Current Research Interests
Research includes investigation into various aspects of Sugarcane Insects Pest Management with emphasis on principles of applied ecology.
Program Goals (multi-year) – With emphasis on the interface of entomology with other disciplines involved in sugarcane production, develop and implement a fiscally and environmentally sound, holistic and multi-tactical insect pest management system that has a proactive vision.
Program Objectives (multi-year) – To identify insect resistant germplasm, and assess possible impact of potential sugarcane varieties on population dynamics at early stages of the breeding and selection programs. To continue development of IPM strategies that enhance biological control, minimize the need for insecticides, and emphasize adoption of narrow-range minimum risk insecticide chemistry. To conduct research to facilitate the immediate implementation of management systems for newly identified pest insects of sugarcane and associated crops. To reduce area-wide pest populations, on-going studies of current and anticipated invasive pests focus on cultural, biological, and chemical strategies and tactics involving crop and non-crop hosts (weeds).
Collaboration – The program involves close cooperation with research and extension personnel in such disciplines as agricultural economics, plant pathology, weed science and agronomy, systematists, toxicologists and other entomology peers locally, at USDA facilities, and at other state experiment stations, especially in Texas. As a follow-up to previous USDA CSREES grants, on-going competitive grants participation involves an EPA Strategic Agricultural Initiative program, a multi-state USDA Risk Avoidance Mitigation grant, and a USDA Crops-at-Risk IPM grant.
Awards – In addition to the Austin C. Thompson Distinguished Professorship (2005, renewed in 2008) and the LSU Distinguished Faculty Award (2002), recognitions from the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station include the Doyle Chamber Career Research Award (2004) and the Tipton Team Research Award (2000). Others include the 2002 Outstanding Service Award in Research and Education on behalf of the Louisiana Sugarcane Industry, and the 2003 Edward Donald Grant Educator of the Year Award from the Louisiana Moral and Civic Foundation, and the LSU College of Agriculture Graduate Student Teaching (Sedberry) Award for 2008.
Graduate Students – Some 20 students who have completed their graduate training in these programs are now employed in many diverse areas of agriculture, including university (faculty) research, teaching and extension, federal (USDA - ARS and APHIS), private consulting, applied biotechnology with industry, and county agricultural extension agent pest management.