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Hannah Gray awarded two fellowships in global food security

Ento Hannah Gray[1/20/2015] Hannah Gray (Ph.D. Student under David Andow and co-advised by George Heimpel) has been awarded an ICGC Global Food Security Fellowship and a US Borlaug Fellowship in Food Security. The ICGC Fellowship is offered to students at the University of Minnesota whose research addresses the global dimensions of food security with an interdisciplinary and social justice focus. As a first year graduate student, Hannah’s award will support research in the 2015 summer field season on predation pressure across a gradient of ecosystem complexities. The US Borlaug Fellowship in Food Security is awarded through USAID to graduate students who are interested in developing a component of their research in a developing country in collaboration with a mentor form an International Agricultural Research Center (IARC) or qualifying National Agricultural Research System (NARS). Awards are made on a competitive basis to students who demonstrate strong scientific foundation, leadership potential, and commitment to international development. Hannah will be working in collaboration with EMBRAPA in Brazil to investigate how latitudinal patterns in predation pressure may change due to ecosystem simplification.

Fallon Lab wins state-of-the-art Ultracentrifuge

Ento Fallon [1/15/15] Ann Fallon won the 'the oldest ultracentrifuge on the UMN campus' contest, with a Beckman Coulter Model L ultra! The Fallon Lab is now home to a state-of-the-art Beckman Coulter Ultracentrifuge.

In 1987, Ann moved her lab from Rutger's Medical School to the U of M, with a truckload of equipment. With permission form her Dean, Ann rescued a centrifuge from the trash and brought it along to Minnesota. centrifuge came along. The Model L was old and somewhat beat up, but it ran just fine, and was used for many years to make plasmid DNA in cesium chloride gradients, the old-fashioned way. Years passed, new techniques were developed, then came the oldest centrifuge contest at the U of M.

The model L was manufactured between 1949-1965. When we transferred records to Oracle, we did not transfer the serialized records of instruments dating back this far, so we only know that Ann’s ultra is probably from the ‘50s, but it was the only Model L on campus! When at Rutgers Ann saw that the centrifuge was labeled to be taken away and discarded. She rescued it from the dump and moved it to the University of Minnesota in 1987. She still uses it today. See a little history below on the Model L.

In 1946, Edward Pickels cofounded Spinco (Specialized Instruments Corp.) and marketed an ultracentrifuge based on his design. Pickels, however, considered his design to be complicated and developed a more “foolproof” version. But even with the enhanced design, sales of the technology remained low, and Spinco almost went bankrupt. The company survived and was the first to commercially manufacture ultracentrifuges, in 1947. In 1949, Spinco introduced the Model L, the first preparative ultracentrifuge to reach a maximum speed of 40,000 rpm. In 1954, Beckman Instruments (now Beckman Coulter) purchased the company, forming the basis of its Spinco centrifuge division.

Uber-tidy bees defend their hives from disease

[1/13/15] In an interview for New Scientist, Marla Spivak cautioned that to avoid reinfection, all beekeepers must be using hygienic colonies, warns Marla Spivak of the University of Minnesota in St Paul. "When some beekeepers have susceptible stock with colonies full of mites, healthy colonies with low levels of mites try to rob honey out of these weakened colonies and get re-infested," she says. Read the full article

Luke Skinner promoted to director of the Ecological and Water Resources Division

Ento Skinner[1/7/15] Luke Skinner, Adjunct Assistant Professor in Entomology and deputy director for the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division, was promoted to director of the Ecological and Water Resources Division, replacing Steve Hirsch who retired. Skinner has 24 years of DNR experience in roles ranging from natural resources specialist to supervisor. Most of his DNR career has been spent in the Ecological and Water Resources Division working in the invasive species program, including six years as unit supervisor.

For the last 2 ½ years, he has been deputy director of the Parks and Trails Division, managing strategic direction, operations, policy, and a $110 million annual budget. In his new position, Skinner will oversee land use and water permitting programs; environmental inventories and monitoring programs; environmental review and dam safety; the nongame wildlife, invasive species and scientific and natural areas programs; and several other units. Skinner earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and a doctorate in entomology from the University of Minnesota, where he has been an adjunct assistant professor since 2006. Congrats Luke!

Spivak talks honeybees with Pacific Standard

Ento Marla 2[1/5/2015] Marla Spivak spoke with Pacific Standard Magazine for a recent article regarding honeybees: "Marla Spivak, an entomologist from the University of Minnesota, put the bees' plight in human terms: Suppose you have the flu, she said, and you're starving, and you have to walk two miles for food, and there's a tick the size of a rabbit battened onto your neck, and when you finally reach food you find it's slightly poisonous. Well then, the flu finishes you off. Bees can contend with one or two of the three Ps, but when all three combine it becomes too much, and illness can deal the final blow." Read the full article

Rob Venette named Invasive Species Director

Ento Venette 2015[1/5/2015] Dr. Rob Venette was named the Invasive Species Director for the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center (MITPPC) in CFANS, effective Jan. 2, 2015. In his new role, Rob provide intellectual leadership and administrative guidance for the center, working closely with external stakeholders. The center will translate scientific findings to support policy making, application, and resource management practices and to address the invasive species affecting Minnesota's forests, prairies, urban landscapes and agricultural systems. Congratulations, Rob! Read the full article

Anthony Auletta awarded Shevlin Fellowship

Ento Auletta2 2014[12/17/14] Anthony Auletta (Ph.D. Student under Karen Mesce) has been awarded a Thomas H. Shevlin Fellowship for the 2015-16 academic year. This prestigious award is offered to students at the University of Minnesota in the biological and agricultural sciences, basic physical and medical sciences, or liberal arts, and who have completed at least one year of graduate study at the University of Minnesota at the time of application. The student must be nominated by their Program, and awards are given based on strength of the academic record and the overall professional promise, the cohesiveness and significance of the study or research plan, the timeliness of progress toward the degree, and the strength of the letters of recommendation. Two Awards were made for 2015. Congratulations Anthony!

Mountain beetle threatens Minnesota's pine forests

[12/8/2014] The State Department of Agriculture is proposing a Quarantine that would ban freshly cut logs from states infested with the mountain pine beetle from entering Minnesota, in the hopes of preventing an infestation. Dr. Brian Aukema was interviewed by Minnesota Public Radio News to explain why and how this invasion could still happen, even with the proposed quarantine in effect. Read the full article, and take a look at some of the photos by Derek Rosenberger!

Winners of the ESA Student Competition for the President's Prize

ESA Logo 2014 (smallest)[11/19/2014] Much of the Entomology department has been in Portland this week for the annual ESA meeting, and many of our students participated in various competitions. We are proud to announce the following winners:


For 10 Minute Oral Presentations:

For Poster Presentations:

A job well done by all!

Aukema Lab in the news

[11/19/2014] The good news is that populations of Gypsy Moth have decreased as a result of last year’s frigid winter. The bad news is they’ll probably bounce back pretty quickly, according to Dr. Brian Aukema. Please see the full articles in both the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press.

Grad Student Derek Rosenberger in the news!

[11/17/2014] Derek Rosenberger, a Ph.D. student studying under Dr. Brian Aukema and Dr. Rob Venette, spoke with KSTP 5 Eyewitness news regarding his research of the Mountain Pine Beetle. These destructive little beetles have been wreaking havoc in Colorado and South Dakota. Derek's research suggests they could start attacking pines in Minnesota as well. Researchers brought in different pine trees from Minnesota and placed the beetle into logs to see how the insect reacted. Unfortunately, the research has shown that mountain pine beetles will attack pine trees found in Minnesota. Watch the Video

Dr. Steve Kells receives Crown Leadership Award

Ento Kells PCT[11/14/2014] Congratulations to Dr. Kells, who was recognized by PCT Magazine in October for his contributions to the growth and development of the structural pest control industry. Steve was one of four influential leaders from the pest management industry awarded this year. Crown Leadership Awards honor professionals who have made significant contributions to the growth and development of the structural pest control industry, as well as to their local communities. If you’re not a subscriber to PCT magazine, you can read Steve’s interview in this attached PDF. For more about each winner, please visit PCT Online.

University of Minnesota Bee Lab Wants You to Plant More Flowers

[11/3/2014] Dr. Marla Spivak was interviewed by Channel 5 News, telling viewers that autumn is a great time to plant wildflower seeds for bees. Large or small scale plantings will be beneficial, because all efforts will provide food for bees come springtime. Watch the Video

UMN researchers backing drones usage, surveying farmlands with technology

ENTO Cornfield 3
[10/29/14] University of Minnesota researchers are using drones to survey the agricultural landscape in more than a dozen counties. In an interview for the Star Tribune, Ian MacRae urged the FAA to establish regulations regarding the commercial use of drones in national airspace quickly, so the U.S. doesn't fall behind in drone research and technology. "We're probably second to none in the development, but where we're hurting is the application," he said. "It's important we get them incorporated in the national airspace safely." Read the full article

Assistant Professor in Pollinator Ecology

[10/22/2014] The College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences and the Departments of Entomology and Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior are hiring an Assistant Professor in Pollinator Ecology. Please share this job posting with your networks. employment.umn.edu/applicants/Central?quickFind=125133

If you have trouble with this link please visit the U of MN HR Website and search Requisition number 194884

Pollinator Ecologist Position Description PDF

EPA Comments on Soybean Insecticide

[10/20/14] According to EPA estimates, farmers use soybean seeds treated with neonicotinoid pesticides on about a third of the acres planted. University of Minnesota researcher ​Dr. ​Bob Koch said he has seen estimates as high as 60 to 75 percent. In most situations, treated soybean seeds have no benefit, EPA officials say. Koch agrees. Given the EPA's conclusion, he said there is no need for widespread use of neonicotinoid-treated soybean seeds. Read the full article.

Special Seminar - Dr. Cole Gilbert, Cornell University

[10/10/14] Please join us next Thursday, October 16th, for the 2nd Annual Richards Hodson Lectureship. Light refreshments will be served prior to the 1pm seminar. Hope to see you at the St. Paul Student Center Theater next week!

ENTO 2014 RH Lecture 2

Dean’s Award for Distinguished Team

[10/9/14] Congratulations to Bob Koch, Ian MacRae, and Ken Ostlie, who are members of the Institute for Agricultural Professionals (IAP) that received the Dean's Award for Distinguished Team at the recent extension conference. Keep up the good work! IAP is a trusted establishment in the Minnesota agriculture industry. It employs multiple delivery systems to educate agricultural professionals via seminars, workshops, and non-credit courses.

The IAP reaches its audience through an annual Field School delivered at the University’s Research and Outreach Centers, Research Updates offered at locations throughout Minnesota, and a Crop Pest Management course that is part of a trade show each December in Minneapolis. All of these programs offer certification credits, which are mandated by most crop-consulting organizations. In addition, the team develops and delivers needs-based worships for “response” issues such as aphids, drought, hail, and diseases.

Chris Philips introduced in Grand Rapids

Ento Chris Philips 3[10/6/14] Dr. Chris Philips, the most recent addition to the Entomology Faculty, made the front page of the Grand Rapids Review, with a story titled 'Its okay to bug this guy." It sounds like he's already made a name for himself as the wise-cracking entomologist, joking with the reporter that fly larvae on raspberries makes them “protein-fortified raspberries!" A big reason Philips is here is to investigate the effects of the Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD). Those of us down on the St. Paul campus are happy to know that Chris has been formally introduced as the resident 'bug guy' for the Grand Rapids area! Read the Full Article

Decisions to Plant Bt Corn?

[10/3/14] The first thing to consider when selecting a corn hybrid is yield potential. Bt traits only provide a yield benefit when targeted insects are above economic levels, according to a report from University of Minnesota Extension integrated pest management specialist Bruce Potter, and Ken Ostlie, Professor of Entomology and Extension entomologist. Read the full article.

The Story behind the Story: Marla's Bees

ENTO Marla[10/2/14] This past Sunday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune published their 4th in a series that focuses on the current challenges facing bees, pollinator health, and future research needs. In this article (Bees at the Brink) the reporter provides a new twist, with a more in-depth focus on Marla Spivak, the MacArthur Fellow and Entomology Professor who has been a catalyst for many innovative research and extension initiatives (including the Minnesota Bee Squad) at the University of Minnesota. This story provides a fascinating back story about how and why Marla became passionate about bees, and how she's been unlocking the secrets of the hive ever since. Marla is also featured in the Fall issue of the Minnesota Extension Service "Source" magazine. For more information, please visit (and like) our Facebook page!

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Recent Publications

Wilson, Michael B.; Spivak, Marla; Hegeman, Adrian D.; Rendahl, Aaron; Cohen, Jerry D. 2013. Metabolomics Reveals the Origins of Antimicrobial Plant Resins Collected by Honey Bees. Plos One


Blahnik, R.J., and R.W. Holzenthal
. 2014. Review and redescription of species in the Oecetis avara group, with the description of 15 new species (Trichoptera, Leptoceridae). ZooKeys 376: 1-83.    http://www.pensoft.net/ journals/zookeys/issue/376/


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November 15-18, 2014
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