Congratulations to Dr. Victor Izzo!

Vic is joining Plant and Soil Science at UVM as a Full-time Lecturer! The department is very lucky to have some who is has such a passion for teaching and student mentoring.

I am very pleased that we have been able to retain Vic at UVM!




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The swede midge problem intensifies – and we need your help!

Swede midge is an insect pest that has recently caused up to 100% losses of organic broccoli in New York and Vermont. The midge is an invasive pest that also attacks a wide range of other crops in the Brassicaceae family (kale, collards, cabbage, kohlrabi, Brussel sprouts, bok choi, napa cabbage, turnips, and canola). So far, severe damage is only restricted to New York and Vermont.

The Insect Agroecology and Evolution Lab is the currently the only lab in the United States that is working on the developing alternative pest control strategies suitable for organic production for the midge. If you donate to our fund, the money will go directly towards funding student research on swede midge pest control.

Help support swede midge research!

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Crop domestication, global human-mediated migration, and the unresolved role of geography in pest control

One of the major assumptions of sustainable agriculture is that studying the ecology of insect pests in agroecosystems should lead to improved ecologically-based pest management. In the majority of studies, the geographic origin of the plants and insects are rarely considered. As a result, there has been little discussion as to whether species origins influence the success of pest control.

In this new commentary, I discuss how geography structures the evolution of insect as pests, and how this may influence the success of ecologically-based pest control approaches. I propose that further advances in developing ecologically-based management may come by developing a line of questioning that acknowledges both agricultural history and geography.

The article is freely available from Elementa: Science of the AnthropoceneFig. 1 final-RGB_small

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Celebrating student research at the UVM Student Research Conference

One of our undergraduate lab members, Sam Zuckerman, will be presenting the results of his research today at the UVM Student Research Conference (SRC). Although his presentation may be only 15 minutes long, each slide represents hours of learning, lab and field work, and data analysis. Sam has been a valuable member of our lab group, working behind the scenes to help maintain our swede midge colony and tackling important issues in swede midge management. Today Sam presents the results of his work with swede midge, titled “Developing damage and action thresholds for swede midge–an invasive pest of brassicas.”

Sam successfully defended his undergraduate thesis last week. Congratulations, Sam! As part of Sam’s research, he developed an economic threshold for swede midge, which allows for growers to make informed management decisions based on field population levels.

IMGP4678           SamSRC (1)



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Andrei Alyokhin is featured in IPM Insights

Our collaborator, Andrei Alyokohin of University of Maine, was featured in IPM Insights, a publication from the Northeastern IPM Center. Capture

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