Office: 264 Townsend Hall
My research interests are primarily focused on integrated pest management (IPM) and insect resistance management (IRM) of current and emerging agricultural pests. In the past I have examined resistance of field-derived populations of the western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte) to transgenic corn that expresses toxins derived from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). I am currently interested in and actively conducting studies on the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda Smith), an increasingly severe pest of many crop species, especially corn, across the Americas and recently, Africa. Current IPM and IRM strategies for managing fall armyworm have relied largely on the use of conventional insecticides and transgenic, Bt plants. However, many fall armyworm populations have evolved resistance to many insecticides and Bt toxins, threatening their continued efficacy. It is important that novel and effective management techniques be developed for this pest to both stand alone, and be used in conjunction with current practices. This is especially important for the management of fall armyworm populations in Africa.
We are currently conducting a series of laboratory and greenhouse experiments on the effects of herbivore induced plant volatiles (HIPV’s) in deterring fall armyworm oviposition in hopes of identifying compounds that could be effective for management of the species. Additionally, I am very interested in the host-strains of fall armyworm, the “corn” and “rice” strains. Knowledge of their existence has been available in scientific literature for over 30 years, yet there has been very little research attributed to their characterization. Furthermore, there is evidence that corn and rice strain fall armyworm exhibit differing tolerances to several insecticides and Bt toxins. Characterization of these phenomena may lead to the development of more accurate IPM and IRM strategies of fall armyworm that take host-strain into account.
We learned no detail was too small. It was all about the details.