Category Archives: Faculty

What is Forensic Entomology? Professor shares insight on how insects assist in legal investigations

by Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications Insects can help fight crime by providing important scientific insights that can be applied to legal investigations – plus provide interested individuals with a truly unique profession in forensic entomology. While most may view forensic entomology as the “creepy-crawly” part of CSI-type television shows, that perspective only scratches the surface of this field. Forensic entomology is the understanding of how the biology of insects and arthropods that inhabit decomposing remains can be used for the purpose of assisting in a variety… Read More →

Symposium Showcases Top Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics Research in SE Texas Area

Scientists from across the Southeastern Texas area gathered inside the Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building for the fourth meeting of the Southeast Texas Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics Symposium on July 18. The day-long symposium featured various presentations by researchers from the Southeastern Texas area, including Texas A&M, Texas A&M Galveston, the University of Houston, the University of Texas Health Science Center, and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. The event was hosted by the Department of Entomology and the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program faculty. The purpose of… Read More →

Zero waste: Maggots as recyclers and protein sources

Texas A&M professor invents technology to harness black soldier flies for waste removal, protein for animals by Laura Muntean, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications COLLEGE STATION — Black soldier fly maggots provide a zero waste option for organic recycling, according to Jeff Tomberlin, Ph.D., professor in the department of entomology at Texas A&M University and director of EVO Conversion Systems, LLC. Despite the “ick-factor,” maggots can be helpful for the environment by reducing waste and serving as an animal feed source, he said. The larval form of the black… Read More →

TAMU Entomology Wins Several Awards at Southwestern Branch Meeting

The Department of Entomology at Texas A&M had a good year at this year’s Southwestern Branch meeting of the Entomological Society of America in Tulsa as several students and faculty members received awards during its annual meeting in late April. Ph.D. student Jocelyn Holt received the John Henry Comstock Graduate Student Award. Holt’s research is looking into increasing our understanding of the interplay between genetics and insect mutualisms in invasive species. Holt is looking at the role insect microbiomes play in mediating mutualisms among insects. Her research has… Read More →

Allen to Retire After 38 Years with AgriLife Extension Entomology

The Department of Entomology will be saying goodbye to a longtime leader in boll weevil eradication as Dr. Charles Allen will retire on January 31 after 38 years with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Allen’s career started with working in 1981 as an Area Extension Specialist in Weslaco for two years. He then moved to Fort Stockton in 1983 where he worked as an Extension Specialist for 13 years. In 1996, he was an Extension Entomologist at the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service in Monticello, Ark. Allen then… Read More →

Cattle tick, handling demonstrations featured at 47th South Texas Cow-Calf Clinic

by Blair Fannin, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications BRENHAM – Ranchers working cattle this fall and winter, or surveying pastures and wildlife, need to be mindful of ticks harboring on livestock and forage habitats. Dr. Pete Teel, Texas A&M AgriLife Research entomologist in College Station, recently gave a tick update at the 47th South Texas Cow-Calf Clinic in Brenham. Teel discussed a variety of ticks common to Texas, including those that have not entered the Lone Star state and pose potential health consequences not just for cattle, but for… Read More →

Professor Named 2018 TAMU Presidential Impact Fellow

COLLEGE STATION, Texas–The Department of Entomology would like to congratulate Dr. Zach Adelman for being named a Texas A&M University Presidential Impact Fellow. Adelman was among a total of 21 faculty members from the University’s 16 colleges, two branch campuses, and its libraries, who were honored during a special ceremony in the Bethancourt Ballroom at the Memorial Student Center on October 25. Following earlier work on the generation of mosquitoes resistant to viral pathogens, Adelman’s research has more recently focused on the development of novel gene editing/gene replacement… Read More →

Vargo Quoted in National Newspaper Article on Termite Research

Professor and Endowed Chair for Urban and Structural Entomology Dr. Edward Vargo was interviewed in a recent New York Times article on the discovery of all-female termite societies in Japan. Such colonies are produced without sexual reproduction. Vargo was quoted in the article saying that determining how and why certain colonies evolved asexuality might yield insights into the purpose of sex and sexual reproduction. Read the article here: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/28/science/termites-colonies-males.html

Professor Speaks on Fire Ant Research at International Conference

Dr. Patricia Pietrantonio, professor of Entomology at Texas A&M University, was the State-of-the-Art Speaker at the 29th Conference of European Comparative Endocrinologists (CECE), in August in Glasgow, Scotland. Held every two years, the purpose of the CECE meeting is to share new ideas and network with other researchers interested in the field of endocrinology. Pietrantonio’s presentation was during the “Omics and the Physiology of Insect Neuropeptides” section. Pietrantonio was invited by Professor Shireen Davis (University of Glasgow), the coordinator for nEUROSTRESSPEP. This Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme… Read More →

Rise of the grasshoppers: New analysis redraws evolutionary tree for major insect family

Grasshoppers are one of the most ubiquitous groups of insects in the world, found everywhere from grasslands to tropical rainforests to isolated mountain ranges to sandy deserts. And now, thanks to a decade-long analysis of grasshoppers’ genetic relationships, scientists have the clearest picture yet of the evolutionary pathways grasshoppers have followed to attain such diversity–and the findings put the birthplace of the broadest lineage of grasshoppers in South America, not Africa, as previously thought. These findings were published in the latest issue of Insect Systematics and Diversity. Led… Read More →