The Department of Entomology would like to congratulate Ph.D. student James Glover for receiving the Best Ph.D. oral presentation prize in the Insect Management category at the Cotton Beltwide Conferences in New Orleans on January 5-7.
Glover received the award for his talk titled, “Comparing Boll Injury and EILs for Species of a Boll-Feeding Sucking Bug Complex (Hemiptera: Miridae and Pentatomidae) on South Texas Cotton.” Texas A&M AgriLife Research professor and co-mentor Dr. Mike Brewer said that Glover’s research is on the injury of cotton plants from a species complex of boll-feeding sucking bugs represented by one species of plant bugs and two species of stink bugs.
During his research, field collected stink bugs and verde plant bugs were used to infest cotton plants that were maintained free of insect injury. The plants were caged in different insect densities, including 0 for the control, 1 bug per cage, 4 bugs per cage and 8 bugs per cage. Each treatment was replicated 12 times across two bloom specific periods mid and late bloom.
Glover said that the bugs remained caged on the plants for 7 days then were terminated. After the infestation period, the plants or bolls were allowed to mature inside the cages. The response from the bolls, he said, included external and internal boll damage in the form of warts, galls, lint deterioration, and boll rot. The bolls were rated at harvest on a 0 to 4 scale, which corresponded to the number of damaged locules and the boll rot was scored by the visual presence or absence of diseased locules.
He said that significant boll injury differences were detected across species and yield and that insect density relationships were used to calculate and compare economic injury levels.
Brewer said that his research also included the assessment of economic damage and collaborative work with Gino Medrano of the USDA-ARS, about the insects’ transmission of cotton boll rot.
“James did a great job balancing the components of what makes for a solid field crops entomologist: he knew his cotton, he knew his science, and agricultural relevance to the topic,” Brewer said. “His work has direct implications in improving management of this pest complex in cotton grown along the Texas Gulf Coast, and contributes to understanding why ‘outbreaks of damage’ occur.”
Glover’s co-mentor Dr. Greg Sword also was proud of him and that he was the fourth person out of his lab to receive an award from the conference in the past four years.
“James is very thorough as a student, and that is reflected in the research his conducting. The work he presented at the Beltwide Conference to win this award was a well-designed field project that provides valuable information to help manage key sucking insects pests in Texas cotton.”