Mike Tarquinio southern pine beetle
Learning to identify Southern Pine Beetle using images and keys at the Long Island Horticulture Research Center Extension
Southern Pine Beetles sorted by Mike in the laboratory

Michael Tarquinio, EES Sophomore

EES undergraduate student Mike Tarquinio is a summer 2017 intern with the New York State (NYS) Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission — a division of Suffolk County Water Authority on Long Island. 
The Commission oversees the management of Long Island’s Pine Barrens forest, which is a patchwork of state, county, town and private lands. The forest is the last wilderness on Long Island, and is vulnerable to the invasive southern pine beetle which is smaller than a grain of rice.
Mike’s job is to use a Geographic Information System (GIS) map provided by the NYS Commission to verify aerial surveys of southern pine beetle infestation on foot. He is analyzing pitch pines and white pines, tagging them and calculating basic forestry parameters so that local foresters can remove infested trees. Mike also spends his time updating and exporting information on the GIS map so that the Commission can evaluate progress. Additionally, he harvests beetles from pheromone traps, which are traps designed to attract the beetles, and takes them to the Long Island Horticulture Research Center Extension of Cornell University where he then identifies the beetles with a microscope and dichotomous key. 
Since starting his summer job tracking the southern pine beetle and doing lab work, Mike reported that, “I have applied everything that I have learned at UMaine and I am excelling!”