Applied chemical ecology for managing the invasive swede midge; Prof. Yolanda Chen, Insect Agroecology and Evolution Lab; Dept. of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Vermont; Position start: January 2, 2024. Support: Four years of funding with a possible extension

Summary: Swede midge is a highly-damaging invasive pest of Brassica crops. Where it has become established, swede midge has caused 30-100% losses for organic broccoli plantings. Due to the difficulty in controlling swede midge, conventional growers have increased the use of insecticides while many organic growers have stopped or reduced their Brassica production.

We have evidence that pheromone mating disruption (PMD) can be effective in managing swede midge populations, but more research is needed to test how PMD can be deployed in an annual rotational vegetable systems.

The Ph. D. student will: 1) compare pheromone dispenser types to determine efficacy and affordability, 2) compare how weather conditions affects dispenser capture efficacy , 3) determine how to deploy pheromone mating disruption within an annual cropping system, and 4) develop tools for educating growers nationally about this serious new pest.

Requirements:  A Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in entomology, biology, animal behavior, ecology, chemical ecology, or related field. Applicants must meet the requirements of the Graduate College at University of Vermont.

  • We seek a student with excellent oral and written communication skills, as well as previous experience in implementing and managing field projects.
  • The candidate must be comfortable with working closely with research collaborators and vegetable growers. Must be able to lift at least 50 lbs. The successful candidate must possess a valid U. S. driver’s license prior to the start date.

Preferred qualities: We seek a student that is highly organized, resourceful, and collaborative. The student should demonstrate the ability to think critically and solve complex problems.

About University of Vermont: The Insect Agroecology and Evolution Lab is based in the Department of Plant and Soil Science at the University of Vermont. We are interested in understanding why insect pests are successful in agroecosystems. Towards that broad goal, we use a wide range of ecological, evolutionary, and genetic approaches.

Diversity and Inclusion: The Insect Agroecology and Evolution Lab especially encourages underrepresented students to apply. The lab aims to advance the inclusion and success of underrepresented students in entomology, agriculture, ecology, and evolution.  

Interest Inquiries Email the following: 1) a letter describing your interest in the position, how your previous experience addresses the position requirements, 2) CV, and 3) unofficial transcripts directly to

Application Procedure:

Official applications should be submitted in an online application portal through the Graduate College ( Review of applications will begin on July 15 until a suitable candidate is found.

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