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Research grants roll in for Entomology scientists

Posted by | December 1, 2015
Research into bees and other pollinators are among a dozen projects funded by grants for WSU entomologists this fall.
Research into bees and other pollinators are among a dozen projects funded by grants for WSU entomologists this fall.

This fall, scientists at Washington State University’s Department of Entomology racked up more than $5 million in grants to advance their research.

• Entomology professor William Snyder, with professor Dave Crowder, Franklin County Extension Director Tim Waters, and Grant County Extension Specialist Carrie Wohleb, received a nearly $2.7 million USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant to improve management of the potato psyllid, an insect that spreads zebra chip disease of potatoes

• Snyder, with Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology professor Thomas Besser and entomology professor Jeb Owen, also received a nearly $2 million USDA-NIFA grant to to study the benefits and risks of songbirds on vegetable farm

• Additionally, Snyder, with Besser and John Reganold, Regents Professor of Soil Science & Agroecology, received $199,000 to explore biodiversity and natural approaches to human-pathogen suppression, from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Organic Transitions program. Entomology PhD student Matt Jones was a lead author on this grant proposal.

• John Stark, a professor and ecotoxicology program director at WSU Puyallup, received a $66,898 award from Harvard University/STAR/EPA and a $212,000 grant from Boeing.

• Richard Zack, professor, Extension specialist and director of the M. T. James Entomological Collection, received a $99,916 award from USDA/ARS. The funding supports studies of pest and beneficial insects in a variety of crops, allowing WSU researchers to explore insect biology and find new methods for pest management.

• Steve Sheppard, Entomology department chair, earned a $35,059 award from the California Almond Board to explore using Old World honey bee germplasm for breeding and stock improvement.

• Brandon Hopkins, an entomology research associate, with Sheppard, received $12,000 from USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for a honey bee survey.

• Nicole Rafferty, an entomology research associate, received $23,500 from the British Ecological Society to explore how geographic and seasonal shifts affect plant-pollinator interactions. Her research takes place in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, where historical data indicate both bumble bees and plants are moving in upward in elevation, and changing their timing of their seasonal emergence, in response to climate change.

• Jay Brunner, director of the Tree Fruit Research & Extension Center, got a $10,000 grant from Zirkle Fruit Company.

• Entomology professor Dave Crowder and graduate student Rachel Olsson received a two-year, $25,000 grant from Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, a program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They will use the funds to explore how landscape use affects bumblebee health and disease susceptibility.

• Elizabeth Culbert, research supervisor with the WSU Tri-Cities-Food & Environmental Quality Lab, and Vincent Hebert, associate scientist with Entomology, received a $96,000 grant from National Institute of Food and Agriculture toward the Western Region Food Use Residue Program.

• Carol Black, Urban Integrated Pest Management and Pesticide Safety Education Program Director, received $138,000 from Coeur d’Alene Tribe Services and the Environmental Protection Administration for a tribal pesticide regulatory education program

• Black, with Extension Coordinator Wendy Wheeler, also received $1,180 for enhancing networking and knowledge of state and tribe pesticide regulatory personnel.