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January 12th, 2017

Nematology lunch

ABOVE: Nematologists after luncheon at Olive Garden.  The group tries to have a lunch every month.


Faculty and Staff News

Dr. Peter DiGennaro is welcoming five new members to his lab this semester. Dr. Noor Abdelsamad is joining as a postdoc, having recently defended his Ph.D. at Iowa State. Shova Mishra has been accepted into the graduate program and will begin her Ph.D. work in the lab after completing her Master’s degree from Hawaii. Three undergraduates are also joining the lab: Linda Dao, Chriselle Tiu and Madison Cook.  Chriselle and Madison have been selected into the University of Florida Emerging Scholars Program.

Dr. Nicole Benda was recently hired as the Lab Manager and Post-doctoral Research Associate in Dr. Dale's Landscape Entomology Lab. Dr. Benda worked in Dr. Liburd's lab a few years ago, so she may be a familiar face to many. Please welcome her back to the department as you see her around the building.

The UF Forest Entomology team runs a Facebook-based professional community of bark and ambrosia beetle researchers, educators and enthusiasts. Currently with over 100 members from many countries across the globe, the group is a great place to join the conversation about the science, people and regulation related to these forests pests, or just drop in and look at what others have to say.

Dr. Jennifer Gillett-Kaufman gave a guest lecture in Dr. Rebecca Baldwin's Bugs and People (ENY1001) class. Her lecture focused on her work in the Peace Corps, her research on olive pests, and her work with the UF in Florence - Global Perspectives Program. This is one of the largest study abroad programs offered by UF. Students in this program spend six weeks studying at the Florence University of the Arts. Join the class Summer A 2017 to study abroad in Italy for ALS 4404 Insects in Italy

Student and Alumni News

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For the Fall 2016 semester the Entomology & Nematology Department graduated five Ph.D. students, six M.S. students, and four undergraduate students. The graduating Ph.D. students were: Dr. Michael Bentley, Dr. Maria Checa Villafuerte, Dr. Dale Halbritter, Dr. Angie Niño Beltran, and Dr. Deepak Shrestha. The graduating M.S. students were: Sarah Chaney, Alicia Kelley, Julie McConnell, Ian McKay,  Minyuan Tie, and Catherine White. The B.S. students were: Deanna Bott, Christopher Konowal, Nicole Ormaza, and Samuel Pass.  

Welcome to our new spring admission graduate students:  Lesley Schumacher (Ph.D., Grabau lab); Shova Mishra (Ph.D., DiGennaro lab); Harry Burman (Ph.D., Carillo lab); Homan Regmi (Ph.D., Desaeger lab); Eleanor Phillips (M.S., Gillett-Kaufman lab); Laura Harmon (M.S., Weeks lab); Morgan Pinkerton (M.S., Hodges lab); and Zack Mason, Nicholas Overmire, Erin Foley, and Dustin Sherrill (Distance M.S.).  We look forward to getting to know you over the next semester and to helping you along your academic and professional paths. It’s great to be a #UFBugs Florida Gator!

~ Dr. Heather McAuslane, Graduate Coordinator

Congratulations to Dr. Chris Holderman and Mr. Nick Homziak who were awarded Mulrennan Awards for the best dissertation and best thesis, respectively, earned in the Entomology & Nematology Department in 2016. Dr. Holderman worked under Dr. Phil Kaufman's guidance to produce the dissertation entitled "Distribution and Mechanisms of Insecticide Resistance and Isolation and Evaluation of Beauveria bassiana in Haematobia irritans (L.)."  Nick, who is continuing on with us for his Ph.D., worked under Dr. Akito Kawahara's supervision to produce the thesis "Systematics and Phylogenomics of the Erebinae (Lepidoptera: Noctuoidea, Erebidae)." 

Both received a $1,000 scholarship and are in the competition for Award of Excellence for Graduate Research to be awarded on May 19th at the UF/IFAS Florida Agricultural Experiment Station’s 9th Annual Research Awards Ceremony. Well done and good luck to Chris and Nick.

Miller Lab in DC

ABOVE: In December, seven members of the Miller Lab went to Washington D.C. to attend the American Institute of Biological Sciences Communication Workshop. This two-day intensive workshop focused on skills and techniques for effective communication, examined the drivers and constraints of different news delivery channels, and discussed the factors that shape the nation’s science policy (e.g., science funding, regulations of science, etc.). Upon completion of the workshop, participants had the opportunity to speak with legislative policy makers about the importance of scientific research. Pictured in front of the capitol are six of the University of Florida participants (from left to right: Ummat Somjee, Pablo Allen, Zachary Emberts, Lauren Cirino, Paige Carlson, and Paul Joseph).

The 2017 Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) annual meeting was well attended by the Miller Lab of Ecology and Evolution. This year, all five graduate students in Dr. Christine Miller’s lab gave oral presentations on their work with leaf-footed bugs (Coreidae). Pablo Allen presented “Diet-by-temperature interactions on a sexually selected trait and sexual dimorphism.” Ummat Somjee presented on “The hidden costs of sexually selected weapons in the heliconia bug (Leptoscelis tricolor).” Lauren Cirino presented on the “Effects of male quality and territory quality on female preference of varying condition.” Paul Joseph presented “Making the Best of a Bad Situation: Males that Lose a Morphological Weapon Grow Larger Testes.” Finally, Zachary Emberts presented “Beyond escaping predation: autotomy can reduce the survival cost of injury.”

Our alumni Jonathan Simkins and Richard Martyniak are giving presentations and a workshop at the 2017 Georgia Pest Control Association annual conference, January 12th. Jon and Richard are Insect IQ & ALLFloridaBeeRemoval.com entomologists. Richard is now "bi-coastal, living in LA with Cathy and son, Matt, but frequently flies back to FLA, assisting Jon, (who needs all he can get). Cathy loves UCLA, and Richard/Matt enjoy surf fishing the beautiful beaches and spreading "ya'll" throughout West LA. He also reports that his brain cancer is currently not showing activity and is "not denying reports that Jon and Richard were last seen in October, filming bee work with a production crew, so, no show should be expected during the spring TV network lineups."


ABOVE: Ms. Silvia Vau, a Ph.D. student in plant nematology married Mr. Jon Celestine, the Zeiss microscope salesman on 28 December 2016.  They enjoyed a honeymoon in Washington DC.  Congratulations Silvia and Jon!

Lab News

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Need to name that bug? A host of experts are available to help Floridians identify any insect or related arthropod. If a mystery creature has six or more legs, the UF Insect ID Lab is the place to call.

hawk moth

ABOVE: Dr. Joe Cicero took this photo of a streaked sphinx moth (Protambulyx strigilis) that he found in Fort Pierce in December.  Brazilian peppertree is a primary host for the caterpillars.  According to “The Hawk Moths of North America” (Tuttle 2007), it is found in southern and central Florida, and appears to be getting more common and moving northward as its hostplant spreads.

Need insect images? You can go to this direct link, pictures are copyrighted material and intended for official UF use only, log onto the website using your Gatorlink credentials.

Lyle Buss is the UF/IFAS Insect ID Lab manager.

Think it might be a nematode problem? The Nematode Assay Laboratory serves Florida and other states by providing nematode assays and expert advice regarding nematode management.

For more information on the Nematode Assay Laboratory, please contact the lab manager Dr. Tesfa Mengistu.


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Blosser EM, Burkett-Cadena ND. 2017. Culex (Melanoconion) panocossa from peninsular Florida, USA. Acta Tropica, 31: 59-63.

Kumar V, Kakkar G, Palmer C, McKenzie CL, Osborne LS. 2016. Thrips management program for horticultural crops. EDIS- online extension publication. Entomology and Nematology Department, Florida Department of Plant Industry, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. EDIS# EENY 987. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1145

Osborne R, Kumar V, Leppla N, McKenzie CL, Osborne LS. 2002 (revised 2016). Feltiella acarisuga (predatory gall midge), online extension publication. Featured Creatures. Entomology and Nematology Department, Florida Department of Plant Industry, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. EDIS# EENY 269.  

Sampson BJ, Mallette T, Addesso KM, Liburd OE, Iglesias LE, Stringer SJ, Werle CT, Shaw DA, Larsen D, Adamczyk Jr. JJ. 2016. Novel aspects of Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae) biology and an improved method for culturing this invasive species with a modified D. melanogaster diet. Florida Entomologist, 99: 774-780.

New on Featured Creatures:

Samurai wasp, Trissolcus japonicus (Ashmead). Author: Anita S. Neal, University of Florida.

Do you have a favorite creature? Learn how to make it into a Featured Creatures!

Meetings and Presentations

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Dr. Janine Spies, postdoc in the Liburd Lab, was an invited speaker at the Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference in Savannah, GA on January 6th and gave a presentation on buckwheat for biocontrol of whiteflies and aphids in squash.

http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/news/2010-2012/images/divider.jpgDr. Adam Dale gave a presentation on new approaches to golf course integrated pest management at the Everglades Golf Course Superintendent Association's 4th Annual GC Horn Turfgrass Seminar in Fort Myers, FL on January 5th.


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From the Outreach Coordinator

The live critters are always a hit with children and adults alike. The critters are available for you to check out should you be leading an outreach event. We have doubles of our most popular critters, as well as various native insect species depending on the time of year. We have large wood and Plexiglas cages for viewing our native orb weaving spiders. There is one travel cage and one larger static cage. Please be sure to contact us and review the protocol on transporting and handling the critters if you are not already familiar with it. If you lead an outreach, be sure to fill out a documentation form so your event can be included in the newsletter and we can log all outreach events.

If you have any questions, please email me.

Thank you — Laurel Lietzenmayer, Outreach Coordinator.

If you would like to schedule an event or have any outreach questions, go to the Outreach pages on our Bug Club website and contact us.

Getting social!

We have several social media sites for the Entomology & Nematology Department. To make them easily searchable, all three (YouTube, Facebook and Twitter) have the same page name: UFEntomology. Please share these links with past students or colleagues who may have an interest in departmental activities.


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Virni Mattson, our grants specialist, will report on grant numbers next month!

http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/news/2010-2012/images/divider.jpgDr. Adam Dale (PI), Dr. Catharine Mannion, and Dr. Amanda Hodges were awarded $65,000 by the USDA-APHIS Farm Bill to conduct their project titled, "Developing a state-wide Florida ornamental arthropod workshop". This workshop will connect state and county faculty, landscape professionals, regulatory officials, and other relevant professionals from throughout Florida and the southeastern U.S. for a multiple-day training and discussion of the latest information regarding insect pests of ornamental plants.


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FES 2017 Annual Meeting in Puerto Rico

The next FES Annual meeting will be held jointly in Puerto Rico with the Caribbean Food Crops Society (CFCS). The meeting is set to commence on July 16th 2017 with a tentative venue in Isla Verde, close to the airport and with the best beaches in San Juan. The CFCS meeting will run through Friday, July 22nd whereas FES will have our customary three day meeting with arrival on Sunday July 16th and meetings through Wednesday, July 19th.

Also, everyone should pay their dues to FES ASAP as membership fees are about to increase!

Announcement submitted by FES President Dr. Phil Stansly.

http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/news/2010-2012/images/divider.jpgWant to stay up to date? Check out our website home page for a link to our Google calendar.

About this Newsletter

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Dr. Jennifer Gillett-Kaufman is the newsletter editor and does the HTML coding. Issues usually are published by mid-month. Submit items for an issue by the seventh of that month.

We like to share news when it happens using our social media outlets: Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Follow us on these sites for daily updates! When you send news, we will post it on one or more of these sites and again in the monthly newsletter. Please be sure you have permission from people in photographs you submit for publication.

UF-Bugnews-L listserv subscribers receive notices when issues are posted. Our home page has instructions for subscribing and unsubscribing.

Special thanks to Haleigh Ray and Nancy Sanders, who reviewed the newsletter for errors, and to Jane Medley and Don Wasik, who built the web page design.

Give Back
Want to support the UF Entomology & Nematology Department? Consider making an online gift today! Questions can be directed to Christy Chiarelli at (352) 392-1975 or ccw@ufl.edu.