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US Forest Service Research & Development
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  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Therese M. Poland

Research Entomologist
3101 Technology Blvd., Ste. F
Lansing, MI 48910
Phone: 517-884-8062
Fax: 517-355-5121
Contact Therese M. Poland


Current Research

My current research is focused on detection and control of invasive forest insect pests, particularly the emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Buprestidae). EAB is a phloem-feeding beetle native to Asia that was discovered in Detroit, MI, and Windsor, Ontario in July 2002. It has caused widespread decline and mortality of ash (Fraxinus sp.).

Initially, very little was known about EAB, and the only means to detect and control infestations was to locate infested trees based on visual symptoms and then destroy the trees by cutting them down, chipping them, and burning the chips.

My research objectives are to investigate several aspects of EAB biology, including its seasonal development, semiochemical ecology, dispersal capabilities, within-tree distribution, and host finding and mating behavior. I am also investigating control methods, such as the use of systemic insecticides and biological control with natural enemies.

Research Interests

I plan to continue conducting research that addresses four strategies for managing invasive species:

  • predicting and preventing establishment of invasive pests,
  • detecting and eradicating invasive pests,
  • managing and controlling invasives, and
  • restoring landscapes affected by invasives.
  • Preventing establishment offers the most promise for protecting forested landscapes from environmental and economic losses due to invasive species. I plan to evaluate species traits that increase chances for successful invasion and to participate in research to develop risk assessments and predictive models that will allow natural resource managers to identify high-risk areas for pest surveys and detect newly invading species with a high degree of confidence. I plan to develop new methods and technologies to quickly detect and delimit the extent of new infestations and enable eradication. Eradication of newly invading species has proven most effective when new populations are at low densities and still spatially confined. I also plan to continue evaluating strategies for controlling invasive pests.

    Past Research

    I have conducted research on other invasive forest pests including the pine shoot beetle and the Asian longhorned beetle.  I investigated the chemical ecology of the pine shoot beetle including development of improved attractive lures, and inhibition of attraction using non-host volatiles.  I also studied dispersal of pine shoot beetle and its phenology across a north/south gradient.  Research on the Asian longhorned beetle included field and laboratory evaluation of the toxicity of systemic insecticides and development of an acoustic detection system  to locate infested trees.

    Why This Research is Important

    Exotic forest insects such as EAB threaten North American forests and natural resources. Native trees lack co-evolved defense mechanisms and exotic pests often invade without their associated natural enemies. Interactions of invasive pests with native ecosystems are unknown. Information on the biology, detection and management of invasive species is critical for protecting native forests and natural resources

    Education

    • Simon Fraser University, Ph.D. , 1997
    • Simon Fraser University, M.P.M. , 1993
    • Simon Fraser University, B.Sc. , 1988

    Professional Experience

    • Research Entomologist, USDA Forest Service
      1997 - Current
      conduct research on economically important forest insect pests
    • Research Assistant, PheroTech, Inc.
      1997 - 1997
      conduct research on semiochemical-based management of forest insect pests
    • Research Assistant, Theodor D. Sterling and Associates, Ltd.
      1987 - 1991
      technical assistant for environmental health research

    Professional Organizations

    • Entomological Society of America
    • Entomological Society of Canada
    • Michigan Entomological Society
    • Entomological Society of British Columbia

    Awards & Recognition

    • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, 2004
      For innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and for exceptional potential to shape the future through intellectual and inspired leadership
    • Chief's Honor Award for Early Career Scientists, 2002
      For innovative and timely research on newly detected exotic forest insects that allows USDA APHIS to formulate Federal quarantines based on sound science

    Featured Publications & Products

    Publications & Products

    Research Highlights

    HighlightTitleYear


    NRS-2011-03
    Reducing Negative Cultural Impacts of Emerald Ash Borer: Saving Black Ash Wood for Native American Basketmakers

    Black ash has great cultural and economic importance in the northeastern United States, especially for Native Americans. The widespread destruc ...

    2011


    NRS-2012-33
    Scientists Determine the Chemistry Between Ash Trees and Emerald Ash Borer Beetle

    What makes some ash species so susceptible to emerald ash borer and others less susceptible

    2012


    Last updated on : 04/04/2014