Ryan is a graduate student working toward a PhD in entomology at Kansas State University under the direction of Dr. Brian McCornack (Field Crop Entomologist and Extension Specialist). He received B.S. degrees in Biology and Microbiology in 2011 from South Dakota State University. Ryan also received an M.S. degree from South Dakota State University in Biology in 2014. Ryan first became interested in entomology while working for Dr. Jonathan Lundgren at the United States Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) as an undergraduate biological science aid in an Entomology research lab.
Ryan’s current research focuses on the behavioral response of the Hessian fly, Mayetiola destructor, to different potential attractants that can be implemented into a more effective trap design. The goal for the new trap is to improve the surveillance programs of Hessian fly in countries where it has not been detected, as well as give wheat producers where Hessian fly is established a better estimation of potential wheat damage due to Hessian fly. A second component of Ryan’s research is to investigate Hessian fly trap deployment in the context of landscape, trapping area, abiotic conditions, and Hessian fly dispersion patterns and potential dispersal rates to determine the most efficient and effective Hessian fly trap deployment strategy.
Ryan has enjoyed learning and working on various insect pests in agriculture during his time as an undergraduate biological science aid in an Entomology research lab through his PhD studies. He plans to continue focusing his research on new integrated pest management strategies for agricultural pest.