Entomology, Plant Pathology, and Weed Science
The PES GSO composed of PES and EPPWS graduate students held its annual Fall Pumpkin Sale. Pumpkins were direct seeded at the Student Research and Education Gardens located west of the Gerald Thomas building at the NMSU campus. On October 3, the graduate students harvested over 1,000 pounds of USDA-certified organic pumpkins. Pumpkins ranged in price (from $1 - $5) and in size, from fitting in the palm of your hand to a substantial 20 lb. baking and carving pumpkin. The sale helps raise funds for the organization. Profits fund graduate student activities as well as travel reimbursements for the members to attend scientific conferences. In addition, the pumpkin sale provides hands-on experience in the production, management and marketing of a crop, allowing graduate students to put their knowledge into practice. For more information, contact PES GSO president, Jack McCoy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Erik Lehnhoff was honored with the Western Society of Weed Scientists Outstanding Weed Scientist – Early Career Award at the Western Society of Weed Science (WSWS) meeting March 13 thru 16, 2017, Coeur d’Alene, ID. The Outstanding Weed Scientist – Early Career Award is given to members of the Western Society of Weed Science having no more than 10 years of service after completion of their terminal degree. This award recognizes outstanding achievements in weed science early in the individual career. Principal criteria for this award include innovative or unique approaches that result in learning, ability to clearly communicate ideas, motivation of the intended audience, demonstrate excellence and creativity in research accomplishments, applying results to solve problems in weed science, the impact on weed management practices and principles of weed science, and recognition of accomplishments by peers and intended audiences.
Thinking outside the lab, Dr. Scott Bundy, Professor in EPPWS, took his Tropical Insect Ecology class (EPWS 451/551) to Belize. The purpose of the class was to study the biology and diversity of arthropods (insects, spiders, etc.) in various habitats in Belize. The students gained valuable experience on how to observe insect behavior how to effectively use a variety of collecting techniques to document diversity and evaluate insects in tropical environment. They explored tropical rainforests, caves, rivers, and many other habitats throughout Belize. The students also were able to gain an appreciation of the rich culture and history of the Maya and Belizeans. You will be able to view some of their learning adventures by going to the link YouTube - EPWS Students in Belize.
Melise Taylor, NMSU-ACES graduate student pursuing a master's degree in Ag Biology and Integrated Pest Management, competed in the Southwestern Branch of the Entomological Society of America and received first place. She won for her research that deals with how a type of stink bug lay eggs. Her work has important implications, both economically, since it impacts effective management techniques of this pest species and on a basic biological level because the observed behavior of the bugs is unusual for these insects. Melise will graduate in December 2014 and is hoping to obtain her Doctorate from NMSU in the future.
Graeme Davis and Heather Bedale, gave a presentation to Conlee Elementary school kids during their career day events. They went to Conlee Elementary with a large number of insect specimens from the Arthropod Museum (located in Skeen Hall) and some live arthropods as well. They talked to the kids about what it means to be an entomologist, their connection to other fields of study such as Plant Pathology and Weed Science, the importance of the study of insects, what each of their jobs entail, and what they like about their work as entomologists. Graeme and Heather took quite a few live arthropods to share with the classrooms they visited in order to expose the kids to some of the diversity of arthropods out there in the world in an exciting way. They used the live arachnids and insects to talk about some differences in body plans among arthropods and how that relates to the different habitats that they occupy, and some of the roles they play in natural systems and in agriculture, and, of course they answered the ever popular question-does it bite? Graeme and Heather finished by showing some insect and arachnid specimens explained what they were and what they do, and tried to convey the importance of well curated and well organized specimens for the continued study of arthropods. The kids seemed to get especially excited about the live creatures, as is usually the case, and they also managed to interest a few of the adults that were present. At the end of the day the two entomologists were told they were one of the most popular visitors with the kids that day, along with an FBI agent carrying all sorts of interesting looking weapons and shields-if only there was an FBI entomologist, which would have been really popular!
Dr. Scott Bundy, Associate Professor and Director of the NMSU Arthropod Collection has taken his tropical insect Ecology class to Belize over spring break. One member of the team, Helen Vessells, has created a blog for their trip. Check it out at http://eppwsbelize.blogspot.com/ . As internet access allows, they will be giving updates from Belize on what they are doing each day.
ACES Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences (PES) has selected Dr. April Ulery as the first holder of the "Exemplary Teaching Professorship". The Exemplary Teaching Professorship endowment will help ensure that outstanding teaching, advising and mentoring of students by PES faculty will be both awarded and rewarded. The Exemplary Teaching Professorship will recognize the importance of quality undergraduate and graduate education to NMSU, the agricultural community, and the plant and environmental sciences professions. Income from the endowment will be used to provide resources to a PES faculty member who exemplifies excellence in teaching, advising and mentoring of NMSU students. Alumnus Greg Reeves (advisor Dr. Paul Bosland) has been named the recipient of the highly competitive and prestigious "Gates Cambridge Scholarship." The full scholarship will cover Greg's entire graduate program at the University of Cambridge, UK.
ACES student Connor Wagner, PES genetics major, has been awarded a Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Summer Undergraduate Research Internship. It is a nine-week program which will give undergraduate students opportunities to gain experience in research and mentorship. PES graduate student, James Fulton, was the winner of the 2014 NM Chile Conference poster competition. The title of his poster was "Chile Pepper Stip: A Physiological Disorder of the Desert Southwest." As winner, he will receive funding from the NMSU Agricultural Experiment Station that he will be able to use to present his poster at any scientific conference of his choosing.
ACES Departments working together: Entomologists from EPPWS, Graeme Davis and Helen Vessels, and Extension Plant Sciences, Carol Sutherland, have been working hard putting on the many entomology outreach activities offered in Spring. Within the past month the three traveled to Socorro to judge the Entomology competition for the New Mexico Science Olympiad, held at New Mexico Tech. Graeme traveled to Anthony to talk with 800 students for their career day. A group from EPPWS helped put on the 2014 Insect Expo in Austin, TX (as part of the Entomology Society of America annual meeting). Carol, Graeme and EPPWS faculty are gearing up for the FFA Entomology contest. Another entomology outreach activity will follow in Glenwood New Mexico, and then it is back to Anthony NM for another career day talk on Entomology. All this travel does not slow down the need for Graeme to keep the ACES Arthropod Museum continuously staffed to provide tours to folks of all ages all year long.
Two faculty-led international programs (FLiP) are taking place this week in Belize. Dr. Tim Ross is leading one group studying wildlife care and rehabilitation and Dr. Scott Bundy is leading another group of students studying insects and their interactions with humans.