Assistant Professor, Entomology and Nematology Department
More than 90 percent of Floridians live in urban areas. These cities and towns are also home to many bugs. Dr. Dale studies plants and insects that live in urban landscapes, such as backyards, parks and golf courses. In addition to beautifying our surroundings, urban plants also help filter air and water, reduce temperatures, create habitat for wildlife and provide recreational opportunities. His goal is to come up with ways to encourage beneficial insects in these spaces while also managing pests.
Right now, Dr. Dale’s research is exploring how changing plant diversity can help plants better resist pests and other environmental stressors. He even has wildflower plots on the UF golf course where he’s testing his hypotheses. Using those plots, he has increased golf course pollinator populations and shown that many pollinators will also attack plant pests. He’s also interested in developing more sustainable strategies for planting and maintaining lawns and trees in urban settings, which when not damaged by insect pests, can offer many benefits to people.
Florida has the largest turfgrass and second largest ornamental plant industries in the country. Dr. Dale’s Extension programs provide research-based information to these industries so they can better manage pest insects and conserve the beneficial ones.
When he’s not in the lab or the field, or traveling around Florida teaching industry professionals, Dr. Dale teaches courses in scientific data collection, as well as turf and ornamental entomology.