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Soil Insect Ecology Laboratory

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Soil Insect Ecology Laboratory

Soil Insect Ecology Laboratory

Welcome to the Soil Insect Ecology Laboratory

The Soil Insect Ecology Laboratory at Purdue is fully engaged in all three mission areas of the Land Grant University system. Under Dr. Richmond’s direction, applied research and extension work in concert to serve growers, industry and the public interest by providing leadership in the areas of turfgrass entomology and soil insect ecology. The laboratory serves as training ground for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars from around the globe, and as a springboard for undergraduate research and instruction.

For students interested in joining our graduate program in Soil Insect Ecology, please contact Dr. Richmond (drichmond@purdue.edu).
We are currently seeking a Ph.D. student interested in understanding the foraging habits and risks associated with pollinators on golf courses, urban green spaces, or related naturalized areas.

Personnel

Current Personnel

Lab Alumni

Victoria Caceres-Kleczewski, M.S. 2007, Ph.D. 2011
Terri Hoctor-Billeisen, M.S. 2009
Autumn Nance, M.S. 2011
Garrett Price, M.S. 2017

Walter Baldauf, M.S. 2009
Nick Seiter, M.S. 2009
Alexandra Duffy, M.S. 2016

Research

Research in the Soil Insect Ecology Laboratory focuses broadly on understanding the ecology and behavior of soil-dwelling insects. We primarily use turfgrass systems as a model for developing novel pest detection and mitigation strategies.

White Grub

White Grub Spatial Biology and Biogeochemical Interactions

Research in this area explores the spatial, temporal and biogeochemical characteristics of soil-dwelling scarab larvae in order to focus monitoring efforts, facilitate Integrated Pest Management decisions and direct the development of next generation pest management tools.
Billbugs

Billbug Seasonal Ecology and Management

Research in this area focuses on the development and utilization of DNA barcoding techniques to facilitate a better understanding of the seasonal biology of the billbug complex (a sympatric group of grass feeding weevils that are major pest of turfgrass world-wide). The larvae of these insects cannot be differentiated morphologically.

Billbug Seasonal Ecology and Management

Research in this area focuses on the development and utilization of DNA barcoding techniques to facilitate a better understanding of the seasonal biology of the billbug complex (a sympatric group of grass feeding weevils that are major pest of turfgrass world-wide). The larvae of these insects cannot be differentiated morphologically.

Billbugs
Microbes

Improving Integration of Cultural and Biological Controls for Turfgrass Insects

Research in this area focuses on the use of microbes (fungal endophytes, insect-pathogenic fungi, insect-parasitic nematodes, baculoviruses) for managing turfgrass insects. The aim of this work is to provide the green industry with science-based recommendations for integrating alternative insect management tactics.
Field Sprinklers with Rainbow

Product Development and Assessment

We work closely with industry partners around the world to develop novel pest management tools, enhance sustainability and reduce the environmental footprint of managed turfgrasses.

Product Development and Assessment

We work closely with industry partners around the world to develop novel pest management tools, enhance sustainability and reduce the environmental footprint of managed turfgrasses.
Field Sprinklers with Rainbow

Extension

Group Photo

Our Extension efforts aim to translate findings from our applied research to end users and stakeholders. We also use extension venues as a listening tool to develop applied research projects that benefit the turfgrass industry and as an avenue for training students to become the next generation of academic extension specialists. Our goal is to provide seamless delivery of information across multiple platforms in order to arm stakeholders with readily accessible, timely, data-driven, support.

Bulletins

Click here for additional bulletins related to turfgrass insects.

Mobile Apps

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Purdue Turf Doctor
A mobile app created to help homeowners and land managers diagnose and address turfgrass disorders, and improve communication with customers.

Distance Learning

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Turfgrass IPM
A newly revised, comprehensive training program focusing on turfgrass management and integrated pest management in cool- and warm-season turfgrass. Approved for certification, recertification, or continuing education credits in 36 states.

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Teaching & Learning

We are heavily invested in learning. In addition to teaching graduate and undergraduate classes, we provided the vision for and spearheaded the development and implementation of a new, outcome-based, undergraduate Insect Biology Curriculum. The road map we created challenges students to think about insect biology within the larger context of societal grand challenges. We also conceived and implemented the Insect Biology Undergraduate Capstone program and have administered the program since 2007.

Click here to view the Insect Biology Curriculum.

 

Plant Lab

Courses Taught

ENTM 30100 Experimentation and Analysis

This course introduces students to the basic concepts of experimental design and quantitative data analysis with a focus on insect examples. The first half of the course explores the factors necessary for designing a successful experiment, whereas the second half focuses on data analysis and interpretation using common mathematical models. Examples are drawn primarily from insect biology and agricultural science, but are useful for all undergraduate students planning careers in the life sciences. (Syllabus)

ENTM 69200 Advanced Experimentation and Analysis

This course is designed to provide graduate students with an opportunity to explore fundamental aspects of experimental design and use of the general linear model in data analysis. Students will apply the principles, concepts and procedures discussed in class using a series of real-world data sets.

Undergraduate Student Mentoring

The Soil Insect Ecology Laboratory serves as a springboard for undergraduate research, mentoring more than 13 undergraduate students through there capstone experience. Through these projects, undergraduate students have gained valuable experience in the science of integrated pest management, soil insect ecology, and pollinator safety. Using the capstone program, we guide students in the development of written and oral communication skills essential for communicating scientific concepts.