Michigan State University

ANR Week

March 4-11, 2017

Hulcr named outstanding young alum by CANR

posted on February 25, 2017 11:52am

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The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) at Michigan State University (MSU) will honor 12 leaders in agriculture and natural resources for leadership at the community, state and/or national levels during the annual Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Week luncheon at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center March 7.

Jiri Hulcr will receive an Outstanding Young Alumnus Award.

Hulcr is one of the most accomplished young entomologists in the country, particularly in work that bridges basic biology and applied needs. Hulcr obtained his bachelor’s degree in entomology in 2001 and his first Ph.D. in entomology in 2008 (focusing on beetle biodiversity) from the University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic. He joined the Michigan State family in 2009 and completed a Ph.D. in entomology. He continued his postdoctoral education at the University of Wisconsin, where he studied bacteriology, and then North Carolina State University to study microbial symbiosis.  Currently, Hulcr is an assistant professor at the School of Forest Resources and Conservation at the University of Florida.

In his five years at the University of Florida, he has established national and international research and extension programs and written 38 publications (64 career total), garnered over $2 million in federal funds including two NSF grants, presented his research findings throughout the world, and mentored 26 graduate students, four postdoctorates and seven undergraduates. He has created an extension program that involves national and international laypersons, professionals and academics, and served the broader entomological community through editorship, grant and publication reviews, and the creation of cyber infrastructure.

His research group at the University of Flordia studies the diversity and ecology of ambrosia beetle/fungal relationships.  The microbiome of ambrosia beetles has an importance greater than the beetles’ food source—it is important to the health of forests and their economy.  Currently two exotic beetle species and their fungi are devastating the southeastern U.S. forest ecosystem and threaten the avocado industry (a $50 million industry in Florida alone).  Hulcr’s research program has transformed the field of symbiology from single-species investigation to multispecies, community-based studies.  This work is accelerating the accumulation of knowledge of the potential threats to U.S. forests and agriculture.

 Hulcr’s has written extension publications aimed toward those concerned with forestry and presented this information in many venues.  His bark beetle identification course, “Bark Beetle Academy,” attracts diagnosticians and students from around the world, and he has taught this class in China and Cuba. In addition, he has engaged citizen scientists through his “Backyard Bark Beetles” class.  School classes and homeowners have used his elegantly designed bottle traps to survey for exotic beetles.

His research has earned him a Silver Award in the Long Extension Publication category from the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals. He was awarded the Exceptional Education Program for his work with the backyard bark beetles as well as the Exceptional Extension Publication Award for his work on a guide to Florida’s bark beetles. Additionally, he teaches several classes at the University of Florida, including Forest Health Management, Insect Symbioses and Molecular Forest Entomology.