ENTOMOLOGY

DEPARTMENT OF

RESEARCH

Overview

 

Departmental research addresses basic and applied ecology, agricultural and forest pest management, urban entomology, medical and veterinary entomology and toxicology and molecular biology.

 

Ecological research has addressed effects of river channelization and water impoundment on relationships among nutrient supply, plant condition, and defoliator abundances, effects of storm and anthropogenic disturbances on arthropod communities, and effects of invasive plant species on native pollinator guilds, as well as identifying indicator taxa for various environmental conditions.

 

Research advances in agricultural and forest pest management have included identification of insect growth regulators and other pesticides with minimal non-target effects, evaluation of optimal timing and dosage of pesticide application, evaluation of alternative control methods (including insect-resistant crop varieties, biological control agents, and elimination of overwintering habitats), identification of molecular mechanisms of insecticide-resistance in various insect species, development of non-GMO refuge strategies to delay resistance development, evaluation of establishment and dispersal rate of biological control agents, and precision agriculture techniques using GIS methods to target management to critical areas.

 

Research in urban entomology has led to patents on various termite control methods, including the pop-up bait system, identification of novel plant-derived termite repellents, identification of molecular markers of termite colony identity for assessment of control efficacy, evaluation and development of improved baiting systems for red imported fire ant and other nuisance ants, evaluation of factors affecting insect succession in animal carcasses, and evaluation of mosquito repellents and control programs.

 

Departmental research has been supported by a variety of federal (USDA, EPA, DOI, DOD, NSF, NIH) and state agencies (Department of Agriculture and Forestry, Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries), chemical industries, and commodity groups.  Funding from these external sources amounts to $3-4 million annually.

 

 

 

Student dissertation and thesis research

 

Click here to view the most recent thesis and dissertation topics from graduate students in the department of Entomology.

 

 

Research Concentrations

 

Integrated Pest Management: Research advances have included identification of insect growth regulators and other pesticides with minimal non-target effects, evaluation of optimal timing and dosage of pesticide application, evaluation of alternative control methods (including insect-resistant crop varieties, biological control agents, and elimination of overwintering habitats), identification of molecular mechanisms of insecticide-resistance in various insect species, development of non-GMO refuge strategies to delay resistance development, evaluation of establishment and dispersal rate of biological control agents, and precision agriculture techniques using GIS methods to target management to critical areas.

 

Vector Ecology: The  LSU entomology department has a wide variety of full time and adjunct staff that study different aspects of vector ecology.  Areas of research concentrate on vectors of disease causing pathogens to humans, animals, and plant systems.  The department also houses staff with experience in toxicology, control, and molecular biology of arthropod vectos.

 

Urban Entomology: Major efforts within this program area include the 20 years of monitoring Formosan subterranean termite populations in New Orleans, the 10-year old termite control project in the French Quarter of New Orleans (coordinated by the Department, in cooperation with the USDA-ARS Southern Region Research and New Orleans Mosquito and Termite Control Board), patents on various termite control methods, including the pop-up bait system, identification of novel plant-derived termite repellents, identification of molecular markers of termite colony identity for assessment of control efficacy, evaluation and development of improved baiting systems for red imported fire ant and other nuisance ants, continuing application of forensic entomology to law enforcement programs, and evaluation of mosquito repellents and control programs focused in urban areas.

 

Innovative techniques in applied and basic research: The LSU entomology department is a leader in combining applied and basic research to answer problems in entomology.  These techniques not only help stakeholders throughout the country, but help provide valuable information in resistance management.

 

Integrative Biology:  Major efforts under this program area include molecular (as well as morphological) systematics, systematic revision of target groups, biodiversity assessment (e.g., participation in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory) and identification of indicator taxa, evaluation of insect responses to environmental changes (such as hurricanes and other natural and anthropogenic disturbances), insect effects on conditions of natural and managed ecosystems, and contributions to conservation programs.

 

Taxonomy and Systematics: The Louisiana State Arthropod Museum (LSAM) currently houses nearly one million specimens, representing a major repository for Louisiana species but also representing substantial collections from Central and South America and Asia, as well as other parts of North America.  LSAM represents a major institutional asset that documents the relative abundances of native species and the arrival of new species.  LSAM collections are being integrated into a campus-wide database system to improve access and retrieval of specimens.

 

 

 

Department of Entomology

404 Life Sciences Building

Louisiana State University

Baton Rouge, LA  70803

PHONE: 225-578-1634, FAX: 225-578-2257

Email: tschowalter@agcenter.lsu.edu