Maryland. No, the murder hornet is not in the DMV yet but there are hornets that look similar, says UMD Professor Emeritus, Mike Raupp. He shows viewers how to ID common MD look a-likes.
Congratulations to Environmental Science and Policy major, Maggie Tan (Palmer Lab), who successfully defended her entomology honors thesis last week. Her thesis entitled, “Changes in Hydrology and Water Quality Resulting from a Regenerative Streamwater Conveyance System in Campus Creek", received honors. Under the supervision of Michael Williams, her honors thesis investigated how Campus Creek’s regenerative stream conveyance restoration project influences the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay. Maggie used hydrological and water chemistry data to document changes that occurred in Campus Creek, on the north side of campus, when step pools were placed in the stream in 2019. Their data provides a preliminary picture that RSC may reduce runoff as well as nutrient and sediment concentrations.
It has been wonderful having Maggie in the Entomology Honors Program. She graduated from UMD Environmental Science and Policy program this Spring with a concentration in Geosciences and Restoration and minoring in Geochemistry. Maggie has plans to start graduate school this fall in Arizona.
Despite challenges presented, Entomology kept teaching, kept learning and kept working during the spring 2020 semester. Check out research & teaching during COVID, promotions, publications, awards, defenses, workshops and much more.
Does where you breed change how you live? Differences in host seeking and chemosensory gene expression between above- and below-ground mosquito populations
written by: Mike Nan, PhD student, St. Leger lab and Dylan Kutz, MS student, Lamp lab
Anna Noreuil, an M.S. student in the Fritz Lab in the Department of Entomology at the University of Maryland, has been studying host-seeking behavior and differential chemosensory gene expression in above- and below-ground Culex pipiens for her master’s research. Cx. pipiens (Diptera: Culicidae) is a mosquito found in the northern regions of the U.S. and is also found in urban and suburban temperate areas around the world. Cx. pipiens is the primary vector of West Nile virus (WNV), a mosquito-borne disease that affects the nervous system, in the Northeastern US. Oddly, although there is only one species known as Cx. pipiens, two “bioforms” of the species exist which are morphologically indistinguishable but genetically, physiologically, and behaviorally different: “Cx. pipiens form pipiens” and “Cx. pipiens form molestus.” Cx. pipiens form pipiens differs from Cx. pipiens form molestus in three distinct ways: (1) it breeds in above-ground habitats, (2) it requires blood meals for egg production, and (3) it prefers avian hosts over humans (Figure 1). However, these two “bioforms” readily hybridize or crossbreed and as such they are both classified as the same species (Figure 2).
Dr. Bill Lamp is seeking an undergraduate student, sophomore or junior, to join his lab as a part-time intern, 10-15 hours/week, to focus on molecular approaches applied to the study of plantinsect interactions of an invasive insect, the spotted lanternfly. The position requires a current University of Maryland student who has experience with molecular biology and basic molecular techniques, or has a strong desire to learn them. The student will use molecular techniques to aid in the identification of host plants of the spotted lanternfly using DNA barcoding of their gut contents. Entomological experience is not required, but an interest in or willingness to learn about insects is useful.
Follow link to read more>>
Entomology faculty member Dr. Kelly Hamby has been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure effective August 2020!
Since joining the UMD Department of Entomology in 2014, Dr. Hamby has developed a nationally and internationally recognized research and extension program that focuses on characterizing spotted wing drosophila's interactions with yeast and fruit rot microorganisms and developing cultural control tactics for this invasive pest. Hamby’s lab is also evaluating the pest suppression benefits and non-target impacts of neonicotinoid seed treatments in mid-Atlantic grain crop rotations. In 2017, The Entomological Society of America recognized Dr. Hamby with the Early Career Professional Extension Award for her demonstrated contributions to entomology.
Giant gypsy moths could bring 'serious, widespread damage' to the US. "Were it to become fully established and spread widely, it would affect forests and landscape trees and shrubs in the invaded range," says Prof. Emeritus Mike Raupp.
As we lead up to Spring 2020 graduation, celebrating the success of our entomology grads and honors undergrads, UMD Today reminds us, the first woman to graduate with a four year degree shared their interest, a passionate pursuit of knowledge about the natural world. Discover more about entomology major Elizabeth Hook and how she helped set the stage for future generations to follow.
Entomology's Todd Waters is recognized as Dean's Outstanding Employee! A well deserved recognition, for sure. Todd's creativity & enthusiasm for entomology engages audiences of all backgrounds -community members, staff, students, faculty, etc - inspiring them to want to discover more about insects. Congrats, Todd!
Congratulations to Public Health Science at University of Maryland, College Park student, Rebecca Kaminsky (Fritz Lab), who successfully defended her entomology honors thesis, "Larval rearing conditions conducive for Aedes aegypti autogeny expression and theoretical population growth." She received high honors for her research into autogeny - the ability of a mosquito to lay eggs without a blood meal. Becky found that increased larval nutrition was consistent with increased phenotypic expression of autogeny.
It has been wonderful having Becky in the Entomology Honors Program actively engaging in research these last few years. We wish her all the best in her future pursuits!
What affects will the asian giant hornets have on local and national ecosystems. Should we worry about asian giant hornets in the DMV? 1A, WJLA, WTOP and WUSA9 reach out to Professor Emeritus Mike Raupp for answers. In short, "Here in Maryland, in the DMV, we've got a bit of time," he says. See full interviews to learn more:
WUSA9 Verify: https://www.wusa9.com/article/news/verify/verify-murder-hornets-in-the-dmv/65-8ca95a23-5ac0-4b93-8341-15ecc8606c70
Trio from Pick Lab, Faculty Assistant Jessica Hernandez, Prof and Chair Leslie Pick and Grad Student Katie Reding, look into using a new study organism to discover novel genes and mechanisms. Their findings conclude that harlequin bugs are a versatile insect model, effective for examining gene expression. The Pick Lab takes us through their discovery, from rearing harlequin bugs in the lab to where they see molecular genetic analysis of harlequin bugs leading. Learn more in their latest paper out this month in EvoDevo "Oncopeltus-like gene expression patterns in Murgantia histrionica, a new hemipteran model system, suggest ancient regulatory network divergence."
Congratulations to Professor Maile Neel on receiving the Edward T. LaRoe III Memorial Award from the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB). Given to individuals who have been “a leader in translating principles of conservation biology into real-world conservation”, Neel is recognized for her work translating her research on species recovery and genetic diversity into practical applications for restoration managers. Follow link to see SCB’s announcement with more on Neel's work being released by SCB in the near future.
Congratulations to Max Ferlauto (MS student, Burghardt Lab) on being named 2020 Smithsonian Institute Fellow (SIFP) and Joan Mosenthal DeWind Awardee. These awards will help fund his studies into Lepidoptera conservation, with the SIFP award supporting Max's work at Smithsonian Environmental Research Center this upcoming summer. See below for the Xerces Society press release on the DeWind Award and further information on Max's research.
When work from home orders were declared many of us left University of Maryland campus with the essentials. For Todd Waters, Ag Tech and UMD Insect Zookeeper, this meant bringing home some of the insects he cares for. He tells NPR All Things Considered that he is now housing spiders, assassin bugs, mantis, scorpions and tarantulas, just to name a few. Todd Waters is now engaging a new insect zoo audience, his roommates! Listen here, https://www.npr.org/…/bring-home-the-tarantulas-as-research…
Grad Student Darsy Smith and Professor Bill Lamp have an article out in a special edition of University of Maryland Extension's Agronomy News entitled, "Unexpected Outbreak of Cowpea Aphid in Alfalfa." Although outbreaks have been observed in the past, they warn that this outbreak, discovered by Terry Patton (Dively Lab), is considerable in size and extent. Follow link to see their guidance on identifying, monitoring and reporting this crop damaging pest.
Professor Emeritus Michael Raupp collaborates with researchers Ashley N. Schulz, Angela M. Mech, Craig R. Allen, Matthew P. Ayres and others to develop standardized tools for determining non-native insect impact. They are optimistic that standardized assessment tools can build consensus among experts, which in turn, could improve managers and policy makers' response to the threats imposed by non-native species. Their findings were published this month in NeoBiota. Follow link for publication, "The impact is in the details: evaluating a standardized protocol and scale for determining non-native insect impact"
Entomology Ph.D. candidate Maggie Lewis (Hamby Lab) has been awarded an Ann G. Wylie Dissertation Fellowship from the University of Maryland’s Graduate School. Awarded to students in the final stages of their doctorate, the Wylie Fellowship provides one semester of support during the 2020-2021 year.
Maggie’s dissertation research studies various aspects of the biology and management of spotted-wing drosophila (SWD), particularly its interactions with yeasts and plant pathogenic fungi. She also examines how insecticide spray coverage impacts SWD management and is trying to understand how to improve spray coverage within bramble production systems.
"This is a well-deserved award. Maggie has worked hard for it” said Kelly Hamby, Assistant Professor & Extension Specialist. “Maggie has made significant contributions to furthering integrated pest management programs for SWD. We are thrilled her work is being recognized in this way."
Please join us in congratulating Maggie on being named recipient of this award.
Postdoc Alina Avanesyan and Professor Bill Lamp have another publication out on the invasive lanternfly. The paper entitled, "Use of Molecular Gut Content Analysis to Decipher the Range of Food Plants of the Invasive Spotted Lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula" was published in Insects special issue "Molecular Gut Content Analysis: Deciphering Trophic Interactions of Insects.” Their study is the first to show that host plant DNA can be identified within the gut contents of the spotted lanternfly. Molecular gut content analysis provides insight into the feeding behavior of lanternflies at all developmental stages and can be helpful in predicting host plant range. This research could improve the monitoring and management of this invasive species.