Fargo, N.D. — A team of NDSU entomology graduate students competed in the "Linnaean Games" entomological college quiz bowl competition at the 66th annual North Central Branch meeting of the Entomological Society of America. The conference was held March 13-16 in Minneapolis. In addition, two NDSU graduate students from the entomology department placed in the President's Prize for scientific presentations.
Msango Soko took second place in the master's competition with his oral paper, "Oviposition Preference and Larval Host Range of the Sugarbeet Root Maggot (Diptera: Ulidiidae)." Msango Soko is advised by Mark Boetel, NDSU associate professor of entomology. Kiran Ghising earned third place in the poster competition for his presentation, "Impact of Rag1 Aphid-resistant Soybeans on Binodoxys communis (Gahan) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), a Parasitoid of Soybean Aphid (Hemiptera: Aphididae)." Ghising is co-advised by Janet Knodel and Jason Harmon. Each award consisted of a cash prize and a certificate from the society in recognition of their achievements.
NDSU entomology has a reputation for performing well in the competition, having won the regional championship three times since 2002. At this competition, NDSU defeated the University of Kentucky (70-45) in the preliminary rounds, and fell to Michigan State University in the semifinals (30-80). "We were encouraged by the team's performance this year, and we're very optimistic about next year because we have a very young team. All of our team members were early-career students, competing against teams mostly comprised of Ph.D. students from large departments. The experience and knowledge our students gained this year will bring a lot of strength to the 2012 team," said Mark Boetel, associate professor of entomology.
Team members included Samantha Brunner (captain), Kondwani Msango Soko, Joseph Stegmiller and Rebecca Whalen. Jessica Fibelstad, an undergraduate zoology major, and Kiran Ghising served as alternates. The team was coached by Boetel and Gerald Fauske.