Thanks City Market!

We are excited to have just received a City Market Co-op patronage Seedling Grant to fund more of our work on swede midge.

The money comes from City Market members that forget to cash in their refunds as Co-op members. We thank the Board and members for their support. What a cool way to work on the food system!

This is a signal that the local food system is now starting to be concerned enough about swede midge to support research on the solutions! This grant will fund a study whether is a relationship between the number of midge larvae and damage indices.

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Ukranians reference Colorado potato beetles in a slur

As testimony to the persistence of Colorado potato beetle as a global scourge, apparently the Ukranians are now calling the Russian separatists, “Koloradi”.

Here is the story:

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Welcome to Kristian Brevik!

We are pleased to welcome the newest addition to the lab – Kristian Brevik! Kristian did his undergrad degree at Hampshire College, where he studied the domestication of a small mammal. He also happens to speak a few languages, including some Chinese! In his other life, he actually is a sculpture artist interested in insect form. Welcome Kristian!

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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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