Nonlinear Science & Mathematical Physics Seminar

Nonlinear Science & Mathematical Physics Seminar

Deciphering the Mechanisms Regulating Arthropod Behavior and Ecosystem Function: Recycling Waste to Produce Animal Feed



January 22, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm


Howey School of Physics




Texas A&M University


Dr. Tomberlin will discuss species interactions on ephemeral resources such as vertebrate carrion, decomposing plant material, living individuals, and animal wastes in order to better understand the mechanisms regulating arthropod behavior as related to nutrient recycling and protein production.

One facet of his laboratory, which could be of interest to those in attendance at this meeting, is dissecting quorum sensing by microbes and determining its role in regulating interkingdom interactions. His lab has demonstrated quorum sensing by bacteria partially regulates mosquito attraction to blood-meals, fire ant attraction to baits, and blow fly attraction and colonization of carrion. His laboratory, in collaboration with others, has also discovered the ecological relevance of a toxin produced by an environmental pathogen responsible for a neglected tropical disease.


Dr. Jeffery K. Tomberlin is a Professor, AgriLife Research Fellow, and Presidential Impact Fellow in the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University. He is also the Director of the Forensic & Investigative Sciences Program at Texas A&M University, and the principle investigator of the Forensic Laboratory for Investigative Entomological Sciences (F.L.I.E.S.) Facility ( at Texas A&M University.

Since arriving on campus at Texas A&M University in 2007, 14 Ph.D. and 20 M.S. students have completed their degrees under his supervision. In total, he has published numerous papers, proceedings, extension articles, book chapters, and books on decomposition with approximately 6,000+ citations to date. Dr. Tomberlin welcomes those that are interested in collaborating or gaining experience in sustainable agriculture or other areas of his research to visit the F.L.I.E.S. Facility.

Dr. Tomberlin is considered a global leader in research on the black soldier, which is revolutionizing sustainable waste management globally. In fact, this species of insect is considered the crown jewel of the insects as feed industry due to its ability to recycle organic waste and produce insect biomass that can be used as feed for livestock, poultry, and aquaculture. This species has been approved for use in such a capacity globally- including the USA & European Union. Studies published by Dr. Tomberlin serve as the cornerstone allowing for this insect to be industrialized globally, such as systems for captive breeding, pathogen, toxin, and antibiotic reduction, bioenergy production, feed trials, and system optimization through microbiology and genetics/genomics.