Dr. Riggins is originally from Nebraska. He received a B.S. and M.S. in Biology from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. During his time there he studied tiger beetles, carrion beetles, and below-ground invertebrates of wet meadows along the Platte River. He received a Ph.D. in Forest Entomology under Dr. Fred Stephen at the University of Arkansas in 2008. His research in Arkansas investigated an outbreak of a previously minor forest pest, the red oak borer. He assessed red oak borer populations in the field, and also used remote sensing technology to create portions of a spatial decision support system for red oak borer hazard in the Ozarks. In his spare time, Dr. Riggins spends as much time as possible with his wife, Erika and his children Ian, Isaac, Zoey, and Max. He also enjoys hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and reading.
John is a Mississippi native born and raised in Vicksburg. He went into the work force straight out of high school as a deckhand on the Motor Vessel Dredge Jadwin for the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers. After several years in the work force he began to pursue a career in the ecological sciences. He received his B.S. in forestry with a concentration in wildlife management from Mississippi State University graduating magna cum laude in spring of 2014. His research under the guidance of Dr. Riggins is focused on the southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis). He will be developing a cumulative degree-day model for predicting the peak spring dispersal, and studying host selection preferences. In his spare time, John enjoys hunting, fishing, camping, paintballing, and working with the youth of his home town church.
Matt comes from Fulton, Mississippi where he originally received his associates degree before coming to MSU to complete his B. S. in biology, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 2015. Matt’s research is focused on recreational firewood movement as a vector for non-native woodborers in Mississippi. His decision to enter forest entomology and pursue research dealing with invasive species was guided by his love for the forest and desire to protect native ecosystems. On the weekends Matt enjoys hiking, nature photography, and woodworking.
John received his B.S. in Urban and Community Forestry from Mississippi State University graduating Summa Cum Laude in December 2010. His research interests lie within this same vein as his undergraduate education-- urban forest and ornamental entomology. Specifically, John is working on the redbay ambrosia beetle (RAB), Xyleborus glabratus Eichoff. The RAB is decimating natural stands and ornamental plantings of redbay (Persea borbonia) along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and has also spread inland on sassafras. His research is focused on the cold temperature tolerance, range expansion potential, and phylogeography of the RAB, and the impacts of laurel wilt disease on native ecosystems. Outside of the lab, John's interests include music, backpacking, and traveling.
Hannah Bares is from Bozeman, Montana. She received her B.S. in Organismal Biology with a minor in Entomology from Montana State University graduating with highest honors in the spring of 2014. She is studying non-native woodborers and their hosts in southeastern coastal forests. Her hobbies include hiking, cross-country skiing and music.
Lauren Gamblin Undergraduate Research Scholar
Lauren is a Horticulture major originally from Ohio, and was awarded a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences/MAFES Undergraduate Research Scholarship to conduct her research on phenology and community ecology of leaf litter invertebrates and their role in wood decomposition of southern forests. Additionally, she was awarded a Garden Club of America scholarship in Spring, 2015 to expand this research.