Dr. Joe Funderburk
Research: Ecology and Pest Management
Dr. Funderburk conducts ongoing research to develop reduced-risk tactics for use in integrated pest management programs that are practical, economical, and environmentally friendly, including biological pesticides, cultural control, natural enemies, and other management tactics. The novel approach of using interspecific competition from native flower thrips with little, if any, pest status to outcompete the invasive pest flower thrips was developed as a successful management tactic. Push-pull systems are being developed to manage thrips, thrips-vectored tospoviruses, and other pests. Research includes understanding the ecology and management of invasive pest species. Cooperative research includes development of vertically integrated pest management programs; that is, the integration of multiple, compatible tactics to manage the complex of pests that are damaging to crops. This is necessary in order to optimize the benefits of natural enemies.