A honey bee, that is.
Research entomologist Jay Evans of the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (USDA/ARS) will discuss "What's It Like Inside a Bee? Genetic Approaches to Honey Bee Health" at the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology seminar from 12:10 to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 4 in 122 Briggs Hall.
The Marin County Beekeepers will host the bee scientist.
"Honey bees are the preferred agricultural pollinators worldwide, and are important natural pollinators in Europe, Asia, and Africa," Evans says. "The European honey bee, Apis mellifera, is both aided and abused by humans, leading to a worldwide distribution on one side, and alarming regional die-offs on the other. Primary causes of honey bee colony death range from inadequate nutrition to stress from chemical exposure and maladies caused by a diverse set of parasites and pathogens."
"Often, domesticated honey bees face two or more stress agents simultaneously. Genetic approaches are being used to determine and mitigate the causes of bee declines. Genetics screens are available for each of the major biotic threats to bees, and screens have been used to determine risk levels for these threats in the field. Thanks to extensive analyses of the honey bee genome, tools are also available to screen bees for heritable traits that enable disease resistance, and to query the expressed genes of bees to infer responses to chemicals and biological stress. This talk will cover genetic insights into honey bee health, disease resistance and susceptibility to chemical insults."
Evans received his undergraduate degree in biology at Princeton and his doctorate in biology from the University of Utah. He did a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Georgia, where he became interested in honey bees. After a brief project on queen production at the University of Arizona, he joined the USDA/ARS as a research entomologist with the USDA-ARS Bee Research Laboratory, Beltsville, MD.
He is especially interested in insect immunity and in the abilities of social insects to evade their many parasites and pathogens. He focuses his projects on a range of bee pests including the American foulbrood bacterium, small hive beetles, nosema, viral pests and varroa mites.
Evans was an early proponent of the Honey Bee Genome Project and helped recruit and organize scientists interested in applied genomics for bees. He has improved and applied genetic screens for possible causes of colony collapse disorder and is now heading a consortium to sequence the genome of the Varroa mite in order to develop novel control methods for this key pest.
Plans call for recording the seminar for later posting on UCTV.
It's time to get the red in.
And if you're a red lady beetle, aka ladybug, you need not worry. Ditto for the gentlemen lady beetles. You're good to go.
The second annual "UC Davis Wears Red Day," an educational effort to spread awareness about heart disease, takes place Friday, Feb. 6, when everyone--that is, everyone--is invited to Hutchison Field from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., to get the red in.
Last year some 2,500 people — students, staff, faculty and area residents — grouped for a photo. Some held red umbrellas to ward off the drizzle.
Officials said the 2015 event will feature a Battle Heart Disease Fair. Visitors are invited to learn about heart disease at the information booths. The group Zumba will entertain for 15 minutes, starting at 11:30 a.m..Dining Services will offer snacks--healthy snacks--and beverages at a discount.
Cardiologist Amparo Villablanca, professor and director of the UC Davis Women's Cardiovascular Medicine Program, will field questions at 11:45 a.m.
To ensure folks have red to wear, all UC Davis Stores will be selling t-shirts in advance. The good news is that $2 from every sale will benefit the cardiovascular medicine program.
And the other good news is: lady beetles need not worry about what to wear.
The two conferences will draw international scientists, Extension specialists, and agricultural industry professionals, among others.
Professor Ullman of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and a former associate dean for Undergraduate Academic Programs, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, is a key organizer, along with George Kennedy of the North Carolina State University Department of Entomology, Neil McRoberts of the UC Davis Department of Plant Pathology and Robert Kemerait of University of Georgia.
The first conference, to take place May 14-16, is “Enhancing Risk Index-Driven Decision Tools for Managing Insect-Transmitted Plant Pathogens,” sponsored by the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (USDA NIFA/AFRI). Ullman is co-principal investigator of the five-year, $3.75 million grant awarded in 2012 from the USDA AFRI/NIFA to develop and implement a national scientific and educational network to limit thrips-caused crop losses. This conference will convene experts in modelling, risk assessment, and innovative IPM technology in an intimate setting to discuss the latest breakthroughs in modelling insect vectored plant pathogen threats and mobile applications for risk assessment and management strategy assessment. Early bird registration and poster abstract submission ends March 15t and can be accessed at registration and poster abstract submission ends March 15 and can be accessed at http://ucanr.edu/sites/tospo/Registration/ and http://ucanr.edu/sites/tospo/Participate/ respectively.
The second conference is the Xth International Symposium on Thysanoptera and Tospoviruses, to be held May 16-20. "This meeting is the tenth in a series of international symposia that, over 30 years, have grown to be the dominant vehicle and venue for information exchange between scientists investigating problems related to thrips and tospoviruses around the world," Ullman said. "These symposia have been instrumental in extending knowledge and producing new solutions and innovations in thrips and tospovirus management worldwide, by providing a forum for sharing research findings and integrating fundamental and applied knowledge."
Thrips are tiny insects that pierce and suck fluids from hundreds of species of plants, including tomatoes, grapes, strawberries and soybeans. The pests cause billions of dollars in damage to U.S. agricultural crops as direct pests and in transmitting plant viruses in the genus Tospovirus, such as Tomato spotted wilt virus. “There are 23 additional approved and emerging tospovirus genotypes transmitted by at least 14 thrips species (Thysanoptera: Thripidae),” said Ullman, who has been researching thrips and tospoviruses since 1987.
The May 14-16 workshop will feature speakers and discussions focused on development and deployment of risk index-driven tools for the management of vector-borne diseases, including modelling, epidemiology, risk assessment and user interfaces. Researchers will discuss decision tools, risk assessment in managing insect vectors and pathogens in crops, and accomplishments, challenges and gaps. Early registration is underway. Scientists are invited to submit abstracts (see http://ucanr.edu/sites/tospo/Participate/)
The May 16-20 symposium will feature presentations of common interest to both insect and virus research areas during morning sessions and a poster session. It will also include specialized discussions, and contributed presentations in the afternoon and evening.
“This is a unique opportunity to convene leading international scientists, extension specialists, and individuals in the agricultural industry to share and discuss the latest findings in thrips and tospovirus biology, ecology and management,” said Ullman. Registration is now underway. Scientists who seek to participate are invited to submit poster and contributed talk abstracts, Ullman said. The deadline to submit abstracts is March 15 (http://ucanr.edu/sites/ISTT10/Participate/).
It's going to be a busy seven days--May 14-20--at the Asilomar Conference Center...
Visitors to the University of California, Davis campus can visit six museums at the fourth annual Biodiversity Museum Day.
It's a week after Super Bowl Sunday, and by then all talk about deflated footballs may have ended.
The UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day will take place Sunday, Feb. 8 from 12 noon to 4 p.m., and will showcase the Bohart Museum of Entomology, Center for Plant Diversity, the Botanical Conservatory, the Paleontology Collection, the Anthropology Collection, and the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology.
“Each museum's impressive research/teaching collection documents the biodiversity of life in California and throughout the world, whether it be plants, fossils, human culture, insects or birds,” said co-coordinator Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum.
All participating museums have active education and outreach programs, but the collections are not always accessible to the public. On Sunday, Feb. 8 they will be.
It's billed as a special day to go behind-the-scenes to learn how scientists conduct research; gain first-hand educational experience; and to see some of the curators' favorite pieces. Visitors are invited to explore displays, talk to scientists and students, and participate in fun activities.
There is no admission, and parking is free, too. Visitors are encouraged to stroll or bike around the UC Davis campus and see all six collections. All are located indoors. Maps, signs and guides will be available. Click to download map.
- Bohart Museum of Entomology, Room 1124 of Academic Surge, Crocker Lane (off LaRue Road)
- Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, 1394 Academic Surge, Crocker Lane
- UC Davis Botanical Conservatory, Kleiber Hall Drive
- Center for Plant Diversity, Sciences Laboratory Building, off Kleiber Hall Drive, near Briggs Hall
- Anthropology Collections, Young Hall, off A Street
- Geology Collections, Earth and Physical Sciences Building, across from Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane
Biodiversity Museum Day's Facebook page provides more information. For further information, you can also contact co-coordinator Ernesto Sandoval at the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 752-0569.
And we have a winner!
Drum roll...Art Shapiro...
Shapiro, distinguished professor of evolution and ecology at the University of California, Davis, who sponsors the annual Beer-for-a-Butterfly Contest to collect scientific data, snagged the first cabbage white butterfly of the year at 12:30 p.m.. Monday, Jan. 26 in West Sacramento, Yolo County.
“The cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae) finally came out today (Jan. 26),” he said.
And, it's a boy!
Shapiro figured this would be the day. Sunshine filtered through the high clouds in the morning, so it was relatively warm when Shapiro set out at 11.15 a.m. for a mustard patch near the railroad tracks. In fact, he was so “sufficiently sure” that Monday would be the day that he took his net “and was prepared to sweep the vegetation with it to kick up any individuals that were sunbathing (“dorsal basking”) in the dilute sunlight in order to raise their body temperature to the level needed for flight.”
But that wasn't necessary. “The sun came out strongly at 12.11 and the butterfly, a male, took wing spontaneously 19 minutes later,“ he related. ““It was a very easy catch; I suspect he emerged this morning (Jan. 26) and that was his first flight.”
Shapiro has sponsored the contest since 1972 to determine when the cabbage white will first emerge in the three-county area of Sacramento, Yolo and Solano. It's all part of his 43-year study of climate and butterfly seasonality. “It is typically one of the first butterflies to emerge in late winter.”
Although the first flight of the cabbage white has been as late as Feb. 22, it is emerging earlier and earlier as the regional climate has warmed, said Shapiro. “There have been only two occasions in the 21stcentury in which it has come out this late: Jan 26, 2006 and Jan 31, 2011.
“It's obvious that a dry January doesn't guarantee an early emergence!” Shapiro said. ”The very wet December of 2014 laid the groundwork for tule fog this month, which we hadn't really seen since the drought began. The cold, foggy weather certainly played a role in delaying emergence.”
Ten minutes after collecting the cabbage white, a second species, the mourning cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) showed up. “It hibernates as an adult and is always an early flier, but this was its first record on the floor of the Sacramento Valley this year—it's been out about two weeks in the lower Coast Range,” Shapiro said.
Five minutes later, at 12.45, a third species showed up: a male fiery skipper (Hylephila phyleus) that landed momentarily literally at Shapiro's feet. It was the earliest he's ever recorded. “This is a much more significant record than the others,” he said, explaining that the fiery skipper “normally is first recorded around here in March or even April. Last year it set a new early record in the Valley—Feb. 21, in Rancho Cordova, Sacramento County.—the only February Valley record in our 43-year database. It was last seen in 2014 on Dec. 1, also in Rancho Cordova. However, there are two January records at the Suisun Marsh, Solano County: Jan. 3, 1996 and Jan. 28, 2000.
Of the fiery skipper, Shapiro noted: “The first was certainly a late carryover of the fall 1995 brood, which was still flying on Dec. 14. “ The species wasn't seen again until the start of the spring brood on March 31, 1996. The 2000 record is more ambiguous. The last Suisun sighting in 1999 was on Dec. 11 and the first spring sighting was very late, May 24, 2000.
“The last fall-brood sighting of the fiery skipper was on Nov. 9, 2014, making it exceedingly unlikely that this was a late individual from that brood,” Shapiro said.
In 2014, Shapiro netted the winning cabbage white butterfly at 12:20 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14 in West Sacramento, Yolo County. It ranked as "the fifth or sixth earliest since 1972.”
Shapiro has won the contest every year except three. Graduate student Adam Porter defeated him in 1983; and graduate students Sherri Graves and Rick VanBuskirk each won in the late 1990s.
The contest rules specify that it be an adult (no caterpillars or pupae and that it be captured outdoors. It must be live when delivered to the department office, 2320 Storer Hall, UC Davis.
Shapiro has monitored central California's butterfly populations for 43 years and posts information on his website.