Jul 26, 2023
Entomological Society honors UF professor on pest management

A University of Florida (UF) entomologist is being recognized for his work on mating disruption and insect management.

Lukasz Stelinski, a UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) professor of entomology and nematology at the UF Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred, Florida, has been selected as one of six new Fellows of the Entomological Society of America (ESA).

Lukasz Stelinski

Election as a Fellow acknowledges outstanding contributions to entomology via research, teaching, Extension, administration, military service or public engagement and science policy, according to a news release.

Stelinksi’s research has focused on the practical applications of semiochemicals for pest management, particularly in the area of mating disruption. His research has contributed to the development of a theoretical framework for understanding mating disruption mechanisms in insects.

Stelinski helped evaluate and refine practical technologies for releasing semiochemicals in crops, leading to the development of now widely available tools. In recognition of his contributions to applications of chemical ecology for pest control, he was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2022.

Currently, Stelinski is investigating the interactions between phytopathogens and their vectors, aiming to develop sustainable management systems for crop production in response to disease invasions. His work has involved managing vector populations and addressing issues such as insecticide resistance.

Through his studies, Stelinksi has determined that suppressing vector populations can lead to measurable yield gains, particularly when disease is widespread. His findings have revealed the utility of incorporating threshold-based management strategies for vectors, reducing unnecessary insecticide sprays while maintaining yield and increasing grower profit, according to the release.

Stelinski’s team demonstrated the effectiveness of establishing living windbreaks and replacing individual diseased trees, instead of replanting entire orchards. Additionally, his research on psyllid vector movement has contributed to the reduction of abandoned orchards in Florida, which serves as a source of disease inoculum.

Stelinski helps teach courses and seminars on pest management, chemical ecology and professional development in entomology, and he actively promotes the implementation of biorational solutions to pest management through his Extension program. Biorationals are products typically derived from natural origins, and consequently tend to have a low environmental impact.

Stelinski joins other entomologists from across the nation who were named 2023 Fellows of the Entomological Society of America including:
• Cassandra Extavour, Harvard University
• James Hagler, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service
• Alvin Simmons, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service
• Edward Vargo, Texas A&M University
• Douglas Walsh, Washington State University

This year’s honorees will be recognized during Entomology 2023, scheduled for Nov. 5-8, in National Harbor, Maryland.

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