- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Professor Frank Zalom (right) an integrated pest management (IPM) specialist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology for three decades, was among the 503 people selected as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
In California alone, 54 University of California scientists were named fellows for "efforts toward advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished."
Ironically, this comes the day after Gov. Jerry Brown proposed a budget that slashes $500 million from the UC system. UC President Mark G. Yudof, calling it a sad day for California, yesterday pointed out that if the proposed budget is approved, for the first time in UC's 143-year history, student tuition revenue will surpass what the state contributes to the university's core operating budget.
It's bad-news-for-pests because of the good work that entomologists like Frank Zalom and his colleagues are doing. Some of the pests that Zalom and his lab target are the greenhouse whiteflies, olive fruit fly, light brown apple moth, and the spotted wing Drosophila.
Zalom, former director of the UC Statewide IPM Program (16 years), is known internationally for his IPM expertise. Indeed, AAAS singled him out for his “distinguished scholarly, educational and administrative contributions that have significantly advanced the science and application of integrated pest management in agriculture nationally and internationally.”
Zalom focuses his research on California specialty crops, including tree crops (almonds, olives, prunes, peaches), small fruits (grapes, strawberries, caneberries), and fruiting vegetables (tomatoes), as well as international IPM programs.
The IPM strategies and tactics Zalom has developed include monitoring procedures, thresholds, pest development and population models, biological controls and use of less toxic pesticides, which have become standard in practice and part of the UC IPM Guidelines for these crops.
in his 30-year career, Zalom has published almost 300 refereed papers and book chapters, and 340 technical and extension articles. The articles span a wide range of topics related to IPM, including introduction and management of newer, soft insecticides, development of economic thresholds and sampling methods, management of invasive species, biological control, insect population dynamics, pesticide runoff mitigation, and determination of host feeding and oviposition preferences of pests.
So, it's the good, the sad and the bad....
The good (the AAAS fellows and their accomplishments), the sad (the proposed UC budget cuts) and the bad (bad days for pests because of the good that scientists do--and hopefully, will continue to do).