Faculty News

Fall 2023

UGA Entomology is excited to welcome three new faculty members: Dr. Lewis Bartlett, Dr. Erich Schoeller, and Dr. Shayla Salzman.

Lewis J. Bartlett Assistant Professor

Lewis Bartlett comes to us by way of Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK. He earned his first degree at the University of Cambridge in Natural Sciences (zoology) and his PhD at the University of Exeter/University of California – Berkeley. He spent a few years wandering about in topics between the paeleoecology of megafaunal extinctions, habitat fragmentation as it matters to global animal conservation, the behavioral ecology of captive breeding programs for extinct in the wild species before settling on bees and disease for the last 10 years.

Lewis became interested in entomology as a youth while entertaining himself on fishing trips with his dad by catching bugs and watching David Attenborough documentaries on rainy days in England.

In the future of his research lab, Lewis said, “I dream my graduate students will be happy, my undergraduate students excited, my postdocs confident and me – well-funded!”

Erich Schoeller Assistant Professor

Erich Schoeller’s interest in entomology began with a fascination with an insect-filled cabinet at his grandfather’s house. His first goal was to collect his own specimens which eventually led him to study entomology and then a career in the field. Erich studied at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (B.S.), Louisiana State University (M.S.). University of California-Riverside and University of Florida (postdoc).

The Wisconsin native’s research program is focused on developing best practices for integrated pest management of controlled environmental agriculture “CEA” (high tunnels, greenhouses, vertical farms, and other protected structures). As a research and extension program, he conducts both basic and applied research to provide science-based solutions for managing arthropod pests to the CEA industry. One of his primary research efforts aims to better understand how various factors contribute to the success or failure of biological control programs targeting arthropod pests in controlled environments. He utilizes a multifaceted approach ranging from elucidating the basic biology of species to understanding production-level impacts on insect populations.

“I am not afraid of taking risks or of failure with my research. Be it wading through cottonmouth-infested Louisiana swamps looking for bark beetles or getting bitten by dogs when surveying ornamental pests in urban landscapes, I will get the job done,” Schoeller promised.

Shayla Salzman Assistant Professor

Dr. Shayla Salzman considers herself to be a “hippie nature girl” who took an adventurous, non-traditional route to a career as a chemical ecology entomologist. A high school dropout who eventually graduated from Harvard University, Salzman got interested in plant-insect interactions while working on an organic farm. She earned her B.S. at the University of California-Berkeley and completed her graduate studies at Harvard University with her PhD in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. She then was awarded an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology to work at Cornell in Neurobiology.

Concerning her research, Salzman said it is fundamentally about relationships and communication with her interests focused on the why and how organisms communicate and the ecological and evolutionary outcomes of the relationships. She is specifically focused on specialized mutualist relationships between plants and insects.

“As in humans, clear communication is key to relationship longevity so I seek to understand the chemical ‘language’ of plants and insects, and like a therapist, I try to understand if the signal that one partner is producing is being clearly perceived and if it is producing the desired results,” Salzman explained, adding that she is particularly interested in multi-modal signaling which is all of the myriad ways that these organisms communicate.

In her lab, she hopes to build a large research program that is supportive and welcoming to students and collaborators and provides a much rounder perspective of biological communication.

Raised in Georgia and then living all over the country, Salzman is glad to be back home and part of the UGA family.