1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
The objective of this cooperative research project is to train and develop students and research associates in the systematics of agriculturally important insects and mites. Determine species boundaries, describe new species, develop identification keys and illustrations, define relationships among taxa, and investigate host use and specificity of insects and mites that are pests of, or beneficial to U.S. agriculture.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Candidate insect and mite groups will be selected in consultation with the Research Leader and scientists of the Systematic Entomology Lab (SEL). SEL scientists will play an active role in the selection of students and definition of research areas and overall course of study. Prioritization of candidates will be based on qualification of the candidates and on current and future needs of ARS programs and in consultation with the ADODR. Special emphasis will be placed on groups that are of importance for quarantine, invasive species, and which are either not currently covered by ARS or for which there is a pressing need due to new emerging pest problems.
The agreement supports the training of students in the classification and identification of insects of importance to agriculture and quarantine.
The results are on the University of Maryland website. SEL systematists participated and worked with students in the Lepidoptera Tree-of-Life project at the University of Maryland. Research developed new higher classifications of butterflies and moths, and snout moths and leaf rolling moths based on molecular characters. A post doc conducted research on the systematics of Pyraloidea. A Ph.D. candidate is working on the systematics of parasitic wasps important to biological control of pests.