Memorial and Research Symposium Dedicated to Rutgers Entomologist

September 28, 2004

New Brunswick, N.J.----Dr. Sridhar Polavarapu, a Rutgers Entomologist who died in May 2004, was honored at a memorial and research symposium on September 17 and 18. The memorial was held on the Rutgers-New Brunswick campus on September 17 and the Research Symposium on Blueberry and Cranberry Entomology was held at the Rutgers EcoComplex in Bordentown on September 18.

"Sridhar was held in high esteem by his fellow colleagues at Rutgers and other universities, as well as the blueberry and cranberry communities that he served in New Jersey and nationwide," says Keith Cooper, acting executive dean of Rutgers' Cook College and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES). "These two events enabled Sridhar's friends and colleagues to honor him with the dignity of a formal memorial, followed by a fitting tribute to the research and outreach that so distinguished him as a superb land grant scholar."

The memorial included tributes from Nick Vorsa, director of the Philip E. Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research and Extension (Marucci Center); Karyn Malinowski, dean of outreach and extension programs; Zane Helsel, chair of the extension specialists department; James Lashomb, chair of the entomology department; Luis Teixeira, postdoctoral research associate at the Marucci Center; Frank Drummond, of the biological sciences department at the University of Maine; Albrecht Koppenhöfer, specialist in turfgrass insect pest management and Ray Samulis, agricultural agent.

Lashomb, Teixeira Drummond and Koppenhöfer also presented research at the research symposium, along with Rufus Isaacs of the entomology department at Michigan State University; James Barry, a postdoctoral associate at the Marucci Center; Robin Stuart of the University of Florida; Aijun Zhang of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA); Anne Averill of the University of Massachusetts; and Donald Weber of USDA.

Drummond, who first met Polavarapu when he was a student in Canada, commented that, when he first met him 10 years ago, "Sridhar was the shining light of the new Canadian pest management researchers."

His boundless support of the blueberry and cranberry industry will be sorely missed, and his extensive contributions to entomology will never be forgotten," says Zhang, who has collaborated with Polavarapu on various research projects and in whose lab Polavarapu did a sabbatical for six months in 2002 and 2003.

Polavarapu came to Rutgers and the Marucci Center as an extension specialist in blueberry and cranberry entomology in February 1994. He earned rank of professor in April 2004. During his ten years at Rutgers he built a nationally and internationally recognized research and extension program. He was appointed associate director of the Marucci Center in 2002.

Polavarapu was recognized for his work in small fruit entomology, insect pheromone biology and pheromone utilization in pest control, and was an invited speaker at numerous national and international symposia. Sridhar maintained the utmost rigorous research program, and was also dedicated to serving the cranberry and blueberry industries in New Jersey and nationwide. He was committed to making sure that growers of New Jersey received the most accurate and recent information on insect conditions in blueberry and cranberry through newsletters and grower meetings.

Highly successful in securing funding for his research programs, he established an endowment fund to support scientific research in cranberry and blueberry entomology at Rutgers. Polavarapu received numerous honors, including the most prestigious award at Cook College, the Abraham Weisblatt Award. He was honored this past year for his service to New Jersey agriculture and the blueberry and cranberry industries by the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture.

As his research program grew, Polavarapu was mentor to staff, students and post-doctoral associates during his years at Rutgers. However, his passion for entomology was never more evident than when he presented a window into the insect world to young children and grade school students that visited the Marucci Center.
Contact: Michele Hujber
Office of Communications

  1. Rutgers
  2. Executive Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  3. School of Environmental and Biological Sciences