Dr. Jesusa "Susie" C. Legaspi has over 20 years’ research experience. Under a USDA-National Research Initiative grant, Dr. Legaspi was the first to document the effects of transgenic insect-resistant sugarcane on stalkboring pests and their natural enemies in the field. Transgenic sugarcane was found to inhibit growth and development of a major pest, with no negative effects on natural enemies.
Dr. Legaspi has completed a substantial body of work on the physiological ecology and life history of generalist predators, especially the spined soldier bug, Podisus maculiventris. Her study on ovigeny of P. maculiventris is the first known in insect predators.
Dr. Legaspi has developed integrated pest management plans for controlling various agricultural and horticultural pests in different cropping systems; i.e., cotton, cucurbits, citrus, sugarcane, etc. Her research on management of the sweetpotato whitefly (also known as silverleaf whitefly), sugarcane stalkborers, citrus blackfly, and others have received local, national and international recognition, often leading to collaborative research and extramural grants. Her most recent work has concentrated on the population dynamics of whiteflies and their natural enemies, and the IPM of small-farm niche crops such as hot peppers.
Dr. Legaspi will take the lead in studies of predator nutrition and fitness on various candidate beneficial plants. She will determine various life-history parameters under different environmental conditions in pests and their natural enemies. Dr. Legaspi will develop "push-pull" strategies for whitefly management that integrate plant-based pest repellents and natural enemy attractants.
Muhammad Haseeb, Entomologist, College of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida
Lambert Kanga, Professor, College of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida
Alvin Simmons, Research Entomologist, USDA, ARS, US Vegetable Laboratory, Charleston, South Carolina