My research interests are rooted in studying the behavior and ecology of insects and incorporating those principles into Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs. Broadly speaking, I am interested in how environmental factors can interact to determine the phenology and infestation risk of pest organisms. I recently completed a PhD in Entomology at Michigan State University on the mating biology, chemical ecology and population dynamics of the grape berry moth, Paralobesia viteana, in Michigan juice and wine grape vineyards. As a major part of that process, I investigated how ambient temperature influences the periodicity and frequency of mating, and thereby shapes the seasonal patterns of activity of this major vineyard pest.
I came to Geography with almost twenty years of experience as a research assistant in the Entomology Department at Michigan State University. During this time, I coordinated several multi-state, on-farm research/extension projects in grapes and blueberries. This work was designed to help growers learn how to best incorporate reduced-risk pesticides into their management plans. In addition to my work in IPM, I have also managed a nationwide pollination project that identified and tested the feasibility of using wild and managed bees to pollinate a range of specialty crops on commercial farms. I have always enjoyed working with and learning from growers, and I am excited to continue this mission through my current position with Enviroweather.