Gordon Bennett (PI)

Research Activities

so much!



Kylle Roy, Msc

ROD Research Technician

Research Activities

Kylle will be working on ROD entomology research on the Hawaii Island with Curtis Ewing. She is based out of Komohana Research Extension Facilities in Hilo.

Kirsten Poff, Msc

Ph.D. Student

Research Activities

Kirsten has a background in plant-microbe interactions and invertebrate ecology. Her current research focuses on facultative and obligate microbial symbionts in native and nonnative insect species. She is interested in symbiont diversity and genome evolution, and how microbial associations shape ecology and evolution of their host species. Kirsten earned her M.S. degree in plant and soil science at Texas Tech University and a B.S. in marine science from Eckerd college.


Meng Mao, PhD

Junior Researcher (e.g., postdoc)

Research Activities

Dr. Mao's research focuses on the molecular interaction and genome evolution of obligate intracellular symbionts in plant sap-feeding leafhoppers. I am particularly interested in investigating how distinct symbionts interact with each other and with their host at the genomic level, how obligate symbioses shape insect diversity and how symbiotic partners response to environmental change. I use genomic tools to address these questions.


Curtis Ewing, PhD

Junior Researcher

Research Activities

Dr. Ewing has a background in insect forest ecology, systematics, evolution and taxonomy. He also has expertise in medical entomology, studying epizootiology of vector borne disease outbreaks. Dr. Ewing's current work focuses on beetles and their fungal associates, specifically endemic Hawaiian sap beetles (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) and ambrosia beetles (Curculionidae: Scolytinae), and community assembly in wet forests in Hawai’i. He earned his M.S. degree in Zoology from the UH Mānoa, a Ph.D. in entomology from Cornell University. Curtis started his college career at the State University of NY at Stonybrook where he focused on evolution and ecology with an emphasis on marine invertebrates. He has an impressive 20 years of experience doing field work in Hawai’i and French Polynesia. When not in the forest Dr. Ewing often can be found cycling up Mauna Loa Rd. huffing and puffing and trying to make it up to the observatory.