May 2010

Faculty News

Dr. Mike Scharf was nominated for a 2010 World Technology Award in the category of "Biotechnology (Individual)". Dr. Scharf was nominated based on his laboratory's work to create new scientific niches in the areas of molecular pesticides and insect-based, bioenergy technology. This award program is sponsored by the World Technology Network: Time, Fortune and Science Magazines; and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Award winners will be announced in June.

Dr. Rebecca Baldwin, a candidate for the Assistant Professor teaching position vacated by Dr. Don Hall's retirement, was offered the position and has accepted. She will officially join our faculty on 1 July. Currently, she is a Senior Laboratory Teaching Specialist on our staff. Dr. Baldwin received a B.A. from Northeast Louisiana University in 1998, a M.S. from University of Louisiana in 2000, and a Ph.D. from our department in 2005. Her new position is 80% Teaching and 20% Extension. Since 2001, Dr. Baldwin has been teaching classroom and distance education courses on entomology at UF and has extensive extension experience. She will eventually assume the duties of Undergraduate Coordinator now held by Dr. Carl Barfield, upon his retirement.

Dr. Barry Alto, who received his Ph.D. in entomology from our department in 2006, accepted the Assistant Professor arbovirology position at the UF/IFAS Medical Entomology Laboratory in Vero Beach. He received his M.S. from Illinois State University in 2000, and his B.A. from the University of St. Thomas in 1997.

Drs. James P. Cuda and Susan Webb represented the department as Marshalls for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony held at the OíConnell Center on 1 May.

The department is planning to advertise a non-tenure track, Assistant Extension Scientist position. Responsibilities for this position include managing the nematode diagnostic program and some nematology teaching.

Dr. Dale Habeck, Emeritus Professor of Entomology, who has been ill for several years, fell on 9 May and struck his head. As of 10 May, he has bleeding in his brain stem and was transferred from the hospital to a hospice facility in Indianapolis. His son, Mike Habeck (, was kind enough to let us know during this difficult time for Dale's family.

Student News

Entomology undergraduate Alyssa Porter was selected as a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Ambassador for the year 2010-2011. Students selected for this position must demonstrate outstanding achievement in academics and student leadership. Ms. Porter is also president of the Entomology Club for 2010-2011.

Paula Cohen was invited into Gamma Sigma Delta, the most prestigous CALS honor society. She also was accepted into the University Scholars Program.

Alpha Zeta is an honorary, professional society for students and industry professionals in the agriculture and natural resources fields. Recent inductees into Alpha Zeta include Paula Cohen, Sarahlynne Guerrero, and Danae Perry. Maggie Paxson received a national award as Scribe of the year for Alpha Zeta.


Ali JG, Alborn HT, Stelinski LL. 2010. Subterranean herbivore-induced volatiles released by citrus roots upon feeding by Diaprepes abbreviatus recruit entomopathogenic nematodes. Journal of Chemical Ecology 36: 361-368.

Christ L, Cuda J, Overholt W, Vitorino M. 2010. New candidate for biological control of Brazilian peppertree? Wildland Weeds 13: 12-13.

Meetings and Presentations

During 5-7 May, our department hosted a workshop for the Florida Association of Benthologists. Their Spring 2010 Workshop concentrated on Florida's crayfish. According to the FAB, there are at least 55 species of crayfish in Florida. This is interesting as there are also at least 55 species of cockroaches in Florida. However, unlike many entomology meetings where demonstrations of entomophagy are becoming popular, we were disappointed that the FAB did not include an open crayfish boil on its workshop schedule.

Drs. John Capinera, James Cuda, and Norman Leppla represented the department at the 10th Anniversary Ceremony for the Center for Biological Control held at Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida, on 9 April.

Dr. James P. Cuda and graduate student Justin Bricker attended the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Science for Life Spring Undergraduate Research Awards. Reception held at the UF Presidentís House on 22 April.

Ph.D. student Abhishek Mukherjee, a recipient of one of the graduate student invasive plant minigrants from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC), Invasive Plant Management Section, was asked to give a presentation on his research on biological control of the aquatic weed hygrophila at the FFWCC headquarters in Tallahassee, Florida, 9 April. Mukherjee is a student in Dr. James Cudaís program.

Dr. James P. Cuda attended the 25th Annual Symposium of the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council held in Crystal River, Florida, 5-8 April. Cuda gave the presentation "Biology and fundamental host range of Episimus unguiculus (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), a new candidate for biological control of Brazilian peppertree, Schinus terebinthifolius (Anacardiaceae) in Florida." The paper was co-authored by Drs. J.C. Medal, J.H. Pedrosa-Macedo (Brazil), V. Manrique, and W.A. Overholt. Cuda was also a moderator for one of the oral presentation sessions.

Boring Beetle Workshop

USDA/APHIS/Plant Protection and Quarantine and the National Plant Diagnostic Network hosted the intensive, diagnostic training session "Adult Woodborer and Bark Beetle Workshop," in our department during 4-6 May. Content for the workshop focused on current and emerging pests of concern for the eastern region of the U.S. Expert speakers for the workshop included: Rick Hoebeke, Cornell University; James Zablotny, USDA/APHIS/PPQ; and Bob Rabaglia, U.S. Forest Service. The workshop's agenda is available at:

Twenty-six participants from the following organizations were in attendance: USDA/APHIS/PPQ, Georgia Forestry Commission, National Park Service, Clemson University, Pennsylvania State University, Oklahoma State University, Louisiana State University; University of Delaware, State of California, New Jersey Department of Agriculture, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and the West Virginia Department of Agriculture. In addition to one international participant from British Columbia, individuals from the following U.S. states and/or territories were in attendance: California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Although most of the workshop's time was spent 'behind the microscope', participants toured both the Florida State Collection of Arthropods at FDACS/DPI and the McGuire Lepidoptera Center on Wednesday, May 5. Gainesville is fortunate to have such extensive taxonomic resources, and many of the participants may follow-up with either FDACS/DPI or the McGuire Center, pending their interests. - Dr. Amanda Hodges - Associate Director, Southern Plant Diagnostic Network

Entomology Field Camp

Registration is now open for our department's 1st annual Entomology Field Camp. The camp is for students in 6th-8th grades and will be held during 21-25 June. Additional details and registration forms are available on our Bug Club site at

CSI: Crime Scene Insects

The Florida Museum of Natural History, on the UF Gainesville campus, is hosting a CSI exhibit from May 2010 through 17 January 2011. "CSI: Crime Scene Insects gives visitors the opportunity to learn how maggots, flies and beetles help solve crimes every day, through hands-on activities, educational panels and mock investigations." See the Museum's CSI Web site at


Graduate student Clare Scott, of Dr. Marc Branham's Lab, received a $874 travel grant from the Systematics, Evolution and Biodiversity Section of the Entomological Society of America for her proposal on "Museum trip to aid in the revision of the genus Lycomorpha (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae: Arctiinae) through the examination of type and unsorted material."

Graduate student Alicia Hodson, of Dr. Marc Branham's Lab, received a $1,200 student travel grant from the Systematics, Evolution and Biodiversity Section of the Entomological Society of America and a $1,500 grant from the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Fund, American Museum of Natural History, both in support of her project on "Investigating the species boundaries within the firefly genus Phausis (Coleoptera: Lampyridae)."

Graduate student Abhishek Mukherjee received a $2,000 research grant from the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council to continue his research on the genetics of the invasive aquatic weed Hygrophila.

Justin Bricker, an undergraduate student in Dr. James P. Cudaís program, received a $2,500 stipend to participate in the UF/HHMI Science for Life Research program during the Summer C semester.

Bugge Faire Spring 2010

Every semester, Dr. Carl Barfield's course ENY 101 Bugs and People requires students to either dress up as insects or provide something "insecty" to eat. To see images from the April 2010 Bugge Faire, click here.

McGuire Center Newsletter - 2010 issue

The annual issue of the McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Diversity Newsletter is available on-line at:

Newsletter Minutiae

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

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May 2010.