Its been a while since I posted an update, so here it goes in an whirlwind: Sam Davis (ES PhD) graduated with flying colors in May 2015 and headed immediately to a post-doc at UC-Merced. Her work on the West Virginia White butterfly continues to be published, with new papers in press, in review, or soon to be submitted. She wond the grad excellence award for the program during the year. Dani Thiemann joined us as a MS student in Summer 2015 from the University of Dayton. She helped address some questions related to the attack history and success of emerald ash borer on white fringetree during the summer and fall, but she’ll follow in Sam’s footsteps working on the interactions of some of our native mustard specialist butterflies with native and invasive hosts. At the end of the summer, Donnie Peterson (ES PhD) joined us from a MS program at Purdue to work on the interactions of emerald ash borer with novel hosts, like white fringetree and relatives. We’ve now found white fringetrees attacked by emerald ash borer throughout southwestern Ohio, in Indiana and Illinois, and most recently in Pennsylvania. Libby Roberson (ES PhD) continues to make headway on the effects of invasive shrubs like honeysuckle and burning bush on arthropod communities in southwestern Ohio. She recently won a grant from the Ohio Invasive Plants Council to further her work in this area. Lauren Shewhart is also progressing toward defending her MS in Spring 2016, and has collected a great deal of data on preferences and performance of native herbivores on their native host plants relative to potential invasive host plants, like honeysuckles, Callery pear, autumn olive and burning bush. Finally, Chad Rigsby (ES PhD) continued his hard work on dissecting the ways that ash trees defend against emerald ash borer, and ways that the insect counters these defenses. He has also played a big role in studies of emerald ash borer with novel hosts in the past year. Plans are for Chad to finish in Spring 2016.
We’ve been helped in our studies in the least year by a cadre of undergraduates, including Jennifer Jessie, Marie Johnson, Emily Schneider, and Megan McGrew.
In addition to assisting students when and where I can, papers continue to be published from past graduates and other studies. In particular, Deah Lieurance had a large collaborative paper published recently on comparative herbivory rates and chemical profiles of native and invasive Lonicera species that represented the last chapter of her dissertation for the ES PhD program. I’ve spent a great deal of time in the last year gathering evidence from the field and laboratory on the extent of the usage of white fringetree and other relatives by emerald ash borer, as well as speaking to lots of different audiences about it! Its been a wild ride. I’ve also been exploring placing pollinator gardens on the campus of Wright State, which should be installed starting in Spring 2016.