Kenneth F. Raffa, a professor at the University of Wisconsin Department of Entomology, has been selected to deliver the Founders’ Memorial Award lecture at Entomology 2010 – the 58th Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of America (ESA) – this December in San Diego, California. The honoree is the late Dr. Andrew Delmar Hopkins.
ESA established the Founders’ Memorial Award in 1958 to honor scientists whose lives and careers enhanced entomology as a profession and who made significant contributions to the field in general and in their respective subdisciplines. At each Annual Meeting, the recipient of the award addresses the conferees during Sunday’s opening Plenary session to honor the memory and career of an outstanding entomologist.
Raffa has been professor of forest entomology for the last 25 years at the University of Wisconsin. He has been highly prolific, producing 290 scientific publications (200 peer-reviewed papers, two co-edited books, two annual reviews, 58 book chapters/proceedings, 28 technical/outreach reports). He has mentored 39 graduate students, 11 postdoctoral associates, 15 undergraduate interns, worked closely with approximately 200 undergraduate assistants, and served on approximately 65 graduate student committees. He teaches three regular courses, and has taught five graduate seminars. Dr. Raffa has participated in approximately 60 special committee assignments and panels for the university, and state and federal governments, many of the latter dealing with invasive species. He has served as an associate/subject editor for three major North American journals (currently Environmental Entomology and Ecology).
Raffa has devoted much of his career to studying factors that affect the population dynamics of bark beetles, particularly their interactions with constitutive and induced plant defense chemistry, microbial symbionts, and natural enemies. He has also studied the ecology and behavior of sawfly and caterpillar defoliators of conifers and deciduous trees, rhizophagous weevils, ground beetles, natural enemies, and gut symbionts of Lepidoptera.
Born in 1857, Andrew Delmar Hopkins is widely recognized as the father of North American forest entomology. His contributions were unique and far-reaching in that he generated vast amounts of basic information on species descriptions, host plant associations, geographic ranges, and insect life histories, and also developed some of the most formative basic theories of plant-insect interactions and bioclimatic principles. He headed the Division of Forest Insects within the fledgling USDA for 19 years, laying the groundwork for its mission, structure, and approaches for decades to come. He interacted with many of the formative figures of American entomology, first as an employee and then as a recruiter and supervisor. In the process he shaped much of the fields of insect ecology and forest entomology as we practice them today. He received a number of awards, including being named an ESA Fellow in 1938.
“It is highly appropriate that ESA acknowledges Hopkins, considered by some as ‘the Father of North American Entomology,’ and I do not hesitate to place Raffa among the handful of top forest entomologists of my own generation,” said John Spence, professor and chair of the University of Alberta’s Department of Renewable Resources. “Ken’s collective accomplishments as a thinker, a researcher, and educator have been second to none and they connect strongly to the foundations established by Hopkins.”
Founded in 1889, ESA is a non-profit organization committed to serving the scientific and professional needs of nearly 6,000 entomologists and individuals in related disciplines. ESA’s membership includes representatives from educational institutions, government, health agencies, and private industry.