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Dr. Robert Woodruff

 

Robert E. Woodruff received his PhD from the University of Florida in 1967.  He is a retired state entomologist and an acknowledged expert in the study of insects.  After his distinguished career with the state, from his home in Gainesville, Dr. Woodruff embarked on a Caribbean and Central America focus that earned him recognition in the region as well.  His service as a Volunteer Corps consultant includes a visit to Trinidad to teach insect collection management for CARINET, a network of 13 Caribbean states interested in biosystems.  At the Universidad del Valle in Guatemala City, Guatemala he directed a course in insect collecting techniques; mounting and labeling; chemicals used in collecting and preservation; general documentation; library resources and bibliographies; databases in collection management; and services to other agencies and the general public.  Once again with the Universidad del Valle, Woodruff examined the feasibility of raising and selling butterflies from forests that would otherwise be destroyed for production of lesser valued crops.  The project is hoped to reverse thousands of years of disregard and destruction of pristine habitats as a result of traditional slash and burn agriculture.

 

Projects:

ST. KITTS AND NEVIS SEEK FIRE ANT SOLUTION.  Augustine Merchant, representative of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Ministry of Agriculture in St. Kitts and Nevis requested assistance for local farmers in developing an integrated pest management solution for the red imported fire ant - Solenopsis Invicta.   First reported in St. Kitts in August of 2004, the fire ants are considered a major agricultural and urban pest with implications resulting in lower yields.   Retired state entomologist Dr. Robert Woodruff of Gainesville, previously with the Florida Department of Agriculture, traveled March 7-11, 2006 to provide workshops to technical staff on control techniques effective in Florida.  Woodruff traveled to several affected areas of the island with Ministry staff and members of Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) to place traps and talk with farmers.  Several chemical and biological controls were discussed and data collected for the formulation of an overall pest management strategy.  Woodruff also met with Minister of Agriculture Cedric Liburd and Permanent Secretary of Agriculture Hermia Morton-Anthony.  

ANTIGUA SEEKS FIRE ANT SOLUTION.  Julie-Ann Laudat, Technical Specialist of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and the Ministry of Agriculture in Antigua and Barbuda requested assistance for local farmers in developing an integrated pest management solution for the red imported fire ant - Solenopsis Invicta.   First reported in Antigua in 1995, the fire ants are considered a major agricultural and urban pest with implications resulting in lower yields.   Retired state entomologist Dr. Robert Woodruff of Gainesville, previously with the Florida Department of Agriculture, traveled March 5-7, 2006 to provide workshops to technical staff on control techniques effective in Florida.  Woodruff traveled to several affected areas of the island with Ministry staff to place traps and talk with farmers.  Several chemical and biological controls were discussed and data collected for the formulation of an overall pest management strategy.

STUDY LOOKS TO PRESERVE ENDANGERED HABITAT AS BUTTERFLY FARM.  In Guatemala, thousands of years of traditional Mayan culture have destroyed pristine habitats with slash and burn agriculture techniques.  This project studied the feasibility of raising butterflies to sell from forests that would otherwise be destroyed for production of lesser valued crops.  José Monzon, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, requested the assistance of veteran FAVACA volunteer Dr. Robert Woodruff, previously with the Florida Department of Agriculture, to assist in the planning and coordination of a feasibility study for the use of insects to save endangered habitats.  Dr. Jack Schuster, Head of Entomology and Ecotourism at the university worked closely with Dr. Woodruff on the project August 3-18, 2005.  The idea stems from a successful project in New Guinea.  It is most successful where little monetary income is a normally available, and the forest is seen as the only resource. Providing another income source is requisite to conservation of habitats. This project was designed to use insects (a renewable resource) as that source.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC BATTLES BUGS.  Dominican agricultural crops including strawberry, cassava, sweet potato, coffee, and tobacco are prime targets for white grubs, the larval stage of June beetles .  The economic damage caused by these underground pests is enormous.   In order to control the threat it is first necessary to understand the creature's taxonomy and nomenclature: where they fit in the bug world.  That's where veteran volunteer Dr. Bob Woodruff comes in.  He has recently published a taxonomic study providing a stable nomenclature for 48 species.  Woodruff consulted with Dr. Carmelo A. Núñez, Curator in Entomology, Department of Zoology, National Museum of Natural History, April 28-May 11, 2005 in surveying, rearing, and studying of these pests. Eleven personnel from Vida Silvestre, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Foundation for Biodiversity and Development, and the Museum of National History participated.

GUATEMALAN UNIVERSITY HOSTS REGIONAL COURSE ON INSECT COLLECTION MANAGEMENT.  Dr. Jack Schuster professor of entomology at the Universidad del Valle in Guatemala City, Guatemala, requested a short course on insect collection management. The course was offered to university students and faculty, other local institutions and collecting institutions in neighboring Mexico.  The Universidad del Valle maintains one of the largest insect museums in Central America and provides its services to both government and private sector agricultural concerns.  Retired state entomologist Dr. Robert Woodruff, Gainesville, taught the course and led field studies May 23 - June 15, 2003.  The classroom portion of the course was held June 2-5 and covered collection philosophy; collecting techniques; equipment for collection, and preservation; general handling of collections; mounting and labeling techniques; chemicals used in collecting and preservation; insect and other pests of collections; general documentation; library resources and bibliographies; databases in collection management; and services to other agencies and the general public.  Eighteen professionals attended the course and it will help the participating institutions to better manage their collections and thus provide better services such as identification of potential agricultural pests.

FLORIDA'S TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO NEIGHBORS CONFRONT WOOD PESTS. As follow-up to training conducted in March 2000, Harry Ramlal, director of research with the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources, Trinidad and Tobago, and  Wayne De Chi of the InterAmerican Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) Caribbean Regional Office in Trinidad and Tobago requested an advanced training course in wood pest identification for a targeted group of agricultural inspection officials. This training as well as the previous course was taught by retired entomologist Dr. Bob Woodruff, Gainesville, who has over thirty years of experience and has conducted extensive research in the Caribbean region. The training for 14 technicians took place November 3-19, 2000, and will enable them to more promptly and accurately identify insect pests. This is the first line of defense to protect the agriculture industry in Trinidad.

INSECT COLLECTION MANAGEMENT COURSE CONDUCTED IN TRINIDAD. Dr. Ronald Barrow, technical coordinator of CARINET, The Caribbean Network for Biosystematics, requested the assistance of an expert in collection, storage, and curation of insects and data entry of results. Proper insect collections are critical in identifying potential agricultural pests. Retired state entomologist Dr. Robert Woodruff, Gainesville, taught the course October 30 - November 3, 2000. Fourteen participants from various local institutions attended the course that included classroom instruction and fieldwork.   CARINET is a not-for-profit network of 13 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) members dedicated to biosystematics (the identification and classification of all classes of animals and plant life).

FLORIDA'S NEIGHBORS CONFRONT WOOD PESTS. In response to requests from several Caribbean nations coordinator Wayne De Chi of the  IICA regional office in Trinidad and FAVA/CA organized a one-week workshop in wood pest identification for agricultural inspection officials. The course was taught by retired entomologist Bob Woodruff, Gainesville, March 18-25, 2000. Sixteen officials were trained. Dr. Woodruff has over thirty years of experience and has conducted extensive research in the Caribbean region.

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