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Donald Dahlsten, 69; Specialized in Using Insects to Control Pests

September 20, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

Donald L. Dahlsten, 69, a UC Berkeley professor of insect biology who specialized in using predatory insects to control pests, died Sept. 3 in a Berkeley hospital after a battle with rare type of skin cancer.

Dahlsten was one of the world's most respected leaders in biological control, a field that gained momentum in the 1960s as an alternative to the increasingly ineffective use of pesticides.

He became best known in the early 1990s for using a special breed of Australian wasp to effectively kill blue gum psyllids, a species that ravaged blue gum eucalyptus trees in nurseries throughout California.

In 1998, Dahlsten imported a species of Australian wasp to combat red gum lerp psyllids after they infested California's red gum eucalyptus trees.

Born in Clay Center, Neb., on Dec. 8, 1933, Dahlsten earned a bachelor's degree from UC Davis and master's and doctoral degrees from UC Berkeley.

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