Michael W. Gates, Ph.D. is a Research Entomologist and Research Leader in the Systematic Entomology Laboratory (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service), Beltsville, MD. He was born in Michigan but spent his formative years in Conway, Arkansas. He received his B.A. in Biology from Hendrix College, Conway, AR, his M.S. in Entomology from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK and Ph.D. in Systematic Entomology from the University of California, Riverside. Dr. Gates served as a postdoctoral researcher with began his career with the USDA in 2003 as a Support Scientist with the Systematic Entomology Laboratory in Beltsville, MD.
In 2004, he was hired as the USDA’s national parasitic Hymenoptera specialist where his assignment includes research, service identifications, and curation of the Smithsonian’s Chalcidoidea collection (>750,000 specimens). Dr. Gates internationally recognized in Chalcidoidea (superfamily of parasitic wasps) systematics and is a leading expert on the family Eurytomidae. He has published over 90 manuscripts, including over 70 peer-reviewed papers and 3 book chapters. His 25+ years of entomological research include investigations within 7 families of Hymenoptera, comprising over 20 genera (two new to science), and over 1,000 species (over 100 new to science). Among his notable new genera is a Neotropical taxon that lives inside arboreal ant nests and parasitizes an obligate myrmecophilous fly species. His publications are considered as authoritative and have served as the premise for related research. His reputation has led to numerous requests where he has organized, moderated, or given invitational or submitted over 50 presentations at the national and international meetings. He has made more than 5,000 determinations (representing over 25,000 insect specimens) as part of taxonomic services responsibilities at the Systematic Entomology Laboratory. These determinations are used by federal government agencies for regulatory/trade issues and provide a critical role in protecting the U.S. agriculture.
His was a co-recipient of USDA Beltsville Area Technology Transfer Award, “for extraordinary assistance to APHIS/PPQ at ports in the U.S. and around the world,” 2006. He has won over $350,000 in extramural grants as principal/co-principal investigator to work on parasitic wasps attacking invasive species (emerald ash borer) or to make web accessible collection holdings in the form of specimen images and label data. He has served as an instructor for the Fairfax County (Virginia) Master Naturalist program since 2014. He was honored with four patronyms including a new genus, Gatesina colombiana, and three new species: Euplectrus mikegatesi, Mikeius gatesi, and Eurytoma gatesi. Dr. Gates served as a key person (in cooperation with the Smithsonian Institution) in implementing an intern program in the Systematic Entomology Laboratory where volunteers gain educational experiences with the entomology collections. Since 2014, the program hosted over 500 individuals (including underserved and minorities) for nearly 300,000 volunteer hours.
Dr. Gates has been involved in Scouting as a youth (Eagle Scout) and as an adult Scouter serving at the unit level. He currently is serving as an Assistant Scoutmaster and has attended Philmont twice, once per son. He has served on staff of at 2 National Jamborees (2013 & 2017) teaching the Insect Study merit badge and most recently (2019) as a co-coordinator of the Food Program at the World Scout Jamboree (developing program teaching about food production/security and related topics).
Congratulations to Michael and his fellow 2021 NOESA Honorees! Eagle alums, let’s stay connected. Join NESA DC today! www.ncacbsa.org/national-eagle-scout-association/