The western corn rootworm, Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte, and the northern corn rootworm, Diabrotica barberi Smith and Lawrence, are both important pests of corn in the Midwest. We study various tools for integrated pest management of rootworm.
integrated pest management
I’ve always enjoyed photographing the insects and fungi encountered during strolls through the woods. It was only fitting to accept a research assistantship at Iowa State University focused on insect-pathogenic fungi and their interactions with cropping practices. Along the way I helped with experiments on western corn rootworm, including a field study that used insect pathogens to help manage corn rootworm. I completed my M.S. in summer 2013 and recently began Ph.D. research on pest and pesticide interactions to optimize soybean yield.
My research interests are in the areas of plant-insect and tritrophic interactions, with a focus on insects that attack corn Zea mays L. General themes include applications of ecological and evolutionary principles to improve integrated pest management and insect resistance management. Most of my work addresses questions concerning adaptation by pests to genetically modified crops that produce insecticidal toxins derived from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), and tritrophic interactions among insects, plants and entomopathogens.