UF-CTA Affiliated Faculty:

Robin M. Giblin-Davis

Title and department: Professor, Entomology & Nematology

Address: Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center 3205 College Avenue Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314

Phone: 954-577-6333


B.S. University of California, Davis (Entomology), 1977
Ph.D. University of California, Davis (Entomology), 1982

Research Interests (with focus on Tropical Agriculture)

My position involves basic and applied research concerning soil, plant-parasitic and insect-associated nematodes. The research is focused on nematode biodiversity, identification and systematics, barcoding and molecular phylogenetics, soil ecology, and biological control. It also entails work on the management of nematode populations in warm-season turfgrasses, and woody and foliage ornamentals.

5 most significant publications:

Giblin-Davis, R. M., K. A. Davies, G. S. Taylor, and W. K. Thomas.  2004. Entomophilic nematode models for studying biodiversity and cospeciation. In: Nematology, Advances and Perspectives. [Z. X. Chen, S. Y. Chen, and D. W. Dickson, eds.].  Tsinghua University Press/CABI Publishing. Vol. 1. Pp. 493-540.
Griffith, R., R. M. Giblin-Davis, P. K. Koshy, and V. K. Sosamma. 2005. Chapter 13. Nematode parasites of coconut and other palms. In: Plant parasitic nematodes in subtropical and tropical agriculture, 2nd edition.  [M. Luc, R. Sikora, and J. Bridge, eds.].  CABI Publishing. Pp. 493-527.

Giblin-Davis, R. M., W. Ye, N. Kanzaki, D. S. Williams, K. Morris, and W. K. Thomas. 2006. Stomatal ultrastructure, molecular phylogeny, and description of Parasitodiplogaster laevigata n. sp. (Nematoda: Diplogastridae), a parasite of fig wasps. Journal of Nematology. 38: 137-149.

Ye, W., R. M. Giblin-Davis, H. Braasch, K. Morris, and W. K. Thomas. 2007. Phylogenetic relationships among Bursaphelenchus species (Nematoda: Parasitaphelenchidae) inferred from nuclear ribosomal and mitochondrial DNA sequence data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 43:1185-1197. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2007.02.006

Ye, W., R. M. Giblin-Davis, K. A. Davies, M. Purcell, S. J. Scheffer, G. S. Taylor, T. D. Center, K. Morris, and W. K. Thomas. 2007. Molecular phylogenetics and the evolution of host plant associations in the nematode genus Fergusobia (Tylenchida: Fergusobiinae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 45:123-141. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2007.02.027)

Extramural support during past 5 years:

2002-2006; U.S.D.A.; $120,000; The genome of Pasteuria penetrans a blueprint for developing Pasteuria spp. for the biocontrol of plant-parasitic nematodes.;

2003-2006; U.S.D.A.; $130,000; Biological control of Melaleuca quinquenervia with the Fergusonina/Fergusobia complex;

2003-2006; U.S.D.A.; $79,480; Soil nematodes as an integrated and rapid tool for environmental assessment and monitoring;

2006-2008; U.S.D.A.; $99,466; Novel method for determining nematode soil biodiversity and abundance for agricultural and regulatory applications;

2005-2007; N.S.F.; $199,999; Species inventory of nematodes in tropical rainforests of Costa Rica. 2007-2009; N.S.F.; $450,000; Nematodes of the tropical rainforests of Costa Rica: Linking morphology and MOTUs (molecular operational taxonomic units).

Teaching Interests (with focus on Tropical Agriculture)

I Teach Principles of Nematology (NEM 3002) and Graduate Survey of Nematology (NEM 5002C) and serve as Graduate Faculty member. NEM 3002 and 5002C focus on the fundamentals of nematology. Students discover what nematodes are, how they look, how they function, where they live, and the important roles that they play in our world. This class peaks student curiosity about nematodes and prepares them for advanced nematology courses or classes in allied fields such as entomology, plant pathology, parasitology, or zoology. Nematodes are the most numerous multicellular animals on earth.

They are present everywhere ranging from the coldest deserts in Antarctica to the tallest mountains and deepest ocean sediments. They are incredibly diverse. For instance, a handful of soil can contain hundreds of species of nematodes. Some nematodes play a role in ecosystem processes like decomposition, nutrient mineralization, or plant parasitism. Many are parasites of most species of invertebrate and vertebrate animals, including humans. They are especially important in tropical biomes and I use many nematode examples from the tropics in my classes.

International Activities (with focus on Tropical Agriculture)

I spent 6 months on sabbatical in Australia in 1999 and worked in Brisbane at the CSIRO Long Pocket lab. During this time, I also spent several weeks at the University of Adelaide, and toured southeastern and northeastern Australia into the subtropical/tropical regions near Cairns. My sabbatical project involved the sampling of a potential biological agent, (Fergusobia/Fergusonina) nematode/gall-fly complex for a classical biological control program on the invasive weed, Melaleuca quinquenervia in southern Florida. This project continues to the present and is internationally collaborative with Matthew Purcell and Jeff Makinson (CSIRO Brisbane), Drs. Kerrie Davies and Gary Taylor (University of Adelaide), as well as collaborators at USDA in Ft. Lauderdale and Beltsville (Drs. Ted Center, Scott Blackwood, Paul Pratt, Greg Wheeler, and Sonja Scheffer).

I also worked collaboratively on the chemical ecology of Rhabdoscelus obscurus (sugarcane weevil) in subtropical northern Queensland, Australia during this sabbatical, involving Dr. Les Robertson from the Bureau of Sugarcane Experimental Station, Tully, Australia. I returned to Australia in March of 2004 to work with Dr. Kerrie Davies on the taxonomy and systematics of Fergusobia for release of this complex for biological control against Melaleuca quinquenervia in Florida. I am currently working to elucidate the biodiversity of nematodes associated with the over 700 species of Ficus worldwide. Ficus is a very important plant, especially in the lowland tropical rainforests.  Cooperators include Drs. Kerrie Davies in Australia, E. Allen Herre at the Smithsonian Institute, Barro Colorado Island, Panama, Selcuk Hazir, Aydin University, Turkey, and Alejandro Esquivel at UNA, Costa Rica. I visited Dr. Hazir in Turkey for field collecting nematodes from soil-dwelling bees and the edible fig, Ficus carica in 2004. I continue to develop a morphological and molecular database of nematodes of Florida, the Caribbean, and Costa Rica in cooperation with Drs. Weimin Ye (N.C. Dept. Ag.) and W. Kelley Thomas (U. New Hampshire).

In cooperation with Drs. Deborah Neher (U. Vermont), Tom Powers (U. Nebraska), Patricia Stock (U. Arizona), I am conducting a species inventory of nematodes in tropical rain forests of Costa Rica (NSF funded). http://nematode.unl.edu/CRhome.htm.  In 2005 and again in 2007, I participated in field sampling, extracting and processing of nematode samples for this NSF biodiversity project in La Selva, Costa Rica and several locations in Panama.

In 2005, I helped train Dr. Natsumi Kanzaki from Japan (supported in part by a JSPS (Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science) postdoctoral fellowship and the N.S.F. grant). Dr. Yongsan Zeng was a visiting scientist from Zongkai University, in subtropical China from 2006-2007 on this project. Dr. Kanzaki has returned this year (2007-2008) as a visiting professor from his current position with the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute in Tsukuba, Japan to continue work on this project. Dr. Dorota Porazinska has joined our lab and is also working on this project and experimenting with the use of 454 technology for metagenomics of tropical and temperate nematodes.

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