Dingle, who served as a professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology from 1982 to 2002, achieving emeritus status in 2003, recently published the second edition of Migration: The Biology of Life on the Move (Oxford University Press), a sequel to the first edition published in 1996.
A worldwide authority on animal migration, Dingle says the full understanding of migration, or “life on the move,” involves genetics, physiology, and morphology, as well as behavior and ecology. Among the animals that migrate: whales, monarch butterflies, armyworm moths, pelicans, locusts, winged aphids and ballooning spiders.
Dingle has researched in seven countries: UK, Kenya, Thailand, Panama, Germany and Australia, as well as the United States. National Geographic featured him in its cover story on “Great Migrations” in November 2010. LiveScience interviewed him for its November 2010 piece on“Why Do Animals Migrate."
Now Dingle will be heading to the Pacific islands to study monarchs. He just received the UC Davis Edward A. Dickson Professorship Award to research “Monarchs in the Pacific: Is Contemporary Evolution Occurring on Isolated Islands?”
Monarch butterflies established just 200 years ago in remote Pacific islands are undergoing contemporary evolution through differences in their wing span and other changes, Dingle believes. He will be working with community ecologist Louie Yang and molecular geneticist Joanna Chiu, assistant professors in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, to examine the ecology and physiology of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) in three islands where contemporary evolution might be expected. The islands are Oahu (Hawaii), Guam (Marianas) and Weno (Chuuk or Truk).
“This is the necessary first step in a long-term analysis of the evolutionary ecology and physiology of monarch butterflies on remote Pacific islands,” said Dingle, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Animal Behavior Society.
The monarch, widely distributed “for eons” in the New World, is fairly new to the Pacific islands and to Australia. He speculates that the monarchs arrived in the Pacific islands with their host plant, milkweed, which was valued at the time for its medicinal properties.
An analysis of a monarch population in Hawaii shows that resident monarchs have shorter, broader wings than the long-distance migrants. The Hawaii butterfly wings were shorter than the eastern U.S. long-distance migrants, but “not so short-winged as the residents in the Caribbean or Costa Rica, which have been present in those locations for eons, rather than the 200 years for Hawaii.”
“If there are indeed wing shape changes associated with evolution in isolation, are there other changes that may have occurred under selection and local adaptation for residency?” Dingle wonders. “Are there other changes that may have occurred under selection and local adaptation for residency? Examples of such traits might be changes in flight muscle physiology, changes in photoperiodic diapause response, changes in the characteristics of orientation ability and its relation to antennal circadian rhythms, or changes in the reproductive capacity or tactics (re-colonization of ‘empty' habitats is no longer part of the life cycle)."
“Diapause and fat storage, necessary to support migration, are triggered by short photoperiods,” Dingle said, “and the butterflies orient using a sun compass synchronized to a circadian rhythm in the antennae." Overwintering sites in North America include the Transvolcanics Mountains of central Mexico, and the California Coast, particularly Santa Cruz, Pismo Beach, and Pacific Grove.
The UC Davis team will study the monarchs on the three islands and compare them with California mainland monarchs. Using an image analyzer and camera equipment available in Yang lab, the team will photograph “chilled” butterflies in a fixed position with wings spread and then release them back into the wild. The image analyzer will measure different variables, including length, width and angles from the photographs and compute multivariate-shape parameters.
The Chiu lab will assess genetic differences using a transcriptomic approach with monarch caterpillars. “This assessment will be greatly facilitated by the fact that the monarch genome has now been sequenced,” Dingle noted. “A major focus of Dr. Chiu's research is circadian rhythm genes, and these will be especially relevant here because of the association of these genes with monarch capabilities. Because the monarch cell line is cycling and has a functional circadian clock, effects of mutations in specific clock genes can be examined with regard to clock function.”
Dingle expects the one-year research program not only to form the basis for “long-term research on the evolutionary genetics of behavior, ecology and physiology on Pacific island monarch butterflies” but on “the general aspects of island biogeography, a subject of great practical theoretical interest in evolutionary biology.”
That's exciting research. We look forward to the results!
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"
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."
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)
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.”
How did the mayfly wind up on the flowering artichoke? Well, there's a body of water close by--our fish pond.
Speaking of fish--not the kind in our pond, though--the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program is hosting a LASER-UC Davis event on Thursday night, Dec. 4 and one of the speakers is Chris Dewees, retired marine fisheries specialist, who fuses art with science. His topic: "Passion for Fish: When East Meets West."
The LASER event, free and open to the public, is scheduled from 6:30 to 9 p.m. in the Room 3001 conference room of the Plant and Environmental Sciences (PES) Building, UC Davis campus. LASER is an acronym for Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous.
Dewees, a San Francisco native with a lifelong passion for fish, will speak from 8:10 to 8:35. His career has included commercial fishing and 35 years as the statewide marine fisheries specialist based at UC Davis.
When first exposed to the Japanese art of gyotaku, DeWees says he was "hooked." Gyotaku is the traditional method of Japanese fish printing, dating back to the mid-1800s.
His illustrated talk will offer insights into two-way communication between scientists and artists. "I will talk about how I can express my love of fisheries as a science-based career and as art."
"Combining my fisheries expertise with this art form gives me a very balanced life and a way to communicate my passion for fish to others," DeWees says. The art has led to shows and adventures around the world including the Smithsonian. Dewees received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Redlands in biology and speech; his master's degree from Humboldt State University in fisheries; and his doctorate at UC Davis in ecology.
Three other presentations will take place at LASER-UC Davis event. It's a good time to "bug out" of the house and attend.
The complete schedule:
6:30 to 7 p.m. Socializing and networking
7 to 7:25 p.m. Venkatesan Sundaresan, a plant sciences professor at UC Davis, will speak on “Mysteries of the Silent Kingdom: Sticking to One's Roots, Managing Hormones and Spreading Genes”
7:25 to 7:50 p.m. Robin Hill, art professor at UC Davis, will speak on “Idea Cultivation in the Studio.”
7:50 to 8:10 p.m. Break: Networking/socializing.
8:10 to 8:35 p.m. Chris Dewees, retired marine fisheries specialist at UC Davis, will speak on “Passion for Fish: When East Meets West."
8:35 to 9 p.m. Nanette Wylde, professor of art and art history at California State University, Chico, will speak on “Instigating Some Kind of Action: Interactive Projects Online and Off.”
The coordinator/moderator, Anna Davidson of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, received her Ph.D. earlier this year from UC Davis in plant sciences and is now seeking her master's degree in fine arts. She continues to study the biological world using both artistic and scientific approaches.
The UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program was founded by entomologist/artist Diane Ullman, professor of entomology at UC Davis and her colleague, self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick, now retired. Their legacy--and that of the students they taught--is the mosaic ceramic art all over campus and beyond.
"It is the middle of winter," writes Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center. "Pink and white buds are just peeking out on the burnished branches of the almond trees all over central California. It is just the beginning of spring. Bees come out to bask in the warmth of the afternoon sun following the dark, cool winter days of December and January. They gather pollen and nectar to begin building their strength and their colony for the coming year. Each evening they return to the warmth of their hives."
That's the setting. Then comes the glow. The Honey and Pollination Center has just announced plans for its second annual "Mid-Winter Beekeepers' Feast: "A Taste of Mead and Honey." The event, open to the public, is scheduled Saturday night, Jan. 31 in the foyer of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, Old Davis Road, UC Davis campus.
The elegant green table event, sponsored by Les Dames d'Escoffier, San Francisco, will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Organic food consultant Ann Evans of Davis is planning the menu; the Buckhorn of Winters will cater. Preceding the event will be a honey and mead tasting at 5 p.m. Registration is now underway.
The Honey and Pollination Center aims to become "the world's leading authority on honey bee health, pollination, and honey quality" and is well on its way. More information is available on the website or by contacting Amina Harris at email@example.com.