Welcome to unitsci. This site is an electronic repository for Nicholas C. Manoukis. This means that it is an elecronic filing cabinet, showcase and distibution center for my professional work.


04 April 2024

In 2016 we started a major effort monitoring coffee berry borer, plant phenology, weather conditions and management every 2 weeks for 3 years on 14 farms on Hawaii Island; Today, almost exactly 8 years later, the paper with analysis of that large dataset is finally published, providing clear guidance to growers (see Table 3). The team completed 1,406 site visits, serviced beetle traps 6,512 times, checked 18,223 branches for infestation, and dissected 42,984 berries for this project. I am truly grateful for all farmers and technicians who made this happen- it was a heavy lift!

22 March 2024

Our new paper strongly supports our previous results from Hawaii that lower application densities of "Male Annihilation Technique" (MAT) with methyl eugenol are more effective than the previous standard levels in two critical parts of the Continental US (S. California and Florida). These "Mark-Release-Recapture" experiments are very laborious, but this one was particularly challenging as it involved rearing and sterilizing B. dorsalis in Hilo, shipping to the mainland (where this pest is not established), and then conducting the trials in urban areas where it is most often detected. Huge thanks to our USDA-ARS team in Hilo, USDA-APHIS from Honolulu, and our CDFA, FDACS, and APHIS colleagues from California and Florida for making this happen!

26 December 2023

Two entries this December- a good month! A review I have been working on for some years with two great colleagues from Australia and New Zealand (Bernie Dominiak and John Kean) was published online in time for Christmas; it will appear in an issue of J. Economic Entomology in 2024. The title is "Review of surveillance systems for tephritid fruit fly threats in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States."

19 December 2023

Pleased to see our field survey results on parasitoids attacking olive fruit fly (OLF) in Hawaii published in Scientific Reports. OLF was first detected in Hawaii in 2020- it is a major pest of olives, and is already on two islands. Our field surveys in 2021 and 2022 showed that two braconid parasitoid wasps, Fopius arisanus and Diacasmimorpha tryoni were attacking OLF in Hawaii. Both the wasps were introduced decades ago to control other fruit fly pests- but today they are also helping with B. oleae. This is the first report of D. tryoni parasitism activity against OLF - possibly this species might be useful in other parts of the world in the future!

20 May 2023

For a second time my work with colleagues from N. Carolina has been featured in Entomology Today! This time its our study on "Trapsects". This is very gratifying! Read all about it here.

30 April 2023

TrapGrid related news today! A chapter I wrote titled "Quantifying captures from insect pest trap networks" has been published (Open access- download here) by Burleigh Dodds in the UK. It deals with the topic generally but includes significant detail on the TrapGrid model and its use, including a practicum. The model has seen some uptake. APHIS/NCSU colleagues and I just published a new paper in JEE using TrapGrid to test a new delimitation trapping layouts, something we call a "trap-sect". I am looking forward to seeing new applications of the model as time goes on.

21 February 2023

Our paper from Oct 2021, Quantifying insect dispersal distances from trapping detections data to predict delimiting survey radii, which was published in J. Appl. Entomol. was just noted as a top cited article from that journal between 2021-01-01 and 2022-12-15. From Google Scholar I see 7 citations as of today, so this means about 1 citation every 2 months since publication. Neat to see this! Many thanks to my excellent co-authors, I am looking forward to continuing to produce high impact work with them.

03 December 2022

Our paper on tracking tagged melon flies via harmonic radar has been published. This is was a great collective effort led by Matt Siderhurst, and I am very proud of the result. This may be an important development to help us understand fruit fly movement so we can better protect against them. On other news, Mauna Loa is erupting for the first time since 1984. We are watching the lava flow to the NE of the caldera in awe, but also warily.

11 June 2022

Our paper examining screens that might be used for augmentoria, arising from my sabbatical at ARS' EBCL in Montpellier France in 2019, has been published!. The research is profiled on the ESA blog "Entomology Today" here. With my excellent colleagues from EBCL I am looking forward to the next phase of work to bring this idea to practical use against olive fly.

31 May 2022

New paper out! This one arises from my sabbatical at EBCL in France back in 2019. Progress was slowed due to pandemic, and I have not been able to return yet. Still, it is nice to see this publication completed! We are working to get apply augmentoria in olive systems.

20 April 2022

Long time, no update! The biggest news is "return to work" as of 28 March. Its excellent to be able to have some measure of normalcy back and be in the lab with more of the team. TrapGrid continues to see uptake and interest, from APHIS (one and two, more to come!) as well as CSIRO (another paper to come on that one also). Advertising for a new postdoc, more news to come!

28 October 2021

A trio of papers have just been published that are all related to use of TrapGrid, a simulation model for quantifying capture probability of insects in a network of traps, first published in 2014 and which I released in an updated implementation late last year. The first paper is a pre-print arising from the work of M. Hill and P. Caley of CSIRO with TrapGrid. They were interested in an endemic, low-prevalence situation, so the pre-print details an alternate capture probability calculation that might be useful in those situations. The other pair of papers (one and two) arises from work with B. Caton, G. Pallipparambil, and H. Fang from USDA-APHIS and NCSU CIPM on improving delimitation trapping. I am delighted to see TrapGrid being useful!

03 October 2021

Long time, no update! This year has been extremely busy, and made more interesting by the ongoing pandemic. Still, managing to get work done, for which I am very grateful. Unit had grown very quickly, four scientists brought on this year, in addition to the two from last year. Exciting times. Also, happy fiscal year 2022!

24 January 2021

My percpective on a recent paper on mosquito mating was published last week in Science. Revisiting my past scientific life over the holidays was fun.

27 October 2020

Delighted to see our study on non-target effects of the biocontrol agent Fopius arisanus published in BioControl. This is the result of a long collaboration with Brazilian collagues, who did an amazing job executing the work after we tranferred the wasp to them starting in 2012. I am hopeful that this will help authorities evaluate whether to release this braconid to help control Bactrocera carambolae in the north of the country.

29 September 2020

New paper published in J. Insect Science, titled Flight burst duration as an indicator of flight ability and physical fitness in two species of Tephritid fruit flies. It describes a new method for phenotyping the flight ability of fruit flies. While the method is laborious, it is also simple and can provide highly detailed data for research on new strains or other related questions.

07 July 2020

I was honored to give an "Applied Biosciences" talk (virtually) at MacQuarie University in Australia yesterday. Seminar announcement here. Though not my most recent work, I was asked to speak on trap modeling, and received interest from those tackling problems that could benefit from TrapGrid. It was great to see/hear from my many Australian friends and colleagues.

22 June 2020

New paper based on research led by Dr. Melissa Johnson in my lab. using exclusion netting to protect against Coffee Berry Borer. This sort of solution might work well in the small farms in Hawaii & Puerto Rico, even if it would not scale to large operations around the world.

06 May 2020

Happy to announce that a dataset I have worked on with colleagues in ARS Texas A & M, and APHIS has been published in the Ag Data Commons of the National Agriculture Library. This will be a citeable reference in our upcoming paper describing the relationship between hurricanes and Cattle Fever Tick abundance in the lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Stay tuned.

20 March 2020

Along with the rest of the world, my life is currently very much changed due to the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (causes COVID-19). On the work side, my employer has responded well and we are now as prepared as we can be to weather this storm. I expect to be teleworking for the next weeks/months, and that life will be different after this is all over.

14 February 2020

Been a long time since I posted any update, Valentine's day seems like as good an opportunity as any. New paper published that combines climatic suitability modeling (CLIMEX) with MED-FOES. This is part of Special Collection: Geospatial Analysis of Invasive Insects in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America. Interesting take-home for me was thet removing irrigation from suburban areas in S. Califronia would do a lot to making that area inhospitable for invading Medfly.

13 October 2019

Back in Hilo after my sabbatical at EBCL- had a wonderful time, made excellent progress on our goals with the team there. Interestingly, just a few weeks before my return B. oleae was detected for the first time in the State of Hawaii. It is on two islands (Hawaii and Maui). More information on the HDOA bulletin. Bad that we have a fifth invasive fruit fly of economic concern in the islands, but it does seem like my time at EBCL has given me skills I will be able to apply for Hawaii sooner than I could have imagined.

01 July 2019

Today was my first day at the ARS European Biological Control Laboratory (EBCL) in Montpellier, France, where I will be spending the next three months as part of an ARS-sponsored sabbatical. I am very pleased to be working with Dr. Gaylord Desurmont on biocontrol projects relating to the Olive fruit fly, Bactrocera oleae. This species is a serious pest of olives globally, and I am looking forward to learning more about it and ways to control it.

09 March 2019

New paper on Male Annihilation/Attraction Technique This study supports the findings of two previous experiments suggesting that less is more when it comes to using attract-and-kill with strong lures.

01 February 2019

We are wrapping up our first week back at work after 35d of our department being shut down due to lapsed funding. There is a lot to spin back up. On other news, PHES has published our tribute to Roger Vargas. This text will also appear in American Entomologist this spring.

10 January 2019

Happy 2019! The USDA has been shut down for almost 20d now. This is already significantly impacting my research and all other aspects of work in my unit. I hope we are open again soon.

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