Gail Langellotto-Rhodaback
Associate Professor, Urban and Community Horticulture Extension, Statewide Master Gardener Program Coordinator

The ecology of urban and suburban landscapes remains relatively unexplored - although such habitats have great potential to positively contribute to the conservation of pollinators, parasitoids and the ecosystem services that they confer. 

Working with the OSU Extension Master Gardeners, state and local agencies, as well as non-profits and other non-governmental organizations, I am helping to develop a better research-based understanding of how to design and sustainably manage gardens and parks to maximize ecosystem services.  My Extension and Outreach efforts are focused on communicating these and other research-backed management practices to home gardeners, commercial landscapers, and others.

OSU Campus
Department of Horticulture
4017 Ag and Life Sciences Bldg
Corvallis, OR 97331-7304
United States
(541) 737-5175

Research

My overall research interests are in developing a better understanding of how gardens and greenspaces can be designed and managed so that they contribute to rather than detract from ecosystem services.  I am particularly interested in the services of pollination and biological control in gardens and other greenspaces.

I have broad interests in the community ecology of insects, and have previously studied: cannibalism in wolf spiders, facultative hyperparasitism in parasitoid wasps and the use of stable isotopes to infer arthropod community interactions. Currently, my research focuses on investigations into the potential of developed landscapes (i.e. urbanized areas) to conserve beneficial insects, such as pollinators and natural enemies. In addition, I am interested in quantifying the ecosystem services of pollination and biological control within urban areas. The success of these investigations hinges on the support and active involvement of various stakeholders, such as private homeowners and nursery/landscape professionals. Thus, outreach, extension and education are inherently coupled with my research program.

The Potential for Pollinator Conservatories within Developed Landscapes

Due to the decline of the European honey bee, coupled with an increased awareness of the utility and necessity of alternative pollinators in agricultural and natural systems, several federal and non-profit organizations promote the protection of native pollinators and the ecosystem service of pollination that they provide. The importance of private homeowners and nursery/landscape professionals to the conservation of insect pollinators is recognized by non-profit organizations such as the Xerxes Society and federal agencies such as EPA and USDA. All of these agencies have highlighted the contributions that private individuals and the landscaping industry can make to pollinator conservation efforts. Given that much of the land in the United States is privately owned, it is wise to consider the role that the general public can play in conserving ecosystem services.

That ecosystem services can be conserved in developed landscapes may seem counterintuitive, since the prevalence of suburban and urban neighborhoods in many areas of the United States has generally had adverse affects on biodiversity. However, the proliferation of ornamental, flowering plants within urban/suburban gardens and parks suggests that these habitats may provide beneficial resources to native pollinators. A diversity of nectar-producing flowering plants can be found in many urban gardens and parks. The abundance and diversity of these plants may promote a diverse and abundant pollinator assemblage. Furthermore, urban planners may be able to contribute to the conservation of insect pollinators by incorporating more greenspace (i.e. urban parks and gardens) into developed landscapes. Because many bees nest in the ground or in cavities, such as hollow twigs and stems, an increase in greenspace may increase nest site availability for bees.

Ultimately, it is my intention to pursue a greater understanding of how developed landscapes may influence the ecosystem service of pollination. A more abundant and diverse pollinator community in the local area of a garden doesn’t necessarily translate into increased fruit/vegetable yield in gardens and improved native plant fitness in the vicinity of gardens. In fact, the extreme diversity of plants grown in gardens and parks may dilute the visitation of insect pollinators to plants that are grown by gardeners for the fruits and vegetables that they yield. Future research will focus on developing an understanding of how different garden configurations may impact fruit/vegetable yield, and how gardens may impact the fitness of native plants in adjacent habitats.
 

Biography

I was born in Baltimore, MD, and spent the first 30 years of my life living within a 40 mile radius of where I was born.  Although I did not have the opportunity to hike pristine habitats or to meaningfully explore natural areas, I fell in love with ecology (specifically, insect ecology) during my time as an undergraduate and graduate student.

Although my graduate and post-doctoral work was conducted in natural (e.g. forests, salt marshes, grasslands) or agricultural (e.g. cotton, papaya) areas - my first job was at a University in the south Bronx.  Knowing that natural or agricultural field sites would be difficult to find - I quickly reconnected with my love for cities, and began to study the ecology of pollinators in urban community gardens.

Education

2002 Ph.D., Entomology, University of Maryland College Park (Advisor: Dr. Robert Denno)
1996 M.S., Entomology, University of Maryland College Park (Advisor: Dr. Robert Denno)
1993 B.S., Biology, University of Maryland Baltimore County

Professional Experience

  • 2013 - Present.  Associate Professor and State Program Leader, Oregon Master Gardener Program.  Department of Horticulture, Oregon State University.
  • 2007-2013. Assistant Professor and State Program Leader, Oregon Master Gardener Program. Department of Horticulture, Oregon State University
  • 2003-2007. Assistant Professor. Department of Biological Sciences, Fordham University
  • 2002-2003. Post-Doctoral Research Associate. Department of Entomology, University of California Davis (Supervisor: Dr. Jay Rosenheim)
  • 2000-2001. Coordinator. University Teaching and Learning Program, Center for Teaching Excellence, University of Maryland
  • 2001-2002. Gahan Fellow. Department of Entomology, University of Maryland
  • 1994-2000. Graduate Teaching Assistant. University of Maryland

Professional Affilations

  • American Society for Horticultural Science
  • Entomological Society of America
  • Oregon Agricultural Extension Association
  • Oregon State University Extension Association
  • Pi Alpha Xi
I accept graduate students for Horticulture

Outreach and Extension

My current work within extension focuses on developing solid, mutually-beneficial relationships between Oregon State University and (1) Master GardenersTM, (2) private homeowners and (3) landscape and nursery professionals within the state of Oregon.

Specifically, my work in extension recognizes that Oregon, like many other areas of the United States and the world, is becoming more urbanized. For example, the US Census Bureau estimates that the population of Oregon has increased 8.2% from 2000 to 2006. As previously rural or unmanaged lands become more developed, and as more individuals and households share land area, Oregon State University is well-situated to work with the Oregon Master GardenersTM (and other organizations and individuals) to educate the public about sustainable land management practices, and to further research on the sustainable use of private lands.

 

Publications

Recent Research Publications

Fry, J. B. and G. A. Langellotto.  2013.  Generating potential solutions for dealing with problem volunteers. Journal of Extension [On-line] 51(6) Article 6TOT3. Available at: http://www.joe.org/joe/2013december/tt3.php.

Chen, Y. H., G. A. Langellotto, A. T. Barrion and N. L. Cuong.  2013. Arthropod diversity and community composition in seven wild and cultivated rice fields in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam.  Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 106: 100-110.

Langellotto-Rhodaback, G. A. and W. Miller.  2012.  Demographics and perceptions of Master Gardener volunteers in Oregon.  International Journal of Volunteer Administration.  Vol. XXIV, No. 2.

Langellotto, G. A. and A. Gupta*. 2012. Gardening increases vegetable consumption in school-aged children: a meta-analytical synthesis. HortTechnology. 22: 430-445.

Matteson, K. C.* and G. A. Langellotto. 2012. Evaluating community gardens as habitat for an urban butterfly.Cities and the Environment. Vol. 5: Iss. 1, Article 10.Available at: Available at: http://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cate/vol5/iss1/10

Matteson, K. C. and G. A. Langellotto. 2011. Small scale additions of native plants fail to increase pollinator diversity in urban gardens. Insect Conversation and Diversity. 4: 89-98.

Schaumburg, K., W. M. Giuliano and G. A. Langellotto. 2011. Avian-habitat relationships in urban and suburban tidal marshes of Connecticut. Urban Habitats. 6: http://www.urbanhabitats.org/v06n01/avian_full.html

Langellotto-Rhodaback, G. A. 2010. Enrollment, retention and activity in an online Master Gardener Course. Journal of Extension [On-line] 48(4) Article 4RIB3. Available at: http://www.joe.org/joe/2010august/rb3.php

Matteson, K. C. and Langellotto, G. A. 2010. Determinates of inner city butterfly and bee species richness. Urban Ecosystems 13: 333-347.

Matteson, K. C. and G. A. Langellotto. 2009. Bumble bee abundance in New York City community gardens: implications for urban agriculture. Cities and the Environment. 2(1):article 5, 12 pp.http://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cate/vol2/iss1/5/ .

Werrell, P.A., G. A. Langellotto, S. U. Morath and K. C. Matteson. 2009. The Influence of Garden Size and Floral Cover on Pollen Deposition in Urban Community Gardens. Cities and the Environment. 2(1):article 6, 16 pp.
http://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cate/vol2/iss1/6/.

Fetridge, E., J. S. Ascher and G. A. Langellotto. 2008. The bee fauna of residential gardens in a suburb of New York City (Hymenoptera: Apoidea). Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 101: 1067-1077.

Matteson, K. C., J. S. Ascher and G. A. Langellotto. 2008. Richness and composition of the bee fauna of urban gardens in New York City (Hymenoptera: Apoidea). Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 101: 140-150.

Extension Publications: Peer Reviewed

Miller, W, B. Halverson and G. Langellotto. 2011. An Educator’s Guide to Vegetable Gardening. Extension Publication EM 9032.

Dreves, Amy J. and G. A. Langellotto-Rhodaback. 2011. Protecting Garden Fruits from Spotted Wing Drosophila (Drosophila suzukii). Extension Publication EM 9026-E.

Punches, John and Gail Langellotto-Rhodaback. 2010. Master Gardeners and the Creation of Extension Service Districts. Oregon State University Extension Service. 4 pages. http://extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/default/files/for-employees/government-relations/service-districts/master_gardener-service_district.pdf

Industry Publications

Langellotto, G. A. 2013.  Plants for pollinators. The Digger. May issue.

 

Awards and Honors

2013. OSU College of Agricultural Sciences Oldfield / Jackman Team Award (Team Drosophila members were Linda Brewer, Preston Brown, Flaxen Conway, Daniel Dalton, Joseph DeFrancesco, Amy Dreves, Dan Hilburn, Joe Kleiber, Gail Langellotto, Jana Lee, John McQueen, Betsey Miller, Jeffrey Miller, Tom Peerbolt, Peter Shearer, Bernadine Strik, Sam Tochen, Vaughn Walton, Wei Qiang Yang).

2013 (with Abha Gupta).  American Society for Horticultural Science. Outstanding Education Publication award winner for papers published in 2012.

2010.  OSU Extension Newer Faculty Award.

2009.  First place (tied). Non-credit program (online Master Gardener course), Western US Region.  University Continuing Education Association (UCEA).

2008.  Vice Provost and Associate Provost's Award for Outstanding Achievement. Online Teaching Innovation - Non-Credit Course (online Master Gardener Course).

 

Fun Fact

I love all insects, with the exception of tabanid flies.