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Unveiling the Mysteries of Bark Beetles

PHOTO: UF researcher searching tree for bark beetles.

UF researchers are studying some of the most prolific species of insects and their impacts on the environment, economy, and people. Led by Jiri Hulcr, associate professor, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, the
UF Forest Entomology lab addresses the mysteries of bark and ambrosia beetles and how the presence of some species leads to forest degradation. With rising temperatures, forests have become perfect breeding grounds for bark beetles attacking weakened trees. These attacks have an enormous economic impact, costing the U.S. lumber industry millions of dollars.

The lab provides consultation to stakeholders, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, to aid in abating the spread of bark beetles and identifying invasive species. Demian Gomez, a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation, uses HiPerGator to uncover cryptic species, or groups that are morphologically identical but belong to different species. Gomez received training to use HiPerGator from UFIT Bioinformatics Specialist Matt Gitzendanner, and frequently referred to the resources on the Research Computing website.

“For me, HiPerGator is a major productivity tool. I receive results in a couple hours versus days on a normal computer.”

Visit for more information about HiPerGator and consulting and training support available.