Pest Management and Invasion Ecology
Four SBE faculty address issues related to pest biology and management in their research, and a growing concern in that effort centers on introduced, invasive flora and fauna that threaten the integrity of Maine’s ecosystems. Current research includes the ecology and pathology of blueberries and the effects of soil amendments on potato pests. For example, one project focuses on the comparative foraging behavior of bees visiting lowbush blueberry, conservation of native bees, and the microbial control of blueberry insect pests. Another research project involves investigating behavioral ecology and population genetics of the Colorado potato beetle in an attempt to come up with management approaches allowing to extend the useful life of commercially used insecticides.
Funding for SBE’s research in Pest Management and Invasion Ecology comes from various US Department of Agriculture grant programs, the National Science Foundation, the National Park Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Much of this research involves collaboration with colleagues from the School of Forest Resources, the Department of Wildlife Ecology, the Department of Plant, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, and Cooperative Extension. Students working with SBE faculty in pest management have opportunities to work in a variety of natural and managed ecosystems around the state in cooperation with various agencies. Research specialties of these faculty include invasive species, biological control, pollination biology, entomology, and plant pathology.