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Donnie Peterson

Donnie Lee Peterson
I am forest entomologist that is interested in woodborer ecology and their potential to be invasive species. I conducted my PhD at Wright State University (Dayton, Ohio, USA) on emerald ash borer (EAB, Agrilus planipennis) and how it performs on and impacts evolutionary naive hosts from North American. During my preivous postdoc project at Rutgers University (New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA), I implemented and and improved a novel, terrestrial eDNA method to survey for forest and agricultural pests. At SLU, I began my Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship to study EAB on European naive hosts and developing novel early detection tools. In line with my past research, I have begun explore new projects with early detection of other woodboring insects (bronze birch borer (A. anxius)) and metabarcoding studies to understand forest insect diversity and insect pest abundance/damage in mixed spruce, birch forests.


Course leader in the SV0015 Urban tree- and forest health (2023-2024)

Lecture in forest entomology in SV0015 Urban tree- and forest health (2022-2024)


·     Forest Entomology 

·     Host plant selection of forest insects

·     Invasion ecology

·     Host plant resistance mechanisms

·     Surveying and detection of pest insects using molecular tools



Ph.D. ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES                                                          December 2019

                                    Wright State University, Dayton, OH

                                    Advisor: Don Cipollini                                    

M.S., ENTOMOLOGY                                                                                   December 2014 

                                   Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

                                   Advisor: Cliff Sadof

B.S., FOREST Ecosystem Restoration and Management                                   May 2012
                                   University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI

                                   Advisor: James Cook


Research Experience:  

Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey       December 2019-Present

Postdoctoral Associate. Running, generating, and interpreting qPCR results for environmental DNA (eDNA). Using eDNA to detect the presence of invasive insects within agricultural and forested ecosystems as a novel method of insect pest biosurveillance. Conducting delimiting surveys around initial sites of infestation/establishment of spotted lanternfly and other forest insect pests. Verifying and comparing eDNA to conventional methods such as visual and trap surveys. 


Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio   August 2015-December 2019

 Ph. D. Graduate Research Assistant. Studied the ecological fitting of the Buprestid pest emerald ash borer (EAB) to two novel hosts: white fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus) and cultivated olive (Olea europaea). Investigated the impact of EAB on wild populations of white fringetree and ability of EAB develop and feed on two novel host plants. Compared the relative resistance and shared volatile chemistry of hosts of EAB to understand host selection cues among susceptible and resistance hosts. Evaluated the use of new chemical lures in prism traps to improve current traps of EAB.


Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana       June 2012- December 2014

Master’s Graduate Research Assistant. Evaluated establishment of parasitoids released for biological control agents of emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis). Investigated host plant resistance of two North American ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) to A. planipennis and a parasitoid’s ability to use A. planipennis as a host on two different ash tree hosts. 


Teaching Experience:    

Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio          September 2018-Present

Graduate teaching assistant. Prepared laboratory each week for Plant Physiology and general biology courses including making solutions, gathering and buying supplies, and teaching/supervision of the students. Responsible for grading laboratory reports and leading class discussion after laboratory. 


Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio                                                    April 2018, 2019

Guest lecturer. Lectured on interactions between organisms during a community ecology unit in a freshman level biology course. 


Carl Trygger Foundation Project Call (299,000 SEK (€26200)                     2023-2024                                                                                              

Research on the insect biodiversity and pest abundance of Swedish forest as they are transitioned to mixed stands of birch (Betula spp.) and Norway spruce (Pieca abies) from spruce monocultures by a novel use of metabarcoding.

Forest Damage Centre Project Call (995,473 SEK (€83944)                          2024-2025

Surveying pest damage and insect biodiversity of Swedish forests: a metabarcoding approach.


  Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (€191,852)                          2021-2023

“EMERALD; Preparing for emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) invasion: novel techniques for early detection and investigating mechanisms of host resistance”

C. F. Lundströms Stiftelse Vetenskaplig Forskning                                                   2022 Early detection of forest pests using advance molecular tools” 50,000 SEK 


Travel Awards:             

       -Gemensamt förvaltade stiftelser 2023 (KSLA, 32,200 kr ($3,000))               2023

       -Lilla Fonden Travel grant (25,000 kr ($2500))                       2022, 2023

       -ESA North Central Branch Student Travel Award                                             2019

       -Environmental Sciences Ph.D. program Travel Fund         2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

       -Department of Biological Sciences Travel Grant                2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

       -College of Science and Mathematics Special Projects Fund (Travel)   2016, 2017                               


Selected publications

Peterson, D. L., Pecori, F., Luchi, N., Migliorini, D., Santini, A., Kyle, K. E., Rutledge, C., Sallé, A., Kaya, S. O., Ramsfield, T., & Cleary, M. (2023). Development of novel LAMP and qPCR assays for rapid and specific identification of Bronze birch borer (Agrilus anxius). Environmental DNA, 00, 1–14.

Allen, M., J. L. Lockwood, R. Kwait, A. R. Vastano, D. L. Peterson, L. A. Tkacenko, A. Kisurin, O. Stringham, J. Angle, and B. Jaffe. 2023. Using surface environmental DNA to assess arthropod biodiversity within a forested ecosystem. In review at Environmental DNA, 00, 1-17. DOI: 10.1002/edn3.487 

Peterson, D.L., K. Kyle, A. Sallé, F. Pecori, D. Migliorini, A. Santini, N. Luchi, and M. Cleary. 2023. Specificity and sensitivity of a rapid LAMP assay for early detection of emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) in Europe. Forests 14, 436. 

Nordström, I., P. Sherwood, B. Bohman, S. Woodward, D. L. Peterson, J. Niño-Sánchez, T. Sánchez-Gómez, J. Javier Díez, and M. Cleary. 2023. Utilizing volatile organic compounds for early detection of Fusarium circinatum. Scientific Reports 12 (1), 21661

Peterson, D. L., M. C. Allen, A. Vastano, and J. Lockwood. 2022. Evaluation of sample collection and storage protocols for surface eDNA surveys of an invasive terrestrial insect.  Environmental DNA 4 (6), 1201-1211

Peterson, D. L., and D. Cipollini. 2021. Attack dynamics, impact, and predictors of emerald ash borer on white fringetree and ash populations. Biol Invasions 1-7. 

Allen, M. C., A. L. Nielsen, D. L. Peterson, and Julie L. Lockwood. 2021. Active aggregation sampling for eDNA outperforms visual surveys for early detection of a terrestrial insect. Environmental DNA: 00: 1-11. 

Peterson, D. L., K. Boroczky, J. Tumlinson, and D. Cipollini. 2020.  Ecological fitting: chemical profiles of plant hosts provide insights on selection cues and preferences for a major Buprestid pest. Phytochemistry 176: 112397

Peterson, D. L., B. Slager, A. Anulewicz, and D. Cipollini. 2020. Feeding, Survival, and Fecundity of Adult Emerald Ash Borer (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) on Foliage of Two Novel Hosts and Implications for Host Range Expansion. Environmental Entomology: 1-7

Ellison, E. A., D. L. Peterson, and D. Cipollini. 2020. The fate of ornamental white fringetree through the invasion wave of emerald ash borer and implications on novel use by this beetle. Environmental Entomology 49: 489-495.  

Peterson, D. L., and D. Cipollini. 2019. Larval performance of a major forest pest on novel hosts and the effect of stressors. Environmental Entomology 49: 482-488.

Rigsby, C. M., C. Villari, D. L. Peterson, D. A. Herms, P. Bonello, and D. Cipollini. 2018. Girdling increases survival and growth of emerald ash borer larvae on Manchurian ash. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 21:  

Cipollini, D., and D. L. Peterson. 2018. The potential for host switching via ecological fitting in the emerald ash borer-host plant system. Oecologia:1-13.  

Peterson, D. L., and Don Cipollini. 2017. Distribution, predictors, and impacts of emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) infestation of white fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus). Environmental Entomology 46: 50-57

Cipollini, D., C. M. Rigsby, and D. L. Peterson. 2017. Feeding and development of emerald ash borer (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) on cultivated olive, Olea europaea. Journal of Economic Entomology 110: 1935-1937

Sadof, C. S., G. P Hughes, A. R. Witte, D. L. Peterson, and M. D. Ginzel. 2017. Tools for staging and managing emerald ash borer in the urban forest. Arboriculture and Urban Forestry 43: 15-26

Peterson, D. L., J. J. Duan, J. S. Yaninek, M. D. Ginzel, and C. S. Sadof. 2015. Growth of larval Agrilus planipennis (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) and fitness of Tetrastichus planipennisi (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) in blue ash (Fraxinus quadrangulata) and green ash (F. pennsylvanica). Environmental Entomology 44: 1512-1521


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