Dr. David Onstad, ESA Fellow (2022)

Dr. David Onstad, research scientist at Corteva Agriscience, was elected Fellow in 2022. He was recognized for his expertise in economics of IPM, insect epizootiology, ecological modeling of insect populations, and insect resistance management.

Onstad was born in 1957 and raised in Sacramento, California. He earned a B.Sc. degree in biology at California State University, Sacramento. From 1979 to 1985, he attended Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where he earned an M.Sc. degree in environmental engineering and a Ph.D. in entomology. In 1981, he carried out research concerning optimization of insect and plant-disease management with a fellowship at Wageningen University in The Netherlands. He became a professor in the College of Agriculture at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in 1985 and worked there until retirement in 2011. His second career began in 2011 as a senior research scientist at DuPont Pioneer in Wilmington, Delaware, where his focus was on insect resistance management and predictions based on mathematical modeling. Dupont Pioneer became part of Corteva Agriscience in 2018. Onstad's third career will be determined in 2023.

Onstad has modeled population dynamics and genetics of more than 30 species of insects and insect pathogens. Most of these are pests, but he has also modeled biological control agents and honey bees. To help with decision making by farmers and government agencies, Onstad has also included cost-benefit analyses in some of these models. In 2019, he published a book on economics of integrated pest management of insects to provide an overview of the economic methods and the value of IPM. Many of Onstad's models have also been used to predict the evolution of insects targeted by insecticides and insecticidal crops (host-plant resistance). The third edition of his book on insect resistance management will be published in 2022. In the 1990s, Onstad developed models of epidemics of pathogens in insect populations and created the Ecological Database of the World's Insect Pathogens, which still exists on the internet.

Onstad has served ESA since 1992. Most recently, he served as president of the Plant-Insect Ecosystems Section in 2021. Before the implementation of the modern editor-in-chief positions for the journals, Onstad was a co-editor and subject editor of Environmental Entomology from 2000 to 2004. He later returned to the journal to be subject editor for another 10 years, from 2010 to 2019. In 1997, Onstad was a cofounder of ESA's Subsection on Quantitative Ecology. He then served as secretary, chair-elect, and chair of the subsection from 1998 to 2000. He helped to write the original and revised ESA Position Statement on Resistance Management for Genetically Modified Crops as a member of committees in 2015 and 2020.

Onstad's wife, Dawn Dockter, is an entomologist who has collaborated with him on a few nonagricultural projects regarding insect pathology and ecology. Their daughters, Nora and Emma, are engineers.