Montana State University

MSU professor named vice president-elect of the Entomological Society of America

September 8, 2016 -- By Jenny Lavey, MSU News Service

Bob Peterson, professor of entomology in the MSU Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences in the College of Agriculture, was recently named vice president-elect of the Entomological Society of America. MSU photo by Kelly Gorham.

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Tel: (406) 994-4571

BOZEMAN – Bob Peterson, Montana State University professor of entomology in the MSU College of Agriculture’s Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, was recently named vice president-elect of the Entomological Society of America, or ESA.

Peterson will begin his term in October at the end of the organization’s annual meeting in Orlando. He will then serve as ESA’s vice president in 2018, president in 2019 and past president in 2020.

“ESA is the world’s largest organization that represents and serves entomologists, and it’s an honor to be elected by its 7,000 members,” Peterson said.  “As the recent Zika disease crisis has shown us, the need remains strong for entomologists and research on insects.”

At MSU, Peterson leads research in agricultural and biological risk assessment. The research is centered on comparative risk assessment, including biotechnology risk, invasive species risk and pesticide risk. Additional research areas include insect ecology, plant-stress ecophysiology and integrated pest management. He has authored or co-authored 104 peer-reviewed publications, 13 book chapters and one book.

Peterson also teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses, including environmental risk assessment, insect ecology and various special-topics graduate courses. He also directs MSU's online master’s degree program in environmental sciences.

Peterson’s work with ESA is important for the university, said Charles Boyer, MSU vice president of agriculture.

“At MSU, our faculty are deeply engaged with their fields by highly active research and professional engagement,” he said. “Robert being elected to the ESA presidential line is a wonderful example of our faculty understanding that the land-grant mission and service extends well beyond Montana.”

Peterson joined ESA in 1985 and throughout his membership has been engaged in both program and governance activities. He has been a contributing co-editor of American Entomologist since 2001 and served as program chair of the ESA annual meeting in 2007. From 2010-2012, he served on the ESA Governing Board and was a member of the Executive Committee of the Governing Board. From 2012-2013, he served as chair of the ESA Presidential Committee on Science Policy that created the society's external engagement focus and Science Fellowships. In addition, he has organized numerous scientific symposia within ESA and served on many other committees.

The Entomological Society of America is the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Founded in 1889, ESA today has nearly 7,000 members affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry and government. Members are researchers, teachers, Extension service personnel, administrators, marketing representatives, research technicians, consultants, students and hobbyists. For more information, visit

For more information about the MSU Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, visit

Contact: Bob Peterson, or (406) 994-7927