Dr. Nan-Yao Su's Personnel Page

Dr. Nan-Yao Su

Professor of Entomology
Department of Entomology and Nematology
Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center

Research Interests and Current Research Project: One of my early interests was to understand how subterranean termites search and locate food sources in soil. This led to the development of the first commercial termite bait products in the US. Application of the monitoring-baiting technology in a subterranean termite IPM program has been the applied aspect of my program. On the basic side of the program, we continued to study the tunneling behaviors of subterranean termites so as to understand termite foraging strategy.

Thomas Chouvenc

Assistant Research Scientist

Research interests and current research projectsThe focus of my research project is the relationship between subterranean termites and the microbial community associated with their nest system. Biological control for subterranean termite has received a lot of attention in the past, but due to the existence of such mechanisms, no field success has been observed. Subterranean termites have evolved in a soil environment interacting with many soil pathogens and this led to the development of disease resistance mechanisms that allowed the termites to survive in such an environment. My goal is to study the termite-fungus relationship and to understand how the disease resistance mechanisms can prevent epizootics in a termite colony, including behavioural mechanisms and cellular immunity. Recently, we demonstrated that beneficial microbes are associated within the termite nest and provide protection against fungal pathogens. My current research aims to understand the role, the origin and the stability of the diverse microbes associated with the termite fecal nest.

Aaron J. Mullins

Senior Biological Scientist

Research interests and current research projects: As Senior Biological Scientist my chief duties include support for research conducted in the lab and field. I also provide project and administrative support for the lab and its students. My previous termite research experience focused on succession ecology of subterranean termite populations following area-wide colony elimination. I also have educational and professional experience in crop science and apiculture.

Garima Kakkar

Ph.D. Student

Research interests and current research projects: The overall goal of my research is to assess the spatial and temporal aspect of termite molting process and develop a thorough understanding of termite foraging behavior to benefit subterranean termite pest management.  Total time taken for colony elimination can be divided into two stages: 1) time taken in spread of the toxicant in a colony which depends on the foraging behavior, and 2) time taken by the individuals with acquired lethal dose to molt for the CSI to express its potency. The rationale behind this study is that determination of time-span for completion of each stage and information on their biology will give insights into potential methods of reducing the overall time taken for colony elimination. Results from the study to determine site of termite molting are critical to ensure that reducing time for elimination will not cause secondary repellency in response to the corpses of termites died in process of molting.

Hou-Feng-LiJohn Zukowski

Ph.D Student

Du He

Ph.D. Student

Research interests and current research projects:My research focuses on the division of labor of the worker caste in incipient colonies of Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki. Division of labor is one of the characteristics of eusociality. Study of division of labor could give some cues on the evolution of sociality. One theory of evolution of sociality is group selection, i.e. the selection on the group level. Division of labor is supposed to enhance the task performance efficiency. If one termites colony is more fitted than another colony, the possibility that the first colony is selected during evolution is higher than the second colony.

Lucas Carnohan

Ph.D. Student

Research interests and current research projects:

I recently completed an M.S. in medical and veterinary entomology at the University of Florida.  I studied semiochemical attractants of the brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus, and using those attractants to capture the tick in traps.  My research was focused on developing a new strategy for monitoring and controlling this indoor pest.  I am now very interested in social insects, specifically termites.  Wood cockroaches, Cryptocercus sp., are close relatives of termites, and display some subsocial behavior that is basal to termite eusociality.  I am developing a research question that will compare and contrast some aspect of the social behaviors of termites and wood cockroaches.

Sarah Bernard

M.S. Student

Research interests and current research projects:My current research involves the re-invasion activity of subterranean termite colonies. Following the elimination of a colony by baiting system, inactive monitoring stations may become re-colonized by neighboring termite colonies. This is important for areas of high termite pressure where re-colonization of an area may only take a few months. Studying the mechanisms by which this occurs may contain interesting insight for further enhancement of subterranean termite control. My main interests include IPM and medical entomology.

Angellica Moncada

Biological Technician


Stephanie Osorio

Biological Technician

Ronald E. Pipin

Biological Technician

Research interests and current research projects: My job is to build the devices that help keep the termites alive, contained, observable and detectable