Angel is the new research entomologist and extension specialist in the Department of Entomology, primarily working on pecans. She is based at the UGA Tifton Campus where she also teaches the General Entomology course.
She was born and raised in the Philippines. She obtained her B.S degree in Agriculture from the University of the Philippines – Los Banos. She then pursued her MS in Entomology from the University of Hawaii – Manoa where she worked on the biological control of aphids. She completed her PhD in Entomology from Virginia Tech where she investigated the effects of host plants on the biology, behavior and ecology of the invasive brown marmorated stink bug. After graduation, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Virginia Tech and was later employed at the USDA Appalachian Fruit Research Station, Kearneysville, WV as a postdoctoral scientist. During her postdoc years, she had the opportunity to work on the refinement of the monitoring tactics for BMSB.
Georgia is the main state that produces pecans, and given how valuable these tree nuts are, considerable efforts are given to minimize losses in its production including the threats posed by arthropod pests, primarily insects and mites. As someone new to the position, Angel focused her initial efforts in identifying key insect and mite pest issues impacting pecan production in Georgia to help inform her research priorities. From meeting with growers, county agents and fellow researchers and specialists, she learned that pecan aphids, mites, ambrosia beetles and pecan weevils are among the important pest problems in pecan production. In collaboration with USDA scientists, industry partners, UGA researchers and growers, she initiated preliminary studies including conducting spray trials against pecan aphids and mites, using drones to release predatory mites in pecan orchards, trapping surveys of ambrosia beetles, testing insecticidal netting for toxicity against pecan weevils, and investigating the effects of pecan tree hedging on pest and natural enemy populations.
She also worked with colleagues at UGA and Clemson University to add pecan insect pests to the mobile phone application, “MyIPM”. This mobile app provides a handy resource for growers and agents on arthropod pest identification and biology, and their management options. In the coming years, her research focus will be on developing and/or improving management strategies for pecan pests, with sustainability and grower adaptability in mind. Studying pest biology and behavior will also be part of her priorities as such information will be important in informing management decisions.
Angel is also serving in the US Army Reserves, assigned to a Preventive Medicine Unit as an Entomologist awaiting to commission as an Officer.