Our work centers on basic and applied aspects of cranberry entomology and ecology. Studies are designed to refine IPM strategies while providing a mechanistic understanding of key ecosystem functions.

Our work can be categorized into the following four areas:

1. Carnivore trophic identity in agroecosystems

Carnivore roles in plant protection – ‘Green’ and ‘brown’ food-webs – Trophic diversity under the lens of isotopic analysis

Into the wild to find cranberries!
Cranberries in the wild!
Capturing and subduing wild cranberry
In the wild, cranberry rhizomes grow deep within sphagnum moss
Springtails (Hypogastruridae) are hyper-abundant in cranberries (Photo courtesy of B. Valentine)
Laboratory controlled-feeding trials
Lacewing larva: predator of choice
Business-end of a lacewing larva!
Young lacewing larva eating its sibling
Unprecedented accuracy in trophic position measurement
Three trophic levels: fungus, ant, and apex carnivore, bacterium!
Implications: fungi are the dominant herbivores of the Neotropics
Microbes are trophic equivalents of animals in food-webs
Detritis, the undead trophic group. Photo courtesy of Thomas Palmer
Trophic identity and diversity in the cranberry system
Carnivorous fungus kills and eats fall armyworm
Decoding carnivore roles in plant protection


2. Cranberry Crop Protection

Biological control – Mating disruption – Cultural control – Pollination – Arthropod faunal diversity – Horticulture

Sparganothis fruitworm in a berry
Newly discovered native nematodes as biocontrol agents
Drone deploying mating disruption technology, SPLAT
SPLAT dollop
Boom arm to be retrofitted for SPLAT deployment
Spring flooding for insect control
Measuring dissolved oxygen in flood waters
Black-headed fireworm populations suppressed by flooding
Cranberry fruitworm adults in baited trap
Cranberry submergence tolerance trials in greenhouse
D-vac sampling for insects
Bombus visiting cranberry flowers
Collaborative study on cranberry pollination
Berries infested with cranberry fruitworm and sparganothis
Novel approaches to flea beetle control
Cranberry fruitworm deep in its own frass

3. Arthropod Biology

Insect phenology – Bee-microbe symbiosis

Studies of sparganothis fruitworm phenology
Sparganothis eggs on cranberry leaf
Rearing sparganothis larvae in microcosms
Sparganothis adult
Degree-day benchmarks help growers to better time treatments
Culturing cranberry fruitworm within the berry!
Modelling cranberry fruitworm development as a function of temperature
Bombus: an important pollinator for cranberries
Ongoing studies of bee-microbe symbioses
Solitary bees (Osmia): also important pollinators
Larva, pupa and near-adult Bombus impatiens
Protecting pollinators = sustaining high yields
Parasitoid reared from Sparganothis larva
Caterpillar killed and eaten by fungus


4. Outreach

Media coverage – Extension talks – Proceedings – Extension publications

Cranberry Entomology at the Wisconsin State Fair!
Interactive learning at the Fair: shooting cranberries at key pests
Global media coverage
High-profile extension events
Biweekly reporting of degree-days for growers
Handy degree-day look-up table
Spirited cranberry work-group discussions
Reporting results at annual cranberry meetings
Introducing novel IPM tactics