School of
Integrative Biology

SIB News

Solar farms could double as pollinator food supplies

Pollinator habitats and solar farms may seem like ecologically great neighbors, but we still don't understand very much about that relationship. A team of researchers recently published a paper surveying the ins and outs of keeping solar production alongside the kinds of plants that pollinators like bees and butterflies love. The paper notes that there's a good amount of potential here, but more work needs to be done to fully understand the potential partnership.

Field Borders Provide Winter Refuge for Beneficial Predators and Parasitoids

Scott Clem, Ph.D., recently completed his doctoral degree at the University of Illinois. Part of his research focused on evaluating the value of semi-natural field borders as winter refuge for beneficial arthropods that like to eat or parasitize crop pests.

SIB Undergraduate Wins 2021 Beckman Institute Research Image Contest

Research images from a recent contest are the latest to be framed and displayed in the Beckman Institute Director’s conference room. The images showcase the range of research conducted at the institute. Among the winners -- undergraduate student Shreyas Rajagopalan, a member of the Alleyne Bioinspiration Col-LAB-orative.

Cicadas Are Waking Up In Eastern Illinois But Many More Arrive In 2024

After lying dormant for 17 years, billions of Cicadas – big insects with big wings are awakening in far eastern Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and other states.

Illinois Newsroom’s Reginald Hardwick talked with Katie Dana (Entomology graduate student), the scientific specialist in entomology at the Illinois Natural Science Survey. She says this year’s insect invasion is just a warmup for 2024.

Graduate Student Elizabeth Bello Awarded 2021 Beckman Institute Graduate Fellowship

The program offers University of Illinois graduate students at the M.A., M.S., or Ph.D. level the opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary research at the institute. Elizabeth (Department of Entomology) is pursuing an M.S. in entomology and will work with Marianne Alleyne of entomology and Charles Schroeder of materials science and engineering and chemical and biomolecular engineering. She will collect and identify Illinois species of leafhoppers, then learn about the structures and size of brochosomes across different species. A brochosome is intricately structured microscopic granule secreted by leafhoppers.

Building a Strong Community: A Key Step in Entomology Student Life

Written by Elizabeth Bello, Department of Entomology graduate student

With many of us feeling the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and self-isolation, some more than others, one thing is for certain: We all previously underestimated the importance of our social circles. Something as simple as going out for coffee with a friend or stopping in the hallway to catch up with someone has become something we miss and regret ever having taken it for granted.

Ask the Experts - Earth Day Optimism

SIB faculty share their expert opinions: What's one reason you're at least mildly optimistic about Earth’s future?

Lisa Ainsworth Named 2021 Distinguished Senior Research Scientist of the Year

Lisa Ainsworth has been named the 2021 Distinguished Senior Research Scientist of the Year by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for her scientific achievements.

Professor Amy Marshall-Colon Receives Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Award

What effects does environmentally induced "stress" have on crops, and how can these effects be predicted? Biologist Prof. Dr. Amy Marshall-Colon is working on this question at the University of Illinois in the US - and soon also as a guest professor at the Cluster of Excellence “PhenoRob – Robotics and Phenotyping for Sustainable Crop Production” at the University of Bonn. For the cooperation with her colleagues and the planned research stay in Bonn, she now receives a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, endowed with 45,000 Euros. To conduct her research, Amy Marshall-Colon will be in Bonn from May 15 to August 15, 2022.

Illinois is ‘kind of the place to be with periodical cicadas,’ researchers say as 17-year brood’s coming out party expected in one corner of the state

It’s not a nightmare. It’s a summer preview for a sliver of eastern Illinois and swaths of Indiana. And you can think of it as a warmup for what’s coming to Chicago in 2024.

Sometime in May, maybe after a light rain around Memorial Day, one of the largest groups of periodical cicadas will head above ground in Illinois for the first time in 17 years. They’re called Brood X — the cohorts are numbered by Roman numerals — and they’re expected in more than a dozen states in the Midwest and eastern United States.