A West Virginia University entomologist who studies the environmental effects of gypsy moth spraying will give the next Benedum Distinguished Scholar lecture at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 3, in the Mountainlair Rhododendron Room.
Linda Butler, professor of entomology, will lecture on Cant See the Forest for the Trees? Diversity of Forest Insects and Impact of Gypsy Moth Management . The public may attend.
Dr. Butler is one of three recipients of this years Benedum Distinguished Scholar Awards, which recognize WVU faculty for achievements in research and creative endeavors. Other winners are Peter Lightfoot, associate professor of music; and Mark Koepke, professor of physics. Recipients receive $2,500 awards and give lectures related to their fields.
“Im very grateful that my work in entomology and insect diversity is considered important and of interest,”said Butler, whose award is in biosciences and health sciences.
Butler, who grew up in Odum, Ga., joined WVU s Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences in 1968 after earning a doctorate in entomology from the University of Georgia.
Her research focuses on three chemical agents used to kill gypsy moths and their impact on other insects, insect relatives such as spiders, and insect predators such as songbirds and salamanders. Her experiments have found that one insecticide has lasting effects on other insects and insect relatives and the other two agents affect only caterpillars over varied durations.
In conjunction with her insecticide research, Butler is studying the range of a naturally occurring fungus that kills gypsy moths. A better understanding of the fungus could eventually reduce the need for chemical spraying.
She has also conducted research on native inchworms, insect physiology and biochemistry, aquatic insects, blood-feeding flies and mosquitoes, and insect pests of forages and livestock.
Butler lives and raises a garden on 33 acres of property off Halleck Road.
The Benedum and Distinguished Professors of WVU established the Benedum Distinguished Scholar Awards in 1985-86 to honor and reward University faculty for excellence in research, scholarship or creative endeavors. The awards recognize either a single recent achievement of note or a long, distinguished career that is still ongoing. The program is funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and coordinated by the Office of Academic Affairs and Research.