The Entomology Department proudly recognizes two newly minted graduates, Dr. Erin Lowe and Dr. Yi-Ming Weng!
Dr. Erin Lowe
A big congratulations to Dr. Erin Lowe of the Gratton Lab, who successfully defended her dissertation on May 11, 2022. Erin’s thesis exemplified agroecological research and Erin’s interdisciplinarity. She studied on-farm strategies for bee conservation in Wisconsin cucumbers, a pollinator-dependent crop. She learned that in some years small flower plantings in the corners of large agricultural fields were able to increase the abundance and richness of wild bees and the plantings also influenced nesting success, but that the landscapes in which these fields were embedded did not influence the effect of the pollinator plantings (contrary to expectation). To fully understand the spatial patterns of bee responses she developed with collaborators an R package (“scalescape”) to evaluate the spatial scale of effects on the landscape on measured responses. Erin’s interest in how to transform agriculture for better support nature and people culminated in a large study that involved people who are historically under-represented in agriculture. In a participatory series of workshops she outlined what a vision for future food systems could look like and the hurdles and opportunities for achieving this. Erin’s will stay on for a short post-doctoral position this summer to wrap up her work and publish her scholarly work. Learn more about Scalescape at the project’s Github repository.
Dr. Yi-Ming Weng
Dr. Yi-Ming Weng successfully defended his PhD thesis on May 3rd, 2022, entitled “Evolutionary genomics of an alpine ground beetle: the Nebria ingens complex in the Sierra Nevada, California.” Yi-Ming joined the Molecular Ecology lab in January 2017, after completing his BA and MS degrees in Entomology at National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan. He received a prestigious scholarship from the Taiwanese government to pursue his PhD at UW Madison. Yi-Ming is an expert in evolutionary genomics, and he used carabid beetles to learn how alpine insects adapt to extremely cold environments found at high elevation. His thesis is also the first successful effort to determine the genes that underlie the beautiful metallic color patterns of carabid beetles. Yi-Ming is headed to the University of Florida to continue research on insect evolutionary genomics as a postdoctoral scholar.
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