The University of California, Davis is preparing for its fifth annual Biodiversity Museum Day.
Set from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 13, it's a campuswide open house showcasing 11 specialized research and teaching collections. It's free and open to the public.
New to the Biodiversity Day are the Nematode Collection, Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, California Raptor Center, Phaff Yeast Culture Collection and the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden.
They will join the Center for Plant Diversity, Botanical Conservatory, Paleontology Collections, Anthropology Collection, Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, and the Bohart Museum of Entomology for a day of science exploration.
Biodiversity Museum Day is billed as a special day for the public to go behind the scenes to learn how scientists conduct research; gain first-hand educational experience; and see some of the curators' favorite pieces, including the history of the collection or the organism.
Parking is free. Visitors are encouraged to stroll or bike around the UC Davis campus to visit these diverse collections. They can explore displays, talk to scientists and students, and participate in family-friendly activities. This year students interested in applying or transferring to UC Davis are especially encouraged to visit.
All participating museums and collections have active education and outreach programs, but the collections are not always accessible to the public. For a full-day experience, the Biodiversity Museum Day has scheduled staggered hours:
- Anthropology Collections, Young Hall, open noon to 4 p.m.
- Arboretum, Headquarters along LaRue Road, open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Bohart Museum of Entomology, Academic Surge Building, open noon to 4 p.m.
- Botanical Conservatory, greenhouses along Klieber Hall Drive, open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- California Raptor Center, Old Davis Road, open 9 a.m. to noon
- Center for Plant Diversity, Sciences Lab Building, open 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
- Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, Bee Biology Road, open 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
- Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, Academic Surge Building, open noon to 4 p.m.
- Nematode Collection, Sciences Lab Building, open 1 to 4 p.m.
- Paleontology Collections, Earth and Physical Sciences Building, open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Phaff Yeast Culture Collection, Earth and Physical Sciences Building, open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Most of the collections are located indoors. In the event of rain, alternative locations are planned for the outdoor sites. Maps, signs and guides will be available at all the collections, online, and on social media, including Facebook and Twitter, @BioDivDay.
For further information about the event, contact Ernesto Sandoval, director of the Botanical Conservatory, at email@example.com or (530) 752-0569.
If you're around the UC Davis campus on Friday, Feb. 5, be sure to wear red.
Faculty, staff and students--and everyone else interested--will take over Hutchison Field, UC Davis campus, on Friday for the third annual UC Davis Wears Red Day.
It's meant to promote heart health, but we like to promote bee health, too. (After all, this is a blog about bugs.) That's why we're including a pollen-packing honey bee heading toward lavender. The pollen is red--but not from the lavender. It's from the nearby rock purslane.
Check out what UC Davis Dateline editor Dave Jones wrote about Red Day.
The event begins at 10 a.m. with CPR training and a walk-through the MEGA heart exhibit. That's until 2 p.m. Then the Battle Heart Disease Fair (including Zumba) will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
At high noon, everyone will gather to form a huge heart. "We've done this twice before, both times in the rain. Friday's forecast is precipitation-free!" Jones said. "So put on your UC Davis Wears Red Day T-shirt and join in! (Shirts are available at all UC Davis Stores; $2 from every purchase goes to the UC Davis Women's Cardiovascular Medicine Program.)
While folks are forming the heart, the California Aggie Marching Band-uh will make it fun! It's also a great time to take selfies. Be still, my heart.
Want to attend? Let UC Davis know on its Facebook event page.
You can also tweet about it using the hashtag: #UCDavisWearsRed.
And you can Follow Dateline UC Davis on Twitter.
As an aside, I'm not sure if any red pollen-packing honey bees will be there, but take heart, they'll be somewhere!
Honey bees aren't the only bees out foraging.
We saw our first native bee of the season on Jan. 25 at the Benicia Capitol State Historic Park.
Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology at the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, identified it as a female sweat bee, Halictus rubicundus.
"The head shape, lack of long curled hairs below at the base of the hind leg, and the bent basal vein in the wing" helped him identify it as a Halictus. The lack of facial foveae confirmed it was not an Andrena.
"Nice early record for this species," added Thorp, who is the co-author of California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists (Heydey) and Bumble Bees of North America: An Identification Guide (Princeton University Press.)
Halicutus rubicundus is found in Europe, northern Asia, and across the United States and Canada, according to the book, The Bees in Your Backyard, A Guide to North America's Bees, by Joseph S. Wilson, assistant professor of biology at Utah State University, and Olivia J. Messinger Carril, who received her doctorate in plant biology from Southern Illinois University and "has been studying bees and wasps for more than a decade," according to the publisher, Princeton University Press.
You can see more images of this sweat bee on BugGuide.Net.
So, one sweat bee down. Hundreds more to go as the seasons unfold.
Disheveled and depressed. Desolate and defeated. Weary and worn.
Is that really Bruce Hammock, the distinguished professor who holds a joint appointment in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center?
He and his wife, Lassie, portray cameo roles as drought-ravaged farmers in the newly released indie, The Last Survivors, directed by their son, Tom Hammock. Starring Jon Gries, Haley Lu Richardson and Booboo Stewart, The Last Survivors has been described as a low-budget cross between Mad Max and The Hunger Games. (See trailer on YouTube)
And where are Bruce and Lassie Hammock in the film? They're in the grave-digging scene. They're standing at the back, Bruce comforting his wife as they mourn the death of a fellow farmer and worry about their future.
The official synopsis: "At the edge of an expansive barren valley, all that remains of The Wallace Farm for Wayward Youth is a few hollowed-out husks of buildings. Seventeen- year-old Kendal (Haley Lu Richardson) can barely recall when the Oregon valley was still lush. It's been a decade since the last rainfall, and society at large has dried up and blown away. Kendal and the few others that remain barely scrape by while dreaming of escape. When a greedy water baron lays claim to what little of the precious resource remains underground, Kendal must decide whether to run and hide or bravely fight for the few cherished people and things she has left. Co-starring Booboo Stewart (The Twilight Saga), Max Charles (The Amazing Spider-Man, Mr. Peabody & Sherman) and genre veteran Barbara Crampton (You're Next, Re-Animator), The Last Survivors is a suspenseful look at a futuristic world where only the most resourceful survive.."
For The Last Survivors, Director Tom Hammock asked both his parents and brother Bruce to serve in cameo roles. The younger Bruce, a postdoctoral researcher working on insect ecology in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, plays a "bad guy on a water truck."
Professor Bruce Hammock is better known in academic and administrative circles as the director of the campuswide Superfund Research Program, National Institutes of Health Biotechnology Training Program, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Combined Analytical Laboratory. He just recently formed the company, EicOsis LLC, to target neuropathic and inflammatory pain and received a $4 million federal grant to advance his compound discovery through Phase 1 clinical trials. He is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, a fellow of the Entomological Society of America, a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences, and the recipient of the 2001 UC Davis Faculty Research Lecture Award and the 2008 Distinguished Teaching Award for Graduate and Professional Teaching. He's also an athlete who engages in white-water rafting and hiking.
Here at UC Davis, we call Bruce Hammock "The Genius." That's because he is. And now, he's an actor.
For the December 2013 shoot in the Mojave Desert (meant to depict a drought apocalypse in Oregon), the professor grew a beard, donned his father's old ragged World War II clothes and worn-out shoes, and practiced looking forlorn and haggard.
How would he describe his future in acting? "Brief and undistinguished," he joked, adding
The Last Survivors, initially named The Well, is getting a lot of play. It's now on Showtime, Netflix and Amazon.
The crew worked hard, Bruce Hammock recalled. “We were on the set at 5:30 a.m. We worked until dark, in weather well below freezing, with high winds blowing sand. The professional actors and actresses put in amazing performances under quite adverse conditions. They're a very professional and fun group. I had never realized the complexity of filming a movie. I hope they pull off their vision.”
Son Tom Hammock initially thought of becoming a biologist. A 1994 graduate of Davis High School, he studied biology at UC Berkeley, and then switched to landscape architecture. After receiving his bachelor's degree in landscape architecture, he headed off to the American Film Institute to study film design. His credits including serving as the production designer for the critically acclaimed horror films, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane and You're Next, and working on such film productions as Breaking Bad, Dexter, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He is now very much involved in the hugely popular young adult and horror film genre, but showed more of his talent when he authored the original graphic novel, “An Aurora Grimeon Story—Will O' the Wisp." (See previous Bug Squad blog)
Warning: Before you sit down to watch The Last Survivors, be sure to have a bottle of water at the ready, and a jar of canned peaches, too. You will be craving both.
Last Survivors on Facebook
Registration is now underway for the “Beekeeping Basics Workshop,” sponsored by the Highland Springs Resort and SuperOrganism, a non-profit, San Anselmo-based organization that books speakers and does bee projects.
The event, limited to 25 registrants, takes place from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Feb. 27 and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Feb. 28 at the Highland Springs Resort.
Conference speakers will include Extension apiculturist Elina Niño and Bernardo Niño of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Elina Niño discuss how bees communicate and beekeeping basics and offer hands-on instruction. Bernardo Niño will cover beekeeping basics—from how to examine a colony to how to split a hive.
Other speakers include
- Megan Mahoney of the national Bee Informed Partnership Tech Transfer Team, who will discuss top bar beekeeping and what forage to plant.
- Mark Brandenburg, an agronomist whose topic is soil development for forage grasses.
- Jerry Draper of SuperOrganism and a 30-year beekeeper who will share his experiences on “what an inexpensive electronic hive can reveal.”
- M.E.A. McNeil of SuperOrganism and a master beekeeper and journalist writing for The American Bee Journal and Bee Culture who will provide insight into what's happening for bees nationally--on both a grassroots and national level.
- Ricardo Placienta, Highland Springs Resort beekeeper who will discuss his philosophy of beekeeping and provide a hands-on look at the bees.
- Tina Kummerle, beekeeper and manager of the Highland Springs Resort who will introduce the attendees to the history of the resort, its plantings and information on the bees
The Highland Springs Resort, located just west of Palm Springs, is an historic site that once served as a stage coach stop. Its 2400 organically maintained acres include hiking trails and large lavender beds that provide an ideal home for bees.
"I think this is a rare opportunity for people to have face time with these expert beekeepers, the Niño and Megan Mahoney," said McNeil, who as the co-founder of SuperOrganism, lined up the speakers.
Of the venue, she said: "It's a beautiful place with enormous organic acreage, hoping to promote beekeeping."
For more information, access the beekeeping conference on the Highland Springs Resort website. It includes information on conference fees, accommodations and meals. The conference fees will go toward travel expenses of the speakers.