July 2004

Faculty News

Dr. Mike Scharf recently joined the Gainesville faculty as an Assistant Research Scientist in Insect Toxicology. This appointment is a 100% research appointment with PI status. Mike's main research project will investigate the basic toxicology of low molecular weight insecticides donated to UF by Proctor & Gamble Inc. These investigations will focus on efficacy, mode of action and metabolism of the insecticides in model insect systems. Mike also has interests in termite genomics (understanding the molecular and physiological bases of caste differentiation) and insect flavin- containing monooxygenases (a newly discovered group of detoxification enzymes in insects). Mike comes to Gainesville from Purdue University, Cornell University-Geneva, and the University of Nebraska, and has over 40 publications in insect toxicology and molecular biology to his credit. He is joined by his wife Dancia, who also works in insect molecular biology and currently is seeking employment at UF.

In mid-June, Dr. Barbra Larson left the Department to accept a position in the Department of Environmental Horticulture. She is now the Statewide Coordinator of the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program. This is a partnership of concerned citizens, the UF/IFAS Extension Service, the National Estuary Program, Florida Sea Grant College Program, Florida's water management districts, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and numerous other non- government agencies. See http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/fyn/ for details.

Dr. Joseph Funderburk, a professor of entomology at the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy, was one of three UF/IFAS scientists who received a USDA Honor Award for their research on controlling tomato spotted wilt virus. The deadly virus is vectored by thrips, which Funderbunk specializes in. Visit his Thrips Biology and Management Web site at http://thrips.ifas.ufl.edu/Background.htm.

Dr. James Cuda, to no one's surprise, recently received word of his promotion to Associate Professor with tenure. Cuda has responsibilities in the area of insect biological control, and is a specialist in the biological control of weeds.

All the red tape is now complete, and we are pleased to announce that Dr. David Hahn is our new Insect Physiologist. Hahn received his Ph.D. at the University of Arizona, is currently on a post-doc at Ohio State University and expects to be in Gainesville by January 2005.

There is still time to apply for our Veterinary Entomology position. See the department's Web site at http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/ for details. Deadline is 3 August 2004.

UF/IFAS entomologists recently elected to serve on the UF Faculty Senate are Drs. Bill Howard (Ft. Lauderdale), Marjorie Hoy (Gainesville), and Roxanne Rutledge (Vero Beach). With the movement to self governance endorsed by both our recent and new university presidents, election to the Faculty Senate is becoming much more than an honorary appointment.

Staff News

James Kocher recently joined our department as a Senior Teaching Laboratory Specialist. Mr. Kocher will be assisting with the development of the distance education curriculum.

Student News

Jay Cee Turner successfully defended her Master's thesis, entitled "Biology and management of Allokermes kingii (Hemiptera: Kermesidae) on oak trees," on 29 June 2004. Ms. Turner began working on her M.S. with Dr. Eileen Buss in May 2002, and will graduate next month.

Pine Beetle Work

Dr. Bud Mayfield, forest entomologist with FDACS-Division of Forestry is seeking applicants for a Southern Pine Beetle Program Assistant position. This is a one-year, grant-funded OPS position stationed in Gainesville. Please contact him at: mayfiea@doacs.state.fl.us or (352) 372-3505 ext.119.


Thomas MC, Dixon WN, Fasulo TR. (April 2004). Pine shoot beetle, Tomicus piniperda (Linnaeus). UF/IFAS Featured Creatures. EENY-321. http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/trees/beetles/pine_shoot_beetle.htm

Garcia-Maruniak A, Maruniak JE, Zanotto PMA, Doumbouya AE, Liu J-C, Merritt TM, Lanoie JS. (2004). Sequence analysis of the genome of the Neodiprion sertifer nucleopolyhedrovirus. Journal of Virology 78: 7036-7051.

Halbert SE. 2004. The genus Greenidea in the United States. Florida Entomologist 87: 159-163


Drs. Julio Medal and James Cuda received two USDA-APHIS grants: $50,000 (March-December 2004), and $40,000 (July-December 2004). The purpose of the grants is to continue the mass rearing, field release, and post-release monitoring of the leaf-beetle Gratiana boliviana for biocontrol of tropical soda apple. Tropical soda apple is one of the most invasive weeds of pastures and natural areas in the southeastern states.

McGuire Lepidoptera Center

Faculty, who attended the June faculty meeting, were treated to a tour of the new McGuire Lepidoptera Center hosted by Dr. Tom Emmel, the Center's Director. Most of the displays and posters that will be in place for the grand opening on August 14th were not up yet, but the building was still very impressive. In late June, Dr. Emmel also gave many of our staff a tour of the new facility.


The new UF/IFAS Biological Control Research and Containment Laboratory was recently dedicated at the Indian River Research and Education Center. The 17,000 square foot facility will be used by scientists to contain, evaluate and release host-specific organisms for biological control on invasive plants and arthropods. Drs. Bill Overholt and Ron Cave will conduct research in this joint UF/IFAS and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services laboratory. The building featured two sections, one for quarantine and another for non-quarantine. The quarantine section includes several components: two laboratories (one for arthropods and another for invasive plants); six greenhouses, a maximum security laboratory, a fumigation room; and six climate-controlled rooms for rearing biological control agents. Within the non-quarantine section are two laboratories, a conference room and seven offices.

Alumni News

Many entomologists, in Gainesville and elsewhere, already know of Dr. Andrei Sourakov and his astounding ability with a camera. Sourakov received his Ph.D. from our department and now works at the local USDA lab. He has traveled the world on grants from major nature magazines and organizations taking photographs of insects. Recently he spent a period of months visiting museums across the country taking literally thousands of photographs of butterflies and moths for the exhibits in the new McGuire Lepidoptera Center. Sourakov periodically exhibits his work at the Florida Museum of Natural History, which is on campus. Currently he has a new exhibit, "For the Love of Bugs: Portraits of Select Insects," at Terranova (near Marketstreet Pub - Gainesville's first micro-brewery), on 14th 1st Avenue SW in Gainesville. The exhibit runs until 30 July 2004.

Meetings and Presentations

Dr. Julio Medal was an invited speaker at the 4th International Weed Science Society Meeting held in Durban, South Africa, 20-24 June. Medal gave a presentation on "Progress and Prospects for Biological Control of Solanum viarum in the USA."

Dr. Julio Medal traveled to Montelimar, Nicaragua during 7-10 June to participate in the II Latin-American Weed Biological Control Course that he organized in collaboration with the Universidad Nacional Agraria of Nicaragua. Medal gave two presentations entitled: "Overview of Weed Biocontrol Worldwide" and "Procedures to initiate a Weed Biocontrol Program" to 51 participants from seven Latin-American countries that attended this intensive training workshop. The second presentation was co-authored by Dr. James Cuda.

Dr. James P. Cuda attended a technology transfer team meeting for the interagency TAME melaleuca project at the St. Lucie Co. Cooperative Extension Office, Ft. Pierce, 16 June. The goal of TAME (The Areawide Management Evaluation project) is to demonstrate the effectiveness of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach for controlling melaleuca in Florida.

Dr. James P. Cuda was invited to participate in a forest stewardship workshop entitled, "Invasive Exotic Plants and Their Control" held at the Liberty Co. Cooperative Extension Office, Bristol, 18 June. Cuda delivered a PowerPoint presentation entitled "Biological Control of Weeds: Basic Principles and Prospects for North Florida".

Dr. James P. Cuda attended a Noxious Weed and Invasive Plant Review Committee Meeting held at the FLDACS- DPI Doyle Conner Building, Gainesville, 23 June.

@UFL.EDU and Spam

With the new PeopleSoft system UF has converted to, most of us are required to obtain a @ufl.edu GatorLink address, even if it just forwards e-mail to another address. But for those of us who use @ufl.edu as our primary address, UF has a new spam mail filter based on an judgement system. The UF mail server assigns asterisks to an e-mail based on how much it "thinks" the message is spam. Users can create a mail filter to send to a trash (or other named) folder any e-mail with a certain number of asterisks assigned. UF IT advises five asterisks, but users can assign a higher or lower number. See http://www.cns.ufl.edu/spam for detailed instructions on creating the filter in your e-mail program. The following Web browsers are supported: GatorLink, Webmail, Mozilla/Netscape/Thunderbird, Eudora, Pine, and Outlook (but not Outlook Express).

Note: If you are still a Netscape user, then you should consider converting to Mozilla. The conversion process is simple, and there is only a slight difference in the WWW and e-mail interfaces as Mozilla is based on Netscape. However, Mozilla is undergoing active development, whereas Netscape is just lingering. There are definite benefits as Mozilla, (current version is 1.7) like Netscape 7.2, has additional junk mail filters and free pop-up ad controls. Or you can also just install Thunderbird, the stand alone e-mail client. See http://www.mozilla.org/.

Filing for Homestead

If you are a graduate student in our department, and have taken squatter's rights on a vacant desk and chair, you might want to ensure that it is "legally" yours. Debbie Hall, student services coordinator, suggests that students in the graduate room mark desks with their names in the space provided. Why? According to Dr. Don Hall, graduate coordinator, while we will be graduating five to six graduate students this summer, they will be replaced by at least 20 new graduate students this September, with four others trying to complete their packages in time.

Reaching Out

Science Service, sponsors of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, presented Matthew Jess Richardson, 16, of Walton High School in DeFuniak Springs, Fla., with a check for $3,000 to go with his First Place award in the Botany Division, which had more than 60 worldwide entrants, some as far away as China and India. Richardson won for his study of the "Effectiveness of Biofumigants vs. Natural Antagonists for Meloidogyne incognita Management in Lycopersicon esculentum," which is the use of nematodes and green manure to kill damaging root-knot nematodes in tomatoes.

"His work is cutting edge in the Science of Nematology and not a repeat or rehash of previous research and ideas," said Dr. Jim Rich, a nematologist with the UF/IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy. While conducting his own research, Richardson was advised by Dr. Rich, whose research focuses on management of plant-parasitic nematodes damaging field and vegetable crops in North Florida.

Bug Quote

"Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through." - from A Critical Essay Upon the Faculties of the Mind by Jonathan Swift

Featured Creatures

This popular UF/IFAS Department of Entomology and Nematology and FDACS Division of Plant Industry Web site is available at http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/. New files are added every month and older files are updated as information becomes available. Looking for some exposure for you and your favorite creature? During the last 12 months, the Featured Creatures Web site recorded 1,350,427 distinct visitors and 2,500,944 page views.

Newsletter Minutia

Thomas Fasulo is the newsletter editor. Please send submissions to him at fasulo@ufl.edu. Issues are published about the middle of each month. Items for each month's issue should be sent no later than the 7th of that month.

Printed copies are distributed only within Building 970. A notice is sent to all those on the UF-Bugnews-l listserv when HTML and PDF copies are posted on the newsletter Web site at http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/news/ , which contains instructions for subscribing and unsubscribing to the listserv. Andy Koehler does the coding for the HTML version.

During the last twelve months, the newsletter Web site recorded 35,607 distinct visitors and 59,620 page views. The newsletter listserv has 240 subscribers.

July 2004.