We study plants and insects in urban landscapes.
Most people live in or around cities and rely on lawns, trees, and shrubs to beautify their landscapes, filter air and water, reduce temperatures, provide recreational space, and support wildlife. Unfortunately, conditions common to urban landscapes, typically associated with how we create and maintain them, often reduce the services plants provide and predispose them to pest problems. The result – reduced biodiversity and more intensive management.
As urbanization and population growth continue, it is imperative that we develop new approaches for creating and managing the spaces we live in to minimize negative impacts and maximize ecosystem services. Strategic design and management is critical. The overriding objectives of our lab are to develop short and long-term strategies that reduce insect pests and promote beneficial organisms in turf and ornamental systems.
We use ecological principles to develop insect pest management strategies with the objective of building well-rounded IPM programs. My lab’s research interests include plant-insect interactions, biological control, and developing sustainable plant and pest management practices. We approach these by investigating immediate pest control strategies, longer-term ecological tactics, and determining how these will change under future habitats and environmental conditions.
We translate the results of our research into application and digestible forms through various outlets of my Extension program in an effort to support and advance the turf and ornamental industries in Florida, the Southeastern U.S., and beyond.