Jesus R. Lara Artiga
2011 Scholarship Recipient
My research objectives within the field of biological control include a fundamental understanding of the conservation, biology, and ecology of natural enemies associated with economically injurious organisms, in particular, phytophagous mites. As part of meeting this goal I am using the California avocado system to explore the biology and ecology of beneficial predatory mites (Acari: Phytoseiidae, Stigmaeidae) to enhance our understanding of their ability to control the foliar feeding mite, Oligonychus perseae Tuttle, Abatiello and Baker (Acari: Tetranychidae), from Mexico. In addition to California, O. perseae has invaded several commercial avocado growing areas throughout the world, including Israel, Spain, and Costa Rica. My long term career goal is to apply the knowledge I acquire during my graduate experience at UC Riverside to conduct research on biological control to be used in the development of sustainable pest control programs in agricultural systems.
To continue fostering my professional formation in entomology and acarology, I will use the funds ($1,000) of the Harry Scott Smith Scholarship Award to cover the registration fees for a two-week taxonomic workshop at Ohio State University in July 2011 that will focus on identifying groups of mites associated with arthropods, in particular insects such as bees, ants and beetles. Taxonomy is an essential component of developing effective biological control programs given the need to correctly identify pest species and associated natural enemies that can potentially be deployed for suppression of target pest populations. As part of my current research, I will use my training from the mite workshop to identify species of predatory mites (Acari: Stigmaeidae) that have not been recorded from surveys in the California avocado system and new areas of Mexico and whose conservation in avocado orchards may be useful for reducing populations of phytophagous mites.