Trap-jaw ants are famous for having one of the natural world’s fastest movements, and a new study led by a University of Georgia graduate shows that the core mechanism that allows this speedy movement evolved multiple times within a single ant genus, leading to the spectacular diversification of mandible shape each time.
Modeling clay isn’t limited to art classrooms and sculpting studios. University of Georgia researchers developed a tool to track beneficial insects in turfgrass systems using clay models. Tracking these good predators can help develop eco-friendly pest management techniques for both home lawns and commercial sod growers.
A unique study conducted by University of Georgia entomologists led to the discovery of a distinctive supergene in fire ant colonies that determines whether young queen ants will leave their birth colony to start their own new colony or if they will join one with multiple queens. Researchers also found that ants were more aggressive toward queens who don’t possess the supergene, causing colony workers to kill them. This critical finding opens the door to new pest control methods that may be more efficient in eradicating problematic fire ant colonies.
Julie Borlaug is continuing the legacy of her late grandfather, agronomist and Nobel laureate Norman E. Borlaug, and inspiring the next generation by advocating for innovation and technology in agricultural production to end world hunger.
While weeds and plant parasites are a concern for all agricultural producers, organic producers are doubly challenged to combat these problems without chemical solutions. Through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a University of Georgia researcher is working to discover and integrate biological products and cover crops to control nematodes and weeds in organic vegetable production.