Assistant Research Scientist
Dept. of Entomology
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX
Dr. Puckett earned his Bachelors and Masters Degrees in the Department of Biological Sciences at Sam Houston State University under the advisement of Dr. Jerry Cook, and his Ph.D. in the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University under the advisement of Dr. Marvin Harris. His dissertation work addressed field ecology of introduced Pseudacteon phorid flies and red imported fire ants (RIFA) with the goal of improving fire ant biocontrol. His work combined manipulative laboratory and field experiments to refine our understanding of the potential for these flies to serve as successful biological control agents against RIFA. In addition, Robert developed a novel method to detect and monitor phorids in the field. GIS-based investigations of phorid micro-habitat selection and suitability, spatial distribution patterns and phenology have been enhanced by this new and more sensitive monitoring tool and his dissertation research explored these aspects of the ecology and biology of two recently introduced phorid species, as well as phorid interactions with RIFA and one another.
Robert’s research in the Center for Urban and Structural Entomology will primarily involve investigations into the ecology and biology of Formosan subterranean termites (Coptotermes formosanus Shiraki). His research experience involving social insect biology, insect ecology and behavior, invasive species biology and GIS leave him ideally suited for this position. In addition, he will continue a number of RIFA/phorid fly experiments that began concurrently with his dissertation work.
Robert is currently serving as Co-Chair of the ESA Ethics and Rules Committee, and served as President of the Entomology Graduate Student Organization at Texas A&M (’06-‘07). He is supported in all of these efforts by his wife Jennifer and their children Lauren and Cooper.