M.Sc. Jessica Awad

Doctoral candidate

Hymenoptera

Contact

Tel.:
0711 / 8936-242
Fax:
0711 / 8936-100

Research interests

My research focuses on resolving taxonomic issues within the Platygastrinae (Hymenoptera: Platygastroidea). These microscopic wasps are parasitoids of gall midges (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), and their activity has implications for agricultural and ecological research. However, progress is impeded by a lack of identification tools and an abundance of superficial species descriptions. My work applies an integrative approach, combining examination of historical material and traditional morphology with DNA barcoding and advanced imaging techniques to clarify generic and specific concepts within Platygastrinae, with emphasis on Platygaster Latreille, Isocybus Förster, and Trichacis Förster. I retain a special interest in Synopeas Förster, and in material reared from plant galls or free-living hosts.

Projects

Publications

2020

  • Goltz NC, Awad J, Moore MR, Talamas EJ. A fortuitous find: A unique haplotype of Ooencyrtus nezarae Ishii (Encyrtidae: Encyrtinae) discovered in Florida. Biodiversity Data Journal 8: e36440.

2019

  • Awad J, Hodges AC, Hight S, Srivastava M, Howe A, Rohrig E. Laboratory rearing and sex ratio of Apanteles opuntiarum (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), a potential biocontrol agent of Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Florida Entomologist 102(1): 216–221.

Scientific presentations

2021

  • Awad J, Bremer J, Talamas EJ, Krogmann L. Giant heads suggest ecological convergence in platygastrine parasitoid wasps. Young Researchers Meeting Morphology, German Zoological Society. May 25 (Virtual).

2020

  • Awad J, Talamas EJ, Krogmann L. The perils of Platygaster. International Society of Hymenopterists. November 12 (Virtual).
  • Awad J, Hodges AC, Cave RD, Talamas EJ. Morphological characters for species identification of Synopeas Förster. Entomological Society of America. November 11-25 (Virtual).
  • Awad J. The gall of it all: Exploring Synopeas diversity in Papua New Guinea. Center for Systematic Entomology. January 18, Gainesville, FL, USA.
  • Awad J. Building a diagnostic framework for the parasitoid wasp genus Synopeas Förster. Society of Systematic Biologists. January 3-6, Gainesville, FL, USA.

2019

  • Awad J, Hodges AC, Cave RD, Talamas EJ. Building a diagnostic framework for the genus Synopeas based on reared specimens from Papua New Guinea. Entomological Society of America. November 17-20, St. Louis, MO, USA.

2018

  • Awad J, Hayden JE. Lepidopteran predators of scale insects: A review. Entomological Society of America & Entomological Society of Canada. November 11-14, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
  • Awad J, Hodges AC. Laboratory rearing and sex ratio of Apanteles opuntiarum (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), a potential biocontrol agent of Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Florida Entomological Society. July 22-25, St. Augustine, FL, USA.

2017

  • Awad J, Hodges AC. Laboratory rearing and sex ratio of Apanteles opuntiarum (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), a potential biocontrol agent of Cactoblastis cactorum (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Entomological Society of America. November 5-8, Denver, CO, USA.
  • Awad J. Biocontrol of cactus moth: A prickly problem. McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity. January 10, Gainesville, FL, USA.

Education

2020 - present

  • Doctoral candidate at the State Museum of Natural History Stuttgart, Department of Entomology (Krogmann lab) in cooperation with the University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Natural Sciences (Steidle lab). Dissertation title: Integrative systematics of the Platygastrinae of Germany.

2017 - 2020

  • Master of Science, University of Florida, Entomology and Nematology Department (Hodges lab). Thesis: Building a diagnostic framework for the genus Synopeas Förster (Hymenoptera: Platygastridae: Platygastrinae) based on reared specimens from Papua New Guinea.

Memberships

  • Entomological Society of America (ESA)
  • International Society of Hymenopterists (ISH)
  • Society of Systematic Biologists (SSB)
  • Entomologischen Vereins Stuttgart (EVS)

Awards

2020

  • Honorable Mention, Student competition, International Society of Hymenopterists

2019

  • 1st Place, Student competition, Taxonomy and Diversity, Systematics and Evolutionary Biology, Entomological Society of America
  • 1st Place team captain, Linnaean Games, Entomological Society of America
  • 1st Place, Insect Photo Salon, Microphotography, Entomological Society of America Southeastern Branch

2018

  • 1st Place, Master's student competition, Florida Entomological Society

Travels

2020

  • Archbold Biological Station, Florida, USA - collections work and specimen identification

2016

  • Highlands Biological Station, North Carolina, USA - HYM Course
  • FUEDEI, Buenos Aires, Argentina - biological control agent collecting trip