February 2012

Faculty News

Dr. Jennifer Hamel, a behavioral ecologist, joined the laboratory of Dr. Christine W. Miller as a Postdoctoral Associate. Dr. Hamel received a B.A. in Russian studies and Art from Carnegie Mellon University in 2004. She conducted post-baccalaureate studies in Biology at University of North Carolina-Asheville. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Missouri in Biological Sciences in 2011.

Dr. Caroline Williams joined Dr. Dan Hahn's laboratory early last month as a Postdoctoral Associate. Dr. Williams hails from New Zealand (though she is often mistaken for an Australian, much to her chagrin), where she completed her B.Sc. and M.Sc. in the Zoology Department at the University of Otago, working on the physiological mechanisms of amphipod host manipulation by a mermithid nematode (Williams et al. 2004 Funct Ecol 18:685). She recently completed her Ph.D. research in Dr. Brent Sinclair's lab in the Department of Biology at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. There, Caroline studied the effects of climate change on the overwintering energetics of Lepidoptera. Much like Caroline's recent move from Ontario to Florida in January, winter warming is often predicted to bring relief from the bitter cold of winter. However, for ectotherms, body temperature determines metabolic rate, and so any increase in temperature increases metabolic rate, which in turn means ectotherms will burn through energy reserves faster. In addition, many overwintering ectotherms begin the winter with a set amount of energy, which must not only sustain life throughout the winter but must provide fuel for the rest of the lifecycle to resume in the spring. Therefore increases in winter temperature mean ectotherms run the risk of running of out fuel during the long winter dormancy. By subjecting a range of butterfly species to the amount of warming that is projected over the next 100 years, Caroline found that susceptibility to the negative effects of winter warming differed among species, and could to some extent be predicted by species traits such as distribution and abundance of species. Species that were good at mitigating the negative effects of winter warming showed the ability to suppress their metabolic rate in response to warmer temperatures. Caroline's new project here in Entomology and Nematology at UF is to investigate the physiological and biochemical drivers of cold adaptation in Drosophila melanogaster. Caroline is a broadly interested biologist who likes to talk about thermal adaptation and tolerances, stress physiology, and the impacts of climate change on biota, among other things. When not at work, Caroline loves spending time with her two-year daughter Liana, and is enjoying getting out and about in the beautiful natural areas that Gainesville has to offer. She is based in room 3007 or in the Hahn lab—feel free to stop by and introduce yourself!

Dr. James P. Cuda was interviewed by a reporter for the Canadian public television program "Bugzilla." The focus of one the upcoming episodes is the giant water bug Lethocerus indicus in Thailand. The program will be aired later this year on BBC America and the Outdoor Life Network.

Student News

Ph.D. student Ericka Machtinger, current and former M.S.student of Dr. Norman Leppla, was the recipient of the department's "John A. Mulrennan, Sr. Outstanding M.S. Student Award." The Mulrennan award includes a cash award of $500. Mrs. Machtinger's thesis was selected to be the departmental M.S. thesis nominee for the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences' "Award of Excellence for Graduate Research."

The following entomology undergraduates made the Dean's List for Fall 2011: Garrett Aronson, Christopher Bibbs, James Fleming, Carolyn Huntley, Zachary Miles, Mary Reed, Anthony Riggio, and Lauren Stewart. To earn a spot on the Deanís List, students must achieve a 3.70 GPA or higher for a minimum of 12 graded credits.

Christopher Bibbs was also recognized on the Presidentís Honor Roll for Fall 2011. This recognition requires a 4.0 GPA with a minimum of 15 semester hours of graded credits. Chris also holds down a part-time job in our department's Nematode Assay Lab.

The University of Florida Explorer newsletter featured Entomology as a major this semester and included a photograph of some members of the undergradate Entomology Club. This newsletter goes out to all exploratory majors at UF. If you know of anyone interested in majoring or minoring in Entomology, please advise them to come see me. I know you are the best recruiters for the program. - Dr. Rebecca Baldwin, Undergraduate Advisor

Alumni News

Another UF entomologist was recently featured in a ScienceDaily news release. Lepidopterist Dr. Delano Lewis (Ph.D. 2010), is the lead author of a study which demonstrates that a key amino acid essential for human nutrition is also an effective insecticide against a caterpillar, the Lime or Citrus Swallowtail, that threatens the citrus industry. The article was published in the current issue of the Journal of Economic Entomology. Co-author Dr. Bruce Stevens, professor of physiology and functional genomics in the UF College of Medicine, discovered the pesticide properties of methionine while cloning genes that regulate amino acid metabolism in 1998. Working with Dr. James Cuda, Stevens later found this amino acid to be effective against yellow fever mosquito larvae, tomato hornworm and the Colorado potato beetle. In 2004 and 2007, Stevens obtained two patents for the use of methionine as a pesticide, through the UF Office of Technology Licensing.

Dr. Emily Saarinen (Ph.D. 2009) says that she made it through her first semester as an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. Dr. Saarinen is in a tenure-track position and her time is split between teaching courses on Ecology and Environmental Science. She will also be teaching Invertebrate Zoology in the future. Currently, her research is on the conservation genetics of threatened insects. Before taking this position, she worked on climate change modeling in a one-year postdoctoral position with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Oregon. After graduation she had worked at UF's McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Diversity.


PSYCHE: A Journal of Entomology, is having a special issue on Ecological Pest Management in Urban Landscapes. Manuscripts due 6 April 2012. Manuscripts are peer reviewed, open access with no page charges. Contact one of our editors to discuss your ideas for submission.

Hunter WB, Avery PB, Pick D, Powell CA. 2011. Broad spectrum potential of Isaria fumosorosea on insect pests of citrus. Florida Entomologist 94: 1051-1054.

Juneau K, Leppla N, Walker W. 2011. Advancement of integrated pest management in university housing. Journal of Integrated Pest Management 2: 1-6.

Sourakov A. (January 2012). Erythrina moths: Terastia meticulosalis Guenée and Agathodes designalis Guenée. Featured Creatures. EENY-516. http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/orn/shrubs/erythrina_moths.htm

Miller CW, Fletcher Jr RJ, Anderson BD, Nguyen LD. 2012. Natal social environment influences habitat selection later in life. Animal Behaviour 83: 473-477.

Hall HG, Ascher JS. 2011. Surveys of wild bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea: Anthophila) in organic farms of Alachua County in north-central Florida. Florida Entomologist 94: 539-552.

Rozen JG, Rozen JR, Hall HG. 2011. Gas diffusion rates through cocoon walls of two bee species (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 104: 1349-1354.

Özdil F, Meydan H, Yildiz MA, Hall HG. 2011. Genetic diversity of Turkish honey bee populations based on RFLPs at a nuclear DNA locus. Sociobiology 58: 719-731.

Meetings and Presentations

In early January, several students from Dr. Christine Miller's laboratory attended and presented at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology conference in Charleston, South Carolina. Talks were given by graduate students Ummat Somjee and Scarlett Tudor. Undergraduate student Katherine Holmes and Ph.D. student Wendy Helmey-Hartman presented posters.

Dr. Phil Stansly, SWFREC, spoke on "ACP and HLB management: Insecticides, nutrition and area-wide control" at the annual Citrus Grower's Show in Fort Pierce, 25-26 January.

On 18 January, Dr. James Cuda contributed to a presentation on Brazilian peppertree biological control research for the First Coast Invasive Species Group Meeting, in St. Augustine.


Thank you to those members and friends of the department who have volunteered for our January and early February outreaches:

February 4th. Sarahlynne Guerrero encourages audience participation
while she teaches Cub Scouts about insects at Camp Shands.

The following are programs and outreach events currently scheduled for February:

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 traveling cage and one larger static cage. Please be sure to contact me 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 so that we can log all outreach events. If you would like to schedule an event or have any outreach questions, go to the Outreach pages on our Bug Club Web site and contact us. - Dale A. Halbritter, Outreach Coordinator

On 29 January, Dr. James Cuda and his laboratory staff hosted a group of 10 high school students and teachers as part of the UF Junior Science, Engineering, and Humanities Symposium.

Spring 2012 Entomology Seminars

The department's entomology seminars take place on Thursday afternoons in Room 1031, unless indicated otherwise. The talks start at 3:30 pm. with refreshments served at 3:20 pm. Other details, as well as a listing of this semester's talks, are available on the seminar site.

Spring 2012 Nematology Seminars

The department's nematology seminars take place on Monday afternoons in Room 1031, unless indicated otherwise. The talks start at 3:45 pm. with refreshments served at 3:30 pm.

Newsletter Minutiae

Thomas Fasulo is the newsletter editor. Departmental faculty, staff, students and alumni can submit news anytime to fasulo@ufl.edu. Issues usually are published by early mid-month. Submit items for an issue by the 7th of that month.

UF-Bugnews-L listserv subscribers receive notices when issues are posted on the newsletter Web site at http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/news, which has instructions for subscribing and unsubscribing. Pam Howell and Nancy Sanders review the newsletter for errors. Thomas Fasulo does the HTML coding.

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February 2012.