Annual Student Award for the Appreciation for the Biology of Insect Pests
We are proud to announce the winners for the third year of the Award: 2014. We had a record number of submissions and the submitted papers were of outstanding quality! Submissions were received from students all around the world, all works of great passion for insects, full of intriguing discoveries. The committee was unable to decide on a single winner and ended up in a tie! The prize of $500 is divided between two winners:
Christina S. Baer, University of Missouri-St. Louis, MO, USA
for the article Baer, C. S. and R. J. Marquis. 2014. Native leaf-tying caterpillars influence host plant use by the invasive Asiatic oak weevil through ecosystem engineering published in Ecology 95(6): “We found that the Asiatic oak weevil (Cyrtepistomus castaneus) is attracted to leaf shelters built by native caterpillars and that these shelters influence host plant species choices.”
Rebecca P. Duncan, University of Miami, FL, USA
for the article Duncan, R. P., F. Husnik, J. T. Van L., D. G. Gilbert, L. M. Davalos , J. P. McCutcheon, A. C. C. Wilson. 2014. Dynamic recruitment of amino acid transporters to the insect/symbiont interface published in Molecular Ecology (2014) 23, 1608–1623: “We discovered that amino acid transporter genes duplicated independently in sap-feeding insect pests, which depend on obligate bacterial symbionts that provide hosts with amino acids; in each insect, some members of these large gene family expansions were independently recruited to the cells that house symbionts, suggesting that gene duplication has been mechanistically important in the evolution of intracellular symbioses.”
Congratulations, Christina and Rebecca! Thank you all for your discoveries, and for your interest in the wonders of insect sometimes called pests. Our sincere thanks also go to all other students who submitted their papers. The complete list of submitted papers is below (see how great they were!).
This award serves to promote the study of unexplored aspects of natural history of insect pests. For more information on the award, and for submission of a paper for the year 2015 click here.
The award is supported by the TREE Foundation in Sarasota, FL, and conferred by the Ambrosia Symbiosis Research Group (Jiri Hulcr and Andrea Lucky at University of Florida, Rob Dunn at North Carolina State University, and Anthony I. Cognato at Michigan State University). Please send any further inquiries to email@example.com.
The complete list of papers submitted in 2014
- Benitez, H. A., Puschel, T., Lemic, D., Cacija, M., Kozina, A., Bazok. R.: Ecomorphological Variation of the Wireworm Cephalic Capsule: Studying the Interaction of Environment and Geometric Shape. “Our results showed that there is a high covariation between the wireworm head shape and the climatic conditions. It was suggested that the observed shape–environment association could be result of the high plasticity of this species in relation to its invasive capacity.”
- Bracewell, R. R. and Six, D. L.: Broadscale Specificity in a Bark Beetle–Fungal Symbiosis: a Spatio-temporal Analysis of the Mycangial Fungi of the Western Pine Beetle. “The paper shows that the western pine beetle-fungal symbiosis shows remarkable fidelity at both temporal and spatial scales and beetle populations that likely diverged millions of years ago still harbor the same fungal species.”
- CHENG, SHAWN,DINAIZ THINAGARAN, SEYEDEH ZEINAB MIRJALILI MOHANNA, NOR ANISAH MHD NOH: Haplotype–Habitat Associations of Coptotermes gestroi (Termitoidae: Rhinotermitidae) From Mitochondrial DNA Genes. “We demonstrated the association between mtDNA haplotypes and habitats of C. gestroi which provides useful information for identifying potential habitats that may harbor C.gestroi colonies or be at risk of C. gestroi invasion where this species has been introduced.”
- Dale, A. G, Frank, S. D.: Urban warming trumps natural enemy regulation of herbivorous pests. “I discovered that urban warming contributes more to regulating the abundance of a scale insect pest (Melanaspis tenebricosa) than natural enemy regulation on red maple (Acer rubrum) street trees in an urban habitat by increasing scale insect body size, fecundity, and population growth rate.”
- Esquivel, Carlos J., Bryan J. Cassone, Peter M. Piermarini: Transcriptomic Evidence for a Dramatic Functional Transition of the Malpighian Tubules after a Blood Meal in the Asian Tiger Mosquito Aedes albopictus. “My publication is the first work characterizing transcriptomic changes that occur in the Malpighian tubules of the mosquito Aedes albopictus after a blood meal, and is the first to suggest that this renal tissue undergoes a dramatic functional transformation that allows it to play an important role in the detoxification and excretion of metabolic wastes associated with blood feeding.”
- Evangelista, D. A., Bourne, G., Ware, J. L.: Species richness estimates of Blattodea s.s. (Insecta: Dictyoptera) from northern Guyana vary depending upon methods of species delimitation. “We utilized the polymorphic diversity in a cockroach community to show that species richness estimates are highly sensitive to the way in which you delimit species”
- Formby, John P., Natraj Krishnan and John J. Riggins: Supercooling in the Redbay Ambrosia Beetle (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). “This study found that the tropical redbay ambrosia beetle is capable of extreme thermal plasticity (i.e. can supercool within 2 hours after field collection at ~35°C to temperatures far-below zero) and, when preconditioned to temperatures that mimic a winter thermoperiod near the northern limits of sassafras, is capable of supercooling to a significantly lower average temperature.”
- Gerofotis C. D, Ioannou C. S., Papadopoulos N. T.: Aromatized to Find Mates: α-Pinene Aroma Boosts the Mating Success of Adult Olive Fruit Flies. “Exposure of adult olive flies-males and females- to a single compound enhances their mating success.”
- Gillett, Conrad P.D.T., Alex Crampton-Platt, Martijn J.T.N. Timmermans, Bjarte H. Jordal, Brent C. Emerson, Alfried P. Vogler: Bulk De Novo Mitogenome Assembly from Pooled Total DNA Elucidates the Phylogeny of Weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionoidea). “This investigated the phylogeny of weevils using novel economical bulk mitogenome sequencing, which supported the paraphyly of wood-boring weevil subfamilies and recognised the division of the family Curculionidae s.str. into two main large clades.”
- Glastad, Karl M., Brendan G. Hunt, Soojin V. Yi and Michael A. D. Goodisman: Epigenetic inheritance and genome regulation: is DNA methylation linked to ploidy in haplodiploid insects? “I used empirical and computational methods to study the genome-wide patterns of DNA methylation in the invasive, red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, finding that DNA methylation differences were strongly linked to ploidy differences suggesting a novel role for DNA methylation in modulating gene expression in haplodiploid species.”
- Hua, Jun-tao, Bing Chen, Zhi-hong Li: Thermal plasticity is related to the hardening response of heat shock protein expression in two Bactrocera fruit flies. “I found that there are two species of fruit flies, Bactrocera correcta and B. dorsalis, exhibiting a highly consistent pattern of thermal response in terms of their heat shock survival rates and levels of Heat shock protein (Hsp) gene expression, and it suggests that the difference in thermal plasticity may be responsible for the different distributions of the two species”.
- Jones, A. C, Mullins, D. E., Jones, T. H., Salom, S. M.: Characterization of Physical and Chemical Defenses in the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. “We described and quantified the physical and chemical defenses of the invasive hemlock pest, Adelges tsugae, and the de novo production and maternal investment of these defenses throughout the insect’s life.”
- Lauren E. Des Marteaux, Jonathan M. Schmidt, Marc B. Habash, Rebecca H. Hallett: Patterns of diapause frequency and emergence in swede midges of southern Ontario. “Photoperiod and absolute maximum air temperature are determinants of swede midge diapause entry but do not influence the timing of emergence (which is mostly bimodal) or the duration of diapause (which can last more than one year).”
- Limeri, L. B., Morehouse, N. I.: Sensory limitations and the maintenance of colour polymorphisms: viewing the ‘alba’ female polymorphism through the visual system of male Colias butterflies. “Our research revealed that males of a color polymorphic butterfly species may be unable to visually discriminate between the white female morph and other white species, potentially explaining a mating bias against the more fecund white females and thus the maintenance of the polymorphism.”
- Lu, Mingzhen, Mircea Davidescu, Rahayu Sukmaria Sukri and Joshua H. Daskin: Termites facilitate root foraging by trees in a Bornean tropical forest. “We discovered that termites, though thought to be a pest that usually infest old woody houses in the US and kill both young seedlings and old canopy trees in the tropical rain forest, can facilitate forest trees foraging for nutrients, providing a short-cutting technique for ecosystem nutrient recycling.”
- McDermott, E. G., Mullens, B. A.: Desiccation tolerance in the eggs of the primary North American bluetongue virus vector, Culicoides sonorensis (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae), and implications for vector persistence. “The eggs of the bluetongue virus vector, Culicoides sonorensis, which were previously believed to be completely susceptible to desiccation, are in fact able to withstand significant water losses of over 50%, indicating that they could survive extended periods in this state, similar to many floodwater mosquito species.”
- Nikbakhtzadeh, Mahmood R., John W. Terbot II, Philip E. Otienoburu, Woodbridge A. Foster: Olfactory basis of floral preference of the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae (Diptera: Culicidae) among common African plants. “We found that four of nine common African plants that Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes had been found on were significantly attractive, based on their chemical profile and using NMDS these plants sort into two somewhat distinct groups.”
- Powell, Christopher M., Daymon Hail, Julia Potocnjak, J. Delton Hanson, Susan H. Halbert, Blake R. Bextine: Bacterial Community Composition of Three Candidate Insect Vectors of Palm Phytoplasma (Texas Phoenix Palm Decline and Lethal Yellowing). “The bacterial communities of thee three species of palm feeding plant hoppers was explored; showing that two of the three had highly biased bacterial loads for an unknown bacterial genera.”
- Taylor, Christopher M., Peter L. Coffey, Bridget D. DeLay, Galen P. Dively: The Importance of Gut Symbionts in the Development of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, Halyomorpha halys (Sta°l). “I report on my findings that symbiotic bacteria 1) are passed on to the subsequent generation by being smeared on the stink bug egg mass, 2) are necessary for proper development of the bug, and 3) can influence the behavior of the newly hatched nymphs.”
- Wadsworth, Crista B., Xinnan Li, and Erik B. Dopman: A recombination suppressor contributes to ecological speciation in Ostrinia moths. “We find evidence for a large scale recombination suppressor (4 Mb-10 Mb) on the Z (sex) chromosome that harbors the genetic basis for seasonal dormancy termination timing.”
- Woller, D. A., Fontana, P., Marino-Perez, R., and Song, H.: Studies in Mexican Grasshoppers: Liladownsia fraile, a new genus and species of Dactylotini (Acrididae: Melanoplinae) and an updated molecular phylogeny of Melanoplinae. “We discovered a large, beautiful new genus and species in the mountains of Oaxaca that we named after a Mexican singer that embodies the region, and this new find additionally led to a much-needed updating of the molecular phylogeny of the subfamily to which it belongs: Melanoplinae (Acrididae).”
- Wormington, J. D., Juliano, S. A.: Hunger-dependent and sex-specific antipredator behaviour of larvae of a size-dimorphic mosquito. “The attached paper represents the first evidence of sex differences in antipredator behavior in foraging mosquito larvae.”