Faculty and students have academic freedom to choose research topics. Topics are influenced, however, by the RI Agricultural Experiment Station and by external granting agencies. In developing a strategic plan for the department, we have agreed to recognize three principle focal areas which characterize much of our research. These are Sustainable Landscapes, Arthropod Vectors of Human Disease, and Invasive Species.
We are developing plants that are economical to grow and maintain—in home, work, and recreational plantings….[ Learn more]
Non-native plants and animals that are introduced into North America typically come without the natural enemies…. [ Learn more ]
RIAES Research Projects
|H211||Weather Records||Sullivan & Sawyer||2029|
|H663||Biological Control of Invasive Plants & Insects in Rhode Island||Casagrande||2005|
|H664||Vector-Borne Disease Watch-Warning Systems & Responses for the Northeastern US||Mather||2006|
|H665||Phyllophaga Pheromone Traps & Biodegradable Spheres to Reduce Pesticide Use in Nursuries and Blueberries||Alm||2006|
|H666||Effects on Coastal Ecosystems of Methoprene & Microbial Larvicides Used for Control of Mosquito Vectors of West Nile Virus||LeBrun||2004|
|NE171||Biologically Based IPM Systems for Management of Plant-Parasitic Nematodes||Mitkowski||2004|
|NE187||Best Management Practices for Turf Systems in the East||Ruemmele et al||2004|
|S290||Technical and Economical Efficiencies of Producing, Marketing, and Managing Environmental Plants||Maynard||2004|
Grant-Funded Research Projects, FY2003
(July 2002 through June 2003)
|Investigator (P.I.)||Title||Agency||Total||P.I. Share|
|ALM, S.||NEW ENGLAND PEST MANAGEMENT INFORMATION NETWORK||USDA||$25,308||$12,654|
|ALM, S.||AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION – PESTICIDES||RI DEM||$6,000||$6,000|
|ENGLANDER, L.||IR-4: MINOR USE CROP FUNGICIDE COMPATIBILITY PROJECT||USDA||$8,000||$8,000|
|ENGLANDER, L.||SYMPTOMATOLOGY AND HOST RANGE OF THE SUDDEN-OAK-DEATH…||USDA||$10,000||$10,000|
|GOLD, M.||PROTECTING WATER QUALITY IN RURAL LANDSCAPES||USDDA||$278,000||$91,740|
|JACKSON, N.||CULTIVAR DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT OF VELVET BENTGRASS||USGA||$93,000||$4,650|
|LEBRUN, R.||USGS Patuxent WRC||Interior||$12,000||$6,000|
|LOGAN, P.||EFFECTS OF OFF-ROAD VEHICLE TRAFFIC ON DUNE BIOTA||Interior||$53,000||$53,000|
|MATHER, T.||NORTHEAST AREA-WIDE TICK CONTROL PROJECT||$60,593||$60,593|
|MATHER, T.||NORTHEAST AREA-WIDE TICK CONTROL PROJECT||$222,392||$222,392|
|MATHER, T.||EVALUATING INACTINE FOR INACTIVATING BORRELIA BURGDORFERI…||Private||$17,927||$17,927|
|MATHER, T.||ROLE OF TICK SALIVA IN LYME DISEASE AND VACCINE STRATEGY||HHS||$450,348||$225,174|
|MATHER, T.||ENVIRONMENTAL BIOTECHNOLOGY AT URI||USDA||$557,232||$92,835|
|MILLER, N.||TRAINING SUPPORT TECHNOLOGY CHALLENGE 2001-2002||$122,256|
|MITKOWSKI, N.||DEVELOPING PESTICIDE AND NONPESTICIDE MEBR ALTERNATIVES||#36,917||$36,917|
|RUEMMELE, B.||CULTIVAR DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT OF VELVET BENTGRASS||$93,000||$88,350|
|SILIGATO, M.||NEW ENGLAND PEST MANAGEMENT INFORMATION NETWORK||$25,308||$12,654|
|Total for Dept.||$950,386|
URI Insect Collection
Background: In November 2001, the Department of Plant Sciences assumed management responsibility for the insect collection formerly maintained by the Department of Biological Sciences.
The Collection: The collection was contained in nine 25-drawer cabinets and 19 12-drawer cabinets (total of 333 drawers in cabinets), plus 51 drawers outside the cabinets (in storage cabinets or on surfaces around the room), for a total of 384 drawers. Specimens were in various states of curation, from the well-maintained Blanchard-Albro Collection of Exotic Lepidoptera (in good condition but not curated recently) to specimens that were arranged several years ago, to loose specimens pinned in high-density boxes. Cabinets were in good condition but all were in need of door sealing strips. Drawers are of variable condition, with some first-quality wood-bottom, tight seal drawers, and a large number of out-moded older drawers with glass on both top and bottom.
Location: The entire collection is housed in room 15 Woodward, a room with adequate space to house all cases. Curation is done in room 9, or in faculty offices or labs.
Other Insect Collections: The Department also maintains 60 drawers of specimens used for teaching general entomology and pest management courses (Woodward Room 9), ~3000 vials of specimens preserved in alcohol for aquatic entomology (Woodward Room 202), and ~50 drawers of specimens of insects affiliated with turf and ornamental plants (East Farm). The teaching and ornamental insects have received on-going attention and are in good order. The aquatics collection has most specimens in good condition, with proper collection labels, but with a low level of taxonomic identification. There are no written records or separate data files for these collections.
Purpose: We want to develop state-of-the-art facilities for studies of insects and selective arthropods of New England (including ticks and species associated with humans). Within the teaching, research, and outreach missions of the Department, we intend to develop the insect collection (as a totality) by bringing it to contemporary standards physically (environment, encasements, materials, etc.) and systematically (precise and current taxonomy, systematic organization), and by enhancing access to the collection through development of www databases of collection data and specimen images.
The collection will continue to be used for instruction in systematics and applied entomology (e.g., crop management, integrated pest management, biological control). The collection will become a research tool for studies in regional natural history (e.g., distribution and abundance of species), agriculture (management and biological control of pests), conservation (habitat requirements of rare or endangered species), human health (studies of disease vectors and blood-seeking arthropods), and systematic ecology (studies of regional populations organized by taxa).
Developmental plan: In their current state, neither the newly acquired specimens nor the aquatic alcohol specimens attain Departmental standards for state-of-the art curation either physically or systematically.
Physical upgrades: Permanent housing requires a stable environment (temperature 65-72, relative humidity 40-60%(?)), with room ventilation to allow use of naphthalene or similar repellents. An adjacent separate work room is needed, to house 2-4 workspaces-each with light microscopy (at least one with image capture) and counter space for 1-2 drawers of specimens-with good air-exchange and natural light. The advice of an experienced museum consultant will be sought.
All cases need thorough inspection. All appear to need replacement seals between the case body and doors. Drawers need to be inventoried, but most need to be replaced to meet contemporary styles and standards of protection (from dermestid beetles, etc.).
Systematic organization: All specimens need to be reviewed for proper collection data (date and location, minimum), quality (complete specimens with all parts intact), mounting (pin and labeling to standards), and organization. A complete list of taxa, with corresponding collection data, needs to be constructed in a searchable database. All named specimens need to be reviewed for contemporary naming, following standard sources for order, family, and genus (e.g., using Arnett’s American Insects handbook), with appropriate more recent literature for genus and species determinations.
Reference materials: Curation requires local availability (preferably within the work room or in individual faculty offices) of a relatively small library of general references (i.e., to order, family, major genera-e.g., Borror, DeLong, and Triplehorn, Study of Insects; Arnett, American Insects; Merritt and Cummins Introduction to Aquatic Insects) and a file of monographs and papers for more specialized taxa (genus and species).
Downloadable Collection Database (xls downloads): Download access to the collection in MS Excel format. These database records consist of records for individual species within the collection, with fields including collection date and location, order, family, genus, species, (additional sub-species determinations if appropriate), and at least one image (typically dorsal or lateral).
- Coleoptera – Cabinets K-N
- Diptera – Cabinets O-S
- Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, Isoptera, Trichoptera, Neuroptera, Mecoptera, Onodata – Cabinet J
- Exotic Coleoptera – Blanchard -Albro Collection
- Exotic Lepodoptera – Blanchard -Albro Collection
- Homoptera & Hemiptera -Cabinets H, I
- Hymenoptera – Cabinets T, U, V
- Lepidoptera – Cabinets A-G
- Misc. Display and Representative Insects – Cabinet G
- Strepsiptera, Dictyoptera, Orthoptera, Dermaptera – Cabinet H
- URI bees
Beetles of Rhode Island: A presentation honoring the memory and contributions of Steve Ashe given by Derek Sikes,(firstname.lastname@example.org, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, AB, Canada) Tuesday, December 2006 ESA National Meeting, Indianapolis IN. Courtesy of logical Society of America.
Beetles of Rhode Island – Click to watch the presentation given by Derek Sikes. Please be patient as the file is large and may take a few minutes to load!
Growth and completion: We want to have in the collection at least one specimen of all species endemic to Rhode Island and Southern New England. We hope that the collection will also come to include more extensive multiple-specimen subcollections that result from planned studies conducted to augment the on-going research priorities of the Department. These studies will be developed through the approval processes of various state, federal, and private funding agencies, and in cooperation with the University, the Rhode Island Agricultural Experiment Station, and the Rhode Island Natural History Survey. Examples of studies that should be considered for completion within the next 5 to 10 years include complete state listings for Odonata (in cooperation with The (RI) Nature Conservancy), Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, and a synoptic collection of blood-feeding arthropods.
Funding: We seek funds from all possible sources and to persist until the collection meets goals for physical and systematic standards, and thereafter to maintain those standards through subsequent efforts to meet goals for growth and completeness. The Department does intend to seek a modest budget of base support from the College and RIAES for purposes of maintaining minimum curation (fumigants, continual upgrading of specimens, labels, etc., and some reference materials), but expects to obtain the bulk of necessary funding through external sources.