|Research Staff Summary|
- Kim A. Hoelmer, Research Leader
- Roger W. Fuester, Collaborator
- Jian J. Duan, Research Entomologist
- Keith R. Hopper, Research Entomologist
- ALB project- vacant, Research Entomologist
- Jay Bancroft , Entomologist, Quarantine Manager
I work on four projects, biocontrol of emerald ash borer, biocontrol of tarnished plant bug, biocontrol of soybean aphid, and biocontrol of brown marmorated stinkbug. Our work on emerald ash borer involves primarily foreign exploration for and laboratory evaluation of natural enemies that attack the pest in the Far East. Our work on tarnished plant bug (Lygus lineolaris) involves trying to get Peristenus relictus, a parasitoid Lygus bugs in southern Europe, established in the lower Middle Atlantic States Our work on soybean aphid focuses on studying the complex of natural enemies attacking the pest on soybeans and on buckthorn, its overwintering host plant. In addition, we are currently conducting surveys for natural enemies of brown marmorated stinkbug in Delaware.
Biological Control of Emerald Ash Borer(click here)
e-mail: Roger W. Fuester
- The goal of my research is to develop sustainable and effective biological control programs against invasive forest and agricultural pests while at the same time minimizing the possible adverse non-target risk from importation and introduction of non-indigenous arthropod natural enemies (primarily parasitoids) into the North American environment. With the assistance from Kristi Larson and Jonathan Schmude, and collaboration with Roger Fuester, I am currently working on biological control of the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire), an invasive metallic wood-boring beetle, that has killed over 30 million ash trees in North America to date, and threatens to kill 200 times as many unless controlled.
- The specific objectives of my research on biological control of the emerald ash borer are to: (1) study the biology, behavior, ecology, and host specificity of several candidate natural enemies (hymenopteran parasitoids) that may be potentially used in classical biological control of emerald ash borer; (2) investigate the role of these natural enemies in regulating population dynamics of emerald ash borer in both their country of origin (China) and their country of introduction (US); and (3) develop spatial and temporal population dynamic models to predict the success of colonization, establishment, and distribution of these natural enemies in their new region (North America) of introduction.
Biological Control of Emerald Ash Borer(click here)
email: Jian J. Duan
My colleagues Kathryn Lanier, Dr. Qiyun Li,and I study the genetics of host specificity in biological control agents introduced for control of arthropod pests and weeds.
Host specificity is crucial for safe, effective biocontrol of insect pests and weeds. Host specificity depends on internal physiological state and previous experience, as well as ecological factors. Furthermore, the likelihood that an insect will evolve to attack a novel species depends on the genetic architecture of host use.
Using behavioral analyses and quantitative genetics, we are determining the basis for host shifts in parasitoids of insects such as soybean aphid (Aphis glycines) on soybean, Russian wheat aphid (Diuraphis noxia) on small grains, cherry vinegar fly (Drosophila suzukii) on soft fruits, and other invasive insects, and of insect herbivores, such as noctuid moths in the genus Heliothis on cotton and other crops.
Cryptic species are closely related species that differ little in the morphology but critically in other traits, including host specificity. We are developing robust phylogenies and keys for species complexes important for biological control, in particular aphid parasitoids in the genus Aphelinus.
We are using the knowledge and methods from the above research to screen candidates for introduction against invasive pest species, introduce the most promising candidates, evaluate their impact on target and non-target species, and determine whether screening improved the success and safety of biocontrol introductions.
e-mail:Keith R. Hopper
The main objective of my research is to improve the biological control of crop pests important to agriculture in the mid-Atlantic region. I am currently working with three target pests, assisted by Kathy Tatmanin collaboration with Roger Fuesterand Keith Hopper. Ongoing research at BIIR on natural enemies of tarnished plant bug, Lygus lineolaris, and alfalfa plant bug, Adelphocoris lineolatus, in the eastern U.S. includes evaluating the benefits of biocontrol of Lygus on fruit crops in the northeastern U.S. by the previously introduced parasitoid Peristenus digoneutis; and working to establish additional natural enemies that will improve the biological control of alfalfa plant bug and of tarnished plant bug in the mid-Atlantic region. Our research on the Chinese soybean aphid, Aphis glycines, involves assessing the impact of indigenous natural enemies that attack soybean aphid populations in the mid Atlantic area and conducting foreign exploration in Asia for effective natural enemies of the aphid for importation to the U.S. These explorations also support interagency soybean aphid biocontrol programs in the Mid-West . We are also investigating the potential for classical biological control of the brown marmorated stink bug, Halyomorpha halys, a polyphagous pest of many fruits and ornamentals that has established in the mid Atlantic region. We are collecting baseline data on the natural enemies that attack it in North America and in Asia. If warranted, we will screen Asian candidates for biocontrol introductions and introduce promising species into the mid Atlantic states.
email:Kim A. Hoelmer
- My colleagues (EllenAparicio , and Jinquan Wu) conduct a wide range of studies on Invasion Biology, with an emphasis on the Asian Longhorned Beetle, Anoplophora glabripennis (Motschulsky). We have two primary lines of research: 1: Investigate Biology, Behavior and Ecology of the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) Within its Countries of Origin and Within its Countries of Invasion. 1.1.Identify ecological and behavioral traits vulnerable to intervention and development of detection, monitoring, control and other IPM strategies. 1.2.Conduct studies of the process of invasion biology that will result in development of predictive spatiotemporal models (e.g. population spread, seasonal occurrence, population abundance and host colonization) for use in directing the implementation of IPM strategies for existing introductions, as well as for use in restricting establishment, proliferation and spread of future introductions. 1.3. Conduct studies for development of technologies for detection of trees infested by ALB. As a result of these investigations, we are gaining a unique insight into this cerambycid species that can also serve as a template for this poorly understood group of important insect pests. Furthermore, within the context of invasion biology, we expect to contribute new knowledge to the process of invasion of ALB that will aid in developing proactive approaches that will increase the probability of early detection and rapid eradication of this and other invasive species, thereby reducing the risk of establishment, proliferation and geographic spread.
- 2: Biological Control for the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB).2.1. Conduct foreign exploration for natural enemies within the countries of origin (China and Korea); identify and import promising candidate species; and evaluate their target and non-target impacts in quarantine. 2.2.Conduct domestic exploration for native North American natural enemies found parasitizing: (1) ALB within North American infestations; and (2) native cerambycid species most closely related to ALB (e.g. ecologically). Collectively, for the most promising candidate species, we will: (a) develop mass rearing technology; (b) develop protocols for inundative releases or introduction; and (c) evaluate their impact on ALB and non-target species.
Quarantine Officer's responsibility is to provide biosecurity for exotic organisms and a suitable artificial environment for cultures of parasitoids, hosts, and the plants on which they depend. We coordinate training of staff in quarantine procedures and biosafety. We and continually improve equipment and physical features of the lab. We also help develop preliminary techniques to handle and reproduce organisms, coordinate taxonomic identification, conduct research on the ecology, and maintain systems for monitoring permitted organisms shipped to- or from- the Containment Facility.
email: Jay Bancroft
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