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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

ARS 50th Anniversary Celebration

Logo Image for "A R S : The Future Grows Here"Agricultural Research Service
50th Anniversary

National Scientific Leadership Meeting and
Annual Recognition Program

Proud Past and Promising Future
January 21-23, 2004
New Orleans, Louisiana

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  W. Joe Lewis



  • Joe LewisResearch Entomologist, USDA-ARS, Crop Protection and Management Research Unit, Tifton, Georgia

Dr. Lewis is a native of Mississippi and completed his undergraduate and graduate work at Mississippi State University with a Ph.D. in 1967.  During 36 years as a scientist with ARS, all at the Tifton, location, he has had major crosscutting impact on the fundamental science of biological control, sustainable agriculture practices and sustainable community development through research on parasitoid/host/plant interactions, behavioral and chemical ecology, and ecosystem principles. This is well evidenced by refereed scientific publications and book chapters (over 190), extensive requests for presentations (including numerous keynote addresses), influence on scientists and students who seek to work with him, and extensive role in professional activities of national and international significance. 

He was presented the Founder's Memorial Lecturer Award by the Entomological Society of America (1990); received Outstanding Senior Scientist of Year Award, ARS, 1999; received Special Congressional Recognition for Outstanding Achievement, Service, and Public Distinction, in recognition of scientific and community contributions, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., 2000; awarded Invitational Fellowship for Short-Term Lectures and Research in Japan, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, 2003;  named jointly with J. H. Tumlinson as 2003 winner of the internationally coveted Delwart Prize for outstanding research in Chemical Communication; successfully launched - as a Charter Editor- a major new international journal for Biological Control, under the sponsorship of Academic Press, 1991.

The widespread significance of his work together with colleagues as judged by an interdisciplinary base of peers is exemplified by publication during the last 15 years of 4 papers in the eminent journals of Nature and Science, 3 in PNAS, and 1 invitational paper in Scientific of American. Dr. Lewis' work has been highlighted extensively in the popular press, including CNN Science and Technology, BBC/ Discovery Channel, Business Week, Kiplinger Agricultural Letter, New York Times, Organic Gardening, Intervoice, National Public Radio and BBC Wildlife.

The findings by Dr. Lewis and colleagues include: the discovery of the vital role that chemical cues (kairomones) play in host finding activities of parasitoids; isolation and identification of the first kairomones for larval and egg parasitoids; first demonstrated that associative learning plays a key role in parasitoid responses to chemica1 and/or visual cues associated with hosts; first demonstration that parasitoids can learn chemical cues associated with nectar food sources; and discovered that plants, in response to herbivore feeding damage, can actively emit information rich chemical distress signals that are used by parasitoids to locate and attack the herbivore; first demonstrated that plant signals can be herbivore-specific and selectively used by parasitoids; led the formulation and successful demonstration, using cotton production as a model example, of the economic and environmental benefits of a fundamental shift to a total system approach to sustainable pest management; and formulated and published, based on scientific principles and experience, an ecologically-based framework for fostering sustainable human communities; first demonstrated the potential utility of trained insects as flexible biological detectors for monitoring of various materials of medical, agricultural, security, and food safety concerns.



Last Modified: 8/22/2016
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