Belowground biological control

Nematode infection as seen under microscope.

Biological control is a promising tool for managing pests while preserving the environment and keeping workers and turfgrass users safe. However, many unknowns remain about biological control in soil, limiting our ability to effectively manage belowground pests. We evaluate the efficacy of insect pathogenic nematodes and fungi against soil pests such as white grubs in athletic fields and annual bluegrass weevil in golf course turf.  We also conduct basic research into how biological control organisms fit into the broader soil environment, and how soil management practices and interactions with the soil community affect their performance.

Postdoc position available in Bioacoustic Detection of Soil Animals

The Soil Arthropod Ecology Lab is searching for a postdoc to work on bioacoustic detection of soil animals!

Soil dwelling arthropods are diverse, and their populations are distributed heterogeneously.  Current methods for detecting and monitoring of soil arthropods are expensive and labor intensive for pest managers and scientists alike.  The primary objective of this position will be to develop methods for using bioacoustic techniques for detecting soil-dwelling invertebrates and for distinguishing acoustic signals generated by root-feeding pests, ecosystem engineers, and decomposers.   The project will entail working in the field and lab with bioacoustics equipment to characterize acoustic signals from field populations and to establish laboratory soil arenas with distinct arthropod composition to evaluate how acoustic signals change under changing soil animal structure.

The position will be housed in the Soil Arthropod Ecology Lab within the Department of Entomology, Cornell University, Cornell AgriTech, Geneva, NY 14456.  Anticipated start date for the position is Summer-Fall 2018.

Interested candidates are encouraged to contact Dr. Wickings directly at