HB returns to the hive only to notice a sister doing the waggle dance to communicate (erroneously) what a good foraging site this lavender patch is, and "Let's go!"
HB head-butts her dancing sister to warn of the danger. The dancing stops. A "stop signal" just occurred.
That's the short version of what biologist James Nieh of UC San Diego will discuss when he speaks on “The Role of Negative Signaling in a Superorganism: the Honey Bee Stop Signal" next Wednesday, May 16 on the University of California, Davis campus.
The seminar, sponsored by the UC Davis Department of Entomology, is from 12:10 to 1 p.m. in 122 Briggs Hall, Kleiber Hall Drive.
Nieh, who joined the UC San Diego faculty in 2000, is a professor in the Section of Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution. He will be introduced by fellow bee researcher Brian Johnson, assistant professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology. Plans call for the seminar to be webcast and then posted on UCTV within a two-week period.
The UC San Diego biologist published his discovery of the stop signal in the Feb. 23, 2010 edition of the journal Current Biology. He found that bees “head butt” to stop the waggle dancers from trying to recruit others to forage at a dangerous location. (See Biologist Discovers 'Stop' Signal in Honey Bee Communication.)
Nieh researches bee communication and cognition, focusing on many types of social bees, including honey bees, bumble bees, and stingless bees. Currently, his lab is interested in exploring the evolution of bee language, how bees communicate and recruit nestmates to food, and in how pesticides and disease affect bee behavior, navigation, and communication.
Born in Taiwan, Nieh grew up in Southern California and received his bachelor's degree from Harvard in 1991 and his Ph.D from Cornell University in 1997. He subsequently received two fellowships: a National Science Foundation-NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship to study at the University of Würzburg in Germany; and the prestigious Harvard Junior Fellowship.
When TED extends an invite, that's a high honor.
Scientists-artists Diane Ullman and Donna Billick, co-founders and co-directors of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, have been invited to speak at the second annual TEDx program hosted at the University of California, Davis.
The theme of the daylong program, set from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, May 19 in Room 1100 of Social Sciences and Humanities Building, is “The Power of Perspective."
Ullman and Billick are among some 14 speakers invited to discuss their research, discoveries or perspectives, which are meant to inform, enlighten and inspire. Each will speak for 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes of fame! (Yes, it's all sold out but it will be livestreamed.)
The UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program "is a pioneering program in the use of an art-science fusion paradigm in undergraduate education and community outreach," Ullman explains.
You can see the program's amazing work around campus, including the exquisitely beautiful Nature's Gallery, a mosaic mural on Garrod Drive, and the earthy bee art in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road.
Billick, a self-described rock artist whose work is exhibited in many countries of the world, will speak at 3:30 p.m. on "You See. Manifesting the Nature of Education." In addition to being the co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, Billick is the director of Billick Rock Art, based in Davis, and the director of Todos Artes in Baja.
Ullman, professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and the associate dean for undergraduate academic programs in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, will speak at 3:45 p.m. on “Journey into the Art/Science Borderland: Transformations in Teaching and Learning.”
So, what is TED? It's an acronym that stands for “Technology, Entertainment and Design.” It's basically a global set of conferences providing “riveting talks by remarkable people," according to its website. Launched in 1984 in Monterey, Calif., TED shares and showcases the talks globally.
TEDx, created in the spirit of TED's mission's "ideas worth spreading,” is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. These opportunities are intended to spark deep conversations and connections. Indeed, this is participation at its best.
TEDx sponsors charge an attendance/participation fee for the daylong programs (the UC Davis event will include lunch and demonstrations), but the webcasts may be viewed on the internet for free.
When Ullman and Billick present their programs fusing art with science, their work will gain a scope never before imagined.
That's good for science. That's good for art. And that's good for the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program and the UC Davis campus as a whole.
What's Mother's Day without moths?
Moth specimens and a fun caterpillar craft activity will highlight a pre-“Moth’er's Day” open house from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, May 12 at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, 1124 Academic Surge on California Drive, University of California, Davis campus. The event is free and open to the public.
You can learn about moths and make "caterpillars" from colorful “scrunched-up paper” and chopsticks, says Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator.
Might make a good Mother's Day gift, yes?
Entomologist and museum associate Jeff Smith will show visitors a “behind-the-scenes” look at the Bohart’s moth collection.
The Bohart Museum also features a year-around live “petting zoo” with such permanent residents as walking sticks, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, and a rose-haired tarantula. You can photograph them cradling in your hand or crawling up your arm.
In addition, the gift shop will be open so visitors can buy Mom such gifts as insect-themed jewelry, candy, T-shirts, sweatshirts, coffee mugs, and posters, as well as insect nets. (Aren't those items on every Mom's list?)
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, houses a global collection of more than seven million insect specimens, the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and is also the home of the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity. Noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007) of UC Davis founded the museum in 1946. He was Kimsey's major professor.
It's good to see the Bohart Museum opening its doors on special weekends. Those who can't make it to the museum during the weekday can usually do so on the weekends. The Bohart’s regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. It is closed on Fridays and on major holidays.
More information is available on the Bohart website or by contacting Tabatha Yang at email@example.com or (530) 752-0493.
Happy Moth'er's Day!
Just drop by the Davis Public Library next Thursday night.
Pollination ecologist Neal Williams, assistant professor of entomology at UC Davis, will present a public lecture on “Promoting Native Bees for Gardens, Farms, and Native Plants” at the Davis Botanical Society meeting on Thursday night, May 10 in the Davis Public Library, 315 E. 14th St.
Williams, to speak from 7 to 8 p.m., will discuss native bee biology and diversity in the Capay Valley, how bees interact with plants, and the challenges facing native bees as they respond to landscape change in Yolo County. Drawing from his studies on the impact of native plant selections in the re-diversification of agricultural landscapes, Williams also will tell his audience how habitats can be enhanced using native plants.
“Our beautiful state has diverse and unique plants and animals, with many found nowhere else in the world,” said Botanical Society spokesperson Ellen Dean, curator of the UC Davis Center for Plant Diversity. “This is true of our native bee species, some of which have never been named by science. If you have wanted to find out more about the relationship between native bees and California plants, you are invited to come to a free public lecture.”
Williams, who joined the UC Davis Department of Entomology in 2009, was a featured speaker at the International Symposium on Pollinator Conservation, held last January in Fukuoka, Japan. He explored agricultural landscape change and the role of bee life history in predicting and understanding responses of bee communities.
A native of Madison, Wisc., Williams studied botany, history and philosophy of science in 1990-91 at Edinburgh University, Scotland, before receiving his bachelor of science degrees in botany and zoology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1992. He received his doctorate in ecology and evolution in 1999 from the State University of New York, Stony Brook (SUNY-Stony Brook).
And, if you're interested in joining the Davis Botanical Society, the group has scheduled its annual meeting and election of officers at 6:45 p.m., just prior to Williams’ talk.
Parking in the library parking lot is free. Further information on the Davis Botanical Society is available from Ellen Dean or Jean Shepard at the UC Davis Center for Plant Diversity at (530) 752-1091.
Honey bees aren't that much into roses. Wild roses, yes. Cultivated roses, not so much. Given a choice, they'll take the lavenders, mints and salvia (sage) over the roses any time.
Occasionally, however, we see honey bees foraging on roses in the UC Davis Arboretum's Storer Garden on Garrod Drive, or in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road.
Ah, roses! One of life's simple pleasures. And what would Mother's Day be without them?
Speaking of roses, this weekend on the UC Davis campus is all about roses. The California Center for Urban Horticulture (CCUH) and Foundation Plant Services are teaming to present their fifth annual Rose Day on Saturday, May 5 from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Melissa "Missy" Gable, program manager of CCHU, says the May 5th event, themed "Your Sustainable Backyard: Roses," will include talks and demonstrations; a tour of the Storer Garden on Garrod Drive; a tour of the Foundation Plant Services' eight-acre rose field on Hopkins Road; and a tour of the All-American Rose Selection test garden on Hopkins Road. And it's all for $45. (See registration or contact Missy (Borel) Gable at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.)
Workshop participants--as well as the general public--can not only smell the roses but buy them from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., Saturday, May 5 at the Foundation Plant Services site at 454 Hopkins Road. Rose plants are $25 each, five or more for $22, and 10 or more for $18--cash and checks only.
Then on Sunday, May 6, the public rose sales will continue from noon to 5 p.m. at the Foundation Plant Services site. Think hybrid teas, grandifloras, climbers and landscape roses. "Four-inch Cinco de Mayo rose plants will be given out while supplies last," Gable said.
Sale proceeds will benefit horticulture education at UC Davis--a good cause.
And maybe, just maybe, you might see a few bees on the roses. You won't be charged extra!
(Directions: The Foundation Plant Services, 455 Hopkins Road, is located on the corner of Hopkins and Straloch, about a mile west of the UC Davis central campus. Take Hutchinson west of 113, turn right toward the new West Village apartments at the first traffic circle, then west again onto Hutchinson at the second traffic circle. Take a left on Hopkins at the second line of olive trees. Note: While you're in the area, you might want to stop by and see the half-acre Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a bee friendly demonstration garden located next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, off Hopkins Road. It's open from dawn to dusk every day; admission is free.)