Anthony M. Shelton, ESA Fellow (2010)


Dr. Anthony (Tony) M. Shelton, professor of entomology and an international professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, was elected Fellow in 2010. He is internationally recognized for his research on insects affecting vegetables and other crops. 

Shelton was born in Pasadena, California in 1949 and was raised in a house on an old citrus orchard that still has orange trees on the property. He received his B.A. in Classics and Philosophy in 1971 from St. Mary’s College of California. After graduation he worked in his father’s travel agency until 1973 and then enrolled in Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, where he studied biology and chemistry. In 1975 he enrolled in the University of California, Riverside (UCR) and received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in 1979. His research focused on the biology and management of the potato tuberworm, Phthorimaea operculella (Zeller). Immediately after graduation, he accepted a position as assistant professor of entomology at Cornell, where he has spent his career at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva. From 1993 to 2001, he was the Associate Director of Research and Associate Director of the Cornell Agricultural Experiment Station in Ithaca.

Shelton’s research efforts have focused on insect population ecology, biological control, host plant resistance, agricultural biotechnology, insecticide resistance, insect movement, trap cropping, and plant productivity and marketability as a function of insect infestations. Later his work expanded to include environmental risk assessment of genetically engineered crops, especially those expressing proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). This work included examining their potential effects on non-target natural enemies and strategies to delay the evolution of resistance. Shelton worked with colleagues to develop scientifically valid protocols for risk assessment studies to assist regulatory policy makers, nationally and internationally. He has also worked to bring Bt vegetables to market. Shelton has published more than 450 articles, including more than 200 journal articles, four Annual Review of Entomology articles, and 35 book chapters. In 2008, he co-edited (with J. Romeis and G. Kennedy) the book, Integration of Insect-resistant, Genetically Modified Crops within IPM Programs. He created and maintains several websites, including the widely used Biological Control: A Guide to Natural Enemies in North America.  He also developed several booklets and websites on agricultural biotechnology, organic agriculture, and insects of vegetables.

Shelton has developed and contributed to many ESA symposia and international meetings.  His awards include the ESA National Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management (1995), New York State Award for Excellence in IPM (1997), ESA National Recognition Award for Research (2005), Cornell (CALS) Award for Applied Research (2007), and the ESA Eastern Branch L. O. Howard Award (2011). He has been a plenary speaker for several international meetings and a longtime subject editor (resistance) for the Journal of Economic Entomology.

Shelton enjoys biking, sailing and traveling. He was a coach of the Hobart College Crew Team for several years, including a boat that finished second in the nationals. He is married to Ann Shelton.

(updated March, 2015)