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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Hilo, Hawaii » Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center » Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research » People » Dara Stockton

Dara Stockton

Research Entomologist


Contact Information

USDA-ARS

Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center
64 Nowelo St.
Hilo, Hawaii 96720 
Ph: (808) 932-2118
Fx: (808) 959-5470 

                /ARSUserFiles/55665/DaraHS.jpg        

 

 Publications

Via Google scholar https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=WkEXiFcAAAAJ&hl=en

 

Education

PhD, Entomology, University of Florida 2017

MA, Experimental Psychology, University of Texas Pan American 2012

BS, Neuroscience, Tulane University, 2007

 

Academic Positions

2020 – present, Research Entomologist, USDA-ARS, U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center, Hilo, Hawaii

2017 - 2020, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Entomology, Cornell AgriTech, Geneva, NY

 

Research Accomplishments

 

While I’m broadly interested in the factors affecting successful invasion among agricultural arthropod pests, my overall research and program goal is to combine basic and applied entomological science to develop new, innovative approaches to pest management that are economically feasible, ecologically friendly, and environmentally sustainable.

For the last ten years, I’ve worked collaboratively with growers and researchers across the country to study the behavior, physiology, and pest management practices for two of the most significant invasive arthropods in the world. During my doctorate at the University of Florida, I studied the host preferences and reproduction of the Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri) in commercial and homeowner citrus. Subsequently, during my postdoctoral research appointment, I focused on the overwintering biology, nutritional/landscape ecology, and integrated pest management of spotted-wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) in berry crops of Western NY. 

1. First to describe learning and memory in citri

While I’m broadly interested in the factors affecting successful invasion among agricultural arthropod pests, my overall research and program goal abs plot2 is to combine basic and applied entomological science to develop new, innovative approaches to pest management that are economically feasible, ecologically friendly, and environmentally sustainable.

For the last ten years, I’ve worked collaboratively with growers and researchers across the country to study the behavior, physiology, and pest management practices for two of the most significant invasive arthropods in the world. During my doctorate at the University of Florida, I studied the host preferences and reproduction of the Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri) in commercial and homeowner citrus. Subsequently, during my postdoctoral research appointment, I focused on the overwintering biology, nutritional/landscape ecology, and integrated pest management of spotted-wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) in berry crops of Western NY. 

 

2. Developed the physiogenesis model of thermal susceptibility in suzukii

Like ACP, Spotted-wing drosophila (SWD) is an invasive fruit pest native to east Asia. However, unlike ACP, SWD is not restricted to tropical and subtropical climates, and rather than an oligophagous feeding style which largely restricts ACPs host choices to citrus and closely related Rutacae, SWD is a truly polyphagous pest that feeds saprotrophically on many organic substrates. SWD were introduced into the U.S. along the West coast during 2008 and within four years spread to the east coast, as far north as Canada and as far south as Mexico. During that time, there have been many questions regarding the overwintering ability of this species and its potential northern range expansion. For that reason, I spent a considerable portion of my postdoctoral appointment focused on the thermal biology of this species, specifically as it relates to the Great Lakes region of the American Midwest and western New York State. abs plot2My early research demonstrated how gradual cooling lowers the lethal limits of thermal survival presumably via the induction of cold tolerance biochemical pathways and allows SWD to inhabit climates that are otherwise considered beyond the boundaries of survival for this species (Stockton et al. 2018). Further, I identified methods of acclimation in juvenile and adults, describing the timing, duration, and extent of cold exposure required to achieve sufficient cold tolerance to survival extended periods below freezing (Stockton et al. 2020a). Through multistate a multistate collaboration with researchers in Oregon, Michigan, Wisconsin, Maine, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida, I also described regional variation in phenotype expression consistent with regional variation in climate (Stockton et al. 2020a) and field tested survival parameters (Stockton et al. 2019a) based on naturally occurring biotic (biological and phenotypic factors and access to diet) and abiotic conditions (temperature, refuge). Using that information, we have been able to construct a complex working model of SWD overwintering survival and includes each of the factors, and we are working to incorporate these nuanced data into various predictive modeling programs aimed at forecasting seasonal pest pressure based on prior winter conditions. Spotted-wing drosophila has also been present in Hawaii since the 1980s but doesn’t serve as a major crop pest, likely because its preferred cultivated host fruit (Rubus ideaus and Vaccinium corymbosum) are not grown on a large scale in tropical climates.

3. Identified offseason resources likely used by overwintering suzukii

Because the thermal biology of SWD suggested that overwintering was likely, even in areas as far north as zone 5, I also focused on the nutritional ecology and habitat selection behaviors of SWD in the New York landscape. Using a combination of lab assays and field collections, we identified novel non-crop hosts including fungal fruiting bodies, including store bought and wild fungi, and animal manure from both avian and bovine sources, which are plentiful in the area (Stockton et al. 2019b).swd We found that SWD readily accept these less-preferred resources as oviposition sites, however, this is based on a hierarchical selection system of resource availability. This means, that less-preferred (fungi and manure) resource use goes up as preferred hosts (fruit) become scarce (Stockton & Loeb, in preparation). There are evolutionary implications of such a hierarchical system, and this bet-hedging host selection behavior likely helps maintain niche separation when competition with more aggressive drosophila peaks during the summer. The practical implication of this work is that we may expect SWD to overwinter near source of non-crop nutritional resources, such as near bird roosting sites, near dairy farms, and in wooded areas where fungal growth is maintained year round under leaf litter, on sap flux, and/or in tree bark. Given those implications we have also explored non-crop habitat and refuge use during the offseason. Extensive trapping, laboratory based behavioral assays, and experimental field trials have aimed to address which structural features SWD find attractive and how difference forms of refuge provide abiotic microclimate benefits.

4. Tested new methods of integrated pest management of suzukii in Western NY

In addition to my work on the biology and ecology of invasive pests, which is certainly important for developing downstream management tools, I have also tested and developed methods of SWD management in the field. This has been based on approaches used against other similar pests and understanding how to best implement existing technologies given the unique biology of SWD.

To summarize this area of research, I have worked on three key approaches for management of SWD: 1) insecticidal applications, 2) physical control, and 3) behavioral-based management. darrow research This has translated as research on improving how we apply pesticides to our berry crops, large-scale and multi-year testing of exclusion netting systems in raspberries and blueberries (Stockton et al. 2020b), and research on how to best deliver semiochemical repellent chemicals via automated puffers in the field to deter oviposition by adult female flies (Stockton et al. 2020c). As a result of these studies we have been able to make recommendations to growers in NY, and other areas of the Northeastern United States, regarding the implementation of more well-rounded integrated pest management programs. The program that is furthest down the line in research, and thus implementation, is the exclusion netting system. We are now recommending to growers for small to mid-sized farms where the costs of the structures is off-set by the reduced costs of chemical management or increased in consumer confidence, which is very important in a state like NY which has a considerable U-Pick industry that is insecticide-intolerant. In the future, we hope that our research on optimized automated puffers and more targeted ground sprays will also develop sufficient to make grower recommendations regarding these practices, but that goal is still a few years away.

  

Service, Leadership and Participation in Professional Activities:

           National, Southeastern (2013-2017), and Eastern Branch Affiliations (2017-2020)

           Multistate Research Coordinating Committee and Information Exchange Group

 

Honors, Awards, Achievements and Recognition:

Selected Publications:

  1. Stockton, D.G., Diepenbrock, L., Burrack, H., Rendon, D., Walton, V., Leach, H., Isaacs, R., Neilsen, A., Iglesias, L., Liburd, O., Drummond, F., Ballman, E., Guedot, C., Wallingford, A. K., and Loeb, G.M. (2020a). Seasonal polyphenism of Spotted-wing Drosophila is affected by variation in local abiotic conditions within its invaded range, likely influencing survival and regional population dynamics. Ecology and Evolution, 10(14), 7669-7685; https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.6491.
  2. Stockton, D.G., Hesler, S., Wallingford, A.K., Leskey, T.C., McDermott, L., Elsensohn, J.E., Riggs, D. I., Riggs, M., Loeb, G.M. (2020b). Factors affecting the implementation of exclusion netting to control Drosophila suzukii on primocane raspberry. Crop Protection, 135; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cropro.2020.105191
  3. Stockton, D. G., Wallingford, A.K., Cha, D.H., Loeb, G. M. (2020c). Automated aerosol puffers effectively deliver 1-octen-3-ol, an oviposition antagonist useful against spotted-wing Drosophila. Pest Management Science, https://doi.org/10.1002/ps.6028
  4. Stockton, D.G., Wallingford, A., Rendon, D., Fanning, P., Green, C. K., Diepenbrock, L., Ballman, E., Walton, V., Isaacs, R., Leach, H., Sial, A. A., Drummond, F., Burrack, H., and Loeb, G.M. (2019a). Interactions between biotic and abiotic factors affect survival in overwintering Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura). Environmental Entomology, nvy192, https://doi.org/10.1093/ee/nvy192.
  5. Stockton, D. G., Brown, R., Loeb, G. M. (2019b). Not Berry Hungry? Discovering the hidden food sources of a small fruit specialist, Drosophila suzukii. Ecological Entomology, 44(6), 810-822. https://doi.org/10.1111/een.12766.
  6. Stockton, D.G., Wallingford, A.K., Loeb, G.M. (2018). Phenotypic plasticity and overwintering survival in Drosophila suzukii. Insects, 9(3), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects9030105.
  7. Stockton, D. G., Pescitelli, L. E., Ebert, T. A., Martini, X., & Stelinski, L. L. (2017a). Induced Preference Improves Offspring Fitness in a Phytopathogen Vector. Environmental Entomology, nvx135, https://doi.org/10.1093/ee/nvx135.
  8. Stockton, D. G., Pescitelli, L. E., Martini, X., & Stelinski, L. L. (2017b). Female mate preference in an invasive phytopathogen vector: how learning may influence mate choice and fecundity in Diaphorina citri. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 164(1), 16-26. https://doi.org/10.1111/eea.12590.
  9. Stockton, D. G., Martini, X., Stelinski, L. L. (2017c). Male psyllids differentially learn in the context of copulation. Insects, 8(1), 16; https://doi:10.3390/insects8010016.
  10. Stockton, D. G., Martini, X., Patt, J. M., & Stelinski, L. L. (2016). The influence of learning on host plant preference in a significant phytopathogen vector, Diaphorina citri. PLoS One, 11(3), e0149815.
  11. Patt, J. M., Stockton, D., Meikle, W. G., Sétamou, M., Mafra-Neto, A., & Adamczyk, J. J. (2014). Innate and conditioned responses to chemosensory and visual cues in Asian citrus psyllid, Diaphorina citri (Hemiptera: Liviidae), vector of Huanglongbing pathogens. Insects, 5(4), 921-941.