Michigan State Prof Takes Top Prize for Pest Management Work

Michigan State Prof Takes Top Prize for Pest Management Work

Rufus Isaacs, Michigan State University

Rufus Isaacs

Rufus Isaacs, Professor of Entomology and Extension Specialist with Michigan State University, was recently awarded the Entomological Society of America’s Award for Excellence In Integrated Pest Management.

Isaacs will be honored at Entomology 2018, the Joint Annual Meeting of the Entomological Societies of America, Canada, and British Columbia, November 11-14, in Vancouver.

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Isaacs studies insects in grapes and berry crops. He received his Ph.D. in applied biology from Imperial College in the University of London. His research focuses on the biology of insect pests and natural enemies in fruit crops, as well as their management, with the goal of developing and implementing IPM programs that improve farm productivity and profitability while reducing environmental impacts. Along with collaborators, his lab’s research also has expanded to crop pollination, with projects to understand how habitat management can improve pollinator health and boost crop yield, quality, and stability. This has been coordinated with basic and applied investigations into the ecology of wild bees, and their conservation, as part of the Integrated Crop Pollination project.

Currently, Isaacs is working toward improved management of the invasive spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii), a significant challenge to berry crops in the U.S. and around the world. Projects on this pest are coordinated with colleagues nationally and include evaluation of biopesticides, exploration of natural and cultural controls, seasonal prediction, sampling and decision making, optimizing chemical controls, and monitoring for resistance. His group also is exploring methods for control of native pests that threaten berry crops, both during the growing season and after harvest. His research program is complemented by an active online and in-person extension program that disseminates information about berry insect pest management to growers, crop consultants, and other extension colleagues.

For more 2018 ESA professional, early career professional, and student winners can be found on the Entomological Society of America’s website.