Natalie Hernandez

Joined: Mar 15, 2018 Last Active: Jul 02, 2022 iNaturalist

I have my B.S. and M.Sc. in Entomology from the University of Wisconsin, and my graduate research focused on alate aphids collected with pan traps in potato fields around the state. I got a job as an area identifier in Entomology with USDA-APHIS-PPQ right out of grad school and have continued to expand aphids as my specialty. I spent my first three years in South San Francisco, CA then transferred to El Paso, TX for the cheaper cost of living.

Most of my experience is with winged morphs, and I usually have them under a dissecting scope or slide mounted, so I'm still learning how to ID wingless morphs and live aphids from images.

As an undergrad, taxonomy was my favorite subject. I got to work closely with Dr. Daniel Young to help hone my identifying skills, and also worked as a student hourly in the Medical Entomology lab with Dr. Susan Paskewitz.

After undergrad, I worked for UC Davis County extension in Bakersfield for two years. I was a lab assistant, went out and did all the grunt work for my bosses, arranged the collection, IDed things, collected samples from the field, and whatever other odd jobs they needed done. I got to be outside in the Cali sun almost everyday :)

I returned to the University of Wisconsin to work on my M.Sc. with Dr. Russ Groves, the vegetable entomologist. My thesis was focused on Aphids spreading Potato Virus Y. I set up traps in Wisconsin potatoes and collected specimens all summer. Then I spent the winter keying out the alate aphids I collected and tried to figure out if there is a particular species that spreads the virus at a certain time of year or if it just depends on aphid numbers in general. I didn't really get much virus data, but definitely learned a lot about aphids and their flight patterns in Wisconsin. I also got some experience as a T.A. in Introductory Biology and Introduction to Entomology.

I have taken classes in general entomology, taxonomy of immatures and matures, advanced taxonomy of coleoptera, and advanced taxonomy of diptera. I've actually taken almost every class taught by the entomology department at the UW including insect pest management, biocontrol, behavior, ecology, physiology, and medical/veterinary Entomology.

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