Mark Whalon

Professor

Mark Whalon

PhD - Pennsylvania State University (1979)
MS - University of Vermont (1976)
BS - University of Vermont (1972)

Center for Integrated Plant Systems
578 Wilson Road Room B11
East Lansing, MI 48824

Phone: 517-353-9425

The Whalon Lab

Click here to see a list of Mark Whalon's publications on Google Scholar.

Bio

Dr. Whalon has personally educated key leaders within the MI legislature, commodity organizations, processors, exporters and grower boards as to the scope and details of MRL crisis. In 2013-15, the Whalon lab planned, organized with colleagues and executed critical field studies aimed at calibrating pesticide MRLs for Michigan’s 20 key markets in the face of new invasive pest species. Much of this work was done ‘behind the shroud’ avoiding obvious ‘Market-Sensitive’ issues! Please respect this secrecy criterion professionally as you review this work, thanks. These efforts required significant coordination, cooperation, execution and above all—TRUST! A team of individuals within MSU’s IPM specialists, extension service, IR-4 staff, grower organizations, pesticide industry leaders, key cooperating producer-leaders, processors (who are and will be especially difficult to involve because they are extremely independent and abide in the ‘secret’ un-patentable-world of processing, technology, product development and global delivery), outlying MSU research facilities and analytical support to determine MRL boundaries for these industries! To assure future adaptations and successful management of MRLs, Whalon assembled a team of scientists and extensionists in 2013-4 who competed for and won two significant grants (totaling $415,775) to further these efforts and produce a long-lived system to continuously address MRLs into the future, and provide the critical information these industries need for survival in emerging ‘MRL WORLD’ we now live in.

Current assignment: Teaching 40% | Research 40% | Extension 20%

Program Description

Teaching

The course is ISB 201 Insects, Globalization and Sustainability, Section 002. Professor Whalon annually teaches this course to non-science majors and the course usually has between 120-250 students. There were 181 students in the class for the fall of 2014. This course focuses broadly upon the relationship between insects, human society, and the environment with an emphasis on ecological processes which are critical in the evaluation of current regional and global environmental and sustainable systems and issues.

Research

The Whalon-lab has helped to pioneer biopesticide discovery, development, EPA registration and adoption in the US. The lab continues to develop and test biopesticides monthly (we have worked on over 40 such projects in the last 10 years). An outcome of this research is 5 registered and 2 pending botanical insecticide Patents for MSU. Yet, with swift emergence and mind-numbing complexity, domestic and international emerging Maximum Residue Limits (MRL) standards have threaten Michigan’s (Upper Midwest’s) specialty crop industry’s survival! MRLs are today’s “grower crisis” in specialty corps. Subsequently, MSU’s late-season specialty-crop IPM strategies have been threatened or jettisoned by these ongoing changes. Thirty years of IPM research at MSU sidelined through USEPA policy decisions, invasive species and MRL standards. Today, without specific compliance to these national and international standards there can be no survival for Upper Midwest Specialty Crops! Together with key colleagues and Whalon’s history of 20 years of USEPA/USDA policy/service, our tree fruit IPM team realized that nothing short of a total investment in two major research and outreach efforts were necessary: 1) develop and deliver Michigan’s tree fruit pest management strategies through a “market-access funnel” which would provide MRL compliance domestically and internationally, and 2) facilitate an ongoing adaptation of MSU‘s IPM strategies to US and international MRL standards, especially where invasive species and late-season pests were concerned. The Whalon-lab has provided critical MRL policy and MRL practical information, leadership and two critical grants in order to forge this cooperative research effort.

Arthropod Pesticide Resistance Database

The Arthropod Pesticide Resistance Database (APRD) conceived and sustained for 21 years by the Whalon Lab tracks the history of one of the most negative impacts of human development on earth – the evolution of pest resistance to pesticides. This database is a global resource of resistance history, current status, and remediation of human impacts on earth. The database receives well over 10,000 visits annually lasting longer than 10 minutes. Practical information is posted weekly from four technically trained students. Globally, this database may have more significant impact than perhaps any other MSU initiative. The APRD is completely supported by donations from industry and funding from the USEPA and USDA.

Extension

Maximum residue limits (MRLs) are a significant and growing concern among Michigan tree fruit producers. Initially, MRLs were primarily the exclusive concern of growers and processors who exported fresh or processed tree fruit into international markets. However, today, baby food companies and box-store operations domestically have significantly increased MRL compliance testing across fresh, frozen, and processed markets.

Therefore, our goal is to deliver to the MI tree fruit industries both the domestic and export market MRL data necessary to prevent MRL violations. To accomplish this goal, we together with our colleagues, are seeking to create an easy-to-use, readily-understandable grower MRL chart that conveys these critical MRL data so that producers can make good spray decisions close to harvest.

Professional Experience

  • 2001-Present - Professor, Dept. of Entomology, Michigan State University
  • 1999-2000 - Interim Director CIPS, Dept. of Entomology, Michigan State University
  • 1997-1999 - Interim Director PRC, Dept. of Entomology, Michigan State University
  • 1994-1995 - Ag Exp Station Intern, Dept. of Entomology, Michigan State University
  • 1994-1997 - Associate Dir PRC, Department of Entomology, Michigan State University
  • 1989-Present - Professor, Dept. of Entomology, Michigan State University
  • 1983-1988 - Associate Professor, Department of Entomology, Michigan State University
  • 1976-1979 - Assistant Professor, Department of Entomology, Michigan State University

Selected Publications

  • Selby R. D., Whalon, M. E., Iamurri, J. L. 2015. Response of adult plum curculios (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) to contrasting shades in field and laboratory experiments. Environmental Entomology 1-11.
  • Gokce, A., Lukasz Stelinski, Daniel Nortman, Willye Bryan, and Mark Whalon. 2014. Behavioral and electroantennogram response of plum curculio, Conotrachelus nenuphar, to selected noxious plant extracts and insecticides. Journal of Insect Science. Vol. 14, Article 90, 11 pp.
  • *Alyokhin, Andrei, Mota-Sanchez, David, Baker, Mitchell, Snyder, William, Menasha,Sandra, Whalon, Mark, Dively, Galen, and Moarsi, Wassem. 2014. Red Queen in a Potato Field: IPM vs. Chemical Dependency in Colorado Potato Beetle Control. Pest Management Science. May 9, 2014, DOI: 10.1002/ps.3826.
  • *Tabashnik, Bruce, Mota-Sanchez, David, Whalon, Mark, Hollingworth, Bob, Carriere, Yves. 2014. Defining Terms for Proactive Management of Resistance to Bt Crops and Pesticides. Journal of Economic Entomology. 107(2).
  • *Kim, S. H., Vandervoort, C., Whalon, M. E., Wise, J. C. 2014. Transovarial Transmission of Novaluron in Choristoneura rosaceana (Harris), (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). Canadian Entomologist.     00: 1-7.
  • Whalon, Mark and Nelson, Peter. 2014. Cherry Growers Face New and Familiar Pests. In: PESPWire: The Quarterly e-bulletin of EPA’s Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program. Winter 2014: 6-7.

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