2008 Scholarship Recipient
Casey Butler was raised in Walkerton, Indiana and graduated from Purdue University with B.S. and M.S. degrees in Entomology. His Ph.D. research project at the University of California at Riverside involves examining environmental problems associated with climate change and man-made pollution and how the combination of these two things can affect aspects of the biological control of insect pests.
In particular, Casey is studying how the main and interactive effects of temperature and the environmental pollutant selenium affects parasitoid fitness, competition for resources, and heat shock protein expression that can protect natural enemies from adverse environmental effects such as high temperatures.
As part of this research, Casey, is also interested in the effects of pollutants on top-down (i.e., the effects of natural enemies) and bottom-up (i.e., the effects of crop plants on the pests and ultimately the natural enemies attacking these pests) processes in combined interactions between the crop plant, the pest and the natural enemies attacking the pest.
The support gained from the Harry S. Smith Biological Control Award will be used by Casey to present a talk at the upcoming Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America in November 2008 at Reno in Nevada on the results of a study conducted on the parasitoid Cotesia marginiventris (Cresson). This is an important parasitic attacking a variety of pest caterpillar species including cutworms, earworms, army worms, and hornworms that infest crops such as alfalfa, beans, and tomatoes.
Casey’s future career goals are to obtain a Ph.D. in entomology from UC Riverside and to continue to work in the field of biological control.