Joseph G. Morse, ESA Fellow (2012)


Dr. Joseph G. Morse, professor of entomology at University of California, Riverside (UCR), was elected as Fellow in 2012.  Morse is known for his research on management of subtropical crop pests, especially in citrus and avocados, and his work on invasive species. 

Morse was born in Ithaca, New York in May 1953.  He received a B.S. in electrical engineering at Cornell University in 1975, an M.S. in both systems science and entomology in 1977 and 1978, respectively, and a Ph.D. in entomology at Michigan State University in 1981. Since 1981, he has worked on citrus and avocado pest management at UCR focusing on integrating biological control and selective chemical controls, addressing recently invasive species, and dealing with arthropod contaminants on both import and export fruit.

Morse has published a total of 322 papers or book chapters including more than 145 peer reviewed articles. Previous awards include the ESA Recognition Award in Entomology (1993), Citrus Research Board Award of Excellence (2005), Art Schroeder Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to Avocado Research (2006), Fellow of AAAS (2006), Award of Honor from the California Avocado Society (2010), and the Entomological Foundation Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management (2011).

As a professor at UCR, Dr. Morse teaches the evolution portion (50%) of the course “Introductory Evolution and Ecology,” typically taken by 225–550 undergraduates in their sophomore year and “Natural History of Insects,” a science exposure course taken by 200–300 students in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Dr. Morse has held several administrative positions at the University of California. For six years (1988–1993), he was the associate director of the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC-IPM), charged with oversight for the $0.75 million per year statewide competitive grants program. In 1994, when the Mediterranean fruit fly outbreak and aerial malathion sprays in the nearby city of Corona raised public ire, he worked with local and system-wide administration to help found the UCR Center for Invasive Species Research (CISR) and served as associate director (1994–1996) and director (1996–1999) of the center. CISR, with UC-IPM, oversaw the Exotic Pest and Disease Research Program, which awarded $10.3 in funding (via a grant from USDA-CSREES) for 103 multi-year research projects dealing with invasive species affecting agricultural natural, and urban systems in California. When the UC Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources (ANR) reorganized in 1999, Morse was asked to serve for six years (1999–2005) as one of four new 75%-time statewide program leaders charged with oversight of system-wide activities in the area of pest management and agricultural policy. The four program leaders were voting members of UC ANR’s 12-member program council, had oversight for the activities of the 123 ANR workgroups and 23 statewide programs, and served on the Senior Administrative Council, which reviewed merit and promotion files for the state’s 263 cooperative extension advisors.

Morse enjoys fishing, reading, and sports in his free time.

(Updated May, 2013)