2015 Scholarship Recipient
Chris Shogren graduated from the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a B.S. in Horticulture and a B.S. in Agribusiness. After finishing his undergraduate degree he worked for the San Luis Obispo County Agriculture Department as a pest detection trapper, where he assisted with monitoring for invasive insect species. Chris's background in the nursery industry and interest in the impact of natural enemies brought him to Riverside to obtain his Ph.D. in entomology at the University of California, Riverside.
In California, the nursery and floriculture industry is one of the top five commodities exceeding $3.5 billion in value. However, exotic insect species cost the industry millions of dollars annually in control measures and production losses. Chris studies the impact of natural enemies on invasive thrips populations on ornamental crops.
Chris's current research focuses on the identification and impact of natural enemies on the invasive myoporum thrips, Klambothrips myopori. This invasive thrips has killed an estimated 50% of Myoporum spp. plants in California since its introduction in 2005. The thrips has also spread to Hawaii where it is killing native Myoporum which provides a unique habitat and diet component for the endangered Palila bird (Loxioides bailleui). Current field studies have identified possible key natural enemies of myoporum thrips in southern California. Laboratory and field studies will be conducted with natural enemies identified from field surveys to evaluate their efficacy and potential for augmentative biological control of myoporum thrips.
The Harry S. Smith Biological Control Award will allow Chris to focus on his research and to present a portion this work at the upcoming Entomological Society of America Pacific Branch annual meeting to be held in Hawaii in April 2016.