Dr. Carey Minteer
Assistant Professor, Biological Control of Invasive Plants
Dr. Minteer develops solutions for controlling the Florida’s invasive plant problems through classical biological control and integrated pest management. Dr. Minteer is currently working to control the Brazilian peppertree, one of the state’s most wide-spread invasive plant species and earleaf acacia, a large tree from Australia.
Dr. Minteer’s familiarity with geographic information systems, or GIS, and remote sensing brings an innovative approach for invasive species research to the UF/IFAS Fort Pierce laboratory. Minteer utilizes satellites to collect spectral signatures, or light reflectance, from plants. With these tools Dr. Minteer can select a large swath of land and collect data about the extent of an infestation of an invasive plant species and, over time, monitor changes in that infestation.
The science involved in the biological control of invasive plant species is sophisticated, and when successful, saves millions of dollars annually because of the reduced need for expensive mechanical and/or chemical control methods.
Dr. Minteer develops solutions for controlling the state’s invasive weed problems through classical biological control and integrated pest management. Current invasive weed targets are Brazilian peppertree, earleaf acacia, and waterhyacinth.
Dr. Minteer works to find the safest and most effective methods to control invasive plants through integrating classical biological control with other control techniques. This integration must be done carefully to avoid any activities that will harm the living biological control agents. Often the combination of control tactics can lead to increased control compared to any tactic used alone.
Dr. Minteer’s extension program involves methods to manage invasive plant species with classical biological control and integrated pest management to support landowners and land managers in Florida. In collaboration with UF/IFAS Cooperative Extension, The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry, and the USDA-ARS Invasive Plant Research Laboratory, Dr. Minteer is working to disseminate biological control agents for the control of the invasive Brazilian peppertree.
Another facet of Dr. Minteer’s extension program is with community outreach and educating the public about the discipline of biological control. In her own words, she said, “Informing the public of the safety and effectiveness of classical biological control is important to me. Classical biological control is an amazing tool capable of protecting the environment from the impacts of invasive plant species.” Dr. Minteer reaches the public through participation in festivals, public lectures, and Extension publications.
Dr. Minteer also believes that it is important to instill a love of science and learning in school-aged children as an educated public makes better decisions that impact our world. Because invasive species are so problematic in Florida, Dr. Minteer designed a six-week program designed to teach elementary school children about invasive species and their control. Multiple schools on the Treasure Coast participate in this program each year. The program has been very well received by both teachers and students and test scores on the material have increased substantially.
- PhD, Entomology, University of Arkansas, 2012
- MSc, Biology, University of Arkansas, 2007
- BSc, Biology, University of Central Arkansas, 2000
Awards and Service
- International Organization of Biological Control Nearctic Section: Early Career Outstanding Scientist Award, 2021
- Florida Association of County Agricultural Agents: Specialist of the Year Award, 2020
- The National Association of Counties Achievement Award. Air Potato Challenge Days. Category: County Resiliency: Infrastructure, Energy and Sustainability, 2019
- Florida State Horticultural Society’s Natural Resources Section Best Paper Award. Paper: Air Potato Biological Control Extension Program: A success story, 2018
- Florida Entomological Society Annual Achievement Award for Extension, 2017
- Associate Subject Editor, Environmental Entomology (2019-present)
- Entomological Society of America
- Leadership Development Committee, 2021-2022 (Chair, 2022)
- President's Prize Competition judge, 2013-2021
- Student Affairs Committee, 2011-2013 (Chair, 2013)
- Florida Invasive Species Council, Board Member (2019-present)
- Florida Entomological Society
- Member at Large (2020-2021)
- Secretary (2022)
- Southeastern Branch Entomological Society of America, Member Awards Committee (2018-2020)
- Organization for Tropical Studies, Tropical Biology 17-3, invited professor (2017)
- Biological Control of Arthropods and Weeds Working Group, Chair (2014, 2020)