David Riley’s work on the effects of cowpea curculio and other insects on vegetables has earned him the 2016 Recognition Award in Entomology from the Southeastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America (SEB-ESA).
Riley, an entomologist based on the University of Georgia Tifton Campus, will be recognized at the society’s annual meeting March 15-16 in Raleigh, North Carolina.
To be eligible for the award, the nominee must be a current SEB-ESA member and must have made significant contributions to agricultural advancement through work in the entomology field. The award is given each year to one applicant from across nine Southeastern states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, along with one territory, Puerto Rico.
The winner must demonstrate an exceptional contribution to both the science of entomology and the advancement of agricultural production in the Southeast.
“It has been a thrill to be nominated and chosen by my federal, state and industry colleagues in the Southeast for this honor,” Riley said. “This shows how research at the UGA Tifton Campus continues to be recognized across the region.”
Riley works in the UGA Vegetable Entomology Research Lab in Tifton, Georgia, and is dedicated to solving the insect problems that plague Georgia’s vegetable industry, which recorded $1 billion in farm gate value in 2014, according to the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development. Researchers at the laboratory study insects like whiteflies, stink bugs, pepper weevils, diamondback moths, cabbage loopers and thrips.
Georgia’s top five vegetables, ranked by farm gate value, are onions, watermelons, sweet corn, bell peppers and cabbage.
Along with his research contributions, Riley is also a vital member of UGA Tifton’s academic program. He is the graduate coordinator for the Master’s in Plant Protection and Pest Management (MPPPM) degree, which currently has 29 enrolled students in Tifton. He has been a major professor for 17 UGA entomology graduate students and served on 13 thesis committees.
(Clint Thompson is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences based in Tifton.)