- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Thaler will be honored at a reception from 3:30 to 4:15 on Thursday, Feb. 9 at the International House, located at 10 College Park, Davis. Following the reception, she will present a seminar in the International House conference room from 4:15 to 5 p.m. on "Tritrophic Interactions and the Ecology of Fear."
Her areas of expertise are population and community ecology, plant-insect interactions, tri-trophic interactions and chemical ecology.
"I study the ecological interactions between plants, herbivores, and carnivores in wild and agricultural Solanaceous plant species," she says. "My approach focuses on understanding behavioral and phytochemical mechanisms of such tri-trophic interactions, testing theory on the organization of multi-trophic communities, and generating novel strategies to control insect pests."
Thaler received her bachelor of science degree in biology, cum laude, from Wellesley College in 1993 and her doctorate in entomology from UC Davis with major professor Rick Karban in 1999.
After receiving her doctoral degree, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher for a year at Wageningen Agricultural University, the Netherlands, and then served at the University of Toronto as an assistant professor of botany from 2000 to 2004. She joined the Cornell University faculty in 2004 as an assistant professor, advancing to associate in 2006, and to full professor in 2015.
Thaler was named a Cornell Center for Sustainable Future Faculty Fellow in 2011 and continues to serve in that position. Among her other honors and awards:
- Excellence in Ecological Entomology, Royal Entomological Society's Awards for Scientific Writing, runner up (2003)
- Premiers Research Excellence Award, Government of Ontario (2000)
- American Society of Naturalists Young Investigators Award (2000)
- Entomological Society of America, second prize for oral presentation (1998)
The professor is a member of the Entomological Society of America, the Ecological Society of America and the International Society of Chemical Ecology.
She presented a invited seminar at the 2017 Gordon Research Conference on "Plant-Herbivore Interactions, Tritrophic Interactions and the Ecology of Fear" and a presentation on Predator-Prey Interactions: Chemical Ecology of Tri-Trophic Interactions" at the 2016 Gordon Research Conference. The Gordon Research Conferences, founded in 1931 and headquartered in Rhode Island, organizes international scientific conferences dedicated to advancing the frontiers of scientific research in the biological, chemical, and physical sciences, and their related technologies.
Thayer has also presented seminars at the 2014 Entomological Society of America meeting in Portland Ore. on "Non-Lethal Effects of Predators in Arthropod Food Webs" and at the 2013 Ecological Society of America meeting in Minneapolis on "Ecophysiological Consequences of Predation Risk," among many others.
The Leigh Alumni Award memorializes cotton entomologist Thomas Frances Leigh (1923-1993) and his wife Nina. Leigh was an international authority on the biology, ecology and management of arthropod pests affecting cotton production. During his 37-year UC Davis career, he was based at the Kern County Shafter Research and Extension Center, also known as the U.S. Cotton Research Station. He researched pest and beneficial arthropod management in cotton fields, and host plant resistance in cotton to insects, mites, nematodes and diseases. Leigh joined the UC Davis Department of Entomology in 1958, retiring in 1991 as an emeritus professor, but he continued to remain active in his research and collaboration until his death on Oct. 26, 1993.
At Shafter, Leigh focused his research on the biology, ecology, host plant resistance, control and management of insects and spider mites on cotton. He stood at the forefront of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) of cotton pests, according to an article in the summer 1994 edition of American Entomologist. He taught courses on cotton IPM and host plant resistance.