March 2007

Faculty News

Dr. Lukasz Stelinski joined the faculty of the Citrus Research and Education Center at Lake Alfred, where he begins his new appointment as assistant professor of citrus IPM. Lukasz's appointment is 80% research and 20% extension. In the immediate future, he will develop a research program focusing on integrated management of citrus leafminer, Diaprepes root weevil, and Asian citrus psyllid. His interests include applications of chemical ecology for pest control and insect behavior. Lukasz completed his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in entomology in Michigan, focusing on use of behavior-modifying chemicals for insect control in small fruit and tree fruit systems and a post-doc focusing on mating disruption of lepidopteran pests. His wife Kirsten is completing her Ph.D. in Michigan and expects to join him in six to eight months. Detailed information about Lukasz's research interests and recent work is available at

Dr. Freddie Johnson retired for the second time, this time as director of a UF/IFAS Extension District. At a recent faculty meeting, he was elected to Emeritus Professor status.

Two of our faculty received awards at the ESA-Southeast Branch (SEB) meeting in Tennessee, 4-7 March. Dr. Rudi Scheffrahn received the SEB 2007 Recognition Award in Urban Entomology, and Dr. Faith Oi received the SEB 2007 Distinguished Achievement Award in Extension. Both are nominees for the ESA 2007 awards in these categories.

Dr. James P. Cuda was selected to participate in the 2007 Grantsmanship Workshop co-sponsored by the Office of the Dean for Research and the California based Grant Writers' Seminars and Workshops Company.

Dr. James Cuda was selected to serve as the department's liaison for IFAS International Programs. Cuda will serve as the initial point of contact for inquiries and requests from that office, and will be an advocate for international activities within our department.

Staff News

Dr. Khuong Nguyen, Senior Biological Scientist, received a 2007 UF/IFAS Superior Accomplishment Award in the Scientific/Technical category for his work. While not the entire basis for the award, Dr. Nguyen has earned international recognition for his work in identifying new species of nematodes in the U.S. and around the world.

Student News

At the recent SEB meeting, two of our graduate students took first and second place in the Ph.D. Student Paper Competition.

The First Place winner is John Herbert with "Effect of crape myrtle Lagerstoemia spp. parentage on its suitability as a host for the crapemyrtle aphid Sarucallis kahawaluokalani." Dr. Russ Mizell is co-author.

Second Place winner is Karla Addesso with "Response of the pepper weevil, Anthonomus eugenii Cano, to volatiles from host plants." Drs. Heather McAuslane and Hans Alborn are co-authors.

Dr. Rudi Scheffrahn reports that Teresa Ferriera is a new graduate student in his lab at the Ft. Lauderdale REC campus. Teresa is studying colonization behavior, preventative treatments, and genetics of the West Indian drywood termite, Cryptotermes brevis. Her four-year fellowship is funded by the Portuguese Science Foundation in response to a serious outbreak of this pest on Terceira and San Miguel Islands, Azores. Many of the infested structures are of great historic significance as well as serving as homes and businesses for the Azorean people.

Dr. Carl Barfield, Undergraduate Coordinator, reported at the last faculty meeting that we now have 31 undergraduate majors, with an average GPA of 3.4.

Alumni News

Gino Nearns, previously with Dr. Marc Branham's Lab, is currently a doctoral student at the University of New Mexico. However, he is the 2007 recipient of the UF/IFAS Award of Excellence for Graduate Research - M.S. level, for his research on "Revision and phylogeny of the tribe Curiini LeConte (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae: Cerambycinae)." Gino will receive a plaque and check for $600.00 at the CALS 7th Annual Graduate Research Symposium.

Gino Nearns also received the Kirby Hays Memorial Award for Outstanding Masters Student at the SEB meeting.


Crow WT, Porazinska DL, Giblin-Davis RM, Grewal P. 2006. Entomopathogenic nematodes are not an alternative to fenamiphos for management of plant-parasitic nematodes on golf courses in Florida. Journal of Nematology 38: 52-58.

Crow WT. 2006. Biological control of nematodes...cracking open the black box. Florida Turf Digest 23: 20-24.

Hay-Roe MM, Nation JL. 2007. Spectrum of cyanide toxicity and allocation in Heliconius erato and Passiflora host plants. Journal of Chemical Ecology 33: 319-329. (

Meetings and Presentations

Dr. Billy Crow was an invited speaker at the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America Conference and Show in Anahiem, CA, in February. He presented research results on timing of nematicide applications to a mixed audience of golf course superintendents and turfgrass researchers. While in CA, Dr. Crow visited the campus of UC-Riverside where he spent the day exchanging notes with California extension nematologists Ole Becker and Antoon Ploeg.

Dr. Billy Crow was an invited speaker at the Carolinas Golf Course Superintendents Conference and Show in November. He taught a four-hour seminar on nematode management to golf course superintendents.

Dr. Marc Branham and graduate student Seth Bybee recently returned from a two week trip to Moscow, Russia. They were invited to photo-document the more than 300 million year evolutionary history of fossil Odonata at the world's largest fossil collection, the Paleontological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The trip was a success and resulted in more than 20 GB of images representing nearly all of their fossil dragonfly holotypes. While in Moscow, they noted the weather in Gainesville was in the 70s, while the temperature in Moscow was around -30 F, a 100 degree difference.

Dr. James Cuda participated in two GIS training workshops. The first was a 1-day session held at the UF/IFAS Biological Control Research and Containment Laboratory in Ft. Pierce on "Introduction to ArcGIS and Geostatistical Analysis," offered by Civa Terra, Inc. The second was an intensive 2.5 day extension in-service training workshop on "Practical Training in the Use of GIS and GPS for Natural Resource Applications," held at the Gulf Coast REC in Plant City, FL.

Dr. James Cuda participated in an extension training workshop on Aquatic and Right-of-Way Invasive Weeds at the Hillsborough County Extension Office in Seffner, FL, on 16 January. Cuda delivered a PowerPoint presentation on "Biocontrol of aquatic and right-of-way weeds," and provided the workshop participants with several biological control fact sheets.

Dr. James Cuda attended the Board of Dirctors Meeting for the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council held in Cocoa Beach, FL, 23 January. Cuda, who is the current Chair of the Brazilian Peppertree Task Force, gave a report on current activities of the Task Force.

Drs. James Cuda and William Overholt participated in the 2007 Dodd Shortcourse held in Ocala, FL, 29 January. Cuda and Overholt gave presentations on "Aquatic plant and insect relationships", and "New efforts to discover biocontrol agents for hydrilla."

Drs. James Cuda and William Overholt co-organized and a conducted a Strategic Planning Meeting for UF and USDA weed biological control workers at the Ft. Lauderdale REC on 30 January. The purpose of the meeting was to develop objective criteria for prioritizing weeds as targets for classical biological control.

Dr. James Cuda was invited to participate in the Everglades Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area Steering Committee Meeting held at the Big Cypress Indian Reservation, Clewiston, FL, on 31 January.

Dr. James Cuda attended 47th Annual Meeting of the Weed Science Society of America held in San Antonio, TX, 4-8 February. Cuda presented the paper "Exploratory surveys in Paraguay for new biocontrol agents of Brazilian peppertree, Schinus terebinthifolius (Ancardiaceae): preliminary results." The paper was co-authored by Dr. Julio Medal.

Dr. James Cuda attended the Board of Directors Meeting of the International Weed Science Society held in conjunction with the WSSA meeting in San Antonio, on 2 February.

Dr. James Cuda was an invited speaker on 20 February for the 2007 Interdisciplinary Seminar Series sponsored by the School of Natural Resources and Environment. Cuda's presentation was "SNRE minigrant report - field testing the host range of a Tortricid moth for biological control of Brazilian peppertree in Florida: is it possible?" The presentation was co-authored by graduate student Onour Moeri.

Dr. James Cuda was an invited speaker for the 16th Annual Lecture Series: The Delicate Balance of Nature, sponsored by the Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park on 28 February. The title of Cuda's presentation was "Biological control of Florida's invasive plants."


Dr. W.T. Crow and graduate student J.E. Luc received a grant for $54,000 from the Environmental Institute for Golf and the Florida Golf Course Superintendents Association (FGCSA) for "Biological control of sting nematode on golf course turf with Paseuria usage."

Dr. Crow also received the following grants: $18,883 from the Florida Turfgrass Association and FGCSA for "Root-knot nematodes on turf in Florida", $5,000 from the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association for "Biological control of root-knot nematodes on woody ornamentals", and $8,750 from the USDA SBIR Program for "Efficacy of Pasteuria to control existing infestations of Meloidogyne on potted gardenia."

Spring 2007 Seminars

This semester's seminar committee members are graduate students Seth Bybee, Amit Sethi, Murugesan Rangasamy, Craig Roubos, Andrew Derksen and Jen Zaspel. Seminars are held on Thursday afternoons in room 1031. Refreshments are served at 3:45 pm, and the seminar begins at 4:00 pm. A listing of the seminars is available online in the January 2007 issue.

2008 SEB Meeting

The 2-5 March 2008, ESA-Southeast Branch meeting will take place in Jacksonville, Florida. Dr. Amanda Hodges ( is seeking volunteers to help with all the associated duties involved with hosting the meeting. Dr. Faith Oi is the program chair.


Departmental research into termite digestion could lead to new strategies for ethanol production and pest control. See the 03/01/07 entry in Pest Alert ( for details.

Comcast Newsmakers interviewed Dr. John Warner about bigheaded ants. The interview will air in about a month on CNN Headline News. According to its site, "Comcast focuses on issues important to South Florida featuring community leaders, opinion makers, elected officials and people who make a difference." Dr. Warner said Comcast saw the Featured Creatures on the bigheaded ant (, which he and Dr. Rudi Scheffrahn published in February.

A Featured Creatures photograph of an Indianmeal worm larva, taken by Lyle Buss, was used to illustrate a National Public Radio "Science Friday" article on how viruses change how effectively they transmit themselves depending on host availability. See

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March 2007.