How long have you been studying/working on insect cold hardiness?
I began working on insect cold tolerance in the summer of 2010 assessing supercooling points of western bean cutworm prior to starting graduate school.
What insect(s) do you study?
Western bean cutworm (Striacosta albicosta) and emerald ash borer parasitoids: Oobius agrili, Spathius agrili, and Tetrastichus planipennisi.
What is your main research?
My primary research interest is how both biotic and abiotic factors play a role population dynamics of various insect species. Temperature especially plays an important role in insect survival in development, especially in areas such as Minnesota where we experience wide temperature extremes throughout the year. The ability to survive winter temperatures can be extremely important in determining where pest insects may be able to spread or where new biological control agents will establish.
Prior to graduate school I worked with Dr. Bill Hutchison (U of MN) assessing the cold tolerance of western bean cutworm (Striacosta albicosta), which has undergone an apparent range expansion for unknown reasons. My Master’s research with Dr. Rob Venette (USDA Forest Service) focused on the cold tolerance of emerald ash borer parasitoids: Oobius agrili, Spathius agrili, and Tetrastichus planipennisi. I worked on developing new thermocouple designs for measuring temperatures of small insects such as emerald ash borer parastioids, determining what amount of cold exposure is level to the parasitoids, and where they may be able to overwinter. I’m currently researching the effect of host-plant resistance on soybean aphid (Aphis glycines) populations for my PhD in entomology (advisor: Dr. Bob Koch) and still continue to have an overarching interest in the effects of temperature on insect populations.
Cold Tolerance Publications:
Hanson, A. A., S. Moraes, W. D. Hutchison. 2013. Supercooling point of western bean cutworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) collected in eastern Nebraska. Great Lakes Entomologist 46 (3-4): 219-227. http://www.entomology.umn.edu/prod/groups/cfans/@pub/@cfans/@ento/documents/asset/cfans_asset_457618.pdf
Hanson, A. A. and R. C. Venette. 2013. Thermocouple design for measuring temperatures of small insects. Cryoletters 34: 261-267. www.nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/jrnl/2013/nrs_2013_hanson_001.pdf
Hanson, A.A., R. C. Venette, J. P. Lelito. 2013. Cold tolerance of Chinese emerald ash borer parasitoids: Spathius agrili Yang (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), Tetrastichus planipennisi Yang (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), and Oobius agrili Zhang and Huang (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae). Biological Control 67: 516-529.