Entomology & Microbiology

Dr. Kier D. Klepzig

The entomology lab receives grants to study insect response to wind damage in forests. Working with collaborators JT Vogt (USDA Forest Service) and Kamal Gandhi (University of Georgia), the Entomology Lab recently received a $75,000 grant for “Assessing Wind Damage in Longleaf Pine and Gulf Coast Forest Ecosystems”. The increasing number and severity of tornados, hurricanes, and straight-line events in the southern US alter stand dynamics and succession, severely reduce merchantable timber, and increase the risk of subsequent damage by insects and pathogens. In this project, we will utilize past and future tornado tracks in several southern ecoregions as sampling sites and surrogates for understanding broader-scale damage events such as hurricanes. We will identify and characterize tornado tracks, and gather data on arthropods (ground-dwelling, forest pests, and pollinators), understory (native and invasive plants), tree physiology, and delayed tree mortality in relation to wind damage levels. Other collaborators come from the USDA Forest Service (Brian Sullivan, Tara Keyser) and the University of Georgia (Bronson Bullock, Dan Johnson).