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Iowa State University

  Entomology Department > Faculty

Thomas W. Sappington

Thomas Sappington

USDA-ARS, Corn Insects & Crop Genetics and Dept. of Entomology,
Iowa State University Genetics Laboratory
Ames, IA 50011
Office: (515) 294-9759
Cell Phone: (515) 450-3667
FAX: (515) 294-2265
E-mail: tsapping@iastate.edu

EDUCATION:

B.S., Biology, 1979, Central Missouri State University
M.S., Entomology, 1982, Iowa State University
Ph.D., Systematics & Ecology, 1989, University of Kansas

RESEARCH INTERESTS:

I am an insect ecologist, with a primary interest in insect dispersal and migration, at the levels of both the individual and the population. Characterizing insect movement patterns and behavior is critical to understanding the ecology of a pest species well enough to make predictions and to develop more effective pest and resistance management strategies. However, dispersal is one of the most difficult aspects of an insect's life history to study. I employ a combination of techniques in my research of insect movement including both direct and indirect strategies. Laboratory flight mills are used to study individual flight behaviors, and the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that generate interindividual variation. I use mark-release-recapture experiments to investigate short-range dispersal. For long-range movement, I employ molecular markers and population genetics analyses to obtain estimates of gene flow, an indirect measure of dispersal. I am also interested in developing genetic markers and in genomics of selected insect pests.

As a Research Entomologist in the USDA-ARS Corn Insects & Crop Genetics Research Unit, my current mission is to study insect pests of corn. These include primarily European corn borer (ECB), Ostrinia nubilalis; western corn rootworm (WCR), Diabrotica virgifera virgifera; and western bean cutworm (WBC), Striacosta albicosta. I also continue to be involved with population genetics studies of boll weevil, Anthonomus grandis, in collaboration with Kyung Seok Kim, a former postdoc in my project, in support of eradication efforts in Texas. This activity arises occasionally as a result of research we began on this insect when I was stationed in Weslaco, Texas.

Current Projects (all involve a number of collaborators):

1) Characterize spatial and temporal gene flow in ECB, using microsatellite and SNP markers, both in the Corn Belt and in the northeastern U.S. where topography and pheromone races may contribute to increased isolation of populations.

2) Estimate heritability of flight behavior in ECB using flight mills.

3) Examine spatial relationship between ECB adult distribution in grass around fields and distribution of larval damage within the corn field.

4) Development of large numbers of SNP markers in WCR for linkage mapping in support of a pending genome sequencing project.

5) Characterization of gene flow in the earliest documented range of WCR (Colorado and western Kansas) before the eastward range expansion that started in the mid-20th century.

6) Develop markers and characterize basic population genetic structuring in Blastobasis repartella, a micro-lepidopteran pest of switchgrass.

Other Research Interests: I have research experience and intellectual interest in: 1) The molecular structure, sequences, and evolutionary relationships of insect vitellogenins and other yolk proteins, and of vitellogenin receptors and other members of the LDL receptor superfamily. 2) Sexual selection and courtship behavior in insects. 3) Selective advantages of sex-linked pre-reproductive isolating mechanisms in animals, especially Lepidoptera. 4) The use of cuticular hydrocarbon profiles for estimating insect age. 5) Boll weevil ecology and population genetics.

CURRENT LAB MEMBERS:

Jennifer E. Buhay - Postdoctoral Research Associate. Population genetics of Blastobasis repartella (Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae), a stem-boring pest of switchgrass.

Jing Sun ("Jessie") - PhD student. European corn borer population genetics.

Selected Publications:

Kim, K. S. and T. W. Sappington. 2004. Isolation and characterization of polymorphic microsatellite loci in the boll weevil, Anthonomus grandis Boheman (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Mol. Ecol. Notes (In Press).

Sappington, T. W., A. D. Brashears, M. N. Parajulee, S. C. Carroll, M. D. Arnold, and R. V. Baker. 2004. Boll weevil (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) survival through cotton gin trash fans. J. Econ. Entomol. (In Press).

Sappington, T. W., A. D. Brashears, M. N. Parajulee, S. C. Carroll, M. D. Arnold, and R. V. Baker. 2004. Boll weevil (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) survival through cotton gin trash fans. J. Econ. Entomol. (In Press).

Sappington, T. W., A. D. Brashears, M. N. Parajulee, S. C. Carroll, M. D. Arnold, and R. V. Baker. 2004. Boll weevil (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) survival through the seed cotton cleaning process in the cotton gin. J. Econ. Entomol. (In Press)

Sappington, T. W., A. D. Brashears, M. N. Parajulee, S. C. Carroll, M. D. Arnold, J. W. Norman Jr., and A. E. Knutson. 2004. Potential for transport of boll weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) to the cotton gin within cotton modules. J. Econ. Entomol. 97: 934-940.

Kim, K. S. and T. W. Sappington. 2004. Genetic structuring of boll weevil populations in the U.S. based on RAPD markers. Insect Mol. Biol. 13: 293-303.

Kim, K. S. and T. W. Sappington. 2004. Boll weevil (Anthonomus grandis, Boheman) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) dispersal in the southern United States: evidence from mitochondrial DNA variation. Environ. Entomol. 33: 457-470.

Sappington, T. W. 2002. Mutual interference of pheromone traps within trap lines on captures of boll weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Environ. Entomol. 31: 1128-1134.

Sappington, T. W. 2002. The major yolk proteins of higher Diptera are homologs of a class of minor yolk proteins in Lepidoptera. J. Mol. Evol. 55: 470-475.

Sappington, T. W. 2002. Efficacy of the organic-certified insecticide Diatect II against the boll weevil (Anthonomus grandis) in cotton. Pest Management Sci. 58: 1038-1042.

Sappington, T. W., S. M. Greenberg, and R. A. Tisdale. 2001. Location of beet armyworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) egg mass deposition within canopies of cotton and pigweed. Environ. Entomol. 30: 511-516.

Sappington, T. W. and D. W. Spurgeon. 2000. Variation in boll weevil captures in pheromone traps (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) arising from wind speed moderation by brush lines. Environ. Entomol. 29: 807-814.

Sappington, T. W. and A. S. Raikhel. 1998. Insect vitellogenins and vitellogenin receptors. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 28: 277-300.

Sappington, T. W. and A. S. Raikhel. 1998. Ligand-binding domains in vitellogenin receptors and other LDL-receptor family members share a common ancestral ordering of cysteine-rich repeats. J. Mol. Evol. 46: 476-487.

Sappington, T. W., V. A. Kokoza, W. L. Cho, and A. S. Raikhel. 1996. Molecular characterization of the mosquito vitellogenin receptor reveals unexpected high homology to the Drosophila yolk protein receptor. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 93: 8934-8939.

Sappington, T. W., A. R. Hays, and A. S. Raikhel. 1995. Mosquito vitellogenin receptor: purification, developmental and biochemical characterization. Insect Biochem. Molec. Biol. 25: 807-817.

Sappington, T. W., H. W. Fescemyer, and W. B. Showers. 1995. Lipid and carbohydrate utilization during flight of the migratory moth, Agrotis ipsilon (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Archiv. Insect Biochem. Physiol. 29: 397-414.

Sappington, T. W., and W. B. Showers. 1992. Forum: Reproductive maturity, mating status, and long-duration flight behavior of Agrotis ipsilon (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), and the conceptual misuse of the oogenesis-flight syndrome by entomologists. Environ. Entomol. 21: 677-688.

Sappington, T. W., and W. B. Showers. 1991. Implications for migration of age-related variation in flight behavior of Agrotis ipsilon (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 84: 560-565.

Sappington, T. W., and O. R. Taylor. 1990. Developmental and environmental sources of pheromone variation in Colias eurytheme butterflies. J. Chem. Ecol. 16: 2771-2786.

Sappington, T. W., and O. R. Taylor. 1990. Genetic sources of pheromone variation in Colias eurytheme butterflies. J. Chem. Ecol. 16: 2755-2770.

Sappington, T. W., and O. R. Taylor. 1990. Disruptive sexual selection in Colias eurytheme butterflies. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 87: 6132-6135.



© 2004-2011 Iowa State University Entomology Department. Last modified 1/24/2011.