Daniel A. Potter, ESA Fellow (2008)

Dr. Daniel A. Potter, Professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Kentucky, was elected as Fellow in 2008. He is internationally known for his research and teaching on destructive and beneficial insects in urban landscapes, recognized in particular for applying ecological principles in developing sustainable pest management practices.

Potter was born in Ames, Iowa in 1952, spent his early years in Connecticut, and moved to upstate New York in 1966 when his father became Professor of Food Science at Cornell University, Ithaca.  He received his B.S. in entomology from Cornell (1974) where his boyhood interest in insects was stoked by the legendary teaching of Dr. George Eickwort, his advisor and first entomological role model.  He then studied spider mite biology in the Acarology Program at the Ohio State University with mentors Drs. Don Johnston and Dana Wrensch, who taught him the practice of good science, receiving his Ph.D. in entomology in late 1978.  Throughout his studies at Cornell and OSU he was inspired by many great entomology professors, TAs, and peer students.  An ESA member since 1975, Potter was hired as an Assistant Professor at UK in 1979, a few months after receiving his Ph.D.               

Dan's applied research and extension interests include biology and management of Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica), scale insects, wood borers, and other key pests of woody landscape plants, and of scarabaeid grubs and other pests of turfgrass. His integrative studies encompass ecotoxicology, reconciliation ecology, urban pollinator conservation, and insect-plant relationships. He has published more than 210 refereed scientific papers, 25 book chapters, three Annual Reviews, dozens of trade-journal articles, and an original textbook on turfgrass entomology. His 42 former graduate students include three winners of ESA’s J.H. Comstock Award, winner of the ESA Leadership Award in Applied Entomology, multiple President’s Prize recipients, nine university faculty members, and leaders in regulatory, extension, and industry entomology.

Dan served as an associate editor for Environmental Entomology, Applied Turfgrass Science, and Acta Horticulturae, is active in youth science education, and is a frequent invited or keynote speaker at scientific and industry conferences throughout the world. He teaches an undergraduate course in Horticultural Entomology, a graduate course in Insect-Plant Relationships, and seminars on professional development.  He is a University of Kentucky Distinguished Research Professor and has received the national ESA Distinguished Achievement Awards in Urban Entomology (1995), Teaching (1999) and Horticultural Entomology (2006); University/College awards for research, extension, teaching, and service to graduate students, and national leadership and service awards from the horticulture, golf course, and land care industries.

Dan is married to Terri Ann Potter since 1979.  Dan enjoys fly-fishing, fly-tying, and playing clawhammer-style banjo, while Terri enjoys oil painting and opera.  They both enjoy travel, hiking, and spending time with their two sons and four granddaughters.

(updated November 2019)