Danica Maxwell Receives UC Mexus Grant for Research on Leafminer Pest; She'll Study in Oaxaca
Sept. 7, 2011
Danica Maxwell has received a UC Mexus Small Grant to study a leafminer pest. Her research will take her to Oaxaca, Mexico. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
DAVIS--Danica Francisca Maxwell, who is studying for her master’s degree in entomology at the University of California, Davis, has just received a UC Mexus Small Grant to help fund her research on a leafminer pest.
Maxwell received the grant, one of 31 awarded throughout the UC system, for her project “Manipulating Top-Down and Bottom-Up Mortality of a Leafminer Pest to Facilitate Mating Disruption as a Management Tool.” She studies with two major professors, Michael Parrella, chair of the Department of Entomology, and Edwin Lewis, acting chair.
Her research will take her to Oaxaca, Mexico.
“I'm particularly interested in the project because it involves exploring interspecies-interactions or foodwebs and biological control, and it all ties together as an agricultural project,” Maxwell said. “The top down agent will be the entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) as biocontrol agents of the leafmining pest. The bottom-up effect will be from the addition of Silica to aid in plant defenses.”
Maxwell also will be experimenting with pheromone mating disruption as an inversely density dependent control of the leafminers.
“I'm very excited to be studying in Oaxaca,” she said. “My collaborator Dr. James Ruiz-Vega has done many projects with Ed Lewis in the past involving EPNs against agricultural pests. In fact, they will be collaborating again on a project very similar to mine against agave weevils, which are pests of tequila agave.”
Maxwell received her bachelor of science degree in environmental horticulture science from California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), San Luis Obispo in 2010. Maxwell, from Santa Maria, Calif., grew up in a multicultural Mexican-American family. She is a graduate of Ernest Righetti High School, where her father is a multimedia teacher.
UC Mexus (University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States), established in 1980, is an academic research institute “dedicated to encouraging, securing and contributing to binational and Latino research and collaborative academic programs and exchanges.” The Student Small Grants competition is held twice a year to support UC graduate students and UC postdoctoral researcher activities in "all disciplines as related to academic exchange, research training, and scholarly development in areas consistent to UC Mexus goals," according to its website.
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology