2015 Sterling B. Hendricks Memorial Lectureship Award

Sponsored by USDA-Agricultural Research Service
Co-Sponsored by AGFD & AGRO Divisions

Potential for insect herbivore pest management with chemical ecology

Dr. James Tumlinson, Penn State.Dr. James H. (Jim) Tumlinson received his BS in Chemistry from Virginia Military Institute (1960) and MS (1966) and PhD (1969) in Organic Chemistry from Mississippi State University. He was a post doctoral student with Robert M. Silverstein at the New York State College of Forestry, Syracuse, in 1969-1970. In 1970, he joined the  USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Insect Attractants, Behavior and Basic Biology Lab in Gainesville, Florida, as a Research Chemist. He became the Research Leader of the Insect Chemistry Research Unit in 1972, a position he held until 2003. He then joined the faculty of the Department of Entomology at Penn State University, as The Ralph O. Mumma Professor of Chemical Ecology and in 2006 became the Director of the Center for Chemical Ecology at Penn State.

He has authored or coauthored over 250 articles in peer reviewed journals. His research has included studies of insect chemical communication and chemical ecology: defining chemical communication systems, including pheromones and other semiochemicals that mediate insect-insect and plant-insect interactions; biosynthesis of pheromones and plant chemical signals; insect behavior, including learning, mediated by semiochemicals. Emphasis is placed on developing fundamental knowledge and principles that can be applied in environmentally safe, ecologically-sound, sustainable pest management programs. Presently, his research is focused on the  mechanisms by which insect herbivore-produced elicitors induce plants to produce and emit volatile organic compounds that attract natural enemies of the herbivores. Dr. Tumlinson is recognized for his discoveries on the chemical ecology of plant/herbivore/parasitic wasp interactions in agricultural ecosystems, leading to a fundamental understanding of the complete tritrophic system, including foraging behavior of parasitoids, herbivore-plant signaling, and plant-natural enemy chemical communication, that has contributed to design of strategies for sustainable pest management methods.

He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the Entomological Society of America (ESA). His awards include the AGRO Burdick and Jackson International Award for Research in Pesticide Chemistry; J.E. Bussart Memorial Award from the ESA for research accomplishments in the area of insect semiochemicals and associated behavior; The Secretary of Agriculture’s Award for Personal and Professional Excellence For Pioneering Research on Insect Pheromones that Provided the Basis for Control of Major Insect Pests, Including the Boll Weevil, Thereby Reducing Environmental Contamination by Pesticides; Recognition Award in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry and Toxicology, from ESA; Kenneth A. Spencer Award for Outstanding Achievement in Agricultural and Food Chemistry; USDA-Agricultural Research Service Hall of Fame; Jean-Marie Delwart Foundation International Prize for chemical communication; the Silver Medal Award of the International Society of Chemical Ecology; and the Wolf Prize in Agriculture.