Welcome Hannah and Elissa!

We are excited to welcome Hannah Gaines Day and Elissa Chasen to the lab.  Hannah is a postdoc and Elissa is a USDA research technician, both just completed their PhDs at UW-Madison.  Hannah worked in the lab of Dr. Claudio Gratton, and her dissertation was titled: “Do bees matter to cranberry?  The effect of bees, landscape, and local management on cranberry yield.”  Elissa worked in the lab of Dr. Eileen Cullen, and her dissertation was titled: “Beyond Economic Thresholds: Incorporating Proactive Pest Management Strategies in Alfalfa Pest Management Programs for Potato Leafhopper.”  We are thrilled for the opportunity to work with them both!

Lovely day for a snowshoe!

We had some prospective students visiting last week, and one lucky prospect got to snowshoe the hypotenuse!  For those of you that don’t know what that means, we started at the closest entry to the lake from lab (the boathouse), and headed straight across the lake to picnic point.  It was snowing pretty heavily as we got started, but that didn’t stop us!



Showing off our gear.  All smiles from the start.







Full speed ahead.






On our way out: the point.






At the point. We made it!






On our way back: the university and the capital (look real close, and maybe use your imagination).

New paper on whether HAD has occurred in Acrobasis vaccinii

Exploring host-associated differentiation in the North American native cranberry fruitworm, Acrobasis vaccinii, from blueberries and cranberries


The factors explaining host-associated differentiation (HAD) have not yet been fully characterized, especially in agricultural systems. It is thought that certain characteristics within a system may increase the probability for HAD to occur. These characteristics include relatively long-standing evolutionary relationships between insects and their host plants, endophagy, and allochrony in host-plant phenologies. We assessed the status of these characteristics as well as the presence of HAD in the cranberry fruitworm, Acrobasis vaccinii Riley (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), a pest associated with blueberry and cranberry in eastern North America. We reveal the occurrence of two distinct populations of A. vaccinii that are allochronically isolated by the phenological stage of their respective host plants (cranberries or blueberries). Laboratory-reared A. vaccinii adults collected from blueberries emerge at least 1 week earlier than adults from cranberries and the antennal sensitivity of adults to host-plant volatiles differs between A. vaccinii collected from blueberry and cranberry. Despite finding characteristics indicative of HAD, we did not detect a genetic signature of HAD in A. vaccinii. These findings suggest that HAD may occur through behavioral and phenological mechanisms before there is sufficient genetic variation to be detected.

Find the complete article here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com.ezproxy.library.wisc.edu/doi/10.1111/eea.12143/pdf