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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Robert K. Vander Meer (Bob)

Research Leader

Dr. Robert K. Vander Meer

Robert K. Vander Meer

Research Leader - Research Chemist

Telephone: (352) 374-5855
Fax: (352) 374-5818
E-mail: bob.vandermeer@ars.usda.gov
http://www.ars.usda.gov/saa/cmave/ifahi/rkvandermeer
CV Links

Education

1960 - 1964
Blackburn College; Majors, Chemistry and   Mathematics; B.S.
1964 - 1966
John Carroll University; Major, Chemistry; M.S.
1966 - 1972
The Pennsylvania State University, Synthetic   Organic Chemistry; Ph.D.

Research and University Experience

1972 - 1976
Lecturer in Chemistry (British System), The School of Natural Resources, The University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji Islands (Peace Corps Volunteer).
1976 - 1977
Postdoctoral Fellow, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.
1977 - Present
Research Chemist, USDA, ARS, Gainesville, FL.
1983 - Present
Adjunct Professor, Department of Entomology and Nematology, Univ. of Fl., Gainesville, FL.
1983 - Present
Member of the Graduate Faculty, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

Significant Research Accomplishments

  • Accomplishment: Dr. Vander Meer's collaborative efforts to develop delayed acting toxicants for fire ant control led to several pendant toxicant formulations (pro-toxicants) and most importantly, to the discovery of a powerful new class of delayed action toxicant. Dr. Vander Meer then led a concerted effort with the manufacturer, 3M Company, and colleagues to determine the compounds through structure-activity relationships. Patents have been issued on this class of compounds (perfluorinated sulfonamides and sulfonic acids). Role: Dr. Vander Meer was instrumental in guiding the efforts of the Southern Research Institute in developing controlled release toxicants for imported fire ant control under grants from ARS and APHIS. Dr. Vander Meer led collaborators in the discovery of unusual insecticidal activity and the structure/activity of surfactant controls. He then led efforts with colleagues to successfully patent a new class of insecticides and was the senior author on initial publications. Impact: The technology was transferred through issuance of an exclusive license to Griffin Corporation, Valdosta, GA, for development of the invention. EPA approval was obtained for the use of one of these compounds, "sulfluramid," against cockroaches and household ants. The product is currently available to the public in stores throughout the U.S., as a household Roach Bait station and an Ant Bait Station (Hot Shot®, MaxAttrax, Spectrum Group of Household Industries Corp.). The same company offers Spectricide's - Terminate - a Termite Killing System (sold in stores like Lowes and Home Depot). FMC Corporation has sub-licensed the invention and is producing FirstLine® Termite Defense System and other PCO products. The invention is used extensively in South America for leaf-cutting ant control. The licensing of this technology has successfully brought needed pest control products to the public. Based on royalties to the USDA, this invention ranks third in terms of monetary return to the ARS.
  • Accomplishment: Dr. Vander Meer isolated, identified and synthesized four components from S. invicta's Dufour's gland that elicited trail orientation. Scientists had been working on this problem for over 20 years and its solution represented a major breakthrough in the study of fire ant pheromones. Further, the recruitment process was reduced to attraction, orientation induction, and orientation subcategories. Dr. Vander Meer's research efforts led to the development of new bioassays, the isolation and partial identification of the part of the recruitment pheromone used by foraging workers to attract other workers to a trail, and the discovery of a novel trail orientation inducer pheromone (it modulates and increases their sensitivity to the orientation pheromone). Role: Dr. Vander Meer conducted the research and directed the research of a Research Associate to achieve the accomplishments. Impact: The total fire ant recruitment pheromone (attraction, orientation induction, and orientation) as elucidated by Dr. Vander Meer and colleagues is the most completely understood ant pheromone system in terms of both chemistry and behavior, and serves as a model for researchers worldwide.
  • Accomplishment: Discovered that each colony has a distinctive cuticular hydrocarbon pattern that dynamically changes with time. This and the discovery by a graduate student under Dr. Vander Meer's direction of an environmental contribution to the recognition cues helped elucidate the mechanism of cue/template matching, and the ontogeny of nestmate recognition. Recognition of intruders (other ants, pathogens, parasites, predators) as non-nestmate triggers colony defenses that protect the colony from invasion. However, some insects, myrmecophiles, and parasitic ant species have evolved mechanisms to get around these defenses and integrate into their host ant colonies. Two myrmecophiles, a beetle, Myrmecaphodius excavaticollis, and an Orasema sp. wasp were shown to acquire the colony's nestmate recognition cues. Determined in part the mechanism used by a parasitic ant to kill the existing queen and integrate into its host Formica ant colony. Role: Dr. Vander Meer led research efforts aimed at understanding nestmate recognition in fire ants and other ant species, as well as myrmecophile and parasite / host integration mechanisms through graduate students, postdocs, and collaborative interactions. Impact: Both the nestmate recognition and myrmecophile studies have had a major impact on hymenopteran nestmate recognition research and are frequently cited in nestmate recognition papers and reviews. "Cracking" the nestmate recognition code for the fire ant enabled us to better understand parasite, pathogen, and/or predator biological control agents, as well as biologically-based population suppression technologies. Investigations with a parasitic ant and its Formica host are leading the way to an understanding of parasitic ant/host integration mechanisms.
  • Accomplishment: Dr. Vander Meer discovered, via chemical analyses, that the imported fire ants, S. richteri and S. invicta, hybridize. Morphologically the hybrid looks like its parent, S. richteri. Subsequent research using biochemical and genetic techniques demonstrated that the hybrid population is viable and extensive. Behavioral and additional chemical evidence for hybridization was obtained through a comparison of Dufour's gland Gas Chromatograph profiles and the behavioral responses of the parents and hybrid to the recruitment pheromone. The presence of natural hybrid populations was used to gain greater insight into fire ant nestmate recognition. In addition, Dr. Vander Meer developed methods to detect species-specific chemical characters (hydrocarbons and venom alkaloids) from a variety of sample types, including alcohol preserved specimens. This technique was used to analyze museum collections (1949, 1964) and to map the progression of the hybridization of the two imported species over time. These chemical characters are excellent taxonomic tools and represent the most reliable way to detect hybrid colonies. The same tools have been used to define the South American range of the two imported fire ants, also resulting in the discovery of what appear to be cryptic S. richteri species in South America. Role: Dr. Vander Meer made the initial discovery of hybridization then led the expansion of the discovery through collaborations and a Post Doc. In addition, the incumbent is leading the chemical identification of fire ant populations in South America that best match our imported populations in an effort to optimize biocontrol efforts. Impact: The discovery of hybridization raises many important questions regarding conventional and biological control strategies, as well as basic questions about hybrid vigor/cold-hardiness, speciation and the taxonomy of fire ants in South America. For biological control the chemical characters are being used to collect pathogens and parasites from areas in South America that most closely match our imported populations in order to bring back the most virulent form. Dr. Vander Meer currently collaborates with many groups in the U.S., including APHIS, to identify fire ant.
  • Accomplishment: Dr. Vander Meer and coworkers made several discoveries relative to the multiplicity of functions centered on the fire ant's sting apparatus. For example, workers have a hierarchy of defensive behaviors that involve stinging, venom flinging, and aerosol dispersal. Broodtending workers aerosol minute amounts of the antimicrobial venom alkaloids onto brood and soil to promote colony hygiene. Demonstrated that the fire ant queen pheromone is stored in her venom sac and exits through the sting apparatus. This was the first report of the anatomical source of an ant queen pheromone. Discovered that the queen egg-laying mechanism involves sting extension followed by retraction across the eggs being laid. During this process poison gland products are deposited on the eggs. Since the queen is capable of depositing poison sac or Dufour's gland products on eggs, the discovery has many implications. Monogyne and polygyne S. invicta exhibit the same egg-laying behavior. Although individual polygyne queens have a lower oviposition rate than their monogyne counterparts, polygyne colonies produce significantly more eggs at the colony level. Role: Dr. Vander Meer directly participated in and led research with coworkers toward the noted accomplishments. Impact: Queen deposition of poison or Dufour's gland compounds is beneficial to the eggs and thus provides an evolutionary link between the ovipositor and accessory glands of solitary insects and the sting and the poison and Dufour's glands in aculeate Hymenoptera. The egg-laying behavior and deposition of queen-specific compounds on the eggs provide workers with a measure of their queen's fecundity and thus affects their behavior; queen egg-laying behavior and release of worker attractants facilitates the circulation of non-volatile queen primer pheromones into the colony. This work, coupled with Dr. Vander Meer's work on the recruitment pheromone and queen attractant pheromone, document the multifunctional role that the sting apparatus and its associated glands play in fire ant colony life.
  • Accomplishment: Dr. Vander Meer determined 1. monogyne and polygyne fire ant workers respond equally well to queen-produced attractant pheromones. 2. significant attraction was obtained when the racemic queen pheromone (invictolide) was dissolved in the bait phagostimulant, soybean oil and absorbed in carrier grit particles. 3. fire ants discover pheromone enhanced baits significantly faster than non-enhanced baits, and in paired tests enhanced baits are discovered first up to 80% of the time. 4. invictolide enhanced bait kept in a closed vial, maintained structural integrity and biological activity for over two years-a necessary requirement for commercialization. 5. paired single mound treatments demonstrated that pheromone enhanced baits gave more rapid control than non-enhanced baits. 6. fire ants are not as efficient at discovering bait particles as previous dogma dictated. A Patent Application was submitted with our CRADA partner; however, invictolide was very expensive and American Cyanamid, Co. decided not to pursue commercialization - the Patent Application was abandoned. However, a new naturally occurring fire ant attractant was isolated and identified from unrefined soybean oil as isomers of 2,4-heptadienal. These compounds are not found in other oils. Demonstrated bait enhancement benefits for this commercially available compound and a patent has been issued. Initiated a CRADA with BioGuard R&D, Inc. to develop controlled release formulations of the heptadienal and/or invictolide. Role: Dr. Vander Meer was responsible for, participated in, and led research aimed at demonstrating the benefits of pheromone enhanced fire ant baits (funded in part through a CRADA with American Cyanamid, Co.). Dr. Vander Meer led the discovery, isolation, and identification of fire ant attractants from soybean oil. Impact: The queen pheromone, invictolide, was an excellent model to first demonstrate the concept and multiple benefits of pheromone enhanced baits (as outlined above). Discovery of attractants from soybean oil have opened up additional possibilities for bait enhanced - currently being explored through a CRADA with BioGuard, R&D, Inc. Successful development of enhanced bait will decrease the fire ant reinfestation rate by having less effect on non-target ant species, require less active ingredient and in another application provide a species-specific fire ant detection method.
  • Accomplishment: Discovered and developed a number of effective fire ant repellents. A patent application was filed and four patents have been issued covering several classes of compounds described in the original application. Controlled release formulations of the volatile repellents was pursued through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with Hercon Environmental Co., who used a polymer laminate formulation to increase the active life of the repellents from minutes to several weeks. In a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with Organic Plus, Inc. the repellents were absorbed onto diatomaceous earth, which effectively kept the ants from foraging on the surface for several hours. Recently, controlled release formulations were prepared by CRADA partner, BioGuard R&D, Inc. that effectively repelled fire ants for over two months. Role: Dr. Vander Meer led research with colleagues on fire ant repellents, then took charge of finding commercial partners to develop the invention. Impact: While these compounds do not kill fire ants, they do provide the opportunity to exclude ants from areas where they are not wanted without using insecticides. Potential applications include urban picnic areas, high human use places in parks and recreational areas, plant nurseries, hospitals, electrical equipment, interstate commerce, protection of endangered species, etc. A Phase I SBIR proposal was funded and successfully executed. An SBIR Phase II proposal has been funded to develop these repellents and a funded project was just completed with the Department of the Army at Ft. Hood, TX to use the controlled release repellents to protect an endangered bird species from fire ant predation. This work is continuing.
  • Accomplishment: (A) Discovered that workers from polygyne fire ant populations lack agonistic behavior toward workers from polygyne or monogyne colonies. However, workers from monogyne colonies are aggressive toward all non-colony members. Thus polygyne populations behave as a single "supercolony". (B) Discovered that newly mated fire ant queens (NMQs) are normally executed by monogyne and polygyne workers; however, if either social form loses their queen(s), workers readily accept non-nestmate workers and NMQs. Polygyne colonies were created in the laboratory for the first time through adoption of NMQs by queenless worker groups. Monogyne field sites treated with toxic baits produced queenless worker groups and subsequently polygyne colonies. Discovered a relationship between biogenic amines/aggression levels/and queen presence or absence and proposed a new queen produced primer pheromone to explain results. Role: Dr. Vander Meer led research with colleagues aimed at discovering similarities or differences in nestmate recognition between monogyne and polygyne fire ant populations. Incumbent then led the discovery of NMQ adoption by queenless workers into novel areas that impact the spread of polygyny and the biochemical and physiological basis for the influence of the queen on nestmate recognition. Impact: (A) Polygyne populations behave as a uni- or supercolony, with free flow of worker, queen, and food from one colony to another. The simple aggression assay developed by the incumbent and co-workers reliably determines if a colony is polygyne or monogyne, this facilitated research into social form sympatric patterns in polygyne populations. Practically, a point source of bait toxicant rather than a broadcast treatment will work to control polygyne populations, since workers will distribute the bait population-wide. (B) Re-queening of queenless worker groups by NMQs has tremendous impact on how we view fire ant control and polygyny in the United States. At the least, adoption of NMQs will lead to rapid reinfestation of treated land. At the worst, chemical efforts to control S. invicta will promote the formation of polygyne populations. This work is at the cutting edge of nestmate recognition/primer pheromone research in ants and will become a model system for future social insect research in this area. National Research Initiative and Israel - United States Binational Science Foundation Grants were funded on this subject.
  • Accomplishment: The sex pheromone of the moth, Utetheisa ornatrix was isolated, identified and synthesized. Several components from male moth coremata were isolated and identified, then demonstrated to be that enhanced successful mating. Role: Dr. Vander Meer isolated, identified and synthesized the sex attractant of the moth U. ornatrix; synthesized other pheromone isomers for biological testing and was actively involved with the cooperating biologists who discovered that pheromone emission occurs discontinuously, in the form of short pulses; isolated and identified aphrodisiac compounds from male moths. Impact: The sex pheromone structure was unique for Lepidoptera and the method of pheromone emission added another dimension to insect communication. This was the first time coremata components in moths have been shown to have behavioral effects. The incumbent's work along with that of his colleagues has been featured on public television nature programs and is now a classic, textbook chemical ecology story.
  • Accomplishment: Dr. Vander Meer discovered relationships between (1) the area of a rhinoceros beetle's (Oryctes rhinoceros) elytra and its adult emergent weight, and (2) pupal weight and emergent weight. In addition, incumbent determined that rhinoceros beetles emerge from their pupal chambers, take their first flight, feed, and die at specific percent emergent weights. These physiological events are variable with time, but well defined by a percent emergent weight relationship. Dr. Vander Meer developed a unique olfactometer for Oryctes rhinoceros (L.) that was proven effective by a comparison of results with field-tested chemicals. Using the olfactometer, (-)-des-N-morphinan, but not its stereoisomer was found to be a strong attractant for adult rhinoceros beetles. Additional olfactometer work led to the discovery of structure-activity correlations for derivatives of siglure, an attractant for the rhinoceros beetle. Role: Dr. Vander Meer developed the olfactometer and discovered the fixed measurement - physiological state relationships. Collaborators provided chemicals for evaluation. Impact: The correlation work clearly differentiates between temporal and physiological time and allowed the adult emergent weight of trap-collected rhinoceros beetles to be determined simply by measuring the approximate elytra area. The ability to estimate the emergent weight of field beetles makes these correlations useful in control and ecological studies. This was the first synthetic bridged hydrocarbon found to be an insect attractant. The olfactometer made it possible to screen samples faster than by field testing and led to the discovery of better attractants, which were needed to bring beetles into traps that enabled inoculation with a viral biological control agent.
  • Accomplishment: Incumbent led work that forced a reevaluation of the concept of anti-aphrodisiacs in Drosophila. Role: Dr. Vander Meer collaborated with other researchers, did the chemical analyses, and wrote the paper. Impact: The work revealed how hypotheses developed from extrapolation of results can be erroneously turned into fact through subsequent citations. In addition, this work led to a coauthored book chapter on Drosophila sexual behavior and ageing.
  • Accomplishment: Dr. Vander Meer used caste-specific chemical markers and designed feeding experiments to establish that the first workers produced by a colony-founding queen represent a transient caste. Role: Dr. Vander Meer designed the experiments and led their execution. Impact: The results helps to explain the different behavior observed for minims and has broad implications on our view of colony development in fire ants and other social insects.
  • Accomplishment: Many Pseudacteon flies are known to attack fire ants in South America. The flies are host specific and have been shown to stop fire ant foraging and may shift the local competitive balance to other ant species. Pseudacteon tricuspis was shown to be attracted to compounds released by electrically stimulated fire ants. In addition, the volatile compounds released by shaken fire ant workers attracted phorid fly parasites. Dr. Vander Meer subsequently demonstrated the involvement of alarm pheromones in the attraction of this phorid fly to their host fire ant. In the context of phorid fly rearing, electrical stimulation of ants resulted in about 30% more attacking flies, 15% fewer resting flies, and 20% increase in parasite pupae production. Role: Dr. Vander Meer spearheaded the electrical stimulation work, the subsequence determination of the attractant source, and pushed the development of electrical stimulation and phorid fly rearing. A colleague provided ready access to flies and advice on how to implement electrical stimulation in fly rearing. Impact: This work has enhanced the productivity of mass rearing efforts within ARS and APHIS. In addition, this work leads the way to development of phorid fly trap development for - detection of incipient fly populations, focus flies to a desired area, biotype selection in South America, collection of "wild" flies for rearing enhancement, research. This will become a major accomplishment after documentation in peer-reviewed journals.

Honors and Awards

  • American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1976-1977
  • USDA Unit Award for Superior Service, 1982
  • Elected Member of Sigma Xi, 1984
  • U.S. Department of Commerce Inventor's Award, 1986
  • USDA Research Certificate of Merit, 1986
  • Editorial Board of Chemoecology, 1989-present
  • Associate Editor of the Florida Entomologist, 1993-present
  • Spot Cash Award for efforts in Technology Transfer, 1994
  • Special EEO Educational Outreach Award, 1995
  • Elected Secretary/Treasurer, NAS/IUSSI, 1996
  • Selected to be Acting National Program Leader for Dr. Karl Narang, 4/99-6/99
  • Special Assignment related to Action Plans, Beltsville, MD for Dr. Karl Narang, NPL, 6/2000
  • Selected as a member of the Florida A&M U Science Center Steering Committee, 2001
  • Selected to be on the OTT Mechanical, Measurement and Chemical Patent Committee, 2001
  • Elected to Annals of the ESA Editorial Board as Section C representative, 2001
  • Selected Acting Research Leader Mosquito & Fly Research Unit (Dec 2002-Oct 2004)
  • Selected Research Leader Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects Research Unit (Oct 2004 - Present)
  • Received Honorable Mention team award from the S.E. Federal Laboratory Consortium for excellence in Technology Transfer for "Outstanding effort in areawide integrated management of invasive fire ants" (2006)
  • Received Superior ARS Technology Transfer Award for "Outstanding effort and creativity in areawide suppression of imported fire ants and providing the basis for integrated management of this invasive species" (2006)
  • Elected President of the North American Section, International Union for the Study of Social Insects, 2007
  • Received ESA Service Award 2007
  • Served on executive Board of the North American Section, International Union for the Study of Social Insects, 2008-2010
  • Elected Councilor, International Society for Chemical Ecology, 2009

Editorial Experience

  • Editor in Chief of "Attini", an International Newsletter on Pest Ants, 1987-1994.
  • Lofgren, C.S. and Vander Meer, R.K. 1986. Editors: Fire Ants and Leaf-Cutting Ants: Biology and Management. Westview Press, Boulder, CO, 435 pp.
  • Vander Meer, R.K., K. Jaffe and A. Cedeno. 1990. Editors: Applied Myrmecology: A World Perspective. Westview Press, Boulder, CO. 741pp.
  • Vander Meer, R.K., Breed, M., Winstein, M., and Espelie, C. 1998. Pheromone Communication in Social Insects, Westview Press, Boulder, CO.

Membership is Professional Societies:

  • The American Chemical Society
  • The Entomological Society of America
  • The Florida Entomological Society
  • The International Society for Chemical Ecology
  • The International Union for the Study of Social Insects
  • Sigma Xi

Patents

Vander Meer, R.K., Lofgren, C.S., Williams, D.F., Meyers, W. and D. Lewis. 1989. Method for the Control of Insects. Patent No. 4921696.

Vander Meer, R.K., Lofgren, C.S., Meyers, W.E., Lewis, D.H., and Williams, D.F., 1993. Method for the Control of Insects. United States Patent Number 5,177,107.

Vander Meer, R.K., Lofgren, C.S., Williams, D.F., Meyers, W.E., and Lewis, D.H., 1994. Method for the Control of Insects. United States Patent Number 5,364,618.

Vander Meer, R.K., Banks, W.A., and Lofgren, C.S., 1996. Repellents for Ants. United States Patent Number 5,587,401.

Vander Meer, R.K., Banks, W.A., and Lofgren, C.S. 1998. Repellents for Ants. United States Patent No. 5,721,274.

Vander Meer, R. K. and Lofgren, C. S. 1999. Attractant for Social insects. United States Patent Number: 5,897,859.

Vander Meer, R. K.; Banks, W. A., and Lofgren, C. S. Repellent for Ants Patent. U.S. Patent; 6,071,973. 2000. (Patent)

Vander Meer, R. K.; Banks, W. A., and Lofgren, C. S. Repellent for Ants. U.S. Patent, #6,294,577 B1. 2001. (Patent)

Special Invitations

Only invitations from the last 10 years have been listed. More than 75 invitations have not been listed.

  • Invited to present special seminar, "Will the real Solenopsis richteri stand up," at the year 2000 Imported Fire Ant Conference, Chattanooga, TN, April 2000.
  • Invited to present a seminar on "The Many Functions of Fire Ant Venom Alkaloids" for the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS, Sept. 2000.
  • Invited to give a presentation at a TMR-European Union project Workshop in Florence, Italy, 2000 (declined - lack of funds).
  • Invited to Participate in the 3rd International Conference on Methods and Techniques in Behavioral Research. Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 2000 (declined - lack of funds).
  • Invited to contribute a chapter, 'Social Insect Pheromones' for the multiple-volume Encyclopedia of Entomology to be published by Kluwer Academic, 2001.
  • Accepted invitation to co-author with a colleague from Israel, a 'Chemistry of Communication in Social Behavior', for The Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS, a UNESCO Program).
  • Invited to give a Plenary Lecture. Northern New York Section of the American Chemical Society, "A Chemist's Perspective on the Social Behavior of Ants", 2001. Canceled.
  • Invited to Co-organize a Symposium on "Semiochemicals and Communication in Social Insects" at the Internl. Congress of the IUSSI (International Union for the Study of Social insects), Sapporo, Japan, 2002.
  • Invited to present, "Semiochemicals and communication in social systems: Future directions", for the Symposium, 'Chemical Communication in Social Insects' at the International Congress of the IUSSI, Sapporo, Japan, Aug. 2002.
  • Invited to write a review article - topic of my choice - for the journal, Insectes Sociaux. In Progress.
  • Invited to contribute an Article on "Chemistry of Communication in Social Behavior," for a UNESCO program on the production of a database, the Encyclopedia of Life." In Progress.
  • Invited to present, "Repellents for ants" and "Attractants for social insects," at the Florida technology Showcase, Ft Pierce, FL, Oct 2002.
  • Invited to co-organize a Symposium on "Behavior Modification in Social Insects: their Influence on Baits. ESA meeting, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Nov 2002.
  • Invited to write a Review article for the journal, Chemoecology, with Professor Hefetz, Tel Aviv University, Israel, "Nestmate Recognition in Ants". In Progress.
  • Invited to present "Fire ant baits: What are the needs and how do we get there?" for the Symposium, "Behavior Modification in Social Insects: their Influence on Baits". ESA meeting, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Nov 2002.
  • Invited to give a special Symposium presentation at the annual International Society for Chemical Ecology, Ottawa, Canada, Meeting, 2004.
  • Invited to present a Keynote presentation at an Australian Fire Ant Workshop, Brisbane, 2004.
  • Invited to lecture on fire ants to participants in U of FL's FL Student Training Program, 2004.
  • Invited to give a Biology Department seminar at University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS, 2004.
  • Invited to give a presentation at the Southeastern Pest Management Association Conference, Gainesville, FL, 2005.
  • Invited to give a presentation at the FAO/IAEA-Conference on Area-Wide Control of Insect Pests, Vienna, Austria, 2005.
  • Invited to give a presentation at the First Conference on Fire Ants in Mexico, Saltillo, Mexico, 2005.
  • Declined invitation to organize Symposium at FL Ent. Soc. Meeting, 2005.
  • Declined invitation to present a paper at the Asia-Pac. Cong. of Entomol., S. Korea, 2005.
  • Invited to participate in a Symposium on Control of Sugar-Feeding Ants with Liquid Baits, Visalia, CA, 2006.
  • Invited to present a briefing on Fire Ants and Quail at the 2nd Quail Management Shortcourse, Monticello, FL, 2006.
  • Invited to present a seminar on Fire Ant Chemical Ecology, USDA/ARS, Stoneville, MS, 2006.
  • Invited to present a paper on Fire Ant Chemical Ecology at he Semiochemicals of Social Insects at the Congress of the International Union for the Study of Social Insects, Washington, D.C., 2006.
  • Invited to give multiple presentations on fire ants at a Fire Ant Workshop, National University of Taiwan, Taipei, Taiwan, 2006
  • Invited to participate in a chemical ecology Symposium, Asian-Pacific Association for Chemical Ecology, Tsukuba, Japan
  • Invited to give a seminar on the chemical ecology of fire ants at the Kyoto Institute of Technology, Kyoto, Japan, 2007.
  • Invited Department Seminar, University of Florida, Entomology & Nematology Department - 2008
  • Invited presentation at McLaughlin, Gormley, King, Co. Minneapolis, MN, presented overview of IFA and use of attractants to enhance the effectiveness of baits - 2008
  • Invited seminar, Department of Zoology, University of Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel-Department Seminar - 2008
  • Invited Symposium speaker, "Advances in Ant Physiology", International Congress of Entomology, Durban, South Africa – 2008, Declined
  • Invited seminar for Department of Plant & Environmental Protection Sciences, University of Hawaii - 2008
  • Invited Department Seminar, Auburn University, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, 2008
  • Invited Book Chapter - American Chemical Society book on Household and Structural Pest Control – declined, 2008
  • Invited Department Seminar, University of Mississippi Department of Biology - 2009
  • Invited UF Entomology & Nematology Department - Seminar in conjunction with Chemical Ecology class – 2009

Refereed Publications

2013

Weldon, P. J., Y. J. Cardoza, R. Vander Meer, J. W. Daly, and T. F. Spande. 2013. Contact toxicities of anuran skin alkaloids against the fire ant (Solenopsis invicta). Naturwissenschaften 100: 185-192.

2012

Choi, M. Y., and R. Vander Meer. 2012. Ant trail pheromone biosynthesis is triggered by a neuropeptide hormone. PLOS one 7 (11): e50400. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050400 1-7.

Choi, M. Y., and R. K. Vander Meer. 2012. Molecular structure and diversity of PBAN/pyrokinin family peptides in ants. Frontiers in Endocrinology 3: 1-8.

Choi, M. Y., R. K. Vander Meer, M. Coy, and M. E. Scharf. 2012. Phenotypic impacts of PBAN RNA interference in an ant, Solenopsis invicta, and a moth, Helicoverpa zea. Journal of Insect Physiology 58: 1159-1165.

Lawson, L. L., R. Vander Meer, and D. Shoemaker. 2012. Male reproductive fitness and queen polyandry are linked to variation in the supergene Gp-9 in the fire ant Solenopsis invicta. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 10: 1-6.

Salomon, M., O. Malka, R. K. Vander Meer, and A. Hefetz. 2012. The role of tyramine and octopamine in the regulation of reproduction in queenless worker honeybees. Naturwissenschaften 99: 123-131.

Suckling, D. M., L. D. Stringer, J. E. Corn, B. Bunn, A. M. El-Sayed, and R. K. Vander Meer. 2012. Aerosol delivery of trail pheromone disrupts the foraging of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Pest Management Science 68: 1572-1578.

Vander Meer, R. K. 2012. Ant interactions with soil organisms and associated semiochemicals. Journal of Chemical Ecology 38: 728-745.

2011

Choi, M. Y., R. K. Vander Meer, D. D. Shoemaker, and S. M. Valles. 2011. PBAN gene architecture and expression in the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. J. Insect Physiol. 57: 161-165.

Fritz, G. N., A. H. Fritz, and R. K. Vander Meer. 2011. Sampling high-altitude and stratified mating flights of red imported fire ant. Journal of Medical Entomology 47: 508-512.

Sharma, K., R. K. Vander Meer, and H. Y. Fadamiro. 2011. Phorid fly, Pseudacteon tricuspis, response to alkylpyrazine analogs of a fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, alarm pheromone. Journal of Insect Physiology 57: 939-944.

Stringer, L. D., D. M. Suckling, D. Baird, R. K. Vander Meer, S. J. Christian, and P. J. Lester. 2011. Sampling efficacy for the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Environ. Entomol. 40: 1276-1284.

Vander Meer, R. K., and M. Y. Choi. 2011. Pheromone biosynthesis activating neuropeptide (PBAN)/Pyrokinin family of peptides and fire ants, Solenopsis spp. Formosan Entomol. 31: 133-147.

2010

Choi, M. Y., R. K. Vander Meer, and S. M. Valles. 2010. Molecular diversity of PBAN family peptides from fire ants. Arch. Insect Biochem. Physiol. 74: 67-80.

Lavine, B. K., N. Mirjankar, and R. K. Vander Meer. 2010. Analysis of chemical signals in red fire ants by gas chromatography and pattern recognition techniques. Talanta 83: 216-224.

Suckling, D. M., L. D. Stringer, B. Bunn, A. M. El-Sayed, and R. K. Vander Meer. 2010. Trail pheromone disruption of red imported fire ant. J. Chem. Ecol. 36: 744-750.

Vander Meer, R. K., C. A. Preston, and M. Y. Choi. 2010. Isolation of a pyrazine alarm pheromone component from the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. J. Chem. Ecol. 36: 163-170.

2009

Choi, M. Y., A. K. Raina, and R. K. Vander Meer. 2009. PBAN/pyrokinin peptides in the central nervous system of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Cell Tissue Res. 335: 431-439.

Choi, M. Y., and R. K. Vander Meer. 2009. Identification of a new member of the PBAN family of neuropeptides from the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Insect Molecular Biology 18: 161-169.

Kafle, L., W. J. Wu, R. K. Vander Meer, Y. Y. Huang, and C. J. Shih. 2009. Microencapsulated bait: Does it work with red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Sociobiology 53: 729-737.

Kafle, L., W. J. Wu, R. K. Vander Meer, and C. J. Shih. 2009. Effect of surfaces on the foraging efficiency of Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Formosan Entomol. 29: 51-58.

Lalzar, I., T. Simon, R. K. Vander Meer, and A. Hefetz. 2009. Alteration of cuticular hydrocarbon composition affects heterospecific nestmate recognition in the carpenter ant Camponotus fellah. Chemoecology DOI 10.1007/s00049-009-0030-x: (6 pages).

Oliver, J. B., R. K. Vander Meer, S. A. Ochieng, N. N. Youssef, E. Pantaleoni, F. A. Mrema, K. M. Vail, J. P. Parkman, S. M. Valles, W. G. Haun, and S. Powell. 2009. Statewide survey of imported fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) populations in Tennessee. J. Entomol. Sci. 44: 149-157.

2008

Gardner, W. A., S. Diffie, R. K. Vander Meer, and M. A. Brinkman. 2008. Distribution of the fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) hybrid in Georgia. J. Entomol. Sci. 43: 133-137.

Kafle, L., W. J. Wu, R. K. Vander Meer, and C. J. Shih. 2008. Simplified approaches to determine the attractant preference of Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Appl. Entomol. Zool. 43: 383-390.

Vander Meer, R. K., C. A. Preston, and A. Hefetz. 2008. Queen regulates biogenic amine level and nestmate recognition in workers of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Naturwissenschaften 95: 1155-1158.

2007

Barron, A. B., J. Maleszka, R. Vander Meer, G. E. Robinson, and R. Maleszka. 2007. Comparing injection, feeding and topical application methods for treatment of honeybees with octopamine. J. Insect Physiol. 53: 187-194.

Barron, A. B., R. Maleszka, R. K. Vander Meer, and G. E. Robinson. 2007. Octopamine modulates honey bee dance behavior. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 104: 1703-1707.

Burns, S. N., R. Vander Meer, and P. E. A. Teal. 2007. Juvenile hormone III concentrations in female reproductives of Solenopsis invicta Buren. J. Entomol. Sci. 42: 306-309.

Burns, S. N., R. Vander Meer, and P. E. A. Teal. 2007. Mat


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