Alana L. Jacobson

Associate Professor (Row Crops Entomology and Vector Biology)

Entomology & Plant Pathology

(334) 844-5011 


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301 Funchess Hall
Auburn Univ, AL 36849



  • 2012: Ph.D., North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, Entomology
  • 2008: M.S., Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, Entomology
  • 2004: B.S., New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, Agricultural Biology


  • 2014-present: Assistant Professor, Auburn University
  • 2012-2014: USDA NIFA Postdoctoral Fellow, North Carolina State University


  • 2000-present: Member, Entomological Society of America
  • 2013-present: Member, American Phytopathological Society


My research interests are in understanding the abiotic and biotic factors that drive the spatial and temporal dynamics of insect populations in relation to economically important traits and agricultural practices. My work encompasses everything from investigating immediate pest management problems of local, regional, national, or international scale, to advancing basic understanding of fundamental concepts in biology and related sciences, to working toward solutions for big-picture issues related to sustainable agricultural production and feeding the growing population. Applied research projects funded by the USDA, state, and national commodity groups aim at improving our understanding of biology, ecology and integrated pest management of insect pests of cotton, soybean, sorghum and peanut.
A large component of my current research program is also focused on better understanding vector-virus interactions responsible for transmission of plant pathogens, including genetic mechanisms of vector-transmission in insect and pathogen populations, how population-level processes shape viral genetic diversity and evolution, and the epidemiological significance of these interactions. My lab researches thrips transmitted tospoviruses, aphid transmitted Cotton leafroll dwarf virus, and whitefly transmitted begomoviruses. Currently, my lab is investigating the effect of whitefly transmission on evolution of East African cassava mosaic virus, African cassava mosaic virus, Tomato mottle virus and Tomato yellow leaf curl virus to better understand the impact of whitefly transmission on begomovirus genetic diversity and evolution.
This work is being conducted in collaboration with NCSU, Rutgers, NC A&T, Biosciences Eastern and Central Africa – International Livestock Research Institute Hub in Nairobi, Kenya and the Mikocheni Agricultural Research Institute, in Tanzania. I also have an interest in using population genetics as a tool to better understand the development and spread of economically important traits, and have an ongoing project examining variation in population genetic structuring of a thrips pest of cotton in relation to variation in insecticide resistance status.


ENTM 4020 — Economic Entomology, Fall Semesters


  • Lahiri, S., X. Ni. G.D. Buntin, S. Punnuri, A. Jacobson, F. P.F. Reay-Jones, and M.D. Toews. 2019. Combining host plant resistance and foliar insecticide application to manage Melanaphis sacchari (Hemiptera: Aphididae) in grain sorghum. International Journal of Pest Management. In press
  • Haar, P.J., G.D. Buntin, A. Jacobson, *A. Pekarcik, M.O. Way, and A. Zarrabi. 2019. Evaluation of control tactics for management of sugarcane aphid, Melanaphis sacchari (Hemiptera: Aphididae) in grain sorghum. Journal of Economic Entomology. Accepted, pending revisions.
  • Gawande, S.J., S. Anandhan, A.A. Ingle, P.B. Royalwar, K.S. Khandagale, T.B. Gawai, A. Jacobson, R. Asokan and Major Singh. 2019. Microbiome profiling of the onion thrips, Thrips tabaci Lindeman (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). PLoS One. Accepted, pending revisions.
  • Graham, S.H., F.M. Musser, A.L. Jacobson, *A. Chitturi, B. Catchot, and S.D. Stewart. 2019. Behavioral Responses of Thrips (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) and Tarnished Plant Bug (Hemiptera: Miridae) to a New Bt Toxin, Cry51Aa.834_16 in Cotton. Journal of Economic Entomology. toz058,
  • Jacobson, A.L., S. Duffy, and P. Sseruwagi. 2018. Whitefly-transmitted viruses threatening cassava production in Africa. Current Opinion in Virology. 33: 167-176.
  • *Chitturi, A., K. Conner, E.J. Sikora, and A.L. Jacobson. 2018. Monitoring Seasonal Distribution of Thrips Vectors of Soybean Vein Necrosis Virus in Alabama Soybeans. Journal of Economic Entomology. doi: 10.1093/jee/toy237
  • Chen, C., J. Li, Y. Tang, A. Jacobson, P. Dang, M. Wang, and A. Hagan. 2018. Association mapping of SSR markers to Tomato spotted wilt virus resistance in cultivated peanuts. The Crop Journal. 6: 516-526.
  • Nibouche, S., L. Costet, J.R. Holt, A. Jacobson, *A. Pekarcik, J. Sadeyen, J.S. Armstrong, G.C. Peterson, N. McLaren, and R.F. Medina. 2018. Invasion of sorghum in the Americas by a new sugarcane aphid (Melanaphis sacchari) superclone. PLoS One.
  • Reisig, D.D., A.S. Huseth, J.S. Bachelor, M.A. Aghaee, L. Braswell, H.J. Burrack, K. Flanders, J.K. Greene, D.A. Herbert Jr., A. Jacobson, S.V. Paula-Moraes, P. Roberts, and S.V. Taylor. 2018. Long term empirical and observational evidence of practical Helicoverpa zea resistance to cotton with pyramided Bt toxins. Journal of Economic Entomology. doi: 10.1093/jee/toy106
  • Sikora, E.J., K.N. Conner, A.L. Jacobson. 2018. Incidence of Soybean Vein Necrosis Virus in Alabama Soybean Fields. Plant Health Progress. 19: 76-81.
  • Hehe, W., G.G. Kennedy, F.P.F. Reay-Jones, D.D. Reisig, M.D. Toews, P.M. Roberts, D.A. Herbert Jr., S.V. Taylor, A.L. Jacobson, and J.K. Greene. 2018. Molecular identification of thrips species infesting cotton in the southeastern USA. Journal of Economic Entomology. doi:10.1093/jee/toy036
  • Huseth, A.S., T. Chappell, A. Chitturi, A.L. Jacobson, and G.G. Kennedy. 2018. Insecticide resistance signals negative consequences of widespread neonicotinoid use on multiple field crops in the US cotton belt. Environmental Science and Technology. 52: 2314-2322. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.7b06015
  • Knight, I.A., P.M. Roberts, W.A. Gardner, K.M. Oliver, A. Jacobson, and M.D. Toews. 2017. Effect of Beauveria bassiana (Hypocreales: Clavicipitaceae) and fungicide applications on Megacopta cribraria (Hemiptera: Plastaspidae) in soybean. Crop, Forage and Turfgrass Management. 3: doi:10.2134/cftm2017.05.0034.
  • Reay-Jones, F.P.F., J.K. Greene, A. Herbert, A.L. Jacobson, G.G. Kennedy, D.D. Reisig, and P.M. Roberts. 2017. Within-plant distribution and dynamics of thrips species (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) in Cotton. Environmental Entomology. 110: 1563-1575.
  • Gawande, S.J., S. Anandhan, A.A. Ingle, A.L. Jacobson, and R. Asokan. 2017. Heteroplasmy due to coexistence of mtCOI haplotypes from different lineages of the Thrips tabaci cryptic species group. Bulletin of Entomological Research. doi:10.1017/S0007485317000025
  • Jacobson, A.L., B.A. Nault, E.L. Vargo, and G.G. Kennedy. 2016. Restricted gene flow among lineages of Thrips tabaci supports genetic divergence among cryptic species groups. PLoS One. 11(9): e0163882. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0163882
  • Huseth, A.S., T.M. Chappell, K. Langdon, S.C. Morsello, S. Martin, J.K. Greene, A. Herbert, A.L. Jacobson, F.P. Reay-Jones, T. Reed, D.D. Reisig, P.M. Roberts, R. Smith, and G.G. Kennedy. 2016. Frankliniella fusca resistance to neonicotinoid insecticides: an emerging challenge for cotton pest management in the eastern United States. Pest Management Science doi: 10.1002/ps.4232
  • Rotenberg, D., A.L. Jacobson, D.J. Schneweis, and A.E. Whitfield. 2015. Thrips transmission of tospoviruses. Current Opinion in Virology. doi: 10.1016/j.coviro.2015.08.003
  • Jacobson, A.L., and G.G. Kennedy. 2014. Electrical penetration graph studies to investigate the effects of cyantraniliprole treatments on feeding behavior of Myzus persicae (Hemiptera: Aphididae) on Capsicum annuum. Pest Management Science. doi:10.1002/ps.3626
  • Jacobson, A.L., and G.G. Kennedy. 2013. Effect of cyantraniliprole on feeding behavior and virus transmission of Frankliniella fusca and Frankliniella occidentalis (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on Capsicum annuum. Crop Protection 54: 251-258.
  • Jacobson, A.L., and G.G. Kennedy. 2013. Specific insect-virus interactions are responsible for the vector competence of different Thrips tabaci isolines to transmit different Tomato spotted wilt virus isolates. PLoS One. 8(1): doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0054567
  • Jacobson, A.L., W. Booth, E.L. Vargo, and G.G. Kennedy. 2013. Thrips tabaci population genetic structure and polyploidy in North Carolina in relation to competency as a vector of Tomato spotted wilt virus. PLoS One. 8(1): doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0054484
  • Jacobson, A.L., J.S. Johnston, D. Rotenberg, A.E. Whitfield, W. Booth, E.L. Vargo, and G.G. Kennedy. 2013. Genome size and ploidy inference in four species of Thysanoptera, Thripidae and Aeolothripidae. Insect Molecular Biology. 22: 12-17. doi:10.1111/j.13652583.2012.01165.x
  • Jacobson, A.L., and G.G. Kennedy. 2011. The effect of three rates of cyantraniliprole on the transmission of Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus by Frankliniella fusca and Frankliniella occidentalis (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) to Capsicum annuum. Crop Protection. 30: 512515.
  • Jacobson, A.L., R.E. Foster, C. Krupke, W.D. Hutchison, B. Pittendrigh, and R. Weinzierl. 2009. Resistance to pyrethroid insecticides in Helicoverpa zea (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in Indiana and Illinois. Journal of Economic Entomology. 102: 2289-2295.
  • Jacobson, A.L., D.C. Thompson, L. Murray, and S.F. Hansen. 2006. Establishing guidelines to improve identification of fire ants Solenopsis xyloni and Solenopsis invicta. J. Econ. Entomol. 99: 313-322.