Recent news

Alan Leslie publishes last chapter of his dissertation!
We are pleased that Alan's last chapter has been published in Aquatic Sciences - our first publication for 2019! Title is "Burrowing macroinvertebrates alter phosphorus dynamics in drainage ditch sediments." It describes mesocosm research of how bioturbation of ditch sediments by four species of macroinvertebrates may affect the phosphorus loading within ditches. Alan is now an Extension Specialist at the University of Maryland. The article is available online or here. (Posted January 15, 2019)

Jessica Ho begins as our new Lab Manager!
We welcome Jessica this week as our new Lab Manager. She was a student in Freshwater Biology last semester and graduated in December. Before starting dental school, she decided working in our lab would be a great transitional experience, and we are glad she did. She follows the footsteps of a number of old friends that worked as lab managers, including Lauren, Claire, Alison, Conor, Libby, and Scott. All were vitally important to our accomplishments over the past decade. We look forward to Jessica working with us and to her contributions towards our future successes. (Posted January 10, 2019)

Kevin Clements joins the Conservation Corps!
Kevin Clements was a former undergraduate student who worked in our lab for several years, even after graduation last spring. He will be moving to North Carolina later this month to start participating in the Conservation Corps, as part of the American Conservation Experience. Good luck, Kevin! (Posted January 2, 2019)

Katie Stennette wins best Fishing Creek blog for Freshwater Biology, 2018!
Katie prepared an excellent description of her field trip to Fishing Creek as part of BSCI 467, "Freshwater Biology", this fall. The blog is entitled, "Among the Leaves, a Source of Snacks." She mentions her TA in the blog; that TA is our own Becca Eckert. You can find the blog here. (Posted November 21, 2018)

Becca Eckert wins Phi Kappa Phi award to support her research!
We were pleased to hear that Becca won a Phi Kappa Phi Love of Learning Award! She will use it to help with stable isotope expenses in upcoming macroinvertebrate growth experiments to trace the contributions of different food sources from green and brown food webs. Congratulations, Becca! (Posted November 21, 2018)

Morgan Thompson wins first place in the ESA oral presentation contest in Vancouver!
Morgan, a Masters student in the Lamp Lab, won 1st place among the oral presentations for her category at the Entomological Society of America meeting in Vancouver, Canada. Her talk, "Can aboveground potato leafhopper (Empoasca fabae) feeding disrupt belowground nitrogen fixation in alfalfa?", was very well received by the audience. Morgan plans to graduate next spring, and then continue her studies for a Ph.D. at a location TBD. See photo below. (Posted November 15, 2018)

Becca Wilson-Ounekeo passes her dissertation defense!
We are pleased that Becca Wilson-Ounekeo successfully passed her dissertation defense and will be graduating this semester. Her dissertation is titled, "Spatial distribution, habitat preference, and societal impact of the nuisance black fly, Simulium jenningsi." She is planning to move with her husband to the west coast to seek new adventures! (Posted October 31, 2018)

Alina Avanesyan publishes review of grasshoppers and biotic resistance in Plants.
We recently heard that Alina's review, "Should I eat or should I go? Acrdid grasshoppers and their novel host plants: Implications for biotic resistance", was published in Plants. It provides an excellent case history of biotic resistance based on experimentation. The article is available here. (Posted October 9, 2018)

Alina Avanesyan wins 2nd place at poster competition!
Congratulations to Alina, our resident postdoc, for winning 2nd place at the poster contest for the recent University of Maryland Postdoctoral Research Symposium. The poster described her review, now published, of how grasshoppers aid biotic resistance of introduced grasses. Alina was one of the organizers for the symposium, too. (Posted October 9, 2018)

Becca Wilson-Ounekeo and Becca Eckert both receive teaching awards in our department!
Becca W won the coveted Steinhauer Award for her excellence in teaching for Freshwater Biology over the past two years. Becca defends her dissertation later this semester, and then plans to move to Oregon with her husband. Becca E won the Teaching Achievement Award for her accomplishments in "Pollinators in Crisis" and "Biology of Insects" last year. She is now a TA for Freshwater Biology, and plans to graduate in spring, 2019. See photos below. (Posted September 12, 2018)

Alina serves on committee for the Postdoctoral Research Symposium, Sept-17.
Dr. Alina Avanesyan, postdoc in our lab, serves on the committee to organize the Postdoctoral Research Symposium at the University of Maryland on September 17, 2018. It includes speakers and workshops to aid postdoctoral researchers on campus. A link to the website is found here. (Posted September 12, 2018)

Lab receives funding for the invasive spotted lanternfly.
We were pleased to receive a grant from the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station for Alina's and my proposal entitled, "Stylet morphology of the invasive spotted lanternfly: Implication for host tree-associations and potential tree damage." Alina will be describing our progress on this website in the future. (Posted September 12, 2018)

Becca Wilson-Ounekeo receives grant to study black flies in Cecil County, MD.
Recent outbreaks of black flies in Cecil County has led to questions about the source of the nuisance pests. Becca received funding from Maryland Department of Agriculture for her proposal titled, "Identifying the larval sources of nuisance black flies in northwestern Cecil County, MD." Later this fall, Becca will defend her Ph.D. dissertation on Simulium jenningsi, a black fly pest in western MD. (Posted August 28, 2018)

Former student Lauren Culler selected to give plenary talk at the Ecological Society of America meeting!
We were pleased to hear that Dr. Lauren Culler was selected to give the "Recent Advances Lecture" at the ESA meeting in New Orleans in August, 2018. Lauren received her Master's degree in the lab in 2008, working on community structure in created wetlands. She is now Research Assistant Professor at Dartmouth College, where she studies Arctic insect communities. Surprisingly, she found a similar mosquito-dytiscid beetle interaction in Greenland to the one she studied on Maryland's eastern shore. Her talk at ESA was titled, "Mosquitoes in the Arctic: Indicators of rapid change in coupled human and natural ecosystems." Congratulations for the honor, Lauren! (Posted August 28, 2018)

Dylan Kutz and Morgan Thompson are awarded SARE grants!
We are pleased to announce that two of our lab mates were successfully awarded competitive grants! Dylan Kutz (MS, Entomology, to graduate spring, 2020) authored a project entitled, “Movement of spiders from drainage ditches to agricultural fields to enhance conservation biocontrol,” while Morgan Thompson (MS, Entomology, to graduate spring, 2019) authored a project entitled, “Evaluating the effect of potato leafhopper feeding on biological nitrogen fixation in alfalfa.” Both awards will fund their respective thesis research. Congratulations to both winners! (Posted August 27, 2018)

Congratulations to Chloe Garfinkel for her successful high honors defense!
We are pleased to announce that Chloe Garfinkel very successfully defended her Entomology honor's thesis entitled, "Habitat influence on food resources available for male Calopteryx maculata reproductive potential." Her committee awarded her "high honors." Chloe will be leaving our lab after graduation and moving to the University of Colorado at Boulder for a PhD program on mountain beetles and climate change. Chloe has been part of our lab since summer, 2015 - I'm not sure we know how to function without her, but our loss is another lab's gain. Congratulations, Chloe! (Posted May 11, 2018)

Kevin Clements and Kimmy Okada are awarded Earnest Cory Undergraduate Scholarships in Entomology!
Kevin and Kimmy have been working in our lab since Fall 2017 on various projects, and both will be continuing research in the lab over the summer. Kevin is currently examining isopod species between streams and wetlands using DNA barcoding and morphology while Kimmy is examining larval black fly gut contents across different sites. Congratulations to both! (Posted May 11, 2018)

Lamp Lab helps Maryland win second place and trips to Vancouver in Linnaean Games!
Becca Wilson-Ounekeo, Morgan Thompson, and Brock Couch served on this year’s Linnaean Games for Maryland at the Eastern Branch Entomological Society of America Meeting. The team of four won the first round, losing by only 10 points during the second and championship round. By taking second place, the team members won a trip to the national meeting in Vancouver in November. Well done, lab mates! (Posted March 21, 2018)

Jessica Grant's article on degree day requirements of kudzu bug now available!
We are please to announce the recent online publication of the second part of Jessica's Masters thesis on kudzu bug in the Journal of Economic Entomology, entitled "Degree Day Requirements for Kudzu Bug (Hemiptera: Plataspidae), a Pest of Soybeans". The article may be accessed online at this link. Congratulations, Jessica! (Posted February 27, 2018)

We are pleased to welcome Dr. Alina Avanesyan to the Lamp Lab!
Dr. Avanesyan recently started as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in our lab. She received her PhD at the University of Cincinnati, working on the interactions between insect herbivores (grasshoppers) and their host plants, primarily native and exotic grasses. In our lab, she will continue her research on ecology and evolution of plant-insect interactions studying novel associations between native and exotic species and their effect on natural communities. She will also play an active role in several of our ongoing projects, especially in biodiversity of agricultural drainage ditches and plant tolerance to leafhopper injury. Welcome to our lab, Alina! (Posted January 18, 2018)

Kimmy Okada of Freshwater Biology, Fall-2017, wins best blog for her Fishing Creek description, "Mysterious Miniature Worlds."
Kimmy Okada, one of 48 students in Bill's Freshwater Biology class this semester, was selected by her peers in the class as the best blog for an assignment called, "Observations of Fishing Creek." Fishing Creek is a mountain stream north of Frederick, MD, and the site of one of our collecting field trips. Kimmy's photo and text describe the complexities of hidden microhabitats and the trophic interactions within them as she discovered in late September, 2017. Her blog can be read here. (Posted December 4, 2017)

Morgan Thompson wins for BioScience Day poster presentation!
Morgan presented a poster entitled, "Comparing patterns of injury associated with potato leafhopper feeding across different alfalfa cropping systems", at the University of Maryland's BioScience Day. Her poster won first place in the Agriculture, Food and Nutritional Sciences category. Morgan is a second year Master's student in the Lamp Lab, working on interactions of aboveground herbivory and biological nitrogen fixation in alfalfa. Congratulations, Morgan! (Posted December 4, 2017)

Kudzu bug article on cold tolerance by Jessica Grant and Bill Lamp now published!
Jessica Grant's article from her thesis, entitled "Cold tolerance of Megacopta cribraria (Hemiptera: Plataspidae): an invasive pest of soybeans" has been published in an early online version of Environmental Entomology. You can access the article through this link. The research provides supporting evidence that the invasive pest is limited by winter temperatures in the mid-Atlantic region. (Posted September 27, 2017)

Becca Eckert and Becca Wilson-Ounekeo are recognized for their excellence in teaching!
We were pleased to hear the selection of both Becca Eckert and Becca Wilson-Oenekeo to receive teaching awards at the annual award ceremony in the Department of Entomology. Becca E. won the coveted Steinhauer Award for Excellence in Teaching - the highest award given. Becca W. won the Teaching Achievement Award, for the second year in a row. Congratulations to both! (Posted September 13, 2017)

Two new Masters students start this fall in the Lamp Lab!
We welcome Lauren Leffer and Dylan Kutz to our lab this fall as new students (Lauren was our previous Lab Manager). Both will pursue Masters degrees in Entomology - Lauren has interests in wetland invertebrate ecology, and Dylan is interested in pest management. Great to have you both as part of our lab! (Posted September 13, 2017)

Becca Eckert passes her ENTM Qualifying Exam!
Becca Eckert successfully defended her research proposal entitled, "Algal contribution to trophic dynamics in heterotrophic streams: Impact on macroinvertebrate diversity and growth." She advances to candidacy toward her Ph.D. Degree in Entomology. Congratulations, Becca! (Posted May 17, 2017)

Three (!!!) successful ENTM Honor's Theses defended today!
We are pleased that three of our excellent seniors successfully defended their honors thesis for recognition from the Entomology Honors Program. Cullen McAskill defended his thesis entitled, "Determining the efficacy of handheld infrared thermometry for measuring alfalfa canopy temperature in response to potato leafhopper feeding on resistant and susceptible cultivars." Raina Kaji defended her thesis entitled, "The effect of temperature and stream water on the persistence of Cry2Ab2 in Bt corn." Finally, Anthony Zhao defended his thesis entitled, "Toward a tier 1 test of oral toxicity for non-target aquatic insects: Pycnopsyche caddisfly response to a biopolymer-encapsulated insecticide." Congratulations to them all! (Posted May 12, 2017)

Jennifer Jones advances to Ph.D. candidacy!
We are pleased that Jen Jones successfully passed the ENTM Qualifying Exam, thus advancing her to candidacy. She defended her proposal entitled, "Mosquito populations and pathogen surveillance along a socioeconomic gradient." Well done, Jen! (Posted May 10, 2017)

Nick Penn produces a video about the Lamp Lab
Nick is an undergraduate volunteer in our lab. He is helping process aquatic samples after learning about macroinvertebrates in Freshwater Biology during fall semester. He created a video documentary to describe student experiences in the lab as part of a film editing course. Thanks for the great video, Nick! See the video under "Photos" and "Lab Mates". (Posted May 10, 2017)

Becca Eckert wins graduate student poster prize at University of Maryland's Graduate Research Appreciation Day!
We are pleased to announce that Becca received first place for her poster in the Natural Environment section at the University's Graduate Research Appreciation Day in April. Her poster was entitled "Patterns of insect colonization associated with algae on leaf debris in small streams under contrasting light and nutrient conditions". It discussed preliminary results from her first chapter, describing how light levels and nutrient concentrations affected algal biomass and macroinvertebrate abundance measured on leaf packs incubated in headwater streams from December 2016-January 2017 with implications for restoration efforts. (Posted May 10, 2017)

Jessica Grant successfully defends her thesis!
Jessica presented her thesis, "Phenology and Cold Tolerance of Megacopta cribraria: An Invasive Soybean Pest at its Northern Limit," at Friday's Entomology Colloquium and later successfully defended it with her Study Committee. Her research defined the physiological limits of cold tolerance for kudzu bug, explaining its northern limit and predicting range expansion with climate change. She also used degree-day modeling to predict the phenology of the kudzu bug stages in Maryland. Combined with field observations between 2014-16, she explained patterns of distribution and abundance of this new potential pest of soybeans in Maryland. (Posted November 21, 2016)

Brock Couch joins our lab!
We had a mid-semester addition to the lab: Brock Couch. Brock is pursuing a Masters degree in the BEES Program. He is interested in wetland ecology, and gained field experience studying wetlands during his undergraduate years at Western Missouri State University. His research in our lab will focus on a new wetland-stream connectivity project on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Welcome to the lab, Brock! (Posted November 7, 2016)

Linda Wang of Freshwater Biology, Fall-2016, wins best blog for her Fishing Creek description, "Now You See Me, Now You Don't."
Linda Wang, one of 47 students in Bill's Freshwater Biology class this semester, was selected by her peers in the class as the best blog for an assignment called, "Observations of Fishing Creek." Fishing Creek is a mountain stream north of Frederick, MD, and the site of one of our collecting field trips. Linda's photo and text describe the ability of stoneflies to hide in packs of leaves in the stream, as she discovered in early October, 2016. Her blog can be read here. (Posted November 7, 2016)

Dr. Bob Smith starts as new Assistant Professor at Lycoming College!
We are pleased that former Maryland Master's and Ph.D. student, Bob Smith, has recently started as a new faculty member at Lycoming College, located in Williamsport, PA. Bob is an aquatic ecologist who examines basic and applied questions about natural and human-impacted freshwater systems. While rooted in ecology, his research is intimately tied to the restoration and management of aquatic systems. His Ph.D. in the Lamp Lab was entitled, "Local versus regional processes impacting insect diversity loss from urban headwater streams." He will continue his research while teaching ecology and environmental science courses at Lycoming College. (Posted November 7, 2016)

Jessica Grant receives second place in ICE graduate student oral competition!
We were pleased to hear that Jessica Grant placed second in the oral competition for Agricultural and Forest Entomology: Hemipteran Pests at the International Congress of Entomology in Florida, September 25-30. Her talk was entitled, "Cold tolerance and overwintering behavior of kudzu bugs (Megacopta cribraria) at its northern limit." Jessica plans to defend her thesis this semester and graduate in December. Well done, Jessica! (Posted October 7, 2016)

Morgan Thompson joins our lab!
We are pleased to welcome Morgan Thompson into our lab. Morgan received her BS degree from William & Mary College, where she did a senior thesis relating butterfly populations to meteorological variables. She is pursuing a Masters degree in our Entomology Program, and intends to perform her research as part of our grant, "Potato Leafhopper Threshold Revised for Alfalfa Host Resistance and Alfalfa-Grass Mixtures." You can find her armed with a sweep net and kill jar during her free time, collecting for Jeff Shultz's insect identification course. (Posted September 21, 2016)

Three TA awards in our lab!
We were proud to learn that of four departmental teaching awards given out for the 2015-16 academic year, our lab received three of them. Becca Wilson and Becca Eckert both received Teaching Achievement Awards, while Jessica Grant received the highest award given, the Steinhauer Teaching Award for Excellence. All three served as TAs in the Biological Sciences Program last year. And all three are back in the classroom this fall. (Posted September 21, 2016)

Former student Dr. Alan Leslie publishes another chapter of his dissertation.
Alan and Bill recently published an article entitled, "Taxonomic and functional group composition of macroinvertebrate assemblages in agricultural drainage ditches" in Hydrobiologia. The article describes the macroinvertebrate communities of four perennial and four intermittent ditches on Maryland's Eastern Shore, sampled over a year. Although assemblages differed between the ditch types, the functional groups did not. Functional groups were dominated by collector-gatherer feeders and burrowing habits. The research demonstrated the potential role of bioturbation by macroinvertebrates for nutrient exchange at the water-substrate interface. See the article here. (Posted August 27, 2016)

Lauren Leffer becomes our new Lab Manager!
We welcome Lauren Leffer as our new Lab Manager starting June 1. Lauren just received her undergraduate degree in ecology and evolution, with a minor in creative writing, from the the University of Maryland. She took Bill's Freshwater Biology course last fall and received the top grade. Lauren has been active as a naturalist in Baltimore and the Adirondack Mountains, and has research and extension experience in apiculture, bat behavior, and Hymenoptera systematics. She also spent a semester abroad in South Africa. Welcome to the lab, Lauren! (Posted July 20, 2016)

Claire Hirt becomes a certified EPA taxonomist!
We are pleased that Claire Hirt, our master aquatic insect identifier, passed her certification test with flying colors (no mistakes) from the Society of Freshwater Science Taxonomic Certification Program. Claire has a Master's degree in aquatic ecology from Penn State. Well done, Claire! (Posted July 20, 2016)

New publication on joint alfalfa-fescue research from 6 states published in Crop Science.
A joint publication by Ben Tracy, Virginia Tech, with Bill as on of the co-authors, was recently published in Crop Science. The research evaluated binary mixtures of alfalfa and tall fescue to assess forage herbage accumulation, nitrogen replacement values, and weed suppression. Herbage accumulation and weed suppression was consistently higher in mixtures compared to alfalfa or fescue monocultures. In addition, alfalfa provided an average fertilizer nitrogen replacement value of 143 kg N per ha. See the article here. (Posted July 20, 2016).

Ellie Spadafora successfully defends her dissertation!
We are pleased to announce that Ellie Spadafora successfully defended her dissertation entitled, “Analysis of macroinvertebrate communities in seasonal wetlands through time, space, and species traits.” Her first research chapter on macroinvertebrate community response to wetland restoration was published earlier this year. Her second research chapter compared predaceous diving beetle communities in wetlands with and without sphagnum moss, and her third chapter compared mandible morphology of three species of dytiscid larvae through space and developmental time. Congratulations to Ellie! (Posted May 12, 2016)

Sadia Naseem successfully defends her honors thesis and receives high honors in Entomology!
In spite of her major and her career choice of materials engineering, Sadia stuck with the Lamp Lab during her undergraduate days to conduct independent research, resulting in a thesis entitled, “Salivary gland presence and horizontal transmission of brown marmorated stink bug symbiont, Pantoea carbekii.” Using molecular techniques, she discovered that the symbiotic bacterium, which is normally found in the midgut of the stink bug, can occur in the salivary glands as well. She also verified that the bacterium may be transmitted to a host plant by stink bug feeding. She will receive high honors from the Department of Entomology Honors Program at graduation this spring. Sadia will be moving to Dallas, Texas, this summer to start her engineering job at Texas Instruments. Congratulations, Sadia! (Posted May 9, 2016)

Cullen McAskill and Anthony Zhao receive the Ernst N. Cory Scholarship for Fall, 2016!
We were pleased to hear that two of our undergraduate researchers in our lab, Anthony and Cullen, both received the $1,000 Scholarship! Anthony is developing an experimental Tier-1 approach to test for lethal effects of Cry proteins in a caddisfly larva as part of our risk assessment research of transgenic corn debris in streams. Cullen in evaluating the use of an infrared thermometer gun to measure canopy temperatures in alfalfa in response to potato leafhopper injury. Congratulations Anthony and Cullen! (Posted May 3, 2016)

Chloe Garfinkel featured from “Discover a Swamp”!
We had another successful Maryland Day presentation of “Discover a Swamp” where kids of all ages can collect and observe, up close and personal, invertebrates found in ponds and streams. Chloe was featured in a video, explaining the biology of a toe-biting hellgrammite and explaining the difference between crayfish and aquatic insects. See the video here. (Posted May 3, 2016)

May we introduce Dr. Ryan Gott!
We are pleased to announce that Ryan Gott has now completed all requirements for his Ph.D. degree from the Entomology Program, University of Maryland. He successfully presented and defended his dissertation entitled, "DEVELOPMENT OF GENE EXPRESSION-BASED BIOMARKERS OF EXPOSURE TO METALS AND PESTICIDES IN THE FRESHWATER AMPHIPOD HYALELLA AZTECA." Ryan was co-advised by Drs. Bill Lamp and Dave Hawthorne. Please join us in congratulating Ryan! (Posted April 28, 2016)

New article on wetland restoration and macroinvertebrates published!
Ellie Spadafora and co-authors published on the response of the macroinvertebrate community to restoration practices over 9 years post-restoration. By comparing the communities in a natural, rehabilitated, and created wetland, we demonstrated the value of rehabilitation over wetland creation for restoring macroinvertebrates. While the created wetland was dominated by non-biting midges, the natural and rehabilitated (after 9 years) was dominated by freshwater isopods. See the article here. (Posted March 22, 2016)

New publication on spatial patterns of stink bugs!
Dilip Venugopal and co-authors published research on spatial patterns of stink bugs in the Mid-Atlantic region. We found that temperature and its interaction with resource availability, along with distance from source populations, are important factors in the spatial pattern of brown marmorated stink bugs. Results help to predict the pest potential of stink bugs in agricultural systems. See the article here. (Posted March 2, 2016)

Becca Wilson wins graduate student presentation prize at the North America Black Fly Association Meeting!
We are pleased to report that Becca received first place prize for her presentation at the North American Black Fly Association meeting in Arizona last week. Her presentation was entitled, “Simulium jenningsi in Maryland: Geographical analysis of a localized nuisance.” Her talk summarized her research on the spatial pattern of nuisance adults in western Maryland, as well as the pattern of larval distributions located primarily in the Potomac River. Information is posted on her website, Congratulations to Becca! (Posted February 29, 2016)

Jessica Grant wins first place for the Eastern Branch-Entomological Society of America BS/MS Oral Presentation Contest!
We are very proud of Jessica for her presentation of her Master’s research with the talk, “Invasive kudzu bug (Megacopta cribraria) in Maryland: the spread and status of a recent invader.” She won first place of 15 presentations at the Philadelphia meeting. Her talk focused on cold hardiness of the species, as it seems to have reached its northern limit over the last three years. (Posted January 7, 2016)

The Lamp Lab is searching to hire two paid student helpers during the January break.
The Lamp Lab has paid, full-time positions for two undergraduates during the break, January 4-22. Pay rate will be $10.00/hour. Responsibilities will include processing and sorting of samples from small streams, as well as setting up leaf decomposition experiments. Work is based in the lab, although some field work may be included. Funds may be available to continue the positions part-time through the spring semester. If interested, send a resume attached to an email that states your interest in the position to Claire Hirt, Lab Manager, at We will screen candidates before winter break, so applications are best submitted by December 14. (Posted December 1, 2015)

Ryan Gott wins for his poster display at Bioscience Day 2015!
We are pleased to state that Ryan won for the best poster in his section, Environmental Science/ Biodiversity, Conservation, Ecology, Evolution & Behavior. His poster was entitled, “Changes in gene expression serve as a biomarker of exposure for cadmium and copper in the amphipod Hyalella azteca.” Ryan intends to complete the requirements for his Ph.D. during spring semester, 2016. Congratulations, Ryan! (Posted November 23, 2015)

The Lamp Lab is recruiting two new graduate students for specific projects
Dr. Lamp is currently searching to fill two graduate student positions to start fall of either 2016 or 2017. See details under the "Contact and Opportunities" tab, linked here. (Posted November 16, 2015)

Two graduate students in the Lamp Lab win teaching awards from the Department of Entomology!
We were pleased to learn that both Jessica Grant and Ellie Spadafora won teaching awards for their instruction during the 2014-15 academic year. Jessica was named the outstanding teaching assistant for the Department of Entomology, thus receiving the distinguished Steinhauer Award. She taught in the Biological Sciences undergraduate program for two semesters last year. She is a second year Masters student in our lab, researching temperature relationships in the invasive kudzu bug. She also manages our Maryland Kudzu Bug Survey website (, while continuing to teach in the Biological Sciences Program. Ellie was given the Teaching Achievement Award for her teaching in both the Biological Sciences Program and Freshwater Biology. She defends her Ph.D. in the BEES program next spring, and is researching the community response of predaceous diving beetles to the presence of sphagnum in natural wetlands on the Delmarva Peninsula. (Posted November 12, 2015)

Kristina Park of Freshwater Biology, Fall-2015, wins best blog for her Fishing Creek description, “How About a Bowl of Leaves for Breakfast?”
Kristina, one of 48 students in Bill’s Freshwater Biology this semester, was selected by her peers in the class as the best blog for an assignment called, “Observations of Fishing Creek.” Fishing Creek is a mountain stream north of Frederick, MD, and the site of one of our collecting field trips. Kristina’s photo and text describe the food of macroinvertebrates that she found at the end of September, 2015. See a pdf of her blog here. (Posted October 28, 2015)

"Freshwater Biology" starts again for the 17th time!
The fall semester starts the 17th time that Bill has offered BSCI 467, "Freshwater Biology". The course has changed over the years to reflect changes in scientific and sustainability perspectives. The field trips to Maryland streams and wetlands continue to collect and observe aquatic macroinvertebrates. It has grown, too, with two lab sections and a maximum total of 48 seats. Completely full this semester! See the current syllabus and schedule here. (Posted September 9, 2015)

Becca Wilson and Bill publish an extension article on the black fly nuisance problem.
This summer has led to an increase in reports of the nuisance black fly, Simulium jenningsi, which Becca Wilson is researching for her dissertation. She and Bill prepared an article recently published in two University of Maryland extension publications. Link to the identical articles here, with the article near the end of each issue: UME Agronomy News Volume 6 Issue 4 or UME Vegetable & Fruit News Volume 6 Issue 4. (Posted July 14, 2015)

New paper published by Dilip Venugopal, et al., quantified the spatiotemporal dynamics of stink bugs between corn and soybeans.
We are pleased to announce that Dilip Venugopal, along with Galen Dively and Bill Lamp, published a paper entitled, “Spatiotemporal dynamics of the invasive Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) in and between adjacent corn and soybean fields”, in Journal of Economic Entomology. By sampling adjacent corn and soybean fields for the stink bug through time, the authors found the highest densities of the bug during the blister to milk-dough (R2-R3/R4) stages of corn, and beginning seed to full seed (R5-R6) stages in soybeans. Patterns suggest that large nymphs and adults move from corn to soybeans as the crops develop. (Posted July 7, 2015)

New paper published by Bob Smith, et al., compared in-stream habitat filtering and dispersal as factors influencing assemblage composition in Maryland streams.
We are pleased to announce that Bob Smith, along with Dilip Venugopal, Matt Baker, and Bill Lamp, published a paper entitled, “Habitat filtering and adult dispersal determine the taxonomic compositon of stream insects in an urbanizing landscape”, in Freshwater Biology. Using MBSS and landuse data, both in-stream habitat and dispersal distance were significant factors in assemblage of the communities by aquatic insects. In addition, urbanization of the dispersal pathway also mediated assemblage of the communities. (Posted June 8, 2015)

Our graduating undergraduate receives high honors for her Entomology thesis!
We are very proud of Claire Weber, who has been working in our lab the last year and a half. She graduates this semester, and along the way she wrote and defended an honors thesis for Entomology, entitled “Functional Trait Assemblages in Lotic Stream Communities in Relation to Stream Flashiness.” Claire combined two large data sets from USGS and MBSS to compare the traits of insects found in stream communities to the amount of flashiness experienced by the stream. She identified a clear relationship between stream flashiness (frequent and rapid fluctuations in stream discharge) and the traits of insects. Insects in flashy streams had faster seasonal development, greater ability for adults to exit the stream, weaker swimming ability, and smaller size at maturity, among other traits. Claire will spend the summer in Argentina and Costa Rica, before moving to the University of Utah to pursue graduate studies in geography. (Posted May 20, 2015)

New publication in PLOS ONE on climate change and migration of potato leafhopper!
Former Ph.D. student, Dilip Venugopal, Dr. Mitchell Baker of Queens College CUNY, and Bill teamed up to publish a paper in PLOS ONE, entitled, "Climate change and phenology: Empoasca fabae (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) migration and severity of impact.” From the press release: “Their results suggest that climate warming could be exacerbating crop damage caused by the potato leafhopper, a tiny migratory insect pest that causes millions of dollars worth of damage to crops in the eastern United States every year. Using six decades worth of data, the study found that potato leafhoppers arrive an average of 10 days earlier than in the early 1950s, and their infestations are more severe in the warmest years. These effects correspond to an overall increase in years with warmer than average temperatures over the same time period.” The article is available open-access at: (Posted May 13, 2015)

The Lamp Lab presented “Discover a Swamp” at Maryland Day this year for the 14th time!
Hundreds of kids, parents, and students stopped by our classroom demonstration of aquatic insects this year for Maryland Day. We had good turnout from the lab, too, as Ryan Gott, Alan Leslie, Alison Post, Becca Eckert, Becca Wilson, Jennifer Grant, Anthony Zhao, and Cullen McAskill all helped out. This was our 14th year of providing the demonstration. See a brief description and photos here. (Posted April 27, 2015)

The Lamp Lab is looking for a paid intern to use molecular approaches to study plant-insect interactions!
We seek an upperclass undergraduate at the University of Maryland to join our lab part-time over the next year (summer, fall, and spring). Molecular techniques will be applied to the presence and function of microbial symbionts associated with the salivary glands of sap-feeding insects. This is a paid internship, and there is potential for independent research. See more information here. (Posted April 22, 2015)

Jessica Grant receives a competitive grant for her kudzu bug research from the Maryland Soybean Board!
Jessica was successful at writing and defending her proposal entitled, “Overwintering survival of kudzu bugs and its degree-day requirements for colonization of soybeans in Maryland” to the Maryland Soybean Board. She proposed research to determine the kudzu bug’s cold tolerance and degree-day development as it pertains to Maryland. Determining these two factors will help producers evaluate the risk of kudzu bugs on a yearly basis as well as provide a time frame of emergence that can be utilized in a pest management plan. Jessica is a Masters student in the lab, starting in fall, 2014. (Posted April 15, 2015)

Alan Leslie wins second place at the Eastern Branch ESA meeting!
We were pleased to hear that Dr. Alan Leslie won second place in the PhD Oral Presentation Competition at the Eastern Branch-Entomological Society of America meeting! He won with his presentation entitled, "Chironomus (Diptera: Chironomidae) larvae alter phosphorus dynamics in aquatic sediments." Alan, along with Jessica Grant, Lauren Hunt, and Chris Taylor, also took second place in the Linnaean Games at the meeting. (Posted March 17, 2015)

Becca Wilson wins Outstanding Student Presentation at North American Black Fly Association Meeting!
Last week Becca Wilson presented her research entitled “Distribution and Nuisance Patterns of Simulium jenningsi in Western Maryland” at the 13th Annual North American Black Fly Association Meeting held at the University of Georgia. She was awarded the Mike Spironello Award for Outstanding Student Presentation. Congratulations, Becca! (Posted February 24, 2015)

Becca Wilson receives a research award from the Washington Biologists Field Club!
It was announced yesterday that Becca Wilson received funding for her proposal, “Distribution and Identification of Larval Black Flies within the Potomac River Basin.” The funds will be used to provide DNA bar-coding support in the identification of early instars of black fly larvae found in large rivers such as the Potomac River. She is particularly interested in the nuisance black fly, Simulium jenningsi, and similar species that coexist in similar habitats. More information on her project can be found at her website, (Posted February 19, 2015)

Alan Leslie successfully defends his dissertation!
On Halloween, Alan gave a colloquium as well as successfully defended his dissertation entitled, “The Diversity of Burrowing Benthic Invertebrates and their Impact on Phosphorus Dynamics in Agricultural Drainage Ditches.” The first research chapter of his dissertation was published in 2012, and is available on our publication list. The dissertation describes the structure and function of the macroinvertebrates found in agricultural ditches, and provides evidence that certain bioturbators may impact the sequestration of phosphorus as water flows into ditches from agricultural fields. Congratulations, Alan! (Posted November 3, 2014)

Kevin Beiter of Freshwater Biology, Fall-2014, wins best blog on “Observations of Fishing Creek”!
Kevin, a student in Bill’s Freshwater Biology course (BSCI 467), was selected by his peers in his class as the best blog for the “Observations of Fishing Creek” assignment. Fishing Creek is a mountain stream north of Frederick, MD, and the site of one of our collecting field trips. Kevin’s photo and words represent the interactions of macroinvertebrates – their feeding behaviors and habitat choices – among the microhabitats in the rocky stream. See a pdf of his blog here. (Posted October 29, 2014)

New edited publication on alfalfa pests published
Bill was the editor of the entomological portions of the new “Compendium of Alfalfa Diseases and Pests”, 3rd edition. Debby Samac and Lanny Rhodes edited the disease portions. The book is the most comprehensive diagnostic reference guide to date on the many diseases and insect pests of alfalfa. Check it out here. (Posted October 23, 2014)

Our three senior graduate students all receive teaching awards from the Department of Entomology!
We were pleased to find out at Friday's Entomology Colloquium that three of the Lamp Lab graduate students, Alan Leslie, Ellie Spadafora, and Ryan Gott, received awards for excellence in teaching. Ellie and Alan received the Steinhauer Award, which is the highest award for the best and greatest of teaching among our students in the department. Ryan won the Special Distinction in Teaching Award for his service in lab preparation for the large introductory biology course on campus. (Posted October 13, 2014)

Recent Ph.D. student, Dilip Venugopal, publishes first dissertation chapter in PLoS ONE!
Dilip's first chapter examined the influence of the adjacent habitat on brown marmorated stink bug densities along the edge of corn and soybean fields. He and his co-authors found that stink bug numbers and damage were greatest along field edges, and specifically adjacent to edges with woods, crops, and buildings. Find the article here. (Posted October 10, 2014)

University of Maryland Agronomy News reports on the status of the kudzu bug in Maryland
Jessica Grant, Alan Leslie, and Bill wrote an article for the most recent Agronomy News on the current status of the kudzu bug in Maryland. The kudzu bug is a new invasive insect pest in soybeans in southeastern US. Although populations of the kudzu bug were suppressed by last year's cold winter, they recovered to a high for the year in August and September. They have been found at all sites where we found them last year, although there are still no reports from soybeans. The article can be found here. (Posted October 7, 2014)

Lamp Lab leads new research grant on risk assessment of GM crops on non-target aquatic invertebrates!
Bill, along with University of Maryland colleagues Galen Dively, Cerruti Hooks, and Qin Wang, recently received a nearly $500,000 grant from the USDA Biotechnology Risk Assessment Program (BRAG) to study non-target effects of Bt corn on stream invertebrates that are exposed to plant debris. Our objectives are to: (1) refine protocols and test PIPs (plant incorporated protectants) using artificial food suitable for aquatic invertebrates that are adapted for shredding plant debris, (2) perform a landscape-level assessment of GM versus non-GM crops on the running water ecosystems draining cropland, and (3) measure degradation rates of PIPs across genes, varieties, and post-harvest crop management. Read more about this research here. (Posted October 7, 2014)

Lamp Lab publishes two reports in the recent Maryland Entomologist!
Alan Leslie was first author of an article for the Maryland Entomologist on his discovery of the kudzu bug in Maryland and our general findings during 2013, coauthored with a number of entomologists across the state (link to article here). In addition, Becca Wilson was first author of an article in the same issue on our findings of black flies in Washington County during 2013 by several of our lab members (link to article here). We are pursuing more research on both kudzu bugs (especially through the work of Jessica Grant, a new Masters student), and black flies (through the work of Becca Wilson, a second year Masters student). (Posted September 19, 2014)

Sadia Naseem is placed in the College of Engineering NSF Undergraduate Research Program!
Sadia has won a coveted place in the NSF-funded Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Undergraduate Research Program (LSAMP URP) through the College of Engineering. She will be paid to conduct research in our lab, attend workshops for research presentation and grad school applications, and attend professional conferences. Sadia is a Materials Sciences major in the Engineering College, and is working in our lab on endosymbionts associated with brown marmorated stink bug. Congratulations to Sadia! (Posted November 3, 2014)

Ellie Spadafora wins SWS award!
Ellie received a $1,000 grant in a competition from the Society for Wetland Scientists for her proposal entitled, "High-resolution taxonomic data to reveal relationships of predaceous diving beetle (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae) biology to habitat characteristics." She will be performing DNA-barcoding to relate adult and larval specimens collected from wetland with and without Sphagnum moss. Her dissertation focuses on the role of Sphagnum on the trophic ecology of macroinvertebrates in Delmarva Bay wetlands. (Posted October 29, 2014)

Dilip Venugopal successfully defends his dissertation!
Dilip passed his dissertation defense and will receive his degree in May. His dissertation is entitled, "Spatial heterogeneity of stink bug (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) populations in agricultural systems: multi-scale landscape and environmental influences", and provides an understanding of spatial patterns found in the invasive brown marmorated stink bug at field, farm, and region-wide scales. He will continue in a postdoctoral position with Mike Raupp after graduation. (Posted October 23, 2014)

New publication on testing aquatic oral toxicity now in press!
Ryan provided leadership in the lab on a difficult problem: how to perform oral toxicity tests on aquatic invertebrates. Working with food scientists, Yangchao Luo and Qin Wang, he was able to develop and test a technique to coat potential toxins onto artificial food, thus retaining the toxin on food under water until ingested. This research was performed using the standard organism for aquatic toxicology, Hyalella azteca, and we will now move forward to testing on shredding insects, such as selected caddisfly species. The research relates to our ecotoxicological testing of GMO crops and its potential impact on shredding invertebrates in streams. The article can be found here. (Posted October 13, 2014)

New publication on Jackson Lane wetlands now in press!
Lauren Culler, Bob Smith, and Bill have co-authored an article, now in press for Wetlands: Weak relationships between environmental factors and invertebrate communities in constructed Delmarva Bay wetlands. The article is available to download here. (Posted October 10, 2014)

Alesia Richardson and Oliver Meade win third place in Science Fair!
We are pleased to hear that our two high school interns, Alesia Richardson and Oliver Meade, won third place in Science Fair for their project in the Lamp Lab, entitled PLH Injury on Fava in Elevated CO2. Alesia and Oliver are seniors at Eleanor Roosevelt High School.(Posted October 7, 2014)

Lamp Lab at the Eastern Branch, Entomological Society of America.
Several members of the Lamp Lab, new and old, are presenting at the Branch meeting, 15-18 March 2014, including Alan Leslie, Dilip Venugopal, Lauren Culler, and Alina Avanesyan. See listing here. (Posted October 7, 2014)

Sadia Naseem is awarded an Earnest Cory Undergraduate Scholarship in Entomology!
Sadia has been a member of the Lamp Lab since August, 2011, when she did her high school senior research practicum in our lab. She is now performing research on endosymbionts of the brown marmorated stink bug, and the potential transmission of one of those symbionts as an agent of plant disease in host plants of the stink bug. Her research will be part of her honors program in Entomology. Sadia is an engineering student, with a major in Materials Science and Engineering. In addition to the Cory Scholarship, she was honored last week for two other engineering scholarships: an A. James Clark School of Engineering Scholarship and an Arlene Estella Staley Scholarship. Congratulations, Sadia! (Posted September 19, 2014)

Lab Photos

Crabtree Creek

Crabtree Creek with ENTM 667. Photo by Bill Lamp, 3-May-2014.