Two members of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) and Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) were honored for their outstanding contributions to education and research with Distinguished Faculty and Staff Awards at the annual MSU Awards Convocation Feb. 12.
Doug Landis and Jane Herbert joined other winners and other recipients of all-university awards at the awards convocation at the Wharton Center's Pasant Theatre. MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon congratulated the honorees at the ceremony and saluted their contributions to the university's excellence.
Distinguished Faculty Award winners are honored for a comprehensive and sustained record of scholarly excellence in research and/or creative activities, instruction and outreach.
Landis is passionate about the natural world and helping people work with, rather than against, nature. Landis's research focuses on the interactions of insects with landscape structure and the application of that knowledge to ecologically based management of insects and weeds. His research investigates the ecological problems associated with seemingly innocuous landscape alterations; specifically, he has found that landscapes dominated by annual crop production --for example corn and soybean – often support reduced populations of beneficial insect predators and parasites, which increases the need to control pest insect with insecticides, adding to growers costs, and increasing risk to other beneficial insects such as pollinators.
Motivated by a desire to create agricultural landscapes that support biodiversity as well as high agricultural productivity, Landis's recent work has shown that strategic inclusion of perennial biomass crops like switchgrass and mixed prairie into annual crop landscapes can increase biological control of pests, support diverse communities of pollinators, and even provide habitat for grassland birds.
In terms of grants and publications, Landis ranks near the top of MSU faculty. His funding includes support from the USDA, the DOE, and several other agencies. To date, he has participated in garnering more that $28 million with nearly $7 million assigned to him. He has published more than 110 papers, 17 in 2010-11. Two of his publications have been in the prestigious "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."