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Shimat Joseph

Dr. Shimat Joseph is the research and Extension Entomologist focused on Turfgrass and Ornamental crops at UGA, located on the Griffin Campus. Joseph is originally from Kerala, India, and came to the U.S. to pursue his education in 2004. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from Kerala Agriculture University in India and a Master’s degree in entomology from the University of Georgia. Drs. Kris Braman and James Hanula were his advisors during his graduate education. He received a Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Georgia. After completing his Ph.D., Joseph spent over a year at the University of Georgia, Tifton Campus, as a post-doctoral researcher with Dr. David Riley. He worked with thrips and tomato spotted wilt virus on vegetables. He also worked as a post-doctoral researcher at Virginia Tech in Winchester, Virginia. He researched integrated pest management (IPM) of brown marmorated stink bug on apples and peaches with Dr. Chris Bergh. Afterward, Joseph moved to the University of California in Salinas, California as an IPM advisor for about five years. He worked with an array of arthropod pests of cool-season vegetables, small fruits, and several other specialty crops on the central coast of California. His program focused heavily on the biology and management of soil insect pests, such as cabbage maggot, springtails, and garden symphylans, as well as bagrada bug, western tarnished plant bug, pepper weevil, and many others.

In his current position at UGA, his research focuses on developing and improving the integrated pest management strategies for pests of turfgrass and ornamentals. He is also involved in research that focuses on conserving pollinators and beneficial insects in turfgrass and ornamental systems. The turfgrass industry is divided into sod producers, golf courses, athletic fields, and residential and public lawns. Arthropod pest issues are fairly similar across the turfgrass industry, but management strategies, the incidence of a specific pest, and tolerance to pest issues vary by location, turfgrass genotype, and industry. Joseph is researching major pest problems, such as billbugs, fall armyworm, rhodesgrass mealybug, and white grubs affecting the turfgrass industry.

Similarly, the ornamental industry is composed of field and container nurseries, greenhouse production, and landscape installation and maintenance companies. Homeowners and other public entities, such as parks, are also involved in maintaining ornamental plants and trees in the landscape. The major pests Joseph is working on are ambrosia beetles, azalea lace bug, redheaded flea beetle, eriophyid mite that vector rose rosette virus causing rose rosette disease. 

He teaches an entomology course in the fall every year and is involved in several Extension activities related to turfgrass and ornamental.

Shimat and his wife have three young children, and they keep his time occupied at home. He likes to spend time at the beach with his family.