If you're into macro photography of insects, you'll want to check out the amazing photos that won awards, or were accepted into the international Insect Salon competition, affiliated with the Entomological Society of America (ESA) and the Peoria Camera Club, Illinois.
University of Illinois entomologist and ESA Insect Salon chair James Appleby announced at the ESA's 59th annual meeting, held Nov. 13-16 in Reno, that the Insect Salon drew 200 submissions from 27 countries.
It's good to see so many photographers focusing on insects! Go, bugs! To see some of their spectacular work, check out the exhibition results.
Judges look at such criteria as composition, visual impact of the image (or what I call the "wow!" factor), lighting, subject matter, sharpness, depth of field, and difficulty of image acquisition (how difficult was it to make this image?).
Drum roll...The medal for best of show went to Josef Sauter of Germany for his excellent image of butterflies. The medal for most unusual went to Roy Rimmer of England for his "Great Diving Beetle Larva with Prey." Other top winners: medal for best story telling, Tsai Mengshin of Taiwan for his incubation image; medal for best image by an ESA member, Stephen Doggett of Australia for "Friends for Lunch" (hapless bee nailed by a spider); medal for best image by a Peoria Camera Club member, Mark Doublin of Illinois, for his assassin bug; and medal for the best image by an non-ESA member, Marc Anagnostidis of France for his image of butterflies.
Just to be accepted into the show is quite an honor. However, it's not about winning or losing. It's about sharing. It's not about the camera equipment being used. It's mostly about the incredible insects, and a photographer's skill, patience and keen eye.
Interestingly enough, when folks admire the work of photographers, the first question they often ask is: "What kind of camera do you have?" Sometimes the question is asked as if the camera itself is totally responsible for the image. It's like asking a gourmet cook "What kind of pots and pans do you use?" Or asking an Olympic athlete "What kind of shoes do you wear?" Or asking an nationally renowned artist "What kind of brushes do you use?"
Bottom line: scores of factors are involved in capturing images of insects.
And yes, the Insect Salon competition is open to all. Enter your best shots next year!
It's important to have a sense of humor, especially in the academic world when seriousness almost always shades levity.
Take chemical ecologist Walter Leal, professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, who received the Entomological Society of America's Nan-Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity in Entomology this week.
It's an award given to an ESA member who is able to demonstrate, through his/her projects or accomplishments, an ability to identify problems and develop creative, alternative solutions that significantly impact entomology.
Leal, a pioneer in the field of insect communication and on the cutting edge of research, uses innovative approaches to solve insect olfaction problems. Basically, his work examines how insects detect smells, communicate with their species, detect host and non-host plants, and detect prey.
The UC Davis professor has designed and synthesized complex pheromones from many insects, including scarab beetles, true bugs, longhorn beetles and the citrus leafminer. He and his lab discovered the secret mode of the insect repellent DEET.
At the ESA awards session, Leal first stepped on stage to receive the Fellow awards of Anthony James of UC Irvine and James R. Carey of UC Davis, who were unable to attend. (Leal also is a Fellow, a prestigious award given annually to only 10 members--or up to 10 members--of the 6000-member society).
Then it was time for the Nan-Yao Su Award presentation.
Leal's third trip to the stage did not go unnoticed. ESA vice president Grayson Brown of the University of Kentucky, quipped: "That's how Walter gets his exercise--by picking up awards."
Yale University professor John Carlson suggested that Leal might be too tired to get the Nan-Yao Su Award Award. "I will go get his," said Carlson, as the audience burst into an uproarious applause.
A dose of humor also touched Leal's name badge. Beneath the lettering, "Dr. Walter S. Leal" and his blue Fellow ribbon, trailed two other ribbons: "Official Something," "Somebody" and "Workaholic."
The Entomological Society of America (ESA) just announced that among the 2011 award recipients are two UC Davis faculty: Michael Parrella and Walter Leal.
Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology is the recipient of the ESA's Distinguished Achievement Award in Horticultural Entomology.
Chemical ecologist Walter Leal, professor and former chair of the Department of Entomology, is the recipient of the ESA's Nan-Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity in Entomology.
They'll receive the awards at the 59th Annual ESA Meeting, set Nov. 13-16 in Reno. Each award comes with a cash prize and a plaque.
Both Parrella and Leal have done so much for the wide world of entomology that their accomplishments could easily fill several books.
The fact that they were singled out from a 6000-member international organization for these coveted awards says a lot about them, their work, their commitments, their passions, and the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
The Nan-Yao Su Award goes to an ESA member who has demonstrated, through projects or accomplishments, "an ability to identify problems and develop creative, alternative solutions that significantly impact entomology."
The Distinguished Achievement Award in Horticultural Entomology, sponsored by Gowan Company, singles out an entomologist who has contributed greatly to the American horticulture industry.
Parrella, who also has a joint appointment in the Department of Plant Sciences and is a former associate dean with the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, has developed an internationally recognized program focused on advancing integrated pest management and biological control for the floriculture and nursery industry.
Parrella is a past president of the Pacific Branch of the ESA and represents the Branch on the ESA Governing Board. He has held numerous offices and has authored more than than 375 publications.
Leal is a pioneer in the field of insect communication and on the cutting edge of research. He examines how insects detect smells, communicate with their species, detect host and non-host plants, and detect prey.
Leal has designed and synthesized complex pheromones from many insects, including scarab beetles, true bugs, longhorn beetles and the citrus leafminer. He and his lab discovered the secret mode of the insect repellent DEET.
A past president of International Society of Chemical Ecology, Leal has published his work in more than 161 peer-reviewed journals in the general field of insect pheromones, insect chemical communication, and insect olfaction, many widely cited by his peers.
Hail to the chairs--the current chair and a past chair.
Or an entomologist?
UC Davis Regents Scholar Heather Wilson, a researcher/lab technician in the Frank Zalom lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology, was listening to (I Wanna Be a) "Billionaire," the lead single from Travie McCoy's Lazarus album when she came up with an idea for the Entomological Society of America’s YouTube video contest.
In the hit tune, "Billionaire," McCoy zeroes in on what it might be like to become a billionaire, or rather, what he will do WHEN he becomes a billionaire. He'll be on the cover of Forbes magazine, "smiling next to Oprah and The Queen."
"I wanna be a billionaire, so freakin' (insert alternative adjective here) bad," McCoy sings.
Enter Heather Wilson, a senior majoring in biological sciences. She answered the (I Wanna Be a) "Billionaire" video, created by McCoy and guest vocalist Bruno Mars, with a video of her own.
"I wanna be an entomologist, so freakin' bad," Wilson sings.
"I wanna be on the cover
Of Economic Entomology
Smiling next to Frank and Jim Carey..."
That would be Frank Zalom and James "Jim" Carey, longtime professors in the UC Davis Department of Entomology. Zalom, former vice chair of the department, is in line for the presidency of the 6000-member ESA.
Wilson's video begins rather quietly. A spider prowls its web for unsuspecting insects. Honey bees buzz in and out of a hive. A butterfly flutters into a bush.
A bucolic scene, right?
Wait! The fun is about to begin. Wilson opens a car trunk, retrieves an insect net, and holding it upright like a flag, sprints down a country road like a cartoon character.
She goes on to "count bugs" in the Zalom lab (where she's doing research on the Spotted Wing Drosophila). Then she heads over to the Bohart Museum of Entomology where she wears a resident walking stick on her T-shirt. She cradles a rose-haired tarantula and a Madagascar hissing cockroach. She hugs a display tray of butterfly specimens.
And she does all this with unabated glee.
It's easy to see why Wilson was voted "class clown" at her high school in Anaheim, Calif. But she's also a top scholar. The Regents Scholarship she received is the most prestigious scholarship on the UC Davis campus and is based solely on academic and personal achievements.
Someone asked us "What's this all about, craving so badly to become an entomologist?"
Well, you have to watch the "Billionaire" video to know what's going on. It's a parody! And Heather Wilson pulls it off perfectly.
Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum of Entomology and an avid fan of all things entomological, points out that "It's unrealistic that we can ALL become billionaires. But honestly, we can all set our sights on becoming an entomologist. Now that’s a realistic dream.”
Meanwhile, Wilson is preparing a research presentation on the Spotted Wing Drosophila for the 59th Annual ESA Meeting, to be held Nov. 13-16 in Reno.
And meanwhile, her video is going viral.
Now Zalom, integrated pest management (IPM) specialist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology, will be sharing his skills worldwide.
He's the newly elected vice president-elect of the 6000-member Entomological Society of America (ESA), the world's largest association of entomologists. This means he'll move up to vice president and then president, and finally, serve a year as past president. Overall, it's a four-year commitment.
Entomologists have long admired Zalom, a professor of entomology and former vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, for his pest and crop expertise and his leadership skills. He's known statewide, nationally and internationally on the IPM front. In fact, the name, "Zalom," is synonymous with IPM.
Zalom, who directed the UC Statewide IPM Program for 16 years, sets many of the standards for IPM strategies and tactics; these include monitoring procedures, thresholds, pest development and population models, biological controls and use of less toxic pesticides.
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 the international IPM program.
Within the last decade, the Zalom lab has responded to six important pest invasions, with research projects on glassy-winged sharpshooter, olive fruit fly, a new biotype of greenhouse whitefly, invasive saltcedar, light brown apple moth, and the spotted wing Drosophila.
Zalom is also a prolific author. In his three decades with the UC Davis Department of Entomology, he 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.
Frank Zalom will be the second UC Davis entomologist to head ESA, which was founded in 1889 and is now headquartered in Lanham, Md. The first was Donald McLean, former professor/chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology; McLean served as ESA president in 1984.
Congratulations, Frank Zalom!