Conserving our planet's botanical resources and ecosystems

Annual TREE Student Research Prize Winners for 2014 Announced

Annual Student Award for the Appreciation for the Biology of Insect Pests

Paranthrene_simulans

Like this beautiful Paranthrene simulans, many insects pests are worth studying for more than how to kill them. A moth that looks like a hornet but is soft on touch, and whose caterpillar doesn’t eat leaves but carves tunnels inside living trees, is a source of wonder to an observant entomologist. Photo (C) Mark J. Dreiling

We are proud to announce the winners for the third year of the Award: 2014. We had a record number of submissions and the submitted papers were of outstanding quality! Submissions were received from students all around the world, all works of great passion for insects, full of intriguing discoveries. The committee was unable to decide on a single winner and ended up in a tie! The prize of $500 is divided between two winners:

Christina S. Baer, University of Missouri-St. Louis, MO, USA

for the article Baer, C. S. and R. J. Marquis. 2014. Native leaf-tying caterpillars influence host plant use by the invasive Asiatic oak weevil through ecosystem engineering published in Ecology 95(6): “We found that the Asiatic oak weevil (Cyrtepistomus castaneus) is attracted to leaf shelters built by native caterpillars and that these shelters influence host plant species choices.”

Rebecca P. Duncan, University of Miami, FL, USA

for the article Duncan, R. P., F. Husnik, J. T. Van L., D. G. Gilbert, L. M. Davalos , J. P. McCutcheon, A. C. C. Wilson. 2014. Dynamic recruitment of amino acid transporters to the insect/symbiont interface published in Molecular Ecology (2014) 23, 1608–1623: “We discovered that amino acid transporter genes duplicated independently in sap-feeding insect pests, which depend on obligate bacterial symbionts that provide hosts with amino acids; in each insect, some members of these large gene family expansions were independently recruited to the cells that house symbionts, suggesting that gene duplication has been mechanistically important in the evolution of intracellular symbioses.”

Congratulations, Christina and Rebecca! Thank you all for your discoveries, and for your interest in the wonders of insect sometimes called pests. Our sincere thanks also go to all other students who submitted their papers. The complete list of submitted papers is below (see how great they were!).


This award serves to promote the study of unexplored aspects of natural history of insect pests. For more information on the award, and for submission of a paper for the year 2015 click here.

The award is supported by the TREE Foundation in Sarasota, FL, and conferred by the Ambrosia Symbiosis Research Group (Jiri Hulcr and Andrea Lucky at University of Florida, Rob Dunn at North Carolina State University, and Anthony I. Cognato at Michigan State University).

Please send any further inquiries to hulcr@ufl.edu.

Originally posted: http://www.ambrosiasymbiosis.org/2015/01/winners-2014/