- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
That's what postdoctoral scholar Bodil Cass of the Jay Rosenheim lab, University of California, Davis, will discuss at her seminar from 4:10 to 5 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 25 in 122 Briggs Hall, UC Davis campus. Admission is free, and the seminar is open to all interested persons.
"Citrus is a major agricultural industry in California with a established integrated pest management (IPM) program," she says. "However, the IPM guidelines for citrus are based on years of experience and careful field research in navel oranges, and have not been updated to accommodate the recent dramatic increase in mandarin acreage in the San Joaquin Valley. We know oranges and mandarins are very different plants, but not which practices need to be modified to effectively control pests in mandarins."
Cass says that updating the IPM guidelines for "a new citrus species is a substantial challenge, given the scale and pace of citrus production. We are using a combination of ecoinformatics--data mining of pest management records provided by cooperating citrus growers--and field experiments to expand our understanding of the arthropod pest complex in California citrus. Analyses of the historical commercial data indicate that fork-tailed bush katydids, Scudderia furcata, which are a key pest in oranges, very rarely damage some species of mandarin. We are using field experiments to test hypotheses to explain this intriguing observation, and to determine whether katydids are indeed a pest at all in mandarins."
A native of the state of Queensland, Australia, Cass is an accomplished scholar who holds several degrees:
- A bachelor's degree (2005) from the University of Queensland, where she graduated with high distinction and a dean's commendation for high achievement. (She completed the Advanced Studies Program in Science in 2005, and the Enhanced Studies Program in Chemistry, 2012)
- Honors Integrative Biology (2006), University of Queensland, with high distinction and valedictorian
- Doctorate in Interdisciplinary Program in Entomology and Insect and minor in ecology and evolutionary biology (2015) from the University of Arizona (4.0 GPA)
Cass joined the lab of Jay Rosenheim, UC Davis professor of entomology, in 2016, and also serves as an associate in the Center for Population Biology at UC Davis. She has published her work in Oecologia, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, Microbial Ecology, Research in Microbiology, Science, and PLoS Genetics, PLoS Biology and PLoS Pathogens, among other journals.
A member of the Entomological Society of America (ESA), Cass delivered oral presentations at the ESA annual conferences in 2011 and 2015, and also at the 2016 International Congress of Entomology (ICE), co-chaired by UC Davis chemical ecologist Walter Leal and held last September in Orlando, Fla. She is the co-principal investigator of a 2017 grant awarded by the Citrus Research Board.
Cass has also won a number of fellowships and awards, including national awards in the P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship Program in both 2008 and 2009.
It's not at all surprising that one of the many awards she won in the beginning of her career was the "Smart Women, Smart State Award" in the undergraduate category, statewide competition (Queensland) in 2005.