Dr. Richard Stouthamer, a professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of California, Riverside (UCR), was elected as an ESA Fellow in 2018. He is internationally known for his research on Wolbachia, invasive species, and insect-transmitted plant pathogens.
Professor Stouthamer was born in The Netherlands in 1954. He attended the Delft University of Technology for one year studying chemistry, then changed to the Wageningen University where he studied environmental sciences and biology, receiving his M.Sc. in biology in 1983. He obtained his Ph.D. in 1989 in entomology from UCR, studying parthenogenetic reproduction in parasitoid wasps with Robert F. Luck. After graduation in 1989, he did a post-doc with Jack Werren at the University of Rochester, in Rochester, New York, working on sex ratio distorters initially in Nasonia and later in Trichogramma wasps. In 1991, he joined the faculty of the Laboratory of Entomology at the Wageningen University, continuing his work on host symbiont relationships in parasitoid wasps and biological control. In 2001, he took his current position at UCR.
Stouthamer's research has been motivated by trying to improve biological control of pests. His Ph.D. research focused on using the all-female reproduction in several parasitoid species to improve biological control. During these studies, he discovered the involvement of microorganisms in causing parthenogenesis in many different parasitoid wasp species. Follow-up studies on these bacteria identified them as Wolbachia. Fieldwork into this relationship in the desert wasp Trichogramma kaykai led to the discovery of an additional sex-ratio distorter that causes all-male offspring. His work on invasive species has centered on determining the identity and native range of invading populations, using mainly molecular methods. Such methods were also used to study the variety of pathovars of the plant pathogen Xylella fastidiosa, which causes various scorching diseases in different tree species globally.
Stouthamer has published more than 160 scientific papers and 15 book chapters. He has guided about 50 M.Sc. projects for students at the Wageningen University and has graduated one M.Sc. at UCR and 12 Ph.D. students, with two Ph.D. students currently in his group. He has also mentored 13 postdoctoral scientists and 16 visiting scientists. He has presented or coauthored numerous presentations at state, national, and international conferences. He was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2007), received the Recognition Award of the ESA Pacific Branch in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry and Toxicology (2008), the International Organisation of Biological Control–Nearctic Region Section's Distinguished Scientist Award (2010), and the ESA Recognition Award (2013).
Married to his wife, Carol, they have two daughters who are both biologists; their older daughter Claire is a fresh water ecologist in California, while their younger daughter Corinne is an entomologist in Arizona.
(updated August, 2018)