David Gillespie

PhD (BiSc),  1982
MSc (BiSc),  1979
BSc (BiSc),  1976

David grew up on the west coast of British Columbia, where tide pools and things under rocks sparked his interest in biology and biodiversity. He enrolled at SFU, fully intending to pursue a career in marine biology. An introductory course in insect biology, taught by Professor Thelma Finlayson, dramatically and permanently changed his career course.

Since obtaining his PhD at SFU in 1982, David have been employed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at Sidney, and Agassiz, British Columbia. He has maintained a close association with faculty and students of the Centre for Pest Management and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.

David's research on natural enemies of insects and mites has contributed directly to the widespread use of many of these species for biological control in commercial greenhouse operations around the world. Some of the species actively used in greenhouses include Amblyseius cucumeris, a predatory mite for western flower thrips control; Stratiolaelaps scimitis, a predatory mite for fungus gnat and thrips control; Feltiella acarisuga, a predatory midge for two-spotted spider mite control; Dicyphus hesperus, a true bug for whitefly control; Micromus variegatus, a brown lacewing for whitefly control (being developed currently by Applied Bio-nomics); and Praon unicum, a parasitic wasp for foxglove aphid control. These biological control agents are offered by major international producers, including Applied Bionomics, Canada. One of his first "discoveries", S. scimitus, continues to be one of the largest selling and most widely used beneficial mites in the world. These natural enemies for biological control of important arthropod pests have led to a reduction of pesticide use in greenhouse agriculture.

David has been recognized for his contributions to pest management, biocontrol and agriculture through several prestigious awards, including the Award of Excellence from the Professional Pest Management Association of British Columbia (1997), the Award of Excellence from the Association of Natural Biological Control Producers (ANBP) of North America (2003), the Gold Harvest Award from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (2011), and the Entomological Society of Canada’s Gold Medal (2014). Canada’s Applied Bio-nomics requested that a previously unknown predaceous mite be named in his honour. This species was formally named Gaeolaelaps gillespiei. David is an Honorary Member of the International Organization for Biological Control, which was awarded at the International Congress of Entomology in Korea, 2012. In recognition of his contributions to the reduction of pesticide use in agriculture, he was appointed to the Order of Canada, in July 2015.

- Written by the Faculty of Science

Published in March 2016


Science I Technology


Biological Sciences


tribute thumbnail image tribute thumbnail image tribute thumbnail image tribute thumbnail image tribute thumbnail image tribute thumbnail image tribute thumbnail image tribute thumbnail image
tribute image