Suisse, je viens …

I am very excited to visit Switzerland tomorrow and give my first scientific talk on the European continent at the 15th International Symposium on Insect-Plant Relationships.

This will probably be the largest assembly ever of researchers interested in how domestication influences insect-plant interactions!





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Recruiting a new Ph. D. student to study reproductive ecology of swede midge

Ph. D. assistantship in reproductive ecology and mating disruption

In cooperation with Dr. Rebecca Hallett’s lab at University of Guelph, we will be recruiting for a highly motivated Ph. D. student, who has an interest in studying the reproductive ecology of mating disruption for a cecidomyiid fly. Three years of funding are available. Please email me if you are interested or know of suitable candidates!


We just received a new USDA NIFA Crop Protection grant to study the reproductive biology of swede midge, Contarinia nasturtii (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae). We want to determine the feasibility of implementing a mating disruption program for this devastating invasive pest.

Swede midge most immediately threatens organic Brassica (broccoli, cabbage, collards, kale, etc.) production, because there aren’t any effective pest management solutions. Although the midge is only currently found in the New York and Vermont, it can potentially colonize all of the major Brassica growing areas, including California. We are alarmed by the increasing number of stories that growers may abandon the planting of Brassica crops, or forgo the planting for a season or two. In Canada, the midge has already spread from British Columbia to Prince Edward Island. Last year’s conventional canola losses in Ontario could be as high as 50%.


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You’ve come a long way, baby…

The Entomological Society of America has just started a childcare grant program for its attendees bringing small children (or babies) to the Annual Meeting. They offer $400 per attending family to cover the extra expenses of bringing a small child to the meeting or leaving them at home.

Wow! What a change!

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New domestication and species interactions review

Our new review titled, “Crop domestication and naturally-selected species interactions” was just accepted for publication for the 2015 edition of the Annual Review of Entomology. Online preprints should be available in a couple months.

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Congratulations Tara Madsen-Steigmeyer!

Congratulations to Tara Madsen-Steigmeyer who just graduated from UC Berkeley this spring! Tara studied the invasion history of Colorado potato beetle using population genomic approaches. She was co-advised by Neil Tsutsui.

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