I came to the Vegetable Entomology Lab from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where I completed my BS in agriculture and environmental plant sciences with a concentration in plant protection science. My undergraduate research into the feeding behaviors of mealybug destroyer (Cryptolaemus montrouzieri), a biological control for pest mealybugs (Plannococcus spp.), spurred my interest into the interactions of predators and prey in agroecosystems. Currently, my PhD research seeks to build upon this interest through the investigation of the second and third trophic levels of the asparagus miner (Ophiomyia simplex). This research includes developing genetic barcodes of miner parasitoids to aid in identification, documentation of miner predators through molecular gut content analysis, and pinpointing the chemical ecology of the miner for the development of a lure and trapping system. Ultimately, this research will offer Michigan growers biologically driven pest control tools for the miner that can aid in current control efforts. Upon my graduation from MSU, I hope to move into a federal research position with USDA ARS or APHIS.
Email: ingraoad at msu.edu