Research

Can a leafhopper rescue tea from climate change?

When insect herbivores feed on agricultural crops, they are labeled as destructive "pests". In addition to decreasing crop yields, feeding by insects causes plants to defend themselves by producing secondary metabolites, many of which are important …

The effects of climate change on tea quality mediated by insect herbivory

The most popular beverage in the world, tea, is made from the leaves of the tea plant (Camellia sinensis). The flavor, aroma, and health benefits of tea are determined by plant secondary metabolites. Changes in tea secondary metabolites such as …

Differential Changes in Tea Quality as Influenced by Insect Herbivory

Tea quality depends on plant metabolites that impact flavor, aroma, and health beneficial properties. Plants respond to insect herbivory by altering the concentration and blend of these metabolites and many secondary metabolites are produced only …

Finding Cryptic Insect Eggs With Fluorescence

I recently gave a talk on some of my work as a PhD student on experiments manipulating densities of the tea green leafhopper (Empoasca onukii) on tea plants. What the audience liked most, I think, were my methods for finding leafhopper eggs in the field and rearing them in the lab (well, a guest room at a tea farm).

Interactive effects of drought severity and simulated herbivory on tea (Camellia sinensis) volatile and non-volatile metabolites

Plants often experience multiple sources of stress simultaneously, yet little is known about interactive effects of multiple stressors on plant metabolic responses. Plants are well known to respond to both drought and insect herbivory through the …

The importance of insect herbivore density to induced metabolite blends in tea plants (Camellia sinensis) and implications for tea quality.

🏆 First place in section. Plant metabolic responses to herbivory are generally elucidated using experiments that compare the metabolite concentrations in attacked plants to un-attacked plants. In these experiments, herbivore density is often …

Interactive effects of drought severity and herbivory on tea (Camellia sinensis) volatile and non-volatile metabolites.

Poster presentation. Plants often experience multiple sources of stress simultaneously, yet little is known about interactive effects of multiple stressors on plant metabolic responses. Plants are well known to respond to both drought and insect …

Can pests rescue tea quality from climate change?

Insect attack is usually considered bad for tea yield and quality. However, it is well known that plants produce many secondary metabolites in response to insect attack. Many of these secondary metabolites are important for tea quality, and some …

Last Fieldwork Season in China

I’m currently in Hangzhou, China at the Tea Research Institute(TRI) for my fourth and last time. It’s bitter sweet (like my favorite teas ;-) ) since I’m both glad to be nearing the end of my PhD, and sad to say goodbye to all the friends I’ve made and a city I’ve really grown to enjoy living in.

Retrieve chemical retention indices from NIST with {webchem}!

My PhD has involved learning a lot more than I expected about analytical chemistry, and as I’ve been learning, I’ve been trying my best to make my life easier by writing R functions to help me out.