Dr. Daniel A. PotterDr. Daniel A. Potter

Principal Investigator

Email: dapotter@uky.edu
Address: Department of Entomology
S-225 Agricultural Science Bldg. - North
University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40546-0091
Office Phone: 859.257.7458
Fax: 859.323.1120

Our Vision

  • Provide research leadership for environmentally responsible solutions to insects impacting  plants in urban and suburban landscapes including lawns, golf courses, sport fields, street and shade trees, parks, pastures, nurseries, and other settings
  • Enhance basic understanding of pests and beneficial insects, their interactions with plants in urban landscapes, and their responses to anthropogenic disturbances , especially pesticide inputs
  •  Conduct hypothesis-driven innovative work in conservation biological control, eco-toxicology, urban biodiversity conservation, host plant resistance, and tri-trophic interactions using turf and landscape study systems
  • Develop future leaders in Urban Landscape Entomology through commitment to  graduate education

We interact with professional landscape and turf managers, industry and government scientists, and the public.  Grad students gain independent research skills as well as extensive teaching, extension, and outreach experience, opening diverse career opportunities.  Nearly all of our graduates have gone on to rewarding scientific careers in academia, state or federal positions, or in industry.

We have inordinate fondness for soil insects, especially scarab grubs, as well as Japanese beetles, caterpillars, wood borers, scale insects, leaf miners, ants, earthworms, and other invertebrates important to urban ecosystems. Another focus is on conservation of beneficial insects, including pollinators, and their ecosystem services.  New systems are readily taken on in response to students' interests and emerging pest problems.  

On my web site you will find a brief personal biography, examples of past and present research projects, a list of selected recent publications from our lab, information about current and past graduate students, and brief descriptions of courses that I teach.

Some Accomplishments of Students from Our Lab:

  • 42 past and present graduate students
  • Three recipients of John H. Comstock Award, ESA’s most prestigious graduate student recognition
  • Eight recipients of UK College of Agriculture Outstanding Grad Student Award
  • ESA Leadership Award in Applied Entomology, ESA President’s Prize, ESA scholarships, GCSAA Watson Fellowship, prestigious University fellowships, 18 winners in OVEA Student Paper Competition
  • Former students include 9 University faculty members; leaders in Industry, USDA, State Extension and Regulatory positions, and lawn and landscape consultants and/or business owners. 
  • >70% of the more than 200 refereed scientific papers originating from our lab had student(s) as the primary (first) author.

Potter lab

Potter lab

Current and Recent Students

Bernadette MachBernadette Mach

Doctoral Research: A survey of bee assemblages in the urban landscape and investigating neonicotinoid residues in nectar and pollen using field realistic dosages. 


  • Mach BM, Bondarenko S, Potter DA (2017) Uptake and dissipation of neonicotinoid residues in nectar and foliage of systemically treated woody landscape plants. Environ Tox Chem 9999:1–11 DOI: 10.1002/etc.4021
  • Mach BM, Potter DA (2018) Assessing flowering woody landscape plants for urban bee conservation. PlosOne . In review.

Adam BakerAdam Baker 

Master’s Research: How to Build a Better Monarch Waystation:  Optimizing Use of Milkweeds and Nectar Plants for Monarch Butterfly Conservation 


  • Baker A, Potter DA (2018) Relative attractiveness and usage of eight native milkweed species by monarch butterflies and bees.  J Insect Conservation.  In Review.  

Diana MillerDiana Miller, Masters 2015

Thesis: Evaluating a Novel Endophytic Grass for Its Potential to Reduce Invertebrate Populations and Associated Bird Strike Risk at Airports


  • Miller DM, Redmond CT, Flythe MD, Potter DA (2017) Evaluation of 'Jackal' AR601(Avanex) and Kentucky-31 endophytic tall fescues for suppressing types of invertebrates that contribute to bird strike hazard at airports. Crop, Forage, & Turfgrass Manag,  3(1): 1–11; doi 10.2134/cftm2017.03.0023

Jonathan LarsonJonathan Larson, PhD 2014

Dissertation: Assessing and Mitigating Lawn Insecticide Hazards to Bees and Other Beneficial Invertebrates


  • Larson JL, Redmond CT, Potter DA (2015). Mowing mitigates bioactivity of neonicotinoid insecticides in nectar of flowering lawn weeds and turfgrass guttation. Environ. Toxicol. Chem 34:127-132.
  • Larson JL, Redmond CT, Potter DA (2014). Impacts of a neonicotinoid, neonicotinoid–pyrethroid premix, and anthranilic diamide insecticide on four species of turf inhabiting beneficial insects. Ecotoxicology 23: 252-259.
  • Larson JL, Kesheimer AJ, Potter DA (2014). Pollinator assemblages on dandelion and white clover in urban and suburban lawns. J. Insect Conservation 18:863-873.
  • Larson JL, Redmond CT, Potter DA (2013). Assessing Insecticide Hazard to Bumble Bees Foraging on Flowering Weeds in Treated Lawns. PLoS ONE 8(6):e66375. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066375JL
  • Larson JL, Redmond CT, Potter DA (2012). Comparative impact of an anthranilic diamide and other insecticidal chemistries on beneficial invertebrates and ecosystem services in turf. Pest Manag. Sci. 68: 740-748.

Emily DobbsEmily Dobbs, Masters 2014

Thesis: Enhancing Beneficial Insect Biodiversity and Biological Control in Turf: Mowing Height, Naturalized Roughs and Operation Pollinator 


  • Dobbs EK, Potter DA (2016) Naturalized habitat on golf courses: source of sink for natural enemies and conservation biological control? Urban Ecosyst. DOI 10.1007/s 11252-015-0521-1
  • Dobbs EK and DA Potter (2015). Forging natural links with golf courses for pollinator-related conservation, outreach, teaching, and research. American Entomologist 61: 116–123.
  • Dobbs EK, Potter DA (2014). Conservation biological control and pest performance in lawn turf: Does mowing height matter? Environmental Management 53: 648-659.

Craig KeathleyCraig Keathley, PhD 2011

Dissertation: Insect Response to Modified Forage Grasses and Implications for Pasture Sustainability 


  • Keathley CP, Harrison RL, Potter DA (2012). Baculovirus infection of the armyworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) feeding on spiny- or smooth-edged grass (Festuca spp.) leaf blades. Biol. Control 61: 147-54.
  • Keathley CP, Potter DA (2012). Arthropod abundance in tall fescue pastures containing novel “safe” endophytes. Ann. Appl. Biol. DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0418.2011.01698.x
  • Keathley CP, Potter DA (2011). Behavioral plasticity of a grass-feeding caterpillar in response to spiny or smooth-edged leaf blades. Arthropod-Plant Interactions 5: 339-49.
  • Keathley CP, Potter DA (2010). Does Modification of Tall Fescue Leaf Texture and Forage Nutritive Value for Improved Livestock Performance Increase Suitability for a Grass-feeding Caterpillar? Crop Sci. 51(1): 370-380. doi:10.2135/cropsci2010.03.0163

Andrea Bixby-BrosiAndrea Bixby-Brosi, PhD 2011

Dissertation: Biological control of the black cutworm, Agrotis ipsilon (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), and endophyte mediated tritrophic interactions in turfgrass 


  • Bixby-Brosi AJ, Potter DA (2012). Can a chitin-synthesis-inhibiting turfgrass fungicide enhance black cutworm susceptibility to a baculovirus? Pest Manag. Sci. 68: 324-29.
  • Bixby-Brosi AJ, Potter DA (2011). Endophyte-mediated tritrophic interactions between a grass-feeding caterpillar and two parasitoid species with different life histories. Arthopod-Plant Interactions 6: 27-34.
  • Bixby AJ, Potter D.A. (2010). Influence of endophyte (Neotyphodium lolii) infection of perennial ryegrass on susceptibility of the black cutworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) to a baculovirus. Biological Control, 54: 141-146.
  • Bixby-Brosi AJ, Potter DA (2010). Evaluating a naturally-occurring baculovirus for extended biological control of the black cutworm (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in golf course habitats. J. Econ. Entomol. 103:1555-63.

Jennie CondraJennie Condra, Masters 2011 (Plan B)

Research Practicum: Floral Resources to attract parasitoids of white grubs


  • Condra J, Brady C, Potter DA (2010). Resistance of landscape-suitable elms to Japanese beetle, gall aphids, and leaf miners, with notes on life history of Orchestes alni and Agromyza aristata in Kentucky. Arboric. Urban For. 36:101-09.

Derrick HammonsDerrick Hammons, PhD 2009

Dissertation: Insect-Plant Relationships and Sustainable Management of Popillia japonica and Continis nitida in Vineyards 


  • Hammons DL, Kurtural SK, Potter DA (2010). Impact of insecticide-manupulated defoliation by Japanse beetle (Popillia japonica) on grapevines from vineyard establishment through production. Pest Manag. Sci. 66: 565-571.
  • Hammons DL, Kurtural SK, Potter DA (2010). Phenological resistance of grapes to the green June beetle, an obligate fruit-eating scarab. Ann. Appl. Biol. 156: 271-279.
  • Hammons DL, Kurtural SK, Potter DA (2010). Japanese beetle defoliation reduced primary bud cold hardiness during vineyard establishment. Am. J. Enology and Viticulture 61:130-34.
  • Hammons DL, Kurtural SK, Newman MC, Potter DA (2009). Invasive Japanese beetles facilitate aggregation and injury by a native scarab pest of ripening fruits. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 106: 3686–3691.
  • Hammons DL, Kurtural SK, Potter DA (2008). Japanese Beetles Facilitate Feeding by Green June Beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) on Ripening Grapes. Environ. Entomol. 37(2): 608-614. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ee/37.2.608 

Sarah VanekSarah Vanek, Masters 2009

Thesis: Ant-Exclusion and Use of Resistant Woody Plants for Sustainable Management of Soft Scales 


  • Vanek, SJ, Potter DA (2010). An interesting case of ant-created enemy-free space for magnolia scale (Hemiptera: Coccidae). J. Insect Behavior 23: 389-395.
  • Vanek, SJ, Potter DA (2010). Ant-exclusion to promote biological control of soft scales (Hemiptera: Coccidae) on woody landscape plants. Environ. Entomol. 39:1829-37.