Research Report: Dr. Dakshina Seal

In this installment of TREC’s Research Report, you’ll learn about Dr. Dakshina Seal and the research his lab conducts to develop Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs to control pests of vegetable crops.

How it started

Like all crops in south Florida, vegetable crops are susceptible to pests and harmful insects. As the vegetable capital of the southeast, farmers in south Florida are especially concerned when a new pest arrives on the scene. Sometimes, Dr. Seal travels the tropics to protect crops on US soil from a new pest. Sometimes, the insects come to him in Homestead, Florida. Around 1990, the melon thrip appeared in south Florida. Anywhere the melon thrip went, up to 90% of all vegetable crops were defoliated. By studying the biology and behavior of this insect, Dr. Seal and his team developed management practices for a chemical insecticide to manage the growing number of insects. The management programs developed at that time, have enabled growers to learn to live with the melon thrip.

How it’s going

Other pests that Dr. Seal has worked to develop IPM programs for include the Chili Thrips and Asian Bean Thrips. The newest pest on the Dr. Seal’s resume? Thrips parvispinus. Last year Dr. Seal collaborated with other IFAS researchers to publish an article identifying the characteristics and management of T. parvispinus. In addition to some ornamental crops, T. Parvispinus has been ravaging pepper crops, beans, squash, and eggplants. Dr. Seal’s lab is working on developing management programs using both chemical and molecular tools.

Learn more

Ongoing research being conducted in Dr. Seal’s lab now involves the pepper weevil. The Pepper weevil is originally from Mexico and was spotted locally in about 1988. Dr. Seal has spent more than a decade working to manage the pest, but so far, there is no means to effectively manage it. Dr. Sumit Jangra, a Post-doctoral researcher, is developing a molecular tool to control the insect’s reproduction. Victoria Adeleye, a PhD candidate, is researching the population dynamics and management of pepper weevil on jalapeno pepper. You can learn more about Victoria’s research by watching this brief video. Finally, Nagamani Kanchupati is working to find barrier resistance to pepper weevil. To learn more about Dr. Seal’s programs, review his faculty page.


Posted: March 29, 2024

Category: Agriculture, Crops, Pests & Disease, UF/IFAS Research,
Tags: IFAS Research, Integrated Pest Management, IPM, Research, Tropical Research & Education Center, Vegetable Crops

Subscribe For More Great Content

IFAS Blogs Categories