EntSoc’s new position statement on biodiversity

Image: From the Entomological Society of America’s position statement on insects and biodiversity. The Entomological Society of America released another great position statement last week. The statement addresses biodiversity and the causes and consequences of species decline. While interacting with legislative staff in Washington, I’ve been told that these sorts of statements are broadly seen as very useful by policy makers and elected officials. The ability to quickly draw on information from a respected scientific…

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More evidence of insect decline

The biomass of flying insects has declined by a dramatic 76% in western German protected areas, according to a recent publication by Caspar A. Hallmann et al. (2017) PLoS ONE. Over a 27 year period, from 1989 to 2016, biomass of insects captured in malaise traps at 96 unique location-year combinations across a wide variety of habitat types dropped precipitously through time (see their Fig 2 above). While the decline does not appear to be…

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Genetic pest management review

Image: Fig 1D from Harvey-Samuel et al. (2017) Biol Invasions depicting the self-limiting aromatase sex ratio distortion strategy for genetic pest management (Fig details below). A nice review of genetic pest management (GPM) strategies for invasive species, by Tim Harvey-Samuel, Thomas Ant & Luke Alphey (of Oxitec fame), is presented in the recent issue of Biological Invasions. I spent a lot of time reviewing the GPM literature back in 2012 and 2013, but I haven’t kept up to date on many…

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New biological control textbook

My former PhD advisor, George E. Heimpel of the University of Minnesota, along with Nick J. Mills of UC Berkeley, just published a new textbook on biological control. I’ve been fortunate to read most of the draft chapters of this book prior to publication, and I can say that it is the best book on biological control available. Without a doubt. In my opinion, it’s also in the top tier of books available on invasion…

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Quick facts

Image: Part of Table 1 from Pimentel et al. (2005) Ecological Economics. As a new U.S. president-elect prepares to move into the White House, and as we face an increased need to advocate for science-based federal policies, I thought it would be useful to bring together some fact sheets and articles that have eye-catching stats and/or effective arguments advocating for issues relating to the field of entomology. Many of these I pulled from the Entomological…

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Anne Nielsen’s fruit entomology lab

Earlier this week, I began working as a postdoc in the insect ecology lab of Anne Nielsen in the Department of Entomology at Rutgers University. I’m excited to work in her lab, and to start working in a new ecological system. I’ll be focused on the population dynamics and biological control of the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys). I’m sad to leave my friends and colleagues at the University of Minnesota behind, but I guess this…

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BIOCAT is updated!!!

Image: Fig 2 from Cock et al. (2016) BioControl. Finally, there is an update to Greathead & Greathead’s (1992) database on  classical biological control of insects! Cock et al. (2016) present a nice update in BioControl of Greathead & Greathead’s seminal paper, and they allude to more papers and analyses to come. Awesome! This update is important because so many changes have occurred in the last couple decades regarding ecological risk assessment of classical biological control…

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Pest control ~ Landscape complexity

Image: Fig 1 from Rusch et al. (2016) Agric Ecosyst Environ. It’s well demonstrated that increased habitat complexity tends to increase arthropod biodiversity and, importantly, the abundance of natural enemies. Therefore, it is thought that increasing complexity in agricultural landscapes should increase the level of pest control too. But is this true? Does increased landscape complexity actually result in fewer pests? There have been a few great studies that have looked at this question (e.g. Gardiner…

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Have you seen my Elliot Smith record? Hey look a squirrel!

Image: Figure 1B from Bratman et al. (2015) PNAS showing changes in activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex. A new study in PNAS by Bratman et al. (2015) suggests a possible mechanism to explain the link between urban living and increased levels of depression and other mental illnesses. Taking a walk through a natural setting apparently decreases rumination – i.e. “a maladaptive pattern of self-referential thought…”  They go on to describe rumination as a “…focus on the…

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