Dr. Gerhard Gries, ESA Fellow (2019)

Dr. Gerhard Gries, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Simon Fraser University (SFU), Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, was elected Fellow in 2019. His laboratory is internationally known for the study of multimodal insect communication signals and foraging cues, and for the development of semiochemicals for monitoring and control of pest insects.

Gries was born in Duderstadt, Germany, in 1955. He obtained his high school degree from the Duderstadt Gymnasium in 1974. After 15 months of military service, he studied forstwissenschaften (forest sciences) at the Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen in Germany. In 1984, he received his Ph.D. in forest entomology. Supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, he joined Dr. John Borden's laboratory at SFU in 1986. After a two-year limited-term appointment, he became a tenure-track faculty member in 1991, reaching the rank of full professor in 2000. He is currently in the 16th year of an industrial research chair on multimodal animal communication ecology, supported by BASF, Scotts Miracle-GRO, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

The Gerhard and Regine Gries Lab elucidates multimodal communication signals and foraging cues in a wide variety of arthropods (Araneae, Coleoptera, Diptera, Dictyoptera, Hemiptera, Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera, Phasmatodea, Strepsiptera, Thysanura). The lab is particularly well known for identifying vanishingly small amounts of pheromones produced by moths and gall midges. Other breakthroughs revealed the role of sound, vibration, light, and magnetic fields in arthropod communication. For example, the lab has recently shown "how flies are flirting on fly" in that some fly families use light flashes reflected off their wings in sexual communication, which was previously entirely unknown.

Gries has graduated 57 students, published 273 peer-reviewed research articles, been granted 15 patents, and produced 13 scientific films on beetles, hoverflies, and aphids in collaboration with the Institute of Scientific Film in Germany. He has received over $11 million of research support as a principal investigator and currently runs a large laboratory with 13 graduate students, three research associates, and many undergraduate students, often recruited from his insect biology class.

Gries has presented 61 invited presentations at local, national, and international meetings. He has received the ESA Award in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry, and Toxicology (2016), the Entomological Society of Canada Gold Medal (2017), the ESA (Pacific Branch) Woodworth Award (with Regine Gries, 2017), and ESA's Nan-Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity in Entomology (2019). He was elected Fellow of the Entomological Society of Canada in 2018. As well as being a curiosity-driven researcher, Gries is a passionate teacher. His teaching of entomology and ecology courses has been recognized with an SFU Excellence in Teaching Award (1994). Gries has also mentored many undergraduate research assistants and has co-authored peer-reviewed papers with more than 50 of them. In 2019, he received the ESA (Pacific Branch) Distinction in Student Mentoring Award.

Gries considers it his hobby to run a large and diverse research program with many bright and enthusiastic students. Other hobbies are flower gardening and wildlife photography.

(updated September 2019)