Areas of Research

Current faculty and department program areas are:

Biological Control
Biological control can provide safe, permanent solutions to insect pest problems through the use of natural enemies. Research is currently under way involving the biological control of insects pests of trees, livestock, alfalfa, corn, wheat, and sorghum.
Dr. Fred Baxendale
Dr. Tom Hunt
Dr. Julie Peterson
Dr. Robert Wright

Field Crops Entomology
Essential food and forage crops often are threatened by insect and mite pests. Minimizing the impact of these pests is a major research objective of the department, with emphasis on pests of alfalfa, corn, dry beans, sorghum, soybeans, sugar beets, and wheat.
Dr. Jeff Bradshaw
Dr. Gary Hein
Dr. Tom Hunt
Dr. Justin McMechan
Dr. Lance Meinke
Dr. Julie Peterson
Dr. Robert Wright

Horticultural Entomology
Insects and mites associated with turf, fruits, vegetables, and ornamentals are studied in an effort to reduce the adverse effects of arthropod pests. Studies are under way to determine the importance of insect pests in the establishment of low maintenance lawns in Nebraska.
Dr. Fred Baxendale

Insect Ecology
This is the study of how insects and other arthropods interact with their environment. Research in the department addresses population dynamics, microclimatic influences, food utilization, trophic level relationships, modeling, and behavior.
Dr. Jeff Bradshaw
Dr. Gary Hein
Dr. Tom Hunt
Dr. Justin McMechan
Dr. Lance Meinke
Dr. Julie Peterson
Dr. Ana Velez

Insect Pest Management
Insect pest management aims to develop and implement environmentally sound, sustainable practices to reduce the impact of insect pests. This research area concentrates on pests of field crops, livestock, horticultural crops, urban environments, and forests.
Dr. Troy Anderson
Dr. Fred Baxendale
Dr. Jeff Bradshaw
Dr. Gary Brewer
Dr. Gary Hein
Dr. Tom Hunt
Dr. Joe Louis
Dr. Justin McMechan
Dr. Lance Meinke
Dr. Julie Peterson
Dr. Ana Velez
Dr. Robert Wright
Dr. Judy Wu-Smart

Insect Systematics
Biodiversity, taxonomy, and phylogenetic relationships of insects are of major importance to researchers today. UN-L has excellent entomology research collections that rank in the top 20 collections in North America. Research includes systematics studies on many diverse taxa but especially beetles.
Dr. Brett Ratcliffe

Insecticide/Environmental Toxicology
The impact of pesticides and other toxic agents on insects and the environment are crucial issues. Human exposure, mode of action, resistance development, and environmental water quality are major areas of research.
Dr. Troy Anderson
Dr. Ana Velez
Dr. Judy Wu-Smart

Molecular Genetics/Insect Genetics

Molecular, cellular, and organismal mechanisms that allow insects to transfer genetic information from one generation to another are studied in the Department. Efforts focus on resistance mechanisms, biotype formation, and characterization of sibling species.
Dr. Troy Anderson
Dr. Jeff Bradshaw
Dr. Gary Hein
Dr. Lance Meinke
Dr. Dave Taylor
Dr. Ana Velez

Plant-Insect Interactions
This research area includes both relationships of insect herbivores and their natural enemies as well as to the host plant responses to arthropod stress. Research is directed at physiological, chemical, behavioral, morphological, and microclimatic factors in these interactions.
Dr. Fred Baxendale
Dr. Jeff Bradshaw
Dr. Gary Hein
Dr. Tom Hunt
Dr. Joe Louis
Dr. Justin McMechan
Dr. Lance Meinke
Dr. Julie Peterson
Dr. Ana Velez
Dr. Robert Wright
Dr. Judy Wu-Smart

Plant Resistance to Insects
This research focuses on plant-insect interactions as they are affected by genetic manipulation of the host plant to reduce losses due to insect pests. Major areas of research involve the study of plant resistance-breaking biotypes, and investigation of tri-trophic relationships.
Dr. Fred Baxendale
Dr. Jeff Bradshaw
Dr. Gary Hein
Dr. Joe Louis

Pollinator Health
Pollinator Health is essential for ecosystem functioning and food security. Our work in this area is to investigate the underlying stressors and their roles impacting insect pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, that contribute to global pollinator health decline. Outcomes include identifying risk mitigation opportunities, improving public pollinator conservation practices, and best management practices to protect beneficial pollinators in agricultural and natural systems.
Dr. Troy Anderson
Dr. Doug Golick
Dr. Tom Weissling
Dr. Judy Wu-Smart

Veterinary Entomology
Livestock production is a major industry in Nebraska and insect pests are important factors that must be managed wisely. Work on the biology, ecology, behavior, biological control, and pest management of insects of importance to livestock production is emphasized.
Dr. Gary Brewer
Dr. Dave Taylor