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.
Biotechnology is technology that uses biological systems or living organisms or parts of this to develop or create different products. A simple example of this is using yeast (a living organism) to bake bread). The four types of Biotechnology are: Medical, Agricultural, Industrial, and Environmental.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
People who use pesticides regularly should understand there may be potential health effects of the products they use. This area of research studies how pesticide exposure may cause acute or chronic toxicity. The four routes of exposure are through skin, eyes, mouth and skin.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Farming in a sustainable way to meet society’s present food and textile needs without compromising the food and textile needs of future generations. Practitioners seek to integrated three main objectives into their work: a healthy environment, economic profitability, and social and economic equity.
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.