Rachel A. ArangoDurability and Wood Protection Research
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
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Wood is a naturally renewable resource and is considered one of the most environmentally responsible building materials available today. However, one drawback of this material is that it is susceptible to deterioration by a variety of organisms. Broadly, my research focuses on understanding the underlying biology of wood biodeteriorating organisms, particularly wood-associated insects, with the goal of developing new, more targeted wood protection strategies in an effort to extend the service-life of wood. One current area of research aims to characterize the underlying physiological mechanisms that facilitate adaptability to changing environmental conditions in eastern subterranean termites. Much of this work to date has been focused on the microbial ecology of termite gut as associations with microorganisms have repeatedly been shown to play important roles in the ability of insects to adapt to novel environments, tolerate unfavorable conditions, as well as provide protection from invasive pathogens.
• Mechanisms of wood biodeterioration and susceptibility of wood materials and products to various biodegrading organisms • Thermal tolerance and ecophysiology of the eastern subterranean termite, Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar) • Termite-microbe interactions related to pathogen suppression and physiological adaptability under changing environmental conditions • Taxonomy and biology of powder-post beetles (Ptinidae (syn. Anobiidae) & Bostrichidae)
Ecological studies characterizing species distribution and dispersal patterns rely heavily on external climactic variables (e.g. temperature, moisture) to prepare risk assessments for invasive species or identify geographic range limits for beneficial and pestiferous organisms. However, environmental constraints placed on an organism also depend upon the severity, seasonality, unpredictability and variability associated with these variables, many of which can be directly related to global climate change. Therefore, studies examining mechanisms that allow for adaptability to shifting environmental conditions will be useful in predictions related to presence or absence of certain species in a given region and may help in determining their potential to become invasive (i.e. identify what regions may be habitable if introduced). For termites, estimates of species ranges are an important component in the development of biodeterioration hazard maps that are used to delineate geographic hazard zones. Hazard zones are used by the wood industry to guide best management practices for production and installation of treated wood products so that they correspond to the level of environmental risk where they are to be installed and thus extend service-life of installed wood materials.
- University of Wisconsin-Madison, Phd Entomology , 2016
- University of Wisconsin-Madison, Masters Entomology , 2009
- University of Wisconsin-Madison, Bachelor Of Arts Biological Aspects of Conservation , 2004
- American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM), Subcommittee Chair D07.06 Treatment of Wood Products (2018 - )
- International Research Group on Wood Protection, (2014 - )
- Forest Products Society (FPS), (2013 - )
- The coleopterists' Society, (2008 - )
- Entomological Society of America, (2007 - )
- Letter of Recognition, Department of Army, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, 2020 For their immediate response to implement a mold-inhibiting chemical into Army Wood Preservative Treatment Systems, providing the U.S. Military with critical improvements to Readiness and Soldier Safety.
- USDA Inspiring Women Award, 2017 For “Outstanding mentor/coach”
|Publication Year: 2019|
Highlight ID: 1323
|Development of New Kinetics Models for Water Vapor Sorption in Wood|
Wood is constantly exchanging water with its environment and these exchanges control nearly all of wood's amazing properties. Research has recently shown that this process is still not understood and old models that were thought to explain these proc ...
Highlight ID: 1332
|Going Big with Mass Timber Protection|
Researchers are leading efforts to better understand mass timber as a next generation building material and provide safe effective protection strategies to ensure public safety and responsible forest stewardship. ...
|Publication Year: 2017|
Highlight ID: 1298
|Effective utilization of naturally durable wood biomass offers an overlooked source of potential wood protectants|
Forest Service researchers at the Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisc., are evaluating extractives as potential next-generation wood preservatives. This bio-rational approach offers environmentally friendly alternatives to wood preservatives ...
|Publication Year: 2015|
Highlight ID: 602
|Cellulose Nanocrystals Chemically Entrap Biocide in Wood|
Forest Service scientists evaluated naturally occurring cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) that are reported to have unique chemical properties and impart high strength were evaluated for the potential to improve durability of wood. CNC were shown to penet ...
|Publication Year: 2010|
Highlight ID: 186
|Identification of economically significant death-watch and spider beetles in Wisconsin|
Two widely distributed beetle families, the death-watch (Anobiidae) and spider beetles (Ptinidae), include a number of economically significant species which cause damage to wooden materials and/or stored products. Distribution and abundance of sever ...
Highlight ID: 155
|Termite Eradication: A search for the Holy Grail|
Regarding Wisconsin termines, laboratory tests were initiated to evaluate transfer of a number of different dusting compounds to un-dusted colony mates with varied results. ...
|Termites of the Frozen Tundra:|
One look at our snowy landscape in Wisconsin and it would be easy to assume termites couldn't survive here. These wood-destroying critters are a common concern for people living in warmer climates, but amazingly, certain species of subterranean termites have been introduced and become established in...
|Looking into the Future of Wood Preservation|
Carol Clausen and her group are serious about wood as a sustainable and versatile building material. Here Amy Blodgett, Rachel Arango, and Bessie Woodword check soil block samples in their ongoing research...