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Posts Tagged: Frank Zalom

Everyone Wins! (Except the Spotted-Wing Drosophila)

This is a spotted wing drosophila, a male. (Photo by Martin Hauser, California Department of Food and Agriculture)
It's great to see Jessica West, a member of  Joanna Chiu's molecular genetics lab in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and a member of the Research Scholars Program in Insect Biology. receive the undergraduate student award in the President's Global Food Initiative Student Fellowship Program, sponsored by the UC Office of the President.

Jessica, who is majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology, works in the Chiu lab on the Spotted Wing Drosophila (Drosophila suzukii or SWD), a serious pest of fruit crops. In collaboration with scientists in the U.S. and around the world, including Frank Zalom, UC Davis professor of entomology, West is surveying populations of SWD using next-generation sequencing to determine the extent of possible insecticide resistance.

“By correlating her results to insecticide bioassay data, she can start to understand the mechanisms of developing resistance and use this information to help the agricultural industries manage SWD in a more sustainable manner,” said Chiu, an assistant professor. 

The UC Global Food Initiative “is a commitment to apply a laser focus on what UC can do as a public research university, in one of the most robust agricultural regions in the world, to take on one of the world's most pressing issues," said UC President Janet Napolitano. This includes research related to food security, health and sustainability.

West received a $2500 stipend. The selection committee said “Jessica's ability to articulate a novel, hypothesis-driven research idea and follow it up with a detailed plan stood out from the rest.” 

Said Chiu: “Jessica wrote an outstanding research proposal, detailing how her project can contribute to the mission of the UC Global Food Initiative.”

Molecular geneticist Joanna Chiu
West grew up in the city of Shasta Lake and graduated as the valedictorian of the Class of 2012, Central Valley High School. A first-generation college student, West has received a number of scholarships at UC Davis, including the Susie Voorhies Memorial Scholarship (2012-13), Provost's Undergraduate Fellowship (May 2014) and the Regents Scholarship (May 2014). She expects to graduate from UC Davis in 2016 and pursue a career in research 

West applied for--and received--membership in the Class of 2013, Research Scholars Program in Insect Biology (RSPIP), which was organized by three UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty (Jay Rosenheim, Louie Yang and Joanna Chiu) to provide undergraduates with closely mentored research experiences in biology. The program's goal is "to provide academically strong and highly motivated undergraduates with a multi-year research experience that cultivates skills that will prepare them for a career in biological research and useful for students whose career goals will take them to medical school, veterinary school, or graduate programs in any biological sub-discipline."

Undergraduates can easily feel like they are lost in the crowd, Chui said, and rarely get close mentorship from faculty or other research staff.  The RSIBP program fills that bill. “It is highly competitive and being selected is not an easy feat in itself,” Chiu said. West was one of eight students from the pool of 50 applicants selected.

Insects can be used as model systems to explore virtually any area of biology (population biology; behavior and ecology; biodiversity and evolutionary ecology; agroecology; genetics and molecular biology; biochemistry and physiology; and  cell biology).

The Chiu lab collaborates with the Zalom lab and with research groups at Oregon State University, Washington State University, North Carolina State University, University of Georgia, and Cornell University to develop pest management strategies to combat SWD. Most drosophila flies feed on spoiled fruits, but SWD prefers fresh fruit (berries and soft-skinned fruits). The national crop loss has been estimated at more than $700 million annually.

“As a result, to control pest population and reduce crop loss, growers now rely on preventive applications of broad-spectrum neuroactive insecticides,” Chiu explained. “The selection pressure for insecticide resistance is therefore extremely high and will likely lead to resistance development in SWD, which threatens the sustainability of these high value crops.”

“Our laboratory has already set up a large network of collaborators all over the world to support this project,” Chiu said. “Jessica regards this project as an opportunity to explore new research areas, while contributing to an urgent food crisis as the crop industries and growers all over the world are becoming gravely concerned. “

Jessica West and her mentor, Joanna Chui, are a good fit. And that should mean bad news for the spotted wing drosophila.

UC Davis undergraduate student Jessica West, who is majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology, has just received the UC Davis undergraduate award President's Global Food Initiative Student Fellowship Program. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
UC Davis undergraduate student Jessica West, who is majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology, has just received the UC Davis undergraduate award President's Global Food Initiative Student Fellowship Program. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

UC Davis undergraduate student Jessica West, who is majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology, has just received the UC Davis undergraduate award President's Global Food Initiative Student Fellowship Program. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Friday, December 12, 2014 at 8:32 PM

It's Crunch Time: Almond Conference Dec. 9-11

Eric Mussen
It's crunch time.

Officials organizing the 42nd annual Almond Conference are gearing up for their three-day event, which takes place Tuesday, Dec. 9 through Thursday, Dec. 11 in the Sacramento Convention Center.

In a message to the attendees, Richard Waycott, president and CEO of the Almond Board of California (ABC), says the industry is facing unprecedented challenges, as California's severe drought continues.

The agenda encompasses a variety of topics, including

  • "State of the Industry"
  • "Almond Quality: Everything You Want to Know About Retaining Almond Crunch and Flavor"
  • "Pest Management Update and Sampling: Insects and Weeds"
  • "Exporter Overview: Regulations Keep on Coming"
  • "Digital and Traditional Media Outreach Techniques"
  • "Pollination Update"
  • "Research Grant Topics and Speakers"

Frank Zalom
The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology will be represented by Frank Zalom, distinguished professor and integrated pest management specialist (he just finished a term as president of the 7000-member Entomological Society of America); Neal Williams, associate professor; and Extension apiculturist (emeritus) Eric Mussen.

Zalom and Williams will discuss their ABC-funded research while Mussen will address honey bee issues. In addition, Mussen will be honored at the Dec. 10 noon luncheon for his 38 years of service to the almond/bee industries. He retired in June.

Mussen will be among the four speakers at the Pollination Update on Thursday morning, Dec. 11. Others are Dennis vanEngelsdorp, University of Maryland; Gabriele Ludwig, ABC; Christi Heintz of Project Apis m; and Gordon Wardell of Paramount Farming.  Bob Curtis of ABC will moderate.

They will expand on this text (from the agenda): "Bees, along with other pollinators, have consistently been in the media, particularly in the past two years. Almonds, as the largest user of pollination services, are often mentioned as possibly impacted by compromised honey bee health. Are almond growers doing everything possible to ensure that almonds are a good and safe place for honey bees? This session will provide an overview of the research and issues affecting honey bee health, how ABC has and continues to be engaged in this issue and an introduction to the updated best management practices for honey bees in California almonds."

Neal Williams
That afternoon, research takes front and center in a panel moderated by Gabriele Ludwig of ABC. For more than 40 years, ABC's research programs have advanced yields, quality, and environmental stewardship, contributing to the growth and success of the industry, Ludwig points out. ABC-funded research has helped "to identify areas of opportunity and success through all parts of the growing life cycle."

Researchers will discuss their ongoing projects:

  • "Insect and Mite Research," Frank Zalom, UC Davis
  • "Pheromone and Host Plant Volatiles for Navel Orangeworm Monitoring," Ring Cardé, UC Riverside
  • "Host Plant Volatile Blend to Monitor Navel Orangeworm Populations," John Beck, USDA-ARS, Albany, CA
  • "Integrated Pest Management Studies," Kris Tollerup, UC Cooperative Extension IPM advisor
  • "Leaffooted and Stink Bugs in Almond," Andrea Joyce, UC Merced
  • "Honey Bee Nutrition: ProteinSupplements vs. Natural Forage," Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman, USDA-ARS, Tucson, Ariz.
  • "Assessing the Value of Supplemental Forage During Almond Pollination, Ramesh Sagili, Oregon State University
  • "Forage and Integrated Almond Pollination," Neal Williams, UC Davis
  • "Quantifying Varroa Resistance to Miticides," Dennis vanEngelsdorp, University of Maryland
  • "New Chemistries for Varroa Mite," Troy Anderson, Virginia Tech

See agenda (download PDF)

Honey bee pollinating an almond blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bee pollinating an almond blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Honey bee pollinating an almond blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

An almond orchard in spring of 2013 in Dixon. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
An almond orchard in spring of 2013 in Dixon. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

An almond orchard in spring of 2013 in Dixon. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 5:50 PM

Diane Ullman: An Honor Well Deserved

ESA president Frank Zalom presents the 2014 Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching Award to Diane Ullman. (Photo by Trav Willilams, Broken Banjo Photography)
An honor well deserved.

Diane Ullman, professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, is known for her innovative, multidisciplinary teaching strategies that connect science and art programs.

So when she stepped on stage last month at the Entomological Society of America's meeting in Portland, Ore., to receive the coveted Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching, the crowd enthusiastically applauded. Well done! Congratulations!

Her colleague, ESA president Frank Zalom, a distinguished professor and an integrated pest management specialist in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, presented the award to her.

Key examples that showcase her work include the Art/Science Fusion Program (using experiential learning to enhance scientific literacy), the Career Discovery Group Program (training mentors to help students explore careers and select majors), and the national Thrips-Tospovirus Educational Network (training graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to mentor new scientists).

Ullman chaired the UC Davis Department of Entomology in 2004-2005, and served as an associate dean for undergraduate academic programs, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences from 2005 to 2014.  There she led curriculum and program development, student recruitment and outreach, and she administrated all undergraduate academic activities.

Ullman's research revolves around insects that transmit plant pathogens, in particular plant viruses. She is best known for advancing international knowledge of interactions between thrips and tospoviruses and aphids and citrus tristeza virus. Her contributions have played a fundamental role in developing novel strategies for management of insects and plant viruses. She leads a $3.75 million Coordinated Agricultural Project, and has authored more than 100 refereed publications.

Highly honored for her work, Ullman is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2014) and ESA (2011). Among her many honors: the USDA Higher Education Western Regional Award for Excellence in College and University Teaching (1993), the UC Davis Chancellor's Achievement Award for Diversity and Community (2008), and the 2014 Distinguished Award in Teaching from ESA's Pacific Branch.

Ullman received her bachelor's degree in horticulture from the University of Arizona in 1976 and her doctorate  in entomology from UC Davis in 1985. She began her career in 1987 at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, relocating in 1995 to UC Davis' Department of Entomology and Nematology. Ullman also holds a joint appointment with the graduate programs of the Department of Entomology and Nematology, and the Department of Plant Pathology.

“Dr. Ullman is a world-renowned and highly respected teacher, but she is an outstanding mentor, researcher and administrator who combines innovation, energy, talent and dedication to help students learn, retain that knowledge, and succeed in class, college and life," the nominating team wrote. "They cannot praise her enough, and neither can we.”

Agreed!

Diane Ullman looking over students' work. The colorful bee boxes were then moved over to the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology operates the garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Diane Ullman looking over students' work. The colorful bee boxes were then moved over to the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology operates the garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Diane Ullman looking over students' work. The colorful bee boxes were then moved over to the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology operates the garden. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Diane Ullman talks about the art projects in the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, UC Davis, that she and colleague Donna Billick launched. Ullman and Billick co-founded the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Diane Ullman talks about the art projects in the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, UC Davis, that she and colleague Donna Billick launched. Ullman and Billick co-founded the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Diane Ullman talks about the art projects in the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, UC Davis, that she and colleague Donna Billick launched. Ullman and Billick co-founded the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 at 8:30 PM

It's All The Buzz

Honey bees will be "all the buzz" next week when the California State Beekeepers' Association (CSBA) meets Nov. 18-20 in Valencia, Calif., and the  Entomological Society of America (ESA) meets Nov. 16-19 in Portland, Ore.

Those who belong to both organizations have a decision to make: go to Portland, "The City of Roses," or to Valencia, known as "Awesometown."  They're 932 miles apart. Interestingly enough, they have more in common than you think. Both were founded in 1889.  CSBA is gathering for its 125th annual meeting while ESA is holding its 62nd annual meeting.

ESA, headed by Frank Zalom, distinguished professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, will discuss scores of insects, including honey bees. Topics include "Nutrition and the Health and Behavior of Wild and Managed Bees" and "New Frontiers in Honey Bee Health Economics: Incorporating Entomological Research and Knowledge into Economic Assessments."

CSBA, headed by Bill Lewis of the San Fernando Valley, will zero in on safe pollination of almond orchards, urban beekeeping, honey bee forage and nutrition, mead-making, and honey bee health, exacerbated by pests, pesticides, parasites, diseases, malnutrition and stress. Varroa mites continue to be the beekeepers' No. 1 problem.

At the CSBA meeting, Extension apiculturist (retired) Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, who serves as the organization's current apiculturist and parliamentarian (as well as a frequent speaker), will pass the torch--a smoker?--when he  introduces the new Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Nino in a Nov. 20th presentation. It's titled "California Extension Apiculturist--Passing the Torch." 

What we need now in California is rain. The drought worries us all. (Listen to what Mussen recently told Capital Public Radio about bees, the lack of floral resources, and the drought.)

And, as if on cue, it rained today. A honey bee in the apiary at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility ventured from its hive and encountered something it may not have seen before: rain drops.

A honey bee encounters rain drops Nov. 13 in the midst of the California drought. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A honey bee encounters rain drops Nov. 13 in the midst of the California drought. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

A honey bee encounters rain drops Nov. 13 in the midst of the California drought. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

This is what beekeepers want more of: rain and forage for their bees. This is a blue aster, member of the sunflower family. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
This is what beekeepers want more of: rain and forage for their bees. This is a blue aster, member of the sunflower family. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

This is what beekeepers want more of: rain and forage for their bees. This is a blue aster, member of the sunflower family. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 9:25 PM

Just Buggin' Ya

Frank Zalom (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
If there's ever a time to start "buggin' someone,' that would be at the Entomological Society of America's 62nd annual meeting, set Nov. 16-19 in the Oregon Convention Center, Portland, Ore.  

There will be plenty of people to bug.

Some 3200 entomologists or persons interested in insects are registered to attend.

Our own Frank Zalom, distinguished professor of entomology in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, serves as president of the 7000-member organization, founded in 1889.  He's the second UC Davis entomologist to hold the office. The first was Donald McLean (1928-2014), emeritus professor and former chair of the department.

Zalom, an integrated pest management specialist, has selected his theme as "Grand Challenges Beyond Our Horizon," a perfect theme for a meeting in the Great Northwest.

Richard Levine, communications program manager for ESA, says that more than 90 symposia are planned and will cover such topics as bed bugs, honey bees, monarch butterflies, ticks, native pollinators, pesticide regulations, biological control, integrated pest management, genetically-modified crops, invasive species, forestry, entomophagy, organic farming, insect-vectored diseases, and more. In addition, there will be 1,750 papers and posters, Levine reports.

Highlights include:

  • Beyond Pesticides: The Conundrum of Bed Bugs
  • Insects as Sustainable and Innovative Sources of Food and Feed Production
  • Recovering Monarch Butterfly Populations in North America: A Looming Challenge for Science, the Public, Industry, and Legislators
  • Classical Biological Control of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, Halyomorpha halys (Stål)
  • Nutrition and the Health and Behavior of Wild and Managed Bees
  • Contributions of Mosquito Research to Science & Society
  • Entomological Comics and Their Importance in Education and Culture
  • RNAi: Emerging Technology to Overcome Grand Challenges in Entomology
  • IPM: An International Organic Farming Strategy on Invasive Insect Species
  • New Frontiers in Honey Bee Health Economics: Incorporating Entomological Research and Knowledge into Economic Assessments

UC Davis will have quite a presence at the meeting. Among the scientists to be honored at the ESA meeting are three from UC Davis: Professor Diane Ullman and doctorate recipients Kelly Hamby (2014) and James F. Campbell (1999)

Diane Ullman (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Professor Ullman is the recipient of ESA's distinguished achievement award in teaching.  This is the highest honor that  ESA awards to its outstanding teachers. Ullman earlier was named the recipient of the outstanding teaching award from the Pacific Branch of ESA. Ullman chaired the UC Davis Department of Entomology in 2004-2005, and served as an associate dean for undergraduate academic programs, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. from 2005 to 2014. (See more information.)

Kelly Hamby, recipient of the John Henry Comstock Graduate Student Award from the Pacific Branch of ESA, will be honored, along with the other Comstock award winners from the other branches. (See more information)

Kelly Hamby
Hamby received her doctorate in entomology at UC Davis in March 2014, studying with major professor Frank Zalom. She has just accepted a position with the Department of Entomology at the University of Maryland, College Park. Starting in November, she will be an assistant professor of sustainable agroecosystems and will be involved in integrated pest management research, extension, and teaching. (See more information)

Research entomologist James F. Campbell, who earned his doctoral in entomology from UC Davis in 1999, will receive a special recognition award. The award, sponsored by Syngenta Crop Protection, recognizes entomologists who are making significant contributions to agriculture. Campbell is a research entomologist with the  Center for Grain and Animal Health Research Service of the USDA's Agricultural Research Service, Manhattan, Kansas.  (See more information)

Three professors who received their doctorates in entomology in the 1980s from UC Davis are among this year's 10 elected Fellows.

They are:

  • Nilsa A. Bosque-Pérezprofessor, Department of Plant, Soil and Entomological Sciences at the University of Idaho. She received two degrees from UC Davis: her master's degree in 1981 and Ph.D. in 1985.
  • Gary Felton, professor and head of the Department of Entomology at Penn State University. He received his doctorate from UC Davis in 1988. In 2010, he delivered the Thomas and Nina Leigh Distinguished Alumni Lecture at UC Davis
  • Murray B. Ismanprofessor of entomology and toxicology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. He received his doctorate from UC Davis in 1981. In 2012, he delivered the Thomas and Nina Leigh Distinguished Alumni Lecture at UC Davis

James Campbell
Graduate students in the UC Davis Department Entomology will participate in a debate on neonicotinoids.  The team, coached by Michael Parrella, professsor and chair of the department, is comprised of Jenny Carlson, Anthony Cornel lab; Rei Margaret "Rei" Scampavia, Neal Williams/Edwin Lewis lab; Ralph Washington Jr., Nadler lab; Daniel Klittich, Parrella lab; and Mohammard-Amir Aghaee, Larry Godfrey lab.

Many faculty and students will present talks or displays at the event.

Each participant will receive a copy of the 2014 ESA calendar, which features the work of insect photographers throughout the world.

A red flameskimmer dragonfly (Libellula saturata), taken by yours truly, is among the images.  I bugged the bug.  "Lib" perched on a bamboo stake near our fish pond and was not at all skittish when I walked up and asked "Okay if I bug you for a photo? After you polish off that sweat bee?"

In bug language, Lib said "Go ahead. Just get my best side, please."

So I did. Lib's best side. And then I wrote the requisite caption about this amazing dragonfly.

"The flameskimmer dragonfly (Libellula saturata) is native to western North America. It feeds on bees, flies, moths and other soft-bodied insects, catching them in flight and returning to a perch to eat. The males, about two to three inches long, are larger than the females. The males are firecracker red or dark orange, while the females are a medium to a darker brown. Adult dragonflies hang out at ponds, streams, ditches and at other water habitats. Females lay their eggs in warm ponds or small streams. The nymphs ambush their prey, feeding on insect larvae, including mosquitoes and aquatic flies. The nymphs also eat small fish, tadpoles and each other."

Flameskimmer dragonfly, Libellula saturata. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Flameskimmer dragonfly, Libellula saturata. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Flameskimmer dragonfly, Libellula saturata. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, November 5, 2014 at 5:15 PM

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