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 in multiple projects with Dr. Hoddle: Avocado thrips Scirtothrips perseae (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) and its biocontrol agent Franklinothrips orizabensis Johansen (Thysanoptera: Aeolothripidae); the persea mite Oligonychus perseae Tuttle, Baker and Abatiello (Acari: Tetranychidae); Levuana iridescens Bethune-Baker (Lepidoptera: Zygaenidae); interbreeding capabilities between different populations of the bean thrips Caliothrips fasciatus (Pergande)  and the effects of cold storage on its survival and reproduction; the monitoring program  for  Rhychophorus ferrungineus  (Olivier) (Coleopetera: Curculionidae) incursion of Southern California.  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 serves 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, videos 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

 

Vincent Strode

Vincent Strode
Lab Assistant I
Phone: 951-827-4360

Vincent graduated with his Bachelor’s degree in Entomology from the University of California, Riverside in 2011. He joined the Hoddle lab in 2013, to assist in ACP field monitoring. His duties have since expanded to include processing and identification of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (Halyomorpha halys) monitoring traps, helping to maintain colonies of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug and assisting with Trissolcus japonicas testing for Post-Doctoral researcher, Ricky Lara.

 

 

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.

 

Mariana Romo

Mariana Romo
Lab Assistant I
Phone: 951-827-4360

Mariana joined the lab in 2016.

 

Sam Figueroa

Sam Figueroa
Lab Assistant I
Phone: 951-827-4360

Sam joined the Hoddle lab in 2016 and maintains colonies of brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB), Halyomorpha halys, and several native pentatomids, and also oversees greenhouse maintenance of BMSB host plants. Sam divides his time between rearing native egg-parasitoid wasps (i.e., Trissolcus basalis and Anastatus pearsalli) and a BMSB co-evolved natural enemy (i.e., Trissolcus japonicus) as part of a concerted effort to develop a biological control program for BMSB in California. Sam’s primary lab projects involve managing databases and dissecting pentatomid egg masses from safety testing experiments with T. japonicus. Sam will soon begin deploying pentatomid egg mass cards in field sites across southern California to monitor the activity of natural enemies associated with BMSB. 

Sam received his Bachelor’s Degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from UC Santa Cruz (UCSC) in 2016. Sam’s lab and field experiences encompass a wide range of invertebrate species from terrestrial, freshwater, and marine habitats. At UCSC, Sam worked on the biocontrol of several major agricultural pests, including Delia radicum and Bagrada hilaris on brassica crops, and Lygus hesperus on strawberry plants. Furthermore, in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and UCSC, Sam conducted his undergraduate research project on the invertebrate contents of salmonid diets and connected their dietary overlap to the potential of competition in local estuaries. 

Carly Pierce

Carly Pierce 
Lab Assistant I
Phone: 951-827-4360

 

 

 

 

 
   

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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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