What is Biological control?

 

Biological control is the intentional use of host specific natural enemies (predators, parasitoids, and pathogens) by humans to suppress population growth of noxious plants and animals to levels which are no longer damaging. Many of our current agricultural pest problems are amenable to biological control, and when successful, natural enemies provide enduring, environmentally benign, pest control. Biological control is also being used in conservation efforts to restore natural areas invaded by exotic organisms, especially weeds. The emphasis of my work is to identify pest problems where biological control could be successful, locate and release natural enemies, and then evaluate natural enemy impact on pest population growth. 

 

Hoddle Lab Members

 

Mark Hoddle

Mark S. Hoddle, Ph.D.

Biological Control Specialist and Principal Investigator 

Dr. Hoddle has headed the research in this laboratory since 1997 and is primarily involved in the identification of pest problems wf biological control could be a successful approach. The location, release and evaluation of natural enemy impacts on population growth features strongly in his research. The evaluation of biological control agents are conducted primarily in the field and, when necessary, aspects of both pest and natural enemy biology and behavior are studied in the laboratory.

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Nicola A. Irvin, Ph.D.

Biological Control Specialist and Research Scholar

Dr. Irvin joined the Hoddle laboratory in 2001 as a postdoctoral scholar. She has a heavy focus on researching the glassy-winged sharpshooter, Homalodisca vitripennis (Germar), and its mymarid wasp biological control agents Gonatocerus ashmeadiG. fasciatusG. triguttatus and G. tuberculifemur. Dr. Irvin has since been promoted to Assistant Specialist and in 2007 was awarded a Western Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (Western SARE) grant to investigate the use of nectar cover crops for sustainable pest control in California vineyards.

Ivan Milosavljevic

Ivan Milosavljević, Ph.D

Assistant Project Scientist

Dr. Milosavljević joined the Hoddle laboratory in 2016 as a postdoctoral researcher. His work has embraced a wide range of research projects sponsored by various granting agencies. An example of these projects include: (1) researching the Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP), Diaphorina citri Kuwayama (Hemiptera: Psyllidae), and its biological control agents Diaphorencyrtus aligarhensis and Tamarixia radiata, (2) developing detection programs for the invasive South American palm weevil (Rhynchophorus palmarum), and (3) mitigating export risks associated with bean thrips (Caliothrips fasciatus). Dr. Milosavljević was promoted to Assistant Project Scientist in 2020. His current research focuses on the development and evaluation of novel technological tools to improve and streamline the process of controlling sap sucking citrus pests and the ants that tend them in commercial citrus.

 

Francesc Gomez Marco

Francesc Gomez Marco, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Gómez Marco joined the Hoddle laboratory as a Postdoctoral Researcher in June 2019. His previous research experience was on biological control programs and insect ecology on citrus pests principally. He has been working on the Proactive Biological Control Program for the Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) which has been sponsored by the Californian Department of Agriculture. The main objective of this project is to develop a biological control program with the parasitoid of the spotted lanternfly Anastatus orientalis and to test the non-target hosts of this parasitoid species on the West coast of USA.

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