Tag Archives: department of entomology

Board of Trustees select a professor with an Extension appointment for University Distinguished Professor title

Congratulations to Dr. Doug Landis on his selection by the Michigan State University Board of Trustees as a University Distinguished Professor, in recognition of his achievements in the classroom, laboratory and community. This recognition is among the highest honors that can be bestowed on a faculty member by the university. Dr. Landis is one of 10 faculty members selected who have all been recognized nationally and internationally for the importance of their teaching, research and outreach achievements.

Dr. Landis is a professor of insect ecology in the Department of Entomology and also has an Extension appointment. His research focuses on understanding the factors that influence arthropod biodiversity and ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes. He is the author of over 140 peer-reviewed journal articles, 25 book chapters and more than 50 Extension bulletins. His Extension work focuses on the use of ecological restoration to enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services, and on invasive species ecology and management. Current areas of his outreach include the biodiversity implications of bioenergy landscapes, prairie fen and oak savanna restoration, the use of native plants to enhance ecosystem services, monarch butterfly conservation and biological control of invasive spotted knapweed.

Please join me in congratulating Doug on his University Distinguished Professor title.

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MSU Extension’s digital presence makes impact

Our Michigan State University (MSU) Extension articles are gaining attention nationally and around the world. I’d like to highlight two articles that have made an impression online and especially through social media.

Dr. Julianna Wilson, tree fruit integrator/outreach specialist in the Department of Entomology, wrote an article about the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) “Report Sightings of Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs in Your Home or Business.” This pest can cause serious damage to crops. The invasive species’ presence in our state is a high-impact issue that was able to gain the attention it deserved because of our well-established digital presence.

As of Oct. 12, this article has had 96,500 pageviews since it was posted on Sept. 25, making it the seventh most visited article on the MSU Extension website overall. On Sept. 28, we had a record 25,594 visits in a single day (primarily because of this article). (We average 11,000 to 13,000 per day with a record of just under 15,000.) On Sept. 29, that record was broken with 42,812 visits (again spiked by this visit). At its peak, these numbers were growing by 100 pageviews every four minutes. Ninety-one percent of the traffic to the article has been from mobile devices. Average read time is 4:07, which means people are taking the time to read it and absorb what they’ve read. More than 67,000 of the visits to this article have come from social media. It has spurred more than 17,000 social media interactions.

The article asks readers to report any sightings of the stinky pest to the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN). Before the article was posted, there were six records of BMSB in the MISIN database. As of Oct. 13, there were 1,860 records of BMSB from Michigan and northern parts of states that border us ‒ mostly from the Toledo, Ohio, and South Bend, Indiana, regions.

Julianna said, “What these numbers tell me is that social media played a huge role in getting the word out about the article, and then the fact that the MSU Extension website is mobile friendly helped keep people there and reading the article. The last two pieces that made this a success were having an established database for collecting reports and good timing. This is the time of year when the bug moves into people’s homes and they notice it. The fact that we have this well-established reporting site (MISIN) for invasive species meant that I didn’t have to create a way for people to report numbers to me ‒ the infrastructure was already in place.

“I plan to use this data to determine where other hotspots have been forming and to get the word out to growers in those areas that if they haven’t before, they should certainly be scouting for this pest next season,” she said.

One member of our MSU Extension Consumer Horticulture Team is getting the word out about a particular poisonous fruit. Extension educator Gretchen Voyle wrote an article for the MSU Extension website “What Fruit Is Growing on My Potato Plants?

As a potato disease specialist, I was particularly drawn to the article that talks about the phenomenon that occurs when potato plants produce fruit on top of the plants. In fact, one of the first questions I was asked when I got to MSU was about tomatoes growing on potato plants. It seems that our cool July weather was responsible for the fruit’s appearance this year. The alkaloid content of these fruits puts them into the “they are edible once” category. In other words, don’t eat them!

It seems that a lot of other people are interested in this as well.

Dennis Bond, manager of Web services in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources let us know about the spread of Gretchen’s words warning people about the fruit.

Dennis said, “The article helped the MSU Extension website set a traffic record of 17,471 visits (previous record: 15,960 on June 1) though that record was broken seven days later by the article on the stink bug. It also set a social media record of 4,381 visits from social media sources, another record broken a week later. At its height in popularity, it was viewed on all major continents, in 2,040 cities across 100 countries in 63 languages.”

That gives us great perspective on the extensive reach of our MSU Extension website! Congratulations to Gretchen and to Julianna!

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Senior Extension educators receive distinguished university awards

Michigan State University senior Extension educators Jill O’Donnell and Dean Solomon each received Distinguished Academic Staff Awards Feb. 11 at the annual Founders Day and Awards Convocation in the Pasant Theatre in the Wharton Center. The awards presentation followed President Lou Anna K. Simon’s State of the University Address.

Jill O'Donnell, senior Michigan State University Extension educator, received a Distinguished Academic Staff award on Feb. 11, 2014.

Jill O’Donnell, senior Michigan State University Extension educator, received a Distinguished Academic Staff award on Feb. 11, 2014.

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) honored the awardees with a reception in the Centennial Room of the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center just prior to the Awards Convocation.

They are two of four academic staff who will receive the award this year.

Jill O’Donnell of the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute is a nationally recognized expert in Christmas tree production with an emphasis on early pest identification and management. With Jill, it’s all about relationships. Because of Jill’s dedication to growers as well as her commitment to quality and sustainability, Christmas tree producers know that they can trust her to help them deal with significant issues in the industry. She does it all professionally, working with MSU researchers as well as specialists in other states. Her efforts have helped growers increase yields and reduce or even eliminate pesticide applications, leading to additional profits for the growers and benefits to the environment. Of course, all of her efforts are based on scientific research. With her involvement, Michigan remains a national leader in the Christmas tree industry.

Dean Solomon, senior Michigan State University Extension educator, received a Distinguished Academic Staff award on Feb. 11, 2014.

Dean Solomon, senior Michigan State University Extension educator, received a Distinguished Academic Staff award on Feb. 11, 2014.

Dean Solomon of the Greening Michigan Institute is another of our experts others rely on. He makes complicated issues involving land use policy and natural resource protection easy to understand and accessible to both landowners and local government officials. He plays a significant part in the Michigan Citizen Planner Program. The program offers land use education and training to locally appointed and elected planning officials throughout the state. He often teaches both the core and advanced sessions of the curriculum. Dean is sought out for his engaging and humorous teaching style. He is a highly respected leader both in our organization and in the national Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals.

Gary Parsons, academic specialist in the Department of Entomology, also received the Distinguished Academic Staff Award. Gary does not have an Extension appointment, but his work as manager of the Albert J. Cook Arthropod Research Collection assists the many Extension specialists on the faculty in entomology and many Extension educators who work on pest management issues.

Congratulations to all!

Read more in this MSU Today article: http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2014/2014-distinguished-academic-staff-awards/

 

 

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Extension educator is lead author in prestigious journal article

Dr. Wendy Powers, director of the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute, and I received an email from Douglas A. Landis, professor and interim chairperson in the Michigan State University Department of Entomology. The email called attention to MSU Extension educator Ben Werling as the lead author on a study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The article, “Perennial Grasslands Enhance Biodiversity and Multiple Ecosystem Services in Bioenergy Landscapes,” related to postdoctorate work Ben led in Dr. Landis’ lab working on a Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) project. Ben and Dr. Landis led a large group of collaborators (the GLBRC Biodiversity Team) studying the impacts of bioenergy cropping systems on biodiversity and ecosystem services. This synthetic work combines information on plant, insect, microbe and bird biodiversity and the services that flow from their presence (biomass, pest suppression, pollination, GHG mitigation, and bird watching opportunities) in bioenergy crops. It’s hoped that this information further informs policy and the roll-out of the most sustainable systems.

Dr. Landis said, “Ben led a 1.5 yearlong effort to synthesize the data, conduct the analyses and write the paper. My guess is that he is too humble to have mentioned this, so I just wanted to let you know what a fine job he has done!”

Papers published in the PNAS are remarkable achievements, and require a recommendation by a National Academy of Sciences member to be accepted. That distinction is reserved for particularly significant findings. It is especially rare for a paper in PNAS to be authored by an Extension educator.

Others authors on the paper who receive support from MSU Extension include Rufus Isaacs and Julianna Wilson, both in the Department of Entomology, and Katherine Gross, director of the Kellogg Biological Station.

Congratulations to Ben and the rest of the team for this synthetic work and the recognition they have received!

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Extension educator and Extension specialist receive distinguished university awards

Douglas A. Landis, Michigan State University Extension specialist and professor in the Department of Entomology, received the Distinguished Faculty Award, and Jane M. Herbert, senior MSU Extension educator, received the Distinguished Academic Staff award Feb. 12 at the annual Awards Convocation in the Pasant Theatre in the Wharton Center. The awards presentation followed President Lou Ann K. Simon’s State of the University Address.

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) honored the awardees with a reception in the Agriculture Hall Atrium just prior to the Awards Convocation.

Dr. Landis was one of 10 faculty honored for a comprehensive and sustained record of scholarly excellence in research and/or creative activities, instruction and outreach. Dr. Landis has had joint funding from MSU Extension and MSU AgBioResearch throughout his service at MSU.

Douglas A. Landis, Michigan State University Extension specialist and professor in the Department of Entomology, received the Distinguished Faculty Award Feb. 12, 2013.

Douglas A. Landis, Michigan State University Extension specialist and professor in the Department of Entomology, received the Distinguished Faculty Award Feb. 12, 2013, at the annual Awards Convocation in the Pasant Theatre in the Wharton Center.

Dr. Landis came to MSU as an assistant professor in entomology 25 years ago. Since that time, he has strived to help people work with rather than against nature. He is author or co-author of numerous refereed research publications in wide-ranging journals as well as author or co-author of many book chapters. He is sought after as a keynote speaker on the topics of conservation biology and the redesign of agricultural landscapes. Dr. Landis has an outstanding granting record notable for its wide-ranging collaborations. He provides inter-disciplinary granting leadership at the highest levels of national competition.

As an international authority on the delivery of biocontrol services in agricultural landscapes, his contributions to a fundamental understanding of how landscape patterns structure insect abundance and distributions across entire watersheds has paved the way toward using this knowledge for pest management.

Beginning with his initial assignment of having extension responsibility for entomological aspects of field crops, Doug has done stellar work in outreach. In this work, Doug has always been dedicated to connecting with growers and
understanding their needs. He’s also been innovative in his approach, including the adoption of emerging technologies and helping us to continue improving Extension.

Doug has provided leadership to many collaborations over his career. He shaped the Sustainable Agricultural Research and Education (SARE) program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And he has been a member of the management team for the Long-Term Ecological Research program at the Kellogg Biological Station, a remarkable collaboration that began when Doug first arrived at MSU.

Jane Herbert was one of four people honored for the award that recognizes the outstanding achievements of academic specialists and MSU Extension academic staff members who serve the university in advising, curriculum development, outreach, extension, research and teaching.

Jane M. Herbert, senior Michigan State University Extension educator, received the Distinguished Academic Staff award Feb. 12, 2013

Jane M. Herbert, senior Michigan State University Extension educator, received the Distinguished Academic Staff award Feb. 12, 2013, at the annual Awards Convocation in the Pasant Theatre in the Wharton Center

Jane is a nationally recognized expert on inland lake management with an emphasis on natural shoreline landscaping and bioengineered shoreline erosion control.

She has been a major asset to Extension in the development, delivery and evaluation of regional and statewide water resource Extension programming since joining MSUE in 1996.

As a district water quality educator with the Extension Land and Water Unit at Kellogg Biological Station (KBS), she served the citizens of 17 southwest Michigan counties with innovative water resource programming. Now located at the Kalamazoo County MSU Extension office, she provides statewide leadership for water resource programming within the Greening Michigan Institute and serves as a water resource educator across Michigan.

She assumed a leadership role in the creation of the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership (MNSP), bringing together academia, industry representatives, regulatory agencies and nonprofits to develop and deliver innovative natural shoreline education. She also provides leadership for the development, delivery and evaluation of required continuing education for MNSP-certified contractors, including the creation of advanced bioengineering field construction experiences and training videos.

In collaboration with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, she led a multi-agency effort to develop a publication (MSUE Bulletin WQ60) to help large quantity water users and others understand the basis for Michigan’s new online Water Withdrawal Assessment Process – the mechanism by which Michigan complies with the Great Lakes Compact.

She has published in a variety of natural erosion control and landscape trade magazines, bringing national attention to the technical and community development model of Certified Natural Shoreline Professional (CNSP). She served as lead author and coordinating editor of the CNSP training curriculum, (MSUE Bulletin E3109), which received the 2012 Gold Award for a Long Publication from the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals.

She has co-authored successful grants totaling nearly $1 million to develop and deliver water resource management programming.

Congratulations to Doug and to Jane!

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Response team discovers fruit pest, takes action

Sometimes the discovery of something very small has a very big impact. That’s what happened when a tiny vinegar fly called the Spotted Wing Drosophila or SWD was first detected this September in traps put out this year by Michigan State University entomologists. Originally from Asia, the insect established a base in the western United States and Canada. The MSU discovery marks the first time that the insect has been found in the Midwest. This miniature pest loves tasty, soft treats damaging most berry crops, grapes, cherries and other tree fruits.

 A Michigan SWD response team chaired by Rufus Isaacs, MSU entomologist, developed a pre-emptive Early Detection-Rapid Response (ED-RR) Plan, part of an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy for SWD. Entomologists and horticulturists from the MSU departments of Entomology and Horticulture, MSU Extension field staff members, Michigan Department of Agriculture staff members and fruit commodity representatives make up the team. I’d like to congratulate this group. Team members were on top of the issue, first discovering the pesky critter, then taking action. The team is doing further monitoring and is getting the word out to fruit growers to encourage them to plan for early detection through trapping, monitoring and taking crop-specific control measures.

 Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications staff members helped in spreading the word with a news release and fact sheet. Rufus Isaacs and Noel Hahn, from the Department of Entomology, and Bob Tritten and Carlos Garcia, MSU Extension, wrote the fact sheet, MSU Extension Bulletin E-3140. Even though he is on assignment in Chile, Dr. Isaacs is still on the job keeping track of SWD and the media coverage of it.

 Our staff members are actively researching and monitoring the bug to minimize its impact on fruit growers. The Spotted Wind Drosophila website gives up-to-date information, and our MSU Extension educators are in contact with fruit growers, giving out information and advice.

Project GREEEN and the Michigan Department of Agriculture provide funding for the SWD response team.

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