In memoriam: Steve Castle

Steve Castle, Ph.D., retired USDA-ARS scientist in Arizona, passed away October 24 at the age of 68.

Dr. Steve Castle passed away on October 24th, 2019 after a year-long illness. Dr. Castle joined USDA-ARS as a post-doctoral associate in 1992 where he was stationed in Brawley, California to work on the notorious sweetpotato whitefly, a newly invasive pest that was devastating multiple crops in the southern tier of the USA. His work in Brawley helped to develop management systems for the pest in cotton and various vegetable crops. In 1998, he permanently joined the ARS Western Cotton Research Laboratory in Phoenix, which became the Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center in Maricopa, AZ in 2006. Dr. Castle earned a B.A. and M.A. in Biology at Cal State Chico and then moved to the University of California – Riverside to complete his Ph.D. in Entomology while working as a technician in the USDA-ARS Boyden Lab in Riverside. Dr. Castle made numerous contributions towards understanding the biology and ecology of key pests of vegetable and melon crops, cotton, citrus, and table and wine grapes. He was an expert in the areas of insect population dynamics, population ecology, insects as vectors of plant pathogens and associated epidemiology, insecticide resistance management, sampling, cultural control, and development of control strategies for exotic pests. Dr. Castle authored over 100 publications plus numerous book chapters. He presented numerous invited presentations and keynote lectures on his work at professional conferences, symposia and workshops throughout the world. As an ARS scientist Dr. Castle secured external funding individually or as a team member in excess of $1.5 million through competitive or other grant programs. He served as a section leader and was involved in the organization of the national plan for sweetpotato whitefly from 1991 - 2000. His research is recognized nationally and internationally. Dr. Castle retired in March of 2018 after 33 years of service with ARS. He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Nilima, who herself was an accomplished scientist at UC-Riverside before her retirement, and often collaborated with Dr. Castle. He was a free-spirit and a great friend and colleague to many. He will be dearly missed.