- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
(Editor's Note: Watch May Berenbaum's UC Davis talk on "Bees in Crisis." http://mediasite.ucdavis.edu/Mediasite6/Play/8893dbd0b9144f25880df75c6472030a1d)
DAVIS--Internationally recognized entomologist May Berenbaum, professor and head of the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will present two lectures, one on May 20 and one on May 21 at UC Davis s part of the Storer Lectureship in Life Sciences.
The first is a public lecture on Tuesday, May 20 on "Bees in Crisis: Colony Collapse, Honey Laundering and Other Problems Bee-Setting American Apiculture" at 4:10 p.m. in Ballrooms A and B of the UC Davis Conference Center, 550 Alumni Lane.
The second is a scientific lecture on Wednesday, May 21 on "Sex and the Single Parsnip: Coping with Florivores and Pollinators in Two Hemispheres." This will take place at 4:10 p.m. in Ballrooms A and B of the UC Davis Conference Center.
The two UC Davis lectures are sponsored by the Department of Entomology and Nematology, and the Storer Endowment in Life Sciences, College of Biological Sciences.
She focuses her research on the chemical interactions between herbivorous insects and their host plants, and the implications of these interactions on the organization of natural communities and the evolution of species. In addition to her pioneering research, she is devoted to teaching and to fostering scientific literacy to the general public, authoring numerous magazine articles, as well as three books on insect fact and folklore.
As a spokesperson for the scientific community on the honey bee colony collapse disorder, she has conducted research, written op-ed essays and testified before Congress on the issue.
Berenbaum will become president of the 7000-member Entomological Society of America (ESA) in 2016, Berenbaum will be the ESA's fifth female president, and she is the first to have a fictional TV character named after her: Bambi Berenbaum from The X-Files. (Current president of ESA is integrated pest management specialist Frank Zalom, professor of entomology at UC Davis.)
Among her many honors, Berenbaum is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the Ecological Society of America, Entomological Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
In recognition of her research and her efforts in promoting public understanding of science, she has received many awards, including the 2010 AAAS Award for Public Understanding of Science. In 2011 Berenbaum was awarded the prestigious Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, an international award that recognizes "those individuals who have contributed in an outstanding manner to scientific knowledge and public leadership to preserve and enhance the environment of the world." She received the 1996 Distinguished Teaching Award from the North Central Branch of ESA.
Born in Trenton, N.J., Berenbaum received her bachelor's degree in biology from Yale University in 1975 and her doctorate in ecology and evolutionary biology from Cornell University in 1980. She joined the faculty of the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in August 1980 and has served as president since 1992 and as Swanlund Professor of Entomology since 1996.
Her work has been reported in over 220 refereed scientific papers and 35 book chapters. Recent service to her profession includes membership on the editorial boards of four journals and terms on the National Academy of Sciences Council and Governing Board, the National Research Council Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Science and Creationism, and the Advisory Board of the Koshland Museum of the National Academy of Sciences.
Berenbaum has chaired two National Research Council study committees, including most recently the Committee on the Status of Pollinators in North America. Devoted to teaching and fostering scientific literacy, she has written many magazine articles, as well as six books about insects for the general public. She is also in demand as a speaker, addressing more than 100 schools, service organizations, museums, science and nature centers, and special interest organizations. She is also a favorite of the news media for insect-related news stories.
Berenbaum founded the University of Illinois Insect Fear Film Festival, a celebration of Hollywood's "misperceptions" of insect biology, an outreach activity now entering its 32nd year.
Her books include
- Bugs in The System: Insects And Their Impact On Human Affairs
- Honey, I'm Homemade: Sweet Treats from the Beehive across the Centuries and around the World
- Daedalus 141:3 (Summer 2012) - Science in the 21st Century
- Buzzwords: A Scientist Muses on Sex, Bugs, and Rock 'n' Roll
- Ninety-Nine Gnats, Nits, and Nibblers
- Ninety-Nine More Maggots, Mites, and Munchers
The Tracy and Ruth Storer Lectureship in the Life Sciences is the most prestigious of the endowed seminars at UC Davis. Established in 1960, the lectureship is funded through a gift from Professor Tracy I. Storer and Dr. Ruth Risdon Storer. Their donation has made it possible to invite distinguished biological scientists to the UC Davis campus for seminars and to meet with faculty members and graduate students in their field of interest. Past Storer lecturers have included Nobel laureates, members of the National Academy of Science and acclaimed authors in the fields of life sciences and medicine. Tracy Storer was the founding chair of the UC Davis Department of Zoology. Ruth Risdon Storer was Yolo County's first female pediatrician.
Campus host is Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. He can be reached at mpparrella@ucdavis or (530) 752-0492.