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August 19th, 2021

Faculty and Staff News

“A message of gratitude in this time of transition”

August in Gainesville is always a time of transition – from the slower pace of the summer semester to the controlled chaos of students returning to the UF campus and gearing up for the new fall semester. The Entomology & Nematology Department is experiencing even more transition this August than usual as we say goodbye and good luck to Blair Siegfried, department chair for the last six years. While we are happy for his new opportunity as Associate Dean for Research at Pennsylvania State University, we will miss his steadfast and wise leadership, kindness, and concern for every single one of our faculty, staff, and students. He led the department through four and a half years of “good times” (tremendous growth and new initiatives), and 18 months of “bad times” (an unprecedented global pandemic). His open and frequent communication kept us all connected as the Entomology & Nematology “family”, regardless of whether we were working from home or confined in our offices. We are grateful for his leadership and wish him all the best as he moves closer to his flesh and blood family and works to create a new Penn State family! We continue the theme of gratitude and transition as two Gainesville faculty take on important new roles in the department. Dan Hahn, new interim Associate Chair, will focus on facilities’ use and enhancements in Gainesville, and formalizing mentoring opportunities for new Entomology & Nematology faculty to provide them the support, guidance, and feedback critical to their success. Andrea Lucky takes over as Graduate Coordinator, a position I held for 13 years. She will cast new eyes on the graduate program and potentially initiate new ways of doing things. Change is good but rest assured that commitment to student success and well-being will continue to be our top priority! Please join me in expressing gratitude to Dan and Andrea for accepting my request for additional service in an already jampacked work life. All of us were hopeful that Fall 2021 would be a transition in this 18-month long pandemic, from mask mandates and social distancing to a normal semester with protection by vaccination and herd immunity. While the excitement of a new fall semester is still here, it is mixed with uncertainty and concern over the delta variant of the coronavirus. Despite this setback, we have much to be thankful for in the Entomology & Nematology department. I encourage you to do your individual best to keep your colleagues, friends, and family safe from coronavirus infection (vaccinate, mask, and social distance). As interim chair, in transition between Blair and your new permanent chair, I hope to support our faculty, staff and students through the challenges of the pandemic but also through the regular ups and downs of academic life. My door (or TEAMS chat) is always open, so please let me know what is on your mind and what I can do to promote your success. With my sincere best wishes and thanks to all,

-Heather McAuslane, Interim Chair

The passing of Dr. Robert E. Woodruff…

Entomology and Nematology Department alumnus, Dr. Robert E. Woodruff, died July 8, 2021. Bob, graduated with a Ph.D. in 1967 in systematics of Coleoptera. His dissertation published in 1973, “The scarab beetles of Florida (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). Part I. The Laparosticti”, which he illustrated, is still used by students today. Bob worked for the Florida Department of Agriculture – Division of Plant Industry from 1958-1988 as the regulatory taxonomist and Curator of the Coleoptera. He was instrumental in the establishment and growth of the Florida State Collection of Arthropods in the early 1960s. As a founding member of the Center for Systematic Entomology, along with Ross H. Arnett, Jr., Dr. Woodruff gave birth to the systematic journal Insecta Mundi, in the 1980s. After retirement in 1988, Bob continued to serve on student committees, publish taxonomic research on beetles, and serve on the Board of Directors for various entomological institutions. He collaborated with students and professional Coleopterists worldwide. Bob’s generosity and many talents will be missed. 

Paul E. Skelley, Ph.D., C.P.M., Division of Plant Industry 

beetle drawing and black and whote portrait.

ABOVE: Woodruff’s illustration of a scarab beetle and his portrait.

Dr. Ellis standing at podium.

ABOVE: Dr. Jamie Ellis gave the UF commencement speech for Summer 2021 commencement on August 7th. Re-watch the exceptional speech here.

Dr. Thomas Chouvenc has a new update on the interactive Google Maps distribution of termites in Florida - a total of 6632 samples. Since its creation in 2016, this map has been visited more than a quarter-million times!

We had a departmental goodbye party for Dr. Blair Siegfried, “A Fond Blair-well”, on August 3rd. Good luck in Pennsylvania Blair!

Blair holding up a wooden sign signed by everyone. 2. People gathering to wish Blair goodbye. 3. Blair standing near one of his gifts, a framed picture of NATL.

ABOVE: 1. Blair holding up a wooden sign signed by everyone. 2. People gathering to wish Blair goodbye. 3. Blair standing near one of his gifts, a framed picture of NATL.

2021 Honored Fellow: Dr. Jeffrey Bloomquist. Jeffrey Bloomquist was named 2021 Fellow of the Entomological Society of America!

ABOVE: Dr. Jeffrey Bloomquist was named 2021 Fellow of the Entomological Society of America on August 2nd. Congratulations Dr. Bloomquist!

Dr. Jeffrey Bloomquist was a recipient of the 2021 Innovation Award in Agrochemicals from the American Chemical Society, Division of Agrochemicals. The award presentation was delivered on-line at the national meeting and was entitled: "Novel Chemical Insecticides and Repellents for Insect Control.”

July Podacst Series: Mosquotos. Episode 1 Mosquito control in your community with Dr. Eva Buckner. Episode 2, The worlds deadliest animal with dr. ricky telg and dr. rhoel dinglasan UF?IFAS Center for public Issues Education. www.piecenter.com/media/podcast. Science by the Slice.

ABOVE: Dr. Eva Buckner was featured in Science by the Slice podcast. Learn more about mosquito control and mosquito-borne illnesses by listening to our latest series. You can subscribe wherever you get your podcasts or listen now at: https://piecenter.com/media/podcast/

CAMTech funded projects announced

The NSF Center for Arthropod Management Technologies (CAMTech) based at the University of Florida serves to link the efforts of industry, government and academia toward effective management of arthropod and nematode pests of agricultural and human health importance. Through pre-competitive research, center researchers develop new tools and provide fundamental knowledge necessary to effectively translate and apply novel pest management strategies to the field.

The center has awarded funding to three projects at UF that began this summer:
1. A sensitive and high-throughput proteomic approach to quantify plant pest feeding rates by Dr. Peter DiGennaro and Dr. Norman Leppla. This project will provide an optimized method to quantify the feeding rates of a nematode and an insect pest on tomato and soybean, and provide insight into feeding behavior to inform control measures.

2. Development of a Bacterial Pesticidal Protein Information Resource Center by Dr. Neil Crickmore, Dr. Colin Berry, and Dr. Bryony Bonning. Following establishment of the center and database at bpprc.org, phase III will provide access to metadata on the activities of microbe-derived pesticidal proteins. This information will facilitate the identification of candidate proteins for use against emerging insect pests and enable machine learning to associate protein structural motifs with activity.

3. Gut binding peptides and gut surface proteomes of three hemipteran pests by Dr. Bryony Bonning. This work will identify the most abundant proteins on the gut surface of sap sucking insects, providing novel targets for control measures. Gut binding peptides can be used to increase the efficacy of gut-active, insecticidal proteins.

Since UF became the lead site for CAMTech in 2018, UF has been awarded 15 grants involving 24 faculty members and 27 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. Participants are drawn from Entomology and Nematology, Biology, Plant Pathology, Agronomy, Biomedical Engineering, the North Florida Research and Education Center, the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, with USDA collaborators at the Biological Control of Insects Research Lab (BCIRL) and the Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology (CMAVE).

Student and Alumni News

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Congratulations to our 2021 summer graduates! 

Earning a PhD degree are:
Anil Baniya—Dr. DiGennaro
Tse-Yu Chen—Dr. Smartt
Shova Mishra—Dr. DiGennaro
De-Fen Mou—Dr. Bahder
Shinichi Nakahara—Dr. Willmott
Diana Rojas—Dr. Alto

Earning a MS degree are:
Marielle Berto—Dr. Carrillo
Jacqueline Coburn—Dr. Desaeger
Kristen Gaines—Dr. Stelinski
Keiran Hyte—Dr. Liburd
Kaydie McCormick—Dr. Dale
Joseph Montemayor—Dr. Lahiri
David Moreira Calix—Dr. Desaeger
Sierra Schluep—Dr. Buckner
Runhang Shu—Dr. Wong
Eyad Shuker—Dr. Koehler

Earning a BS degree are:
Constance Darrisaw
Makayla Ratajczak Lillie Rooney

Students with Special Recognitions

Entomology Undergraduate Travel Award Recipients: $1000 Travel Scholarships from the Entomology Book Fund Endowment
Lillie Rooney – Leppla
Daniel Rhodes – Dale
Jordyn Ranfone -Pereira
Brett LaBella – Pereira/ Koehler

2021 UF Preview Staffer
Kaley Hildebrand

2021 UF Entomology Team for ESA Nationals in Denver, Colorado – The Gator Ticks
Jason Williams (captain)
Kelly Carruthers
Emilie Demard
Nicholas Johnson
Keiran Hyte

Ciara Magee and Kendall Long

ABOVE: Ciara Magee (left) and Kendall Long (right) were the first of four students working on CAMTech projects, funded by the NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates program. Ciara and Kendall conducted 8 week internships during the summer. Ciara worked on the green peach aphid in Dr. Bryony Bonning’s lab, and Kendall worked on southern green stinkbug in Blair Siegfried’s lab.

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.

This month, Andrei Sourakov became curious about what was eating the water lilies in little landscape ponds next to our museum. Turned out, after rearing the caterpillars, that it's the Waterlily Borer, Elophila gyralis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae).

Water lily damage caused by waterliy borer, and its stage as a caterpillar and adult.

ABOVE: Water lily damage caused by Elophila gyralis and its stage as a caterpillar and adult.

Need insect images?  The Entomology and Nematology Department has a large collection of images of insects and insect relatives for use in your extension, teaching, and research work.  This collection is available for use by UF IFAS personnel on the main campus, at the Research and Education Centers, and at the county extension offices around the state.  A set of the best images (over 14,000 images) are accessible online from your own computer!  You can go to this direct link, http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/imgs   or you can go through our departmental homepage by choosing the “About Us” tab and then clicking on “Resources”. Since the pictures are copyrighted material and intended for official UF use only, you will be asked to log onto the website using your Gatorlink credentials.  Please check it out, and if you have any questions or comments about the image collection, let Lyle Buss know at LJBuss@ufl.edu

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. Billy Crow.

New Publications

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Bonning BC, Saleh MC. 2021. The interplay between viruses and RNAi pathways in insects. Annual Review of Entomology 66:61-79. doi: 10.1146/annurev-ento-033020-090410.

Gugliuzzo A, Biedermann PHW, Carrillo D, Castrillo LA, Egonyu JP, Gallego D, Haddi K, Hulcr J, Jactel H, Kajimura H, Kamata N, Meurisse N, Li Y, Oliver JB, Ranger CM, Rassati D, Stelinski LL, Sutherland R, Garzia GT, Wright MG, Biondi A. 2021. Recent advances toward the sustainable management of invasive Xylosandrus ambrosia beetles. Journal of Pest Science. 94:615-637.

Kelly ET, Mack LK, Campos M, Grippin C, Chen T-Y, Romero-Weaver AL, Kosinski KJ, Brisco KK, Collier TC, Buckner EA, Campbell LP, Cornel AJ, Lanzaro GC, Rosario-Cruz R, Smith K, Attardo GM, and Lee Y. 2021. Evidence of Local Extinction and Reintroduction of Aedes aegypti in Exeter, California. Frontiers in Tropical Diseases. 2:703873. doi: 10.3389/fitd.2021.703873.

Killiny N, Nehela Y, George J, Rashidi M, Stelinski LL, Lapointe SL. 2021. Phytoene desaturase-silenced citrus as a trap crop with multiple cues to attract Diaphorina citri, the vector of Huanglongbing. Plant Science. 308:110930.

Kondapaneni R, Malcolm AN, Vazquez BM, Zeng E, Chen T-Y, Kosinski KJ, Romero-Weaver AL, Giordano BV, Allen B, Riles MT, Killingsworth D, Campbell LP, Caragata EP, Lee Y. 2021. Mosquito Control Priorities in Florida—Survey Results from Florida Mosquito Control Districts. Pathogens. 10:947. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10080947

Liu S, Sappington TW, Coates BS, Bonning BC. 2021. Nudivirus sequences identified from the southern and western corn rootworms (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Viruses. 13:269 doi: 10.3390/v1302026.

Mishra R, Guo Y, Kumar P, Canton PE, dos Santos C, Banerjee R, Kuwar S, Bonning B.C. 2021. Streamlined phage display protocols for identification of insect gut binding peptides highlight peptide specificity. Current Research in Insect Science. 1:100012. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cris.2021.100012.

Mizumoto N, Lee S-B, Valentini G, Chouvenc T, Pratt S. 2021. Coordination of movement via complementary interactions of leaders and followers in termite mating pairs. Proceeding of the Royal Society B London. 288:20210998. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2021.0998.

New on Featured Creatures:

Encarsia wasp, a silverleaf whitefly parasitoid (suggested), Encarsia formosa Gahan, written by Erich N. Schoeller, Vivek Kumar, Cindy L. McKenzie, and Lance S. Osborne.

Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr), written by Katie Carroll and Adam Dale.

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

Meetings and Presentations

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Dr. Rahul Banerjee, postdoctoral research associate in the Bonning lab, presented at the 2021 virtual annual meeting of the Society for Invertebrate Pathology on “Peptide-mediated enhancement of Bacillus thuringiensis-derived toxin activity against Nezara viridula." Dr. Ya Guo also presented her postdoctoral research in the Bonning lab on “Virus-blocking peptides to mitigate virus burden in the honey bee” in a symposium on Viruses of Pollinators at the same meeting.

Entomology Education and Outreach News

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Don’t forget the Entomology and Nematology Education and Outreach Program is available and will accommodate both virtual and approved in-person presentations!

Recent Outreach events:

July 9th - Jennifer Standley gave an entomology virtual presentation to 20 campers from 4-H Cloverbuds.

July 13th – Jennifer Standley, Brynn Johnson, and Grace Ortgiesen made a trip out to Lake City to present to about 100 campers at the Colombia County Sheriff’s Office.

July 14th and 21st – Sarah Tafel showed off the petting zoo for a virtual CALS presentation.

July 19th – The Entomology Department welcomed the 4-H Cloverbuds and counselors with a tour given by Jennifer Standley.

July 22nd – Jennifer Standley logged into a Zoom meeting and gave a presentation to about 40 YMCA Campers.

August 3rd – The Firewise Nature Camp visited the department and was given a tour by Jennifer Standley and John Ternest. They also had fun handling the petting zoo. Brynn Johnson gave a great intro to honey bees.

August 5th – The UF Psychiatry Fear Facers got a visit from Jennifer Standley and previous Outreach Coordinator Clayton Bania. This was a chance for the campers to face their fears and handle insects, spiders, and the rest of the arthropod zoo.

Entomology on the Go -

What’s better than a live show and tell of some really cool arthropods?! Our live petting zoo consists of: tarantulas, scorpions, vinegaroons, bess beetles, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, and native insects, when in season. With a short training program, they are available for you to check out should you be leading an outreach event, even if it is virtual. The critters are always popular with both youth and adults and are used as a tool to expose the public to STEM disciplines. We have large wood and Plexiglas cages for viewing our native orb weaving spiders. There is one travel cage and one larger static cage. We also have activity kits and lesson plans that are available as well. Please be sure to contact us and review the protocol on transportation and handling of the animals. If you lead an outreach event, be sure to fill out a documentation form so your event can be included in the newsletter and we can log all outreach events. Also, note that volunteering to assist with outreach events will count as departmental service for ENSO travel grants. (Please note that some venues require background checks or additional screening.)
If you have any questions or would like to volunteer, please email us.

Cheers! - Jennifer Standley, Outreach Coordinator.

From left to right: Brynn Johnson, Grace Ortgiessen, and Jennifer Standley in front of their display for the 100+ Colombia County Sheriff’s Office campers out in Lake City on July 13th.

ABOVE: From left to right: Brynn Johnson, Grace Ortgiesen, and Jennifer Standley in front of their display for the 100+ Colombia County Sheriff’s Office campers out in Lake City on July 13th.

Jennifer Standley with students in a gym.

ABOVE: YMCA campers saying thank you to Jennifer Standley virtually after her presentation on July 22nd. They had so many great questions for her! 

John Ternest and Jennifer Standley with the Marion County Firewise Nature Campers

ABOVE: John Ternest and Jennifer Standley with the Marion County Firewise Nature Campers who visited the department on August 3rd. 

4-h students sitting along a brick wall.

ABOVE: The 4-H Cloverbuds that came to have a tour of the Entomology Department and Honey Bee Lab on July 19th. 

Getting social!

Use #UFBugs so our department can find and share your social posts easily!

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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EPA Awards $750,000 to UC San Diego to Help Safely Develop Biotechnology Used Against Mosquito-Borne Disease.
Co-Investigator, Dr. Yoosook Lee, will be collaborating with Dr. Omar Akbari , Dr. John Marshall, Dr. Adam Vorsino, and Dr. Christopher Jacobsen) to conduct this research titled “Development of a data-driven model for assessing benefits and risks of the pgSIT approach for Ae. aegypti eradication in Hawaii.”

Want grant writing tips? Check out the UF Libraries Grants Management Program


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The ESA annual meeting will take place in Denver, Colorado October 31st to November 3rd. Registration now OPEN!

National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity Fall 2021 Events - NCFDD offers free membership to UF faculty, students and staff.

  • Tue. Aug. 24, 2021 | 2:00pm - 3:00pm | Supporting Trans Scholars
  • Wed. Sep. 8, 15, 22 & 29, 2021 | 2:00pm - 3:30pm | Building a Publishing Pipeline 2.0: Updating, Maintaining, and Leveraging your Pipeline
  • Wed. Sep. 9 | 2:00pm - 3:00pm | Overcoming Academic Perfectionism
  • Wed. Sep. 21, 2021 | 2:00pm - 3:00pm | Teaching with Empathy and for Equity at the Graduate Level
  • Want 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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    Suzy Rodriguez is the newsletter editor and does the HTML coding. Newsletters usually are published around mid-month. Submit items for an issue by the seventh of the 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 James Brown and Nancy Sanders for reviewing the newsletter for errors, and to Jane Medley and Don Wasik for webpage build and design.

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