Lab Personnel

Impacts of Plant-growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) on Bermudagrass

Murphey Coy, Ph.D. student

murphey with CO2 sprayer

Research Objectives

Determine PGPR that provide growth promotion in bermudagrass

–Identify blends for growth promotion  Control vs pgpr impacts on bermudagrass

Evaluate those blends for impacts on FAW and associated parasitoids

parasitoid pgpr field tests

Evaluate the impacts of PGPR on abiotic (drought mitigation) and biotic stress (root feeding) in turfgrass

bermuda drought


Publications from Murphey’s work

Growth promotion of PGPR on bermudagrass

Impacts of Native and Non-native Suburban Plant Species on Insects

Scott Clem, Master’s Student

head with bugFinding cats

Research Summary

Many regions of the United States are now occupied by a large variety of non-native plant species both invasive and non-invasive. While it is well known that most non-native plants produce fewer herbivores than natives, most suburban landscapes are artificially planted with a mixture of natives and non-natives. This begs the question: is the abundance of herbivorous insects influenced by associational interactions between native and non-native plants occurring in suburban landscapes?

rosy maple saddleback schizura banded tussock american dagger


Associational Resistance (AR) and Association Susceptibility (AS) are widely cited concepts in ecology and are used to better understand the relationship between an herbivore and its host plant in various plant community contexts. In this study, I am investigating the roles that AR and AS play in mediating herbivore and natural enemy abundance and diversity on the native red maple (Acer rubrum), when either native or non-native neighbor plants are present.


This is being achieved in a multi-year field experiment in which eruciform larvae and their natural enemies are being monitored on native plants when provided neighboring plants that vary in origin (native vs. non-native) and relatedness (congener vs. non-congener).

Publications from Scott’s work

Records of caterpillars and sawflies on native and non-native plants in the Southeastern US 

Activities of detoxification enzymes in a generalist herbivore in response to host plants and diet mixing.

Kunle profile for webpage

Adekunle Adesanya

MS student

B.S. Crop Production and Protection

Minor: Agricultural Entomology (Obafemi Awolowo University, Osun state Nigeria)

From: Lagos, Nigeria

Research Summary

Our lab is collaborating with Dr. Nannan Liu, worldwide expert in insect enzyme systems on this project.  What are the enzymes involved, and their roles in successful utilization of chemically defended host plants by the generalist insect herbivore?

Cytochrome P450, Glutathione S transferase and Carboxylesterase.

Model insect: Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica

JB research images

Research Concepts

Changes in the activities of detoxification enzymes across different life stages

Monophagy Vs Polyphagy; the role of detoxification enzymes in generalism by insect herbivore.

Host Preference

Tissue specific activities of detoxification enzymes

The Achilles heel; the Geranium intoxication of Japanese beetle.

lab work




Larry is a Research Technician in our program.

Development and validation of a detection test kit for pest ambrosia beetles.

Cora with beetles

Cora Yates

MS student and Diagnostician in the ACES Plant Diagnostic Lab

Research Summary

Ambrosia beetles are small pest beetles that attack trees as wood borers.  The small size and diversity of beetles that can be trapped makes it difficult to determine when species of concern are present. This project builds on technologies developed in an USDA-SCRI funded project.  A test kit would enable nursery producers, foresters and urban foresters to rapidly determine the species of beetles present without microscopy or expertise in insect taxonomy. This technology can help reduce pesticide inputs in the environment and save money for tree nurseries.