Texas A&M Entomology Sweeps Awards at ESA National Meeting

Dr. Jim Woolley, right receiving a plaque recognizing his work as an editor in chief of Thomas Say Publications from 2003-2019. Photo by Entomological Society of America.

Dr. Jim Woolley, right receiving a plaque recognizing his work as an editor in chief of Thomas Say Publications from 2003-2019

Fifteen students, the Sugarcane Aphid Team, and two retired faculty members in the Department were recognized at the 2019 annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America meeting in St. Louis.

The four-day-long event featured speakers from universities across the nation, symposia, and student poster and paper contests, as well as mixers and networking events held at the America’s Center and the Marriott Grand St. Louis Hotel.

Professor Emeritus Dr. Jim Woolley received recognition for being editor in chief of the Thomas Say Publications from 2003-2019 during the Professional Awards breakfast on Tuesday, November 12.

Professor Emeritus Dr. Frank Gilstrap was named 2019 Honorary Member of the ESA for his extraordinary contributions to the ESA through his career while he was with the Department of Entomology, Texas A&M AgriLife Research.

Ph.D student Jocelyn Holt also was recognized as being named the Southwestern Branch recipient of the John Comstock Award for her outstanding research and other contributions in entomology and the ESA.

Thirteen students also received awards for their posters and presentations during the Student Competition for the President’s Prize, including:

Graduate 10 Minute Papers

Mackenzie Tietjen speaking during the paper presentation sessions. Photo by Lauren Beebe

Mackenzie Tietjen speaking during the paper presentation sessions. Photo by Lauren Beebe

Mackenzie Tietjen: First Place – Medical, Urban, and Veterinary Entomology section, Diversity for her paper titled “Assessing host associated differentiation in Dermacentor variabilis (Acari: Ixodidae)”

Constance Lin – First Place in the Medical, Urban, and Veterinary Entomology – Ecology and Behavior 1 for “Raising the “anty” in decomposition ecology: Effects of vertebrate carrion on fire ant colony performance

Mark Janowiecki – First Place in Medical Urban and Veterinary Entomology – Life History for “Seasonality and spatial distribution of Reticulitermes spp. (Blattodea: Rhinotermitidae)

Blake Elkins – Second place Plant – Insect Ecosystems – Biocontrol of Insects 2 for “Species complex and population variation of natural enemies of sugarcane aphid across gradients of landscape composition and structure”

Jose Santiago – First Place in Physiology, Biology and Toxicology, Insecticide Resistance for “Monitoring the susceptibility of Helicoverpa zea (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) populations collected in Texas to Cry1Ac, Cry2Ab2 and Vip3Aa using F2 screens”

Ruth Henderson with her poster. Photo by Pierre Lau.

Ruth Harrison with her poster. Photo by Pierre Lau.

Crys Wright – First Place in the Plant – Insect Ecosystems – Biocontrol of Insects 2 “Testing for fecundity compensation in parasitized sugarcane aphids”

Undergraduate 10 Minute Papers

Drew Little – Second Place in the Systematics, Evolution, and Biodiversity 2 for “Analysis of Stimulus in the phase-related behavior of Schistocerca piceifrons

Carolina Wilson – Second Place in Plant – Insect Ecosystems for “Effects of fungal endophyte treatment and herbivory on extra floral nectar carbohydrate composition”

Undergraduate Posters

Alex Payne, right, speaking about her poster during the poster session. Submitted photo.

Alex Payne, right, speaking about her poster during the poster session. Submitted photo.

Ruth Harrison – Plant – Insect Ecosystems 1 for “Pollinator assemblages across different levels of landscape development in the Post Oak Savannah ecoregion”

Sabrina Quintanilla – Physiology, Biochemistry and Toxicology for “Lipid preferences in laboratory-maintained colonies of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta)

Xiaotian Tang with his poster. Submitted photo.

Xiaotian Tang with his poster. Submitted photo.

Graduate Posters

Xiaotian Tang – First Place in Plant – Insect Ecosystems, Plant Disease Vectors for “‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ inhibits apoptosis in Bactericera cockerelli gut to facilitate its acquisition and transmission”

Alexandria Payne – First Place in Physiology, Biochemistry, and Toxicology for “Interspecies virus transmission between ants and honey bees (Apis mellifera)

John Grunseich in Plant – Insect Ecosystems, Biology Control for “A specialist herbivore uses chemical cues from host-plant roots to avoid induced defenses and elevated predation risk”

Pierre Lau, right, receives the La Fage Award from Li-Byerly Hongmei. Photo by Photo by Dr. James Nieh.

Pierre Lau, right, receives the La Fage Award from Li-Byerly Hongmei. Photo by Photo by Dr. James Nieh.

Ph.D. student Pierre Lau also received the International Union for the Study of Social Insects, North American Section’s 2019 Jeffery P. LaFage Student Award for Applied Research on Social Insects during a special recognition event.

The Jeffery P. La Fage Student Award for Applied Research on Social Insects recognizes a graduate student for distinguished research and scholarly activity on social insects, with an emphasis on applied projects.

Members of the Sugarcane Aphid Team received the 2019 Plant-Insect Ecosystem Integrated Pest Management Team Award, sponsored by Corteva Agriscience. The team established thresholds and sampling protocols for sugarcane aphids and incorporated aphid resistant sorghum hybrids into management, and identified and evaluated natural enemies for regulating the aphids.

The team includes Brent Bean (United Sorghum Checkoff Program), Robert Bowling (Bayer Crop Science and former AgriLife Extension faculty), Michael Brewer (Texas A&M AgriLife Research – Corpus Christi), David Buntin (University of Georgia), Norman Elliott (USDA-ARS, Southern Plains), Amanda Jacobson (Corteva Agriscience), John Gordy (Syngenta Crop Protection and former Ph.D. student), Ronald Navarrete-Ganchozo (Bayer Crop Science), Nick Seiter (University of Illinois), Jason Thomas (University of Idaho and former M.S student), and Dr. Jim Woolley (Professor Emeritus – Texas A&M University).

Since its creation, the team has published 20 journal articles, 12 Extension publications and developed nine web resources as a result of their work.

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