University of California, Riverside

Applied Biological Control Research



Lab Staff



Rick Vetter

Rick Vetter
Retired/Volunteer
Phone: 951-827-4360
rick.vetter@ucr.edu

In July 2012, Rick Vetter retired after 32 years as a Staff Research Associate in the Entomology Department at the University of California Riverside.  Since retiring, he has been sponsored as a volunteer in the lab of Dr. Mark Hoddle where he has continued his nationally-known research program on spiders.  His arachnological interests focus on medically important spiders, especially the brown recluse spider, on which he is considered the country’s leading expert.  He also studies behavior, ecology and life history characteristics of black and brown widow spiders.  Other areas of interest are spider behavior and taxonomy.  He has named two species of spiders and has had two spiders and a solifuge named after him.

As of early 2015, he has 137 publications in peer review scientific and medical journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, the Lancet, the Annals of Emergency Medicine, Toxicon, the Annual Review of Entomology and the Journal of Medical Entomology.  He also has authored three book chapters and two books.  The books are The Brown Recluse Spider which describes all aspects of the brown recluse and related species including medical and psychological areas and Pest Control Technology Field Guide for the Management of Urban Spiders, which is a handbook on spiders for the pest control industry. 

Rick is also the managing editor for the Journal of Arachnology.

Ruth Amrich

Ruth Amrich
Lab Assistant II
Phone: 951-827-4360
ruth.amrich@ucr.edu

Ruth attained her degree in Biology from California State University, San Bernardino in 1996. There she worked with Dr. Alexander Sokoloff with genetically mutated Tribolium species as a lab assistant maintaining colonies. She joined the Hoddle lab in 2001.

Through the years, Ruth has been involved with multiple projects with Dr. Hoddle including avocado pests: the avocado thrips Scirtothrips perseae (and its biocontrol agent Franklinothrips orizabensis) and the persea mite, Oligonychus perseae (and predator mites that attack this pest). Ruth has helped with projects on Levuana iridescens, and the bean thrips Caliothrips fasciatus (interbreeding capabilities between different populations, and the effects of cold storage on survival and reproduction) Read more...

Mike Lewis

Mike Lewis
Lab Assistant III
Phone: 951-827-4360
michael.lewis@ucr.edu

Mike started with the Hoddle lab 2004, and helps with a number of support roles within the lab. In addition to managing the lab computer and tech network for the lab, he also servers as the Website Administrator for the Center for Invasive Species Research (CISR). He also contributes blog posts and photographs of the invasive species listed on the CISR site, as well as other related graphic materials and photos.

Mike provides support for many of the research projects within the Hoddle lab. Some of the research Mike has been involved in includes Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Halyomorpha halys), glassy-winged sharpshooter (Homalodisca vitripennis), gold spotted oak borer (Agrilus auroguttatus), avocado thrips (Scirtothrips perseae), mealybugs (Pseudococcidae), Gonatocerus ashmeadi, Persea mites (Oligonychus perseae), Asian citrus psyllid, (Diaphorina citri), Diaphorencyrtus aligarhensis (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) and Tamarixia radiata.

A gallery of some of Mike’s photography with the Center for Invasive Species can be found here

 

Martin Castillo

Martin Castillo
Lab Assistant II
Phone: 951-827-4360
martin.castillo@ucr.edu

Martin Castillo received his Bachelor’s degree in 2012 from the University of California, Riverside. He first joined the Hoddle lab as an undergraduate assistant in 2010, providing field site support for Dr. Nic Irvin. His contributions included the collection of glassy-winged sharpshooter (Homalodisca vitripennis) from the UCR Agricultural Operations fields.

He subsequently transitioned to working with different species of mites under the guidance of graduate student researcher Ricky Lara, which he currently continues to provide support with. Martin has worked with various species of mites over the course of this study, including Oligonychus perseae, Euseius hibisci, Neoseiulus californicus, Stigmaeidae sp., and Tydeidae sp. His responsibilities include mite colony rearing and maintenance on ficus and avocado leaves (Ficus sp., Persea americana), extracting pollen from ice plants (Malephora crocea) and cattails (Typha sp.), and well as recording and analyzing predatory mite behaviors using microscope-mounted video equipment.  Martin has also assisted Dr. Mark Hoddle and Ricky Lara in coordinating grower seminars, where he contributed to the development of a sequential binomial sampling plan for Oligonychus perseae on avocado.

In the fall of 2012, Martin was promoted from an undergraduate appointment to lab staff, and joined the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), Diaphorina citri, project under the mentorship of Ruth Amrich. His duties include the field observation and sampling of ACP as well as identifying life stages of specimens collected from residential citrus trees.

Joshua Oliva

Joshua Oliva
Lab Assistant I
Phone: 951-827-4360
joliv005@ucr.edu

Joshua Oliva is a senior undergraduate History student. His love of biology, especially insects, has nudged him into UCR's Entomology department. He hopes to raise awareness in regards to the destruction of native habitats in southern California, specifically, Monarch butterfly milkweed habitats.

 

Gabriel Hernandez

Gabriel Hernandez
Lab Assistant I
Phone: 951-827-4360
ghern016@ucr.edu

Gabriel is a Biological Sciences major and joined the Hoddle lab in 2014 as an undergraduate. He has worked under Dr. Ricky Lara with the BMSB project doing work in the main lab as well as field work. His work consists of maintaining and recording actions of parasitoids, deployment of target egg cards, and the identification and preservation of parasitoids. He also maintains recovered egg cards in quarantine and monitors any activity of interactions between BMSB and native parasitoids in Southern California.

 

Matthew Kamiyama

Matthew Kamiyama
Lab Assistant I
Phone: 951-827-4360
mkami001@ucr.edu

Matt received his Associate's degree in Environmental Science from Santa Monica College in 2013 and is now pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science with an emphasis in Natural Science from UCR. He began working in the Hoddle lab in 2014 assisting post-doc Ricky Lara with his work in testing biological control methods for the invasive brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys). Matt also conducts undergraduate research in a Geology lab at UCR, and his projects include analyzing Sierran soils to derive what factors drive microbial biomass and net nitrification.

Presently, Matt is working on a project which tests rates of parasitism on egg masses from the target species, Halyomorpha halys, as well as on several native species such as the southern green stink bug, (Nezara viridula).He is responsible for assisting with parasitoid testing, and also in rearing multiple species of both native and foreign parasitoids, as well as multiple species of native Pentatomidae.

 
 

Nagham Melhem

Nagham Melhem
Lab Assistant I
Phone: 951-827-4360

Nagham Melhem received her Bachelor's degree in Biology in 2008 from the University of Aleppo, Syria. In 2012, she earned a Master's degree in Zoology from the University of Aleppo, studying the taxonomy of true weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) in the north of Syria.

She joined the Hoddle lab in August 2014 as a volunteer, providing field site support for Dr. Erica Kistner. In February 2015, she was promoted to full time lab assistant. Her responsibilities are currently divided between examining Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP), Diaphornia citri population dynamics and maintaining six greenhouses.

 

Tim Lewis

Tim Lewis
Lab Assistant II
Phone: 951-827-4360
timothy.lewis@ucr.edu

Tim joined the Hoddle Lab in January 2015 to help out with the ongoing ACP survey involving visits to dozens of trees in Southern California over several seasons.

 

Kathryn Vega

Kathryn Vega
Lab Assistant I
Phone: 951-827-4360

One of the newest additions to the Hoddle Lab, having joined in August of 2014, Kathryn provides support to Dr. Kristner and her research involving the Asian Citrus Psyllid. Her work includes going out into the field to collect samples and data, as well as reviewing what is collected back at the lab.

 
   

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900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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Department Information

Applied Biological Control Research
Department of Entomology

Tel: (951) 827-4714
Fax: (951) 827-3086
E-mail: mark.hoddle@ucr.edu

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