Posted: May 21, 2013
Congratulations to two undergraduates finishing up research and employment with the Cullen lab this spring after one year with the lab. Crystal Hanson and Ben Seliger are moving on to new opportunities as both are recipients of National Science Foundation – Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) fellowships. Congratulations to Cyrstal and Ben! We thank them for all their great work in the field, lab, and greenhouse over the past year in the Cullen lab.
Posted: May 21, 2013
Two of our lab members participated in the spring Undergraduate Symposium 2013 at University of Wisconsin – Madsion. Undergraduate Researcher Crystal Hanson (majoring in Psychology with a Certificate in Global Health) presented her poster titled “Soil Practices, Plant Nutrients, and Mycorrhizae Affect Oviposition of European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis) to Corn”.
Crystal Hanson presenting her research on soil-plant-insect interactions at the 2013 Undergraduate Symposium.
Crystal and her mentor, postdoctoral associate Dr. Ebony Murrell, grew corn plants in a greenhouse experiment in soils collected from our USDA NIFA – OREI organic IPM long-term experiment site. They assessed the number of eggs laid on each plant, mineral content of plant tissues, and amount of mycorrhizal colonization on each plant’s roots. Soil fertility field history significantly affected plant nutrition, and corn plants grown in organically managed soil with a history of gypsum amendment possessed higher S, Fe, and Cu content (but not calcium) compared to organic and conventional soils without gypsum. Results show that (1) Gypsum supplementation does not appear to deter corn borer oviposition (2) Pest response to mycorrhizal colonization varies according to crop fertilization. These results have important implications for how fertilization techniques may affect crop plant nutrition and insect pest response.
Posted: May 21, 2013
Cullen lab alumna Katelin Holm’s M.S. Agroecology (2009) public practice work is published in the March 2013 issue of the journal Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. Katelin was the first public practice graduate of the Agroecology program at UW-Madison. Katelin’s is now Information and Education Coordinator/Water Quality Specialist at the Polk Co. Wisconsin Land and Water Resources Department.
The paper (Cullen and Holm 2013) is titled “Aligning Insect IPM Programs with a Cropping Systems Perspective: Cover Crops and Cultural Pest Control in Wisconsin Organic Corn and Soybean“.
This article presents a conversation among researcher, agroecology student, and farmers about the association between cover crops and seedcorn maggot in organic grain crops. Survey data showed that Wisconsin organic farmers would use cover crop management, insect degree day forecasting, and planting date cultural controls, given appropriate knowledge context and extension information provision. We developed electronic and print resources and engaged with farmers and educators nationally through the eOrganic Community of Practice. Project outcomes exemplify student and farmer ability to effect change in land grant university extension recommendations through integrated pest management content and delivery aligned with a cropping systems perspective.
Posted: June 14, 2012
Dr. Ebony Murrell has joined the lab at postdoctoral research associate to work with the USDA NIFA – OREI project. Welcome to the lab Ebony!
Posted: April 14, 2012
Entomologist Eileen Cullen is an expert on integrated pest management, field and forage crops, and conventional and organic agriculture.
Cullen is among a group of concerned scientists that wrote a letter to the EPA in March 2012 warning about the spread of recently discovered populations of corn rootworm that are resistant to genetically engineered corn, and urging the organization to take steps to discourage the spread of this menacing pest.
The group’s warning was delivered in the form of a EPA Open Docket Letter posted on March 7 titled “Comment submitted by Patrick Porter, North Central Coordinating Committee NCCC46 (22 members).”
For more information, read NPR’s The Salt blog post:
Insect experts issue ‘urgent’ warning on using biotech seeds.
Courtesy of CALS News
Posted: March 21, 2012
Snbetor via Flickr
Insect Experts Issue “Urgent” Warning on Using Biotech Seed. In a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 22 of the nation’s top experts on corn insect pests lay out some of the implications of this discovery, and they are potentially profound.
The NCCC46 letter is here.
Courtesy of National Public Radio
Grow Magazine: Fall 2009
A beetle’s newfound abilities remind us that life is always adapting to overcome our best strategies. How the eternal struggle for survival changes the way we farm.
“There’s really no way around the fact that if you expose an insect population to one suppressive method over time it will develop resistance,” says Cullen, an associate professor of entomology for CALS and UW-Extension. “Most insects reproduce quickly, and that means that they have more opportunity for exchanging their genes and adapting to management practices.”
Courtesy of Grow Magazine
CALS News: September 15, 2009
Historically, crop rotation has worked to keep the western corn rootworm in check in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case anymore. For a number of years, parts of Wisconsin have been home to a unique strain of western corn rootworm that figured out how to buck the system.
“It’s become resistant to crop rotation,” explains University of Wisconsin-Madison entomologist Eileen Cullen. “This is a behavioral variant strain of the normal western corn rootworm population. Rather than mating and laying eggs back in corn, the variant shifted its behavior to lay eggs in soybean fields. The pest has adapted to the fact that soybean fields will be corn the next year.” [Read more...]
Courtesy of CALS News
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: August 4, 2009
Photo: Tom Lynn
Sandhill cranes love to nibble on newly sprouted corn seeds. Coating the seeds with a new biopesticide liquid formula seems to stop the corn harvest from flying away and nurtures a peaceful coexistence of cranes and corn growers.
Courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel