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.