Michael Ulyshen Receives U.S. Forest Service Early Career Scientist Award

Michael Ulyshen. Photo by Sean Cook.
Michael Ulyshen. Photo by Sean Cook.

Michael Ulyshen is being recognized with the U.S. Forest Service Early Career Scientist Award, but his achievements in his short time with the Forest Service are remarkable. Ulyshen is a research entomologist with the Southern Research Station (SRS) Insects, Diseases, and Invasive Plants unit. During the last five years, he’s been first author on 34 peer-reviewed publications along with three book chapters, five invited presentations, and received international recognition.

Ulyshen’s first assignment with SRS was in Starkville, Mississipi, with the Termite team. While the termite team’s focus is testing all candidate termiticides (pesticides specifically used to kill termites), Ulyshen’s research took a different path.  “I was looking at the roles termites play in the forest, specifically their contributions to wood decomposition and effects on nutrient cycling,” Ulyshen said.

His exemplary research was recently recognized by the Royal Entomological Society. In September, Ulyshen will deliver an invited lecture sponsored by the Royal Entomological Society at the Ento ’15 Annual National Science Meeting and International Symposium at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.

Ulyshen’s international research previously took him to New Zealand, where he received the 2011 International Mobility Fund from the Royal Society of New Zealand, an independent government body in New Zealand that provides funding and policy advice in the sciences and humanities. In New Zealand, Ulyshen spent 10 weeks working with a colleague in Monterey pine (Pinus radiata) plantations on a study aimed at quantifying native biodiversity using remote sensing technology.

“Michael’s exceptional productivity and this early international recognition of his work are indicative of his tremendous career potential,” said Bud Mayfield, project leader of the SRS Insects, Diseases, and Invasive Plants unit.

In 2014, shortly before Starkville’s termite team was transferred to the Forest Products Laboratory, Ulyshen moved to the Insects, Diseases and Invasive Plants unit in Athens, Georgia, where he received his PhD in entomology from the University of Georgia (UGA). In 2009, he was recognized by the Georgia Entomological Society as the Outstanding PhD student.

“I am excited to be here,” Ulyshen said. “I recently became an adjunct faculty member in the entomology department at UGA and will be working with several graduate students.  I had always secretly hoped to get back to Athens at some point, but never really expected it to happen.”

After he finishes up several projects from his time in Starkville, Ulyshen will focus his research on invasive insects. “In addition to applied research, I am interested in studying how communities of invasive insects and plants interact to impact forest biodiversity and function,” he said.  “I also hope to do some pollinator research.”

Ulyshen traveled  to Washington, D.C. on February 23rd to receive his award from Jimmy Reaves, Forest Service Deputy Chief for Research and Development.

For more information, email Michael Ulyshen at mulyshen@fs.fed.us

Access the latest publications by SRS scientists.



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