Yolanda received her PhD from UC Berkeley in 2001, studying the tritrophic consequences of sunflower domestication with Steve Welter. As a postdoc, she studied the invasion genetics of Rhagoletis completa to examine if bottlenecks associated with invasions may influence local adaptation. Following an interest in food security and sustainable development, she spent 2004-2007 as an entomologist at the International Rice Research Institute, where she had active programs studying the ecology and genetics of rice pests such as the brown planthopper (Nilaparvata lugens) and the yellow stemborer (Scirpophaga incertulas). She started at the University of Vermont in 2008. She is interested in the origins of agriculture and how historical and current human activities shape the ecology and evolution of insect pests. Her broad goals are to understand how to “farm with nature” sustainably within a globalized world. She has a wide array of interests that include pest evolution, insect-plant interactions, crop domestication, evolutionary ecology, population genetics, phylogeography, epigenetics, genomics, insecticide resistance, and geography.
Other Languages: 中文 (Fluent), Español (Intermediate)
Kristian Brevik, Ph.D. student
I’m interested, broadly, in the way that humans shape environments and the species that inhabit them. I plan to use genomic techniques to explore how Colorado Potato Beetle became the pest that we now encounter, and how it is so adaptable in the face of numerous stressors, including pesticides and climate. I aim for these goals to be applicable both in understanding the evolution of insects and adapting agriculture to remain productive in a changing world.
I’m interested in working with growers to develop agricultural practices that consider the ecology of pests as well as the economics and practical considerations of their implementation on farms. My Ph.D. research objective is to better understand the mating behavior of swede midge and use this information to test cost-effective pheromone mating disruption systems for its management. I work with our collaborators in Canada at the University of Guelph conducting on-farm trials in Ontario testing this management strategy.
I am interested in understanding species interactions to develop an ecologically-based pest management system. Through research developed at Virginia Commonwealth University (B.S. in Biology), I was able to determine how location of a companion plant influences natural control by beneficial insects in a field setting. As a PhD candidate, I will work to disrupt host location of Contarinia nasturtii (swede midge), an invasive pest of Brassica crops, using companion plants and non-host plant phytochemicals.
Undergraduate Research Assistants and Interns
I’m a senior undergraduate in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, majoring in ecological agriculture. As a member of the Honors College, I’m currently working on my senior thesis. I’m interested in insect ecology, specifically looking at tritrophic interactions and biological pest control. After graduation I would like to pursue a Masters degree in insect ecology. Other hobbies include music, food, hiking, and soccer.
I am a senior undergraduate student studying forestry with a concentration in community development and applied economics. I am interested in international forestry and some of the challenges that come along with international forest management (particularly in developing countries) such as pest management and the impacts of climate change.Erin Johnson
I am a sophomore undergraduate student at the University of Vermont majoring in environmental science with a concentration in global climate change, and a double minor in geospatial technologies and geography. In my future career after college, I aspire to use geospatial technologies to research the global impacts of climate change such as habitat degradation and storm management risk. This is my first time working in a laboratory setting, and I am excited to expand my scientific skills.
Sean Quigley (co-advised by Stephanie McKay)
I am a sophomore studying biology at the University of Vermont. My interests include ecological genetics and epigenetics. I am currently trying to get lab experience and gain better understandings of my interests.
I am a sophomore undergraduate student at the University of Vermont majoring in biology with double minors in chemistry and anthropology. I have a wide range of interests, but I enjoy studying evolution, ecology, and animal behavior in particular. It is these interests that directed me towards the Insect Agroecology lab. This is my first formal lab experience, and I look forward to developing my scientific skills in the months to come.
I am a junior biological sciences major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Honors College. I’m interested in understanding how swede midges respond to different essential oils and stereoisomers of pheromones, and I’m also interested in the general biology of Lepidoptera and how this can be applied to conservation.
I am a senior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences studying Environmental Science. My interests mostly pertain to ecology, conservation biology and human interaction with the environment. During my time in the lab I plan to explore reasons as to why the Colorado potato beetle has become such a difficult insect pest.
Post Doctoral Research Fellow, USDA Northeast Region Climate Hub
Soil Conservationist, USDA NRCS, Eastern Shore, MD
Tara Madsen-Steigmeyer (Ph. D. 2014)
Laurel Martinez (anticipated 2017)
Ross Pillischer (anticipated 2017)
Phoebe Judge (Columbia University, anticipated 2017)
Rebecca Roman (anticipated 2017)
Oliver Bevan (B.S. 2016)
Brennan Kensey (B.S. 2016)
Leila Rezvani (B.A. 2016)
Samuel Zuckerman (B.S. 2016)
Kathryn Jacobs (B.S. 2015)
Anna Grubb (B.S. 2015)
Hannah Eiseman (B. S. in Biology, 2014)
Danielle Bartolanzo (B. S. in Biology, 2014)
- Andrei Alyokhin, University of Maine, USA
- Julio Bernal, Texas A & M University, USA
- Betty Benrey, Université de Neuchâtel, Switzerland
- Angelica Cíbrian-Jaramillo, LANGEBIO-CINVESTAV, Mexico
- Ngo Luc Cuong, Cuu Long Rice Research University, Vietnam
- Rebecca Hallett, University of Guelph, Canada
- Christy Hoepting, Cornell University Cooperative Extension, USA
- David Hawthorne, University of Maryland, USA
- Leena Lindstrӧm, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
- Alessandro Grapputo, Universita de Padova, Italy
- Gail Langellotto-Rhodaback, Oregon State University, USA
- Stephanie McKay, University of Vermont, USA
- Cesar Rodriguez-Saona, Rutgers University, USA
- Sean Schoville, University of Wisconsin, USA
- Tony Shelton, Cornell University, USA
- Mario Vallejo-Marin, University of Stirling, UK
- Yu Xiaoping, China Jiliang University, China