Shawn Steffan

Prof. Shawn Steffan

Shawn Steffan

Assistant Professor; USDA-ARS & UW-Madison

545 Russell Laboratories
1630 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706

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Ph.D. Washington State University, 2009 (Entomology)
MS University of Wisconsin-Madison,1997 (Entomology)
BA University of California-Berkeley,1993 (Environmental Science)

As a Research Entomologist with the USDA-ARS, as well as a UW faculty member in the Dept. of Entomology, my work centers on basic and applied aspects of cranberry entomology and ecology. Studies are designed to refine IPM strategies while providing a mechanistic understanding of key ecosystem functions.



Research Entomologist, USDA-ARS

Professional Societies:

Member, Ecological Society of America
Member, Entomological Society of America


  • Gable, J.T., D.W. Crowder, T.D. Northfield, S.A. Steffan, and W.E. Snyder. 2012. Niche engineering reveals complementary resource use. Ecology 93:1994-2000.
  • Fajardo, D., D. Senalik, H. Zhu, M. Ames, S.A. Steffan, R. Harbut, J. Polashock, N. Vorsa, E. Gillespie, K. Kron, J.E. Zalapa. 2012. Complete plastid genome sequence of Vaccinium macrocarpon: structure, gene content and rearrangements revealed by next generation sequencing. Tree Genetics and Genomes.
  • Fajardo D., J. Morales, H. Zhu , S. Steffan, R. Harbut, N. Bassil, K. Hummer, J. Polashock, N. Vorsa, and J. Zalapa. 2012. Discrimination of American cranberry cultivars and assessment of clonal heterogeneity using microsatellite markers. Plant Molecular Biology Reporter. DOI: 10.1007/s11105-012-0497-4.
  • Zalapa, J.E., H. Cuevas, H. Zhu, S.A. Steffan, D. Senalik, E. Zeldin, B. McCown, R. Harbut, and P. Simon. 2012. Using Next Generation Sequencing Approaches for the Isolation of Simple Sequence Repeat (SSR) Loci in the Plant Sciences. American Journal of Botany 99:193-208.
  • Jones, V.P., S.A. Steffan, N.G. Wiman, D.R. Horton, E. Miliczy, Q.-H. Zhang, and C.C. Baker. 2011. Evaluation of herbivore-induced plant volatiles for monitoring green lacewings in Washington apple orchards. Biological Control 56:98-105.
  • Steffan, S.A., and W.E. Snyder. 2010. Predator diversity effects transmitted exclusively by behavioral interactions. Ecology91:2242-2252.
  •  Jones, V.P., S.A. Steffan, L.A. Hull, J.F. Brunner, and D.J. Biddinger. 2010. Effects of the Loss of Organophosphate Pesticides in the US: Opportunities and Needs to Improve IPM Programs.Outlooks on Pest Management 21:161-166.
  • Prischmann, D.A., S.A. Steffan, and C.M. Anelli. 2009. Insect myths: an interdisciplinary approach fostering active learning.American Entomologist 55:228-233.
  •  Daane, K.M., G.Y. Yokota, R. Krugner, S.A. Steffan, P.G. da Silva, R.H. Beede, W.J. Bentley, and G.B. Weinberger.  2005.  Large bugs damage pistachio nuts most severely during midseason.  California Agriculture 59(2): 95-102.
  • Gullan, P.J., D.A. Downie, and S.A. Steffan.  2003.  A new pest species of the mealybug genus Ferrisia Fullaway(Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) from the United States.  Annals of the Entomological Society of America, Vol. 96(6):723-737.
  • Millar, J.G., R.E. Rice, S.A. Steffan, K.M. Daane, E. Cullen, and F.G. Zalom. 2001.  Attraction of female digger wasps, Astata occidentalis Cresson, to the sex pheromone of the stink bug, Thyanta pallidovirens (Stal).  Pan-Pacific Entomologist 77:244-48.
  • Steffan, S.A., K.M. Daane, and D.L. Mahr. 2001. 15N-enrichment of plant tissue to mark phytophagous insects, associated parasitoids, and flower-visiting entomophaga. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 98: 173-180.
  • Steffan, S.A., C. Garvey, and D. Sexson.  1998.  The 1996 farm bill will enhance the long-term adoption of ecologically sound IPM: the con argument.  American Entomologist 44: 161-162.
  • Steffan, S.A. 1997. Flower-visitors of Baccharis pilularis De Candolle subsp. consanguinea (De Candolle) C.B. Wolf (Asteraceae) in Berkeley, California.  Pan-Pacific Entomologist 73: 52-54.
  • Wallin, K.F., R. Hofstetter, S. Steffan, and T. Rabey. 1996. Environmental issues associated with enhancing the impact of biological control agents. American Entomologist 42: 164-165.
  • Daane, K.M., L.E. Williams, G.Y. Yokota, and S.A. Steffan. 1995. Leafhopper prefers vines with greater amounts of irrigation.California Agriculture 3: 28-32.

Program Info

Through national and international collaborations with both public and private institutions/companies, my team is focusing on innovative crop protection strategies while doing basic science.

Near-term studies focus on biological, cultural, and chemical controls of the major insect pests of cranberry, with particular emphases on 1) pheromone-based mating disruption programs for the top cranberry pests in Wisconsin; 2) phenology of Sparganothis fruitworm, black-headed fireworm, and cranberry fruitworm; 3) refinement of flood-timing as an IPM strategy; 4) flea beetle biology and control.

Longer-term studies involve the analysis of community composition and trophic structure (the foodweb) of the cranberry system.  This work will allow us to measure the “trophic niches” of an arthropod community (i.e., who tends to eat whom), which may differ between cultivated and wild/feral cranberry populations, as well as between decades (an effect of climate change). Differing trophic signatures may serve as indicators of desirable horticultural traits in a cranberry population, which ultimately could facilitate the development of improved cranberry varieties.