Hoverflies are incredibly important pollinators. In many ways, they are the underdogs (underflies?) in the pollinating world as many mistake them for bees. They are experts of Batesian mimicry, acting as doppelgangers for wasps and bees in hopes of avoiding predators. Sometimes this mimicry is too uncanny, giving bees undue credit for the wonderful services these little critters provide. It’s quite easy to get the two confused, but as soon as the hoverfly takes flight and begins to “hover” in your face, you know you have the real deal. In addition to pollination, hoverflies also aid in pest management. Many of their larvae are predatory, eating other harmful pests that can damage our crops. They also recycle organic matter
Dr. Laura Russo from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology created this wonderful poster showcasing many of the types of bees found here in Tennessee. Many are very common and can be found even in your own garden! From left to right/top to bottom: Mason bees Leaf cutter bees Small carpenter bees Bumble bees Sweat bees Mining bees Blue-green sweat bees Let us know if you happen to find any of these bees in your own yard! Take plenty of pictures! Most of these critters are quite friendly and are reluctant to sting you so don’t be afraid. 🙂
Happy National Pollinator Week! National Pollinator Week is an annual event in support of pollinator health.
Recently, awards of all kinds have been bestowed to many of our wonderful individuals throughout our department and beyond. To just take a moment and be proud, please take a look at this HUGE list of achievements: *Pictures in order of appearance. Not pictured: Diversity & Inclusion Committee and Jessica Krob. Our Diversity & Inclusion Committee was selected as the 2021 winner of the Dr. Marva Rudolph Diversity and Inclusion Unit Excellence Award, which recognizes a unit or department that has demonstrated outstanding leadership and made consistent contributions to advancing diversity and inclusion at UT. Dr. Scott Stewart was selected for the Entomological Society of America (ESA) Southeastern Branch Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management Award. This award recognizes
Our Department Head, Dr. DeWayne Shoemaker, was featured in the UT News Science & Health for his work in cacao and chocolate. Thanks to research like Dr. Shoemaker’s, we can better understand cacao production and promote the education of the topic. Dr. Shoemaker has made the journey to Belize to further his studies and has plans to do so again later this year. He also teaches the course “Chocolate—Bean to Bar”, which has received great enthusiasm from its students. Please check out the full article, titled On Valentine’s Day, Thank a No-See-Um
In the latest article from the Wall Street Journal, titled A Year Unlike Any Other for the Masters—and the Azaleas, our very own Dr. Alan Windham was interviewed for his thoughts concerning the Augusta National.
This is a time to recognize and celebrate the diversity of pollinators and what we can do to support them.
Meher Ony, M.S. student under the mentorship of Dr. Denita Hadziabdic-Guerry, recently published her first publication!
It’s titled Habitat fragmentation influences genetic diversity and differentiation: Fine-scale population structure of Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud).
Congratulations, Michelle!! The 2020 Faculty Senate Research Council Summer Graduate Research Assistantship Committee and the Office of Research & Engagement (ORE) has made its funding decisions, awarding Michelle Odoi a $3600 stipend for the summer. Michelle is a PhD student with a concentration on Bioinformatics, Genomics, and Molecular Interactions. She is under the tutelage of Drs. Denita Hadziabdic-Guerry and Robert Trigiano. Her proposal is titled Hunger Solution in West Africa: Genetic Diversity and Spatial Distribution of Native Frafra Potato Plants. This project had been previously worked on by her mentor, Dr. Hadziabdic-Guerry in Africa during her Fulbright fellowship. You can view Michelle Odoi’s proposal here We are very proud of Michelle and can’t wait to see where her accomplishments take her!
Dr. Jason Oliver at the TSU Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville alerted us that they had caught a single granulate ambrosia beetle adult and two black stem borers in their ethyl alcohol baited trap when it was checked on Wednesday, March 18. As spring approaches, so too do the emergence of these pests as temperatures at or above 70 degrees F are conducive for ambrosia beetle activity. They primarily attack trees that are stressed and dormant, which many plants, especially if they were not irrigated last August through October could have been damaged by the flash drought. Often, these plants will not show signs of stress because of their dormancy. The granulate ambrosia beetle is an invasive pest from