Dr. Ernest S. (Del) Delfosse, professor and former chairperson of the Department of Entomology at Michigan State University (MSU), was elected as Fellow in 2016. He is internationally known for research on biological control, integrated pest management (IPM), tritrophic ecology, risk analysis, science-based biological control regulations, and administrative leadership.
Delfosse was born in 1949 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. His earliest memory of collecting insects was stepping in a yellow jacket nest but escaping injury with his thick denim dungarees, which trapped hundreds of the wasps. He received a B.Sc. in biology (University of Louisville, 1971), an M.Sc. in entomology (South Dakota State University, 1972), and a Ph.D. in entomology (University of Florida, 1975). He became research entomologist and supervisor at the Lee County Hyacinth Control District in Ft. Myers, Florida (1976–1979). He joined the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Canberra, Australia (1979–1991), where he became a principal research scientist and research leader. He returned to the USA as the first director of the National Biological Control Institute in Hyattsville, Maryland (1991–1996). He became a senior national program leader with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Beltsville, Maryland (1996–2008). While with ARS, Del was acting laboratory director of the Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory in Sydney, Montana (1991), and acting center director of the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Illinois (2007). He was chairperson of the Department of Entomology at MSU (2008–2013), and is now a professor there.
Delfosse published 114 papers, abstracts, and invited book chapters on biological control, IPM, risk analysis, and ethics, and edited five books. He had 17 invited consultancies with groups such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, International Atomic Energy Agency, the Government of South Africa, the Australian House of Representatives’ Standing Committee on Industry, Science, and Technology, USDA, and Bilateral Panels with Mexico; chaired or co-chaired more than 40 conferences and workshops; and chaired over 20 grant panels. He received competitive grant funding of nearly $4 million. He mentored students in the USA, Australia, South Africa, and Europe. He developed the phenology-event relatedness testing procedure to clarify physiological versus ecological host range of biological control agents. Delfosse presented more than 400 talks and posters, including 26 keynote addresses and 48 invited presentations. His service to ESA includes president (2011), chair of Section C (Ecology; 2001); chair of Section Ca (Biological Control; 2000); Environmental Entomology Biological Control subject editor (2002–2009); chairing or serving on seven committees; teaching “Responsible Conduct of Research”; and judging student papers and posters. He was the first American to be elected global president of the International Organization for Biological Control (1992–1996). He received more than 20 awards for his administrative leadership and research accomplishments, including three citations from the White House.
Delfosse is an avid fly fisherman, and still avoids yellow jackets. He writes bad poetry and mediocre humorous essays. He has been married to the love of his life, Janet (an artist), for 46 years.
(updated November, 2016)