February 2009


Faculty News

Dr. A. Charles Tarjan, UF/IFAS emeritus professor of nematology, died in late January.

Dr. Dan Hahn was recently elected as the new 3-year member of the department's Graduate Committee.

Dr. Lukasz L. Stelinski is co-author of an article in the February 6th issue of Science magazine that shows how the evolution of one species can drive the evolution of another. He worked with scientists at the University of Notre Dame and Michigan State University to documente what evolutionary biologists call "cascading speciation." You can read the UF/IFAS News release at http://news.ifas.ufl.edu/story.aspx?id=1324 for details. The news release was also featured as a link from the main UF home page. See Publications below for the complete citation.

Dr. James P. Cuda donated several Brazilian peppertree plants to the Florida Natural History Museum. The plants are featured in a new display on Invasive Species in the Everglades that opened to the public on 5 February.

Dr. James P. Cuda was an invited lecturer for the Water Biology (PHC 6937) graduate course in the College of Public Health and Health Professions. The course provides students with an overview of Florida’s aquatic resources with a focus on biotic communities and environmental health.


Student News

Undergraduate Coordinator Dr. Carl Barfield announced that 40% of our undergraduate majors made the Fall 2008 Dean's List. Congratulations to George Ansoanuur, Joshua Garcia, Marissa Gonzalez, Wendy Gonzalez-Canal, Karol Krey, Craig Littauer, Hannah McKenrick, Fae Nageon de Lestang, Nadia Palma, Daniel Pitt, Mary Reed, Andrew Taylor, and Natasha Wright.

Graduate student Maria Checa Villafuerte is the author of a new book promoting sustainable development in western Ecuador, where less than 6% of natural forests remain and more than 75% of people are poor. This book provides a literature review of the main deforestation factors of this area and shows the link between poverty and natural resources exploitation (devastation?) in Ecuador. It also presents the benefits that biocommerce of butterflies has produced in developing countries and why this is a potential tool to promote conservation and provide economic benefits in Ecuador. Finally, it provides a photographic guide to the butterflies from the Reserve Canande River located in western Ecuador. Written in Spanish, the book costs US$18 and you can contact Maria for copies at mfcheca@ufl.edu. See Publications below for details on the book.

Ph.D. student Court Whelan was featured in the latest issue of Explore, a quarterly publication that highlights University of Florida research. The article covered Court's activities as general manager of Expedition Travel, an agency that organizes educational trips for the Florida Museum of Natural History. Court is studying ecotourism. His advisor is Dr. Jaret Daniels who advises students in that area as well as in Lepidoptera. You can view the article at http://research.ufl.edu/publications/explore/current/story_6/index.html.

Ph.D. students Gaurav Goyal and Harsimran "Rosie" Gill received "Student and Young Professional Participation Awards" for $125 and $175, respectively, for actively participating in the Entomological Society of America (ESA) during 2008.


Alumni News

Dr. John Warner (Ph.D. 2005) owns and runs Shalom Pest Control. He recently was interviewed by a south Florida TV station for helping to eliminate a suspected Africanized honey bee colony in a home. The colony's comb was over 9 feet tall and nestled in the wall. You can view the station's video at http://shalompest.homestead.com/B_interview_3Jan08_WMV.WMV.


Publications

Saarinen EV, Daniels JC, Maruniak JE. 2009. Development and characterization of polymorphic microsatellite loci in the endangered Miami blue butterfly (Cyclargus thomasi bethunebakeri). Molecular Ecology Resources 9: 242-244.

Miller CW. 2008. Seasonal effects on offspring reproductive traits through maternal oviposition behavior. Behavioral Ecology 4: 482-485.

Garcia-Maruniak A, Abd-Alla AMM, Salem TZ, Parker AG, Lietze V-U, van Oers MM, Maruniak JE, Kim W, Burand JP, Cousserans F, Robinson AS, Vlak JM, Bergoin M, Boucias DG. 2009. Two viruses that cause salivary gland hypertrophy in Glossina pallidipes and Musca domestica are related and form a distinct phylogenetic clade. Journal of General Virology 90: 334-346.

Checa, MF. 2008. Mariposas de Canandé: sus amenazas, potencial y futuro (Butterflies from Canande: their threats, potential and future). Trama Editorial, Quito-Ecuador.

Forbes AA, Powell THQ, Stelinski LL, Smith JJ, Feder JL. 2009. Sequential sympatric speciation across trophic levels. Science 323: 776-779.


Web Sites Change URLs - Again?

Do you remember when all IFAS Web sites included a tilde (~) in their URL addesses? Back then our URLs looked like http://www.ifas.ufl.edu/~entnemdept/. While it simplified addresses to change them to the http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/ format, it was still a painful process as links to other sites had to be verified and possibly redone, as well as links within the sites themselves. Plus we still needed to notify the world that our URLs had changed. In some cases, even some of our county Extension office Web sites continued to carry the old URLs years later.

Now it is all happening again. Fortunately, it will not be as painful this time around. Steve Lasley, our department's Senior Systems Programmer, is working with the people at IFAS Computer Support to make this change as painless as possible. Plus, the old URLs will continue to redirect people to the new URLs for at least a year, if not longer. If you have an entomology or nematology Web site in IFAS you have probably already received an e-mail from Steve outlining the process. In addition, with the help of software, Steve has undertaken all the work of redoing links on your sites to other sites. Even on very large sites, such as Featured Creatures, Steve completed the process of changing the URLs in a matter of hours, when it took me days the last time around.

The new URLs will combine Web sites under appropriate Department and REC names unless they are determined to be IFAS-level sites. See the IFAS Internal Management Memo at http://imm.ifas.ufl.edu/6_150/6150-6.htm for details. For example, most of our sites will now come under the http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/ URL, as in http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/news/ for the currently existing department newsletter site at http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/news/. However, most sites will be further grouped under the owner's name, as in http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/fasulo/pests/. Only department-level sites, such as http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/, will exclude the owner's name. Steve hopes to complete the entire process by the end of February.

In any case, it is an excellent Web site design practice to make the links within your Web site "relative." This means that links to other files within your site do not use the http:// code, but use other codes that link within folders, or up or down to other folders. For example, to link to a file within the same folder, you would not use http://site/foldername/filenname, but would simply use filename. To move to a file in another folder, use periods, slashes and, if necessary, the folder name. Some examples:

You get the idea. Then the next time IFAS or UF changes all the URLs, and it will happen some day, you will not have to worry if the links within your site work. Your only concern will be for those links that go outside your site. And someone else, like Steve, probably will do that work for you. I have used this design practice since the last time URLs changed, and now that they are changing again, I am 99% confident that my sites will work properly. - Thomas R. Fasulo


Meetings and Presentations

Dr. Christine W. Miller was an invited speaker and participant for the 32nd Annual Winter Animal Behavior Meeting held in Steamboat Springs, CO, 25-30 January 2008. Dr. Miller spoke on "Sexual selection in heterogeneous environments."


Seminar Series – Spring 2009

This semester, the seminar committee consists of graduate students Roxanne Burrus, Rosie Gill, Ameya Gondhalekar, Guarav Goyal, Vivek Kumar, Teresia Nyoike, Heidi HansPetersen, Will Sanders, Corraine Scott (Chair). Seminars are held on Thursday afternoons in room 1031. Refreshments are served at 3:45 pm, and the seminar begins at 4:00 pm. A listing of seminars is available online in the January 2009 issue.


Grants

Dr. Rebecca Baldwin, Dr. Faith Oi and Allen Fugler (Florida Pest Management Association) received an Entomological Foundation educational mini-grant for $2,100 to develop a Success with Pests: Insects Helpful or Harmful educational program for grades 1-5. This program will be presented in 80 elementary classrooms throughout the state by August. For more information about the program, visit http://flpma.org/.

The department's Outreach Committee (Dr. Rebecca Baldwin, Sharon Clemmenson, Dr. Jaret Daniels, Dr. Jamie Ellis - chair, Thomas Fasulo) received a $3,460 4-H Foundation Grant to revitalize the Florida Bug Club Web site at http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/bug_club. Dr. Denise Thomas, a recent graduate of the Doctor of Plant Medicine program who worked for Florida IPM in our department, was hired to direct this work through March, when she will be leaving to begin her civilian job with the U.S. Navy in Virginia.

Ph.D. student Gaurav Goyal received a Graduate Student Council travel grant for $250 to present his research at ESA's Southeastern Branch meeting in Alabama, 8-11 March 2009. He also received travel grants from Florida Entomological Society ($200), IFAS ($200) and matching funds from department ($200) to assist in presenting his research at the 2008 ESA meeting.

Ph.D. student Harsimran "Rosie" Gill received travel grants from the Florida Entomological Society ($220), IFAS ($200) and Graduate Student Council ($250) to assist in presenting her research at the 2008 ESA meeting.

The Natural Area Teaching Laboratory (NATL) is soliciting student grant proposals for projects that enhance the information infrastructure of the NATL or improve access to what is already known. The deadline is 13 Feburary. Details are at http://natl.ifas.ufl.edu/minigrants.htm The grant is for $500 and you can contact Dr. Thomas Walker for assistance in preparing the proposal.

Dr. James P. Cuda received a $1,000 travel grant from the UF/IFAS Center for Tropical Agriculture to attend the 1st International Congress on Biological Invasions in Fuzhou, China, 2-6 November.


Florida State Fair - Insects as Food

The Florida Entomological Society is sponsoring Insect Encounters at the State Fair in Tampa, FL during February 5-16, 2009. Come to the Agricultural Hall of Fame at the state fairgrounds to visit insect displays staffed by the University of Florida Entomology and Nematology Department, the Florida Department of Agriculture - Division of Plant Industry, the USDA Center for Medical and Veterinary Entomology, the Florida School IPM Program, The McGuire Center for Lepidoptera, the Florida Pest Management Association, and more. Displays will include information about entomophagy, which is the use of insects as food, honey production in Florida, and invasion and management of fire ants. We will have termite farms, insect displays, insect eating demonstrations, and much, much more. Don't miss Insect Encounters at the state fair.


Outreach

Dr. James P. Cuda and his staff hosted a laboratory tour on 2 February for gifted high school students participating in the Junior Science, Engineering and Humanities Symposium. The annual Symposium is sponsored by the University’s Center for Precollegiate Education and Training.


Segments

Six-Legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War, by Dr. Jeffrey Lockwood of the University of Wyoming, is a recent release of Oxford University Press. A short interview and a brief excerpt are available at http://rorotoko.com/index.php/article/jeffrey_lockwood_book_interview_six-legged_soldiers.

In October 2008, British scientists identified Phobaeticus chani as the longest insect in the world. The new species of walking stick measures 22 inches long with its legs fully extended. You can view a photograph of it at http://www.time.com/time/specials/2008/top10/article/0,30583,1855948_1864552_1864545,00.htm. Dr. Tom Walker's University of Florida Web site on Insect Records previously listed another walking stick, Pharnacia serratipes, as the longest insect, at just under 22 inches.

New insight into how bees see could improve artificial intelligence systems. See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090123101211.htm for details.

One, two, three, many. Honey bees can tell the difference between different numbers at a glance. See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090127202103.htm for details.

Attack of the Giant Locusts! Scientists have determined that a chemical in the brain turns tiny groups of sweet, little grasshoppers into humongous swarms of evil, crop-eating locusts. See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090129140845.htm for details. Some useful advice I gleaned from the article: never tickle the hind legs of a locust for two hours. You won't like what happens. If you find the article insteresting, you can also read Locust: The Devastating Rise and Mysterious Disappearance of the Insect that Shaped the American Frontier by Jeffrey Lockwood.

Could solar powered butterfies solve our energy crisis? See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090204170548.htm for details.


Some Site Statistics

During 2008, the Featured Creatures Web site at http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/ recorded 2,128,464 distinct visitors who opened 4,845,648 HTML pages. At this time, Featured Creatures contains 440 publications on arthropods and other organisams.

During 2008, the Pest Alert Web site at http://pestalert.ifas.ufl.edu/ recorded 119,662 distinct visitors who opened 289,175 HTML pages, and downloaded 100,266 PDF files.

A "distinct visitor" is defined as an individual visitor during a specific period of time that is initiated when the visitor arrives at the site, and ends when the browser is closed or there is a period of inactivity of 30 minutes.


Bug Quote

"Nature makes the locust with an appetite for crops; man would have made him with an appetite for sand." - Mark Twain


Cartoons

Many comic Web sites limit the length of time a panel appears to just 30 days. Others may require you to register to view previous panels, which you may not wish to do. In either case, the sooner you visit the site, the greater chance you have to view the following:

Teaching Assistant Guidelines for grading homework: http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=4

How to obtain funding during hard times: http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive.php?comicid=91


Newsletter Minutiae

Thomas Fasulo is the newsletter editor. Departmental faculty, staff, students and alumni can submit news anytime to fasulo@ufl.edu. Issues usually are published by early mid-month. Submit items for an issue by the 7th of that month.

UF-Bugnews-L listserv subscribers receive notices when issues are posted on the newsletter Web site at http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/news/ , which has instructions for subscribing and unsubscribing. Pam Howell and Nancy Sanders review the newsletter for errors. Thomas Fasulo does the HTML coding.

In the last 12 months, the newsletter Web site recorded 51,392 visitor sessions, 96,075 HTML page views and 11,111 PDF downloads.



February 2009.