Hannah Burrack, UC Davis Alum, Receives 'Future Leader' IPM Award
April 19, 2011
Hannah Burrack, who received her doctorate in entomology from UC Davis in 2007, is the recipient of a major integrated pest management (IPM) award for her work at North Carolina State University.
DAVIS--Hannah Burrack, who received her doctorate in entomology from UC Davis in 2007 and is now an assistant professor of entomology and Extension specialist at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, is the recipient of the 2011 “Future Leader” award from the Southern Region Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Center.
Burrack received the Friends of IPM award at the annual meeting of the Southeastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America (ESA), held in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Burrack studied at UC Davis with major professor Frank Zalom. She received her master’s degree in entomology at UC Davis in 2006.
The Friends of IPM Future Leader award recognizes IPM leaders early in their career for their excellent work. Danesha Seth Carley, assistant director of the IPM Center presented Burrack with the award and praised her successful monitoring networks of serious pests such as the spotted wing drosophila, and for her early adoption of a blog, NC Small Fruit, Specialty Crop and Tobacco IPM, to communicate news to growers.
"The NC State faculty made a very wise choice in hiring her," Zalom said. "Hannah has the complete package when it comes to IPM research and extension, and I have every confidence that she will be a leader of her generation of IPM specialists."
Burrack, known for her “boundless energy and fresh ideas,” joined the NC State University’s Department of Entomology faculty in 2007 as assistant professor and Extension specialist for small fruits and tobacco pest management. Tobacco pests include the tobacco splitworm (Phthorimaea operculella) and tobacco hornworms (Manduca sexta). Small fruit production in North Carolina includes blueberries, grapes, caneberries (raspberries and blackberries), and strawberries. Projects include mite management in strawberries; thrips phenology, ecomonic impact, and management in blackberries; and blueberry red ringspot virus (RRSV) in blueberries.
Burrack acknowledges that the combination of tobacco and small fruits has prompted questions from some of her colleagues and clients.
Entomologist Hannah Burrack, assistant professor of entomology and Extension specialist at North Carolina State University, in a tobacco field. This photo was taken at the Upper Coastal Plain Research Station, Rocky Mount, N.C. during the 2010 Tobacco Tour, a three-day event which draws more than 150 attendees annually to observe ongoing NCSU tobacco research. Hannah Burrack of North Carolina State University addressing growers. This photo was taken in front of her blackberry research planting at the Sandhills Research Station, Jackson Springs, N.C., during the 2008 Small Fruits Field Day. "We study thrips biology, spotted wing drosophila, and virus-vector interactions at this location," she said.
“Federal funding typically doesn’t fund tobacco,” Burrack said. “So there was a need to bundle that position with other crops. No one knows what tobacco funding will look like in 10 years, so it’s nice to have multiple crops to work with.”
For tobacco, Burrack is currently reviewing old economic thresholds and has developed a website that tracks the movement of thrips, the insect vector of tomato spotted wilt virus, a devastating disease that also damages tobacco. She is training tobacco growers how to use the website.
One of her greatest achievements for fruit growers is her monitoring network for spotted wing drosophila, an invasive pest that has devastated fruit and vegetable crops on the U.S. west coast. The network led to the first discoveries of the pest in South Carolina in early July 2010, and in North Carolina a few weeks later.
Since then, the network has confirmed spotted wing drosophila in 13 locations in the Carolinas.
Burrack, whose areas of interest include application of insect biology to IPM, extension and outreach, invasive species biology and insect-fungal interactions, is also establishing monitoring networks for blueberry maggot and grape root borer. She posts findings from the networks, in addition to information about workshops, on her blog.
A native of the Green Bay, Wis., area, Burrack received her bachelor degrees in entomology and rural sociology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 2002. She served as an international student at Thammasat University, Bangkok in 2000.
At the University of Wisconsin, she worked with only a three-month field season. Her desire to move to a warmer climate, where she could broaden her field experience, resulted in her move to California.
At UC Davis, she studied recently introduced pests of olives. Burrack completed her dissertation research on “The Seasonal Biology of the Olive Fruit Fly (Bactrocera oleae), an Invasive Pest in California.” Her research addressed the olive fruit fly phenology, reproductive biology, cultivar preference and adult fungal associations.
While at UC Davis, she delivered a number of presentations on the olive fruit fly. Among them: she addressed the Ninth Annual Exotic Fruit Fly Symposium, Fresno, on “The Olive Fruit Fly in California: Current Status and Reproductive Biology” and the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America (ESA), Portland, Ore., on “Intraspecific Competition in the Olive Fruit Fly.”
Also while at UC Davis, Burrack won first place in the Graduate Student Paper Competition, Pacific Branch of the ESA; received a scholarship at the 2007 California Farm Conference, Monterey; and a research fellowship award from Biological Invasions, the National Science Foundation’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (NSF-IGERT).
(Editor’s Note: Rosemary Hallberg, communication specialist for the Southern Region IPM Center, contributed to this news story)
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology