Mark Abney is the research and Extension Peanut Entomologist at UGA, and he is located on the beautiful Tifton Campus. He received a Bachelor’s degree in crop science and a Master’s degree in entomology from the University of Georgia. He received a PhD in entomology from North Carolina State University. After completing his PhD, Mark spent over five years on the faculty of the Department of Entomology at NC State where he had research and Extension responsibilities for insect management in commercial vegetables. His vegetable work was diverse, but his program focused heavily on the biology and management of soil insect pests such as wireworms and white grubs.
The primary focus of his current research at UGA is the development of economically and environmentally sustainable insect management strategies for pests of agronomic crops. Peanut is one of the most economically important crops in Georgia, and the state’s peanut growers face a complex of insect pests that have the potential to cause devastating economic losses. Mark’s research program concentrates heavily on improving our understanding of the biology and ecology of peanut pests with the ultimate goal of developing effective management tactics. Some ongoing projects include economic injury level and threshold development for three-cornered alfalfa hopper, improving thrips management, and quantifying risk factors associated with peanut burrower bug injury. In addition to research, he also has a 30% Extension appointment, and facilitating the adoption of best management practices by growers is a key focus of his Extension programming. Developing programs that support the local needs of UGA’s County Extension Agents is one of the most important aspects of this work.
Mark and his wife have two young children who occupy much of his time when he is not working. His other interests include a range of outdoor activities and tinkering in the shop.