Professor Sandy Smith, Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto
Professor Sandy Smith, Faculty of Forestry, Earth Sciences Centre
Dr. Smith’s primary research is on ecological aspects of natural enemies attacking forest insects (invertebrate and vertebrate), and includes parasitoid fitness, field population dynamics and non-target risk assessment. She also works actively in assessing the impacts of forest management on insect biodiversity, communities and guild functioning, as well as the mechanisms and effects of invasive insect species. This includes internationally recognized work on inundative releases of egg parasitoids (Trichogrammaspp.) against major forest insect defoliators as well as recent studies investigating “bottom-up” effects of stand management on natural enemy complexes, and insect populations in general.
Specific objectives of her program are to: 1) Examine the basis and implication of genetic and environmental variation that underlie insect parasitoid quality in commercial mass-production; 2) Evaluate the considerations and potential for using insects to measure operational silvicultural and harvesting effects on forest biodiversity; and 3) Characterize the ecological effect of colonization by non-native invasive forest insect species on natural enemy complexes and competing native species.
Other areas of research include studies on: biodiversity indices in mixed forest canopies, old-growth pine forests and agroforestry systems; economic impact and risk-rating for shoot/tip (white pine weevil) and phloem-feeding (scolytid and cerambycid) beetles; insect communities associated with tree death and decomposition; and insects as a food resource and mechanism for partitioning vertebrate (birds, shrews and amphibian) species in forest communities.
Sandy works closely with research scientists from the Canadian Forest Service and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources on problems of direct relevance to both the forest and pest control industries (Domtar (formerly E.B. Eddy Products), Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve Inc., Novartis Inc. (formerly Ciba-Geigy Inc.), Rohm and Haas Inc.)). With the help of her many graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, Sandy’s laboratory has developed environmentally-friendly control options against several major forest pests as well as provided the forest industry with management guidelines to help assess biodiversity and long-term forest sustainability.