Department of Entomology, Ph.D. Candidate
with Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior double-major
Hometown: Mesa, AZ
Rob Morrison is broadly interested in issues of biodiversity and chemical ecology. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Szendrei Lab. His current research focuses on the integrated pest management and chemical ecology of the asparagus miner as well as its associated natural enemy community. Michigan is the second largest asparagus producing state in the United States, but asparagus production has globally been declining. The asparagus miner is a putative vector for pathogenic species of fungi, which are responsible for shaving 5-8 years off the lifespan of asparagus fields, and is one of the main constraints on asparagus production. In addition, the asparagus industry heavily relies on broad-spectrum insecticides, which are harmful to many nontarget organisms. Rob’s work looks at how to control the vector to reduce incidence of the fungi, while decreasing reliance on high carbon, harmful inputs such as broad-spectrum insecticides.
After completing his Ph.D., Rob hopes to gain a post-doc position that combines research and teaching components. While research is a passion of his, it is equally important to educate the future generation of scientists. Ideally, he would like to find a post-doc position in the southwestern United States. Rob would ultimately like to end up back in the Midwest.