That's the theme of San Francisco's Exploratorium Pier 15 event on Thursday night, Oct. 2.
Graduate student Ralph Washington of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, will be staffing the Bohart Museum of Entomology table for four hours at the event.
Washington, who studies with major professor Steve Nadler and is a Bohart Museum associate, will showcase the “oh my” drawers, so named because onlookers exclaim “oh my” when they see them; and live animals from the petting zoo, which include Madagascar hissing cockroaches and walking sticks. He also will provide a slide show presentation focusing on camouflage and deception in the insect world.
The event will take place from 6 to 10 p.m., at Pier 15, located at Embarcadero at Green Street, San Francisco. General admission is $15; for members, it is $10. The event is open only to adults 18 and over.
“After Dark” is a mixture of theater, cabaret and a gallery, according to its website.
Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator at the Bohart Museum, said "After Dark" is aimed at young adults.
From the website:
“Delve into the science behind deception at After Dark. Find out how expert wine detective Maureen Downey exposes costly counterfeits—without uncorking a bottle. Glimpse the blurred margins between science and art in Victorian spirit photography with Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco curator Melissa Buron, and walk through a virtual mirror staged by Exploratorium physicist Paul Doherty. Play with exhibits exploring the nature of perception, including a room-sized “Vanishing Act.” Encounter the uncanny in the mischievous mentalism of Brad Barton, Reality Thief, and let magician and Exploratorium scientist Luigi Anzivino show you how the odds can be stacked against you in a seemingly innocent game of chance. Learn the tricks carnivorous plants use to lure their treats, meet servals and ocelots from Bonnie Cromwell's Classroom Safari, and become a connoisseur of camouflage—animal and otherwise.”
Information on tickets and parking and other data on the Exploratorium Pier 15 website.
Okra. You either love it or hate.
If you hate it, it's probably because of its characteristic "slime" that it produces. It's a mucilaginous plant. If you love it-- absolutely love it--you may be from the Deep South, where okra is king. They bread the slender green pods and deep-fry them. And they pickle them. It's also a key ingredient in gumbo.
Indeed, it's a vegetable rich in Vitamin C, fiber and potassium.
But if you're a garden spider living in the Good Life Garden at the University of California, Davis, you depend on the tall okra plants to weave your web and trap insects. Then you can spin them around, wrap them tighter than a ball of string, and feast on them later.
The Good Life Garden is located behind the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science on Old Davis Road. It's a well-cared for garden chock full of fruits, vegetables, herbs and ornamentals.
And predators and prey.
Its aim, according to its website, is "to educate the public on how to buy and plant seasonal vegetables for the best taste and highest nutritional content. Each season the garden's planting list will be available online along with information on how to grow, harvest, buy, and cook the various plants, herbs, and fruits found in the garden."
The garden is aptly named. The Good Life.
Good for people, predators and prey.
The new UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's graduate student is an incredible success story who hurdled the obstacles heaved in her path and lets nothing—absolutely nothing--block her education, enthusiasm, research or goals.
The first thing you notice is her unbridled enthusiasm, whether she's monitoring Virginia Creeper leafhoppers or parasitized leafhopper eggs in a UC Davis research vineyard, or sharing insect photos of everything from assassin bugs to praying mantids.
Preto, a former foster care youth, turned a disadvantaged childhood into a college diploma, and a college diploma into graduate school.
“I'm the first in my family to graduate from college and to attend graduate school,” said Preto, who calls Los Angeles “home.”
In June, UC Davis awarded her a bachelor's degree in viticulture and enology with an entomology minor in agricultural pest management. Now she's studying for her master's degree in entomology with major professor and integrated pest management specialist Frank Zalom, distinguished professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
“I first met Cindy in my Entomology 110 class, Arthropod Pest Management,” Zalom recalled. “She was usually the last student to leave the diagnostic labs each week, and one time she apologized to me for staying so long. She said that she had been out of school and working for a while so she wanted to get the most out of her classes.”
“She was a viticulture and enology major,” Zalom said. “We discussed having her do an undergrad research project on grapes, so she applied for and received a MURALS (Mentorship for Undergraduate Research in Agriculture, Letters and Science) scholarship which allowed her to conduct a project in my lab.”
Her project? The development of the invasive European grapevine moth. Preto conducted her research in the Contained Research Facility on campus with co-advisors Spencer Walse and Dave Bellamy of the USDA's Agricultural Research Service. Like Zalom, they praised her “excellent work ethic and enthusiasm.”
Preto has presented her research at the UC Davis Undergrad Research Conference and at the ESA's 2013 national meeting on “The Effects of Temperature on the Chronological Distribution of European Grapevine Moth's (Lobesia botrana) Life Stages from Egg Eclosion.” Next she'll present her undergraduate research at the ESA's 2014 meeting and is currently preparing a manuscript as a co-author for publication.
On Saturday, Sept. 27 Preto will represent the Zalom lab at the Bohart Museum of Entomology's open house on “How To Be an Entomologist” from 1 to 4 p.m. in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane.” She'll show visitors what leafhoppers and parasitized eggs look like.
“I am currently doing a biological survey of Virginia Creeper leafhopper in vineyards, looking at the population dynamics of all life stages, egg, nymphs, and adults,” Preto said.
The Virginia Creeper is one of three leafhoppers that she's studying in her population dynamics research. The others are the Western grape leafhopper and the Variegated leafhopper. They're all about the same size: 2 millimeters. In rearing eggs from nymphs to adults, she knows the distinguishing characteristics of each.
Zalom admires her enthusiasm, commitment and professionalism. “I was not seeking another grad student, but I couldn't help but accept Cindy into my lab when she decided that she would like to pursue a master's degree,” Zalom recalled. “Her project on leafhoppers associated with grapes fits her goals of working again in the grape industry when she completes her degree. Her enthusiasm for learning hasn't changed, and her research has been proceeding very well.”
Indeed it has. She's also drawing widespread attention as a scholar. She received a Peter J. Shields Scholarship in September 2011; a Wine Spectator scholarship in September 2012; the MURALS research scholarship in November 2012; a Syngenta Scholarship, June 2013; a Wine Spectator Scholarship in October 2013; and an Orange County Wine Society Scholarship in October 2013.
Preto also participates in the new UC Davis program, Guardian Professions Program or GPP, which is open to Masters/Ph.D students who are former foster care youth. And, she continues to participate in the Guardian Scholars Program or GSP, open to all UC Davis students who were cared for in foster homes. GSP students offer support for one another and also to current and former foster care youth in local high schools and community colleges by offering UC Davis campus tours, outreach, interactive activities, and speaking on panels to share their story in hopes of encouraging former foster care youth to seek higher education.
A world traveler, she has journeyed to all seven continents, all 50 states, and to 59 countries. "It can be inexpensive," she said. Along the way, she's taken scores of images of insects.
Preto takes a multi-disciplinary approach to not only her research but life in general, eager to know, learn and share. She figuratively skips to work, excitedly looking forward to new entomological finds. She's recorded and photographed not only leafhoppers, but assassin bugs, minute pirate bugs, stink bugs, lace bugs, mites, thrips, damselflies, dragonflies, moths, bees, wasps, spiders (jumping spiders and black widows), whiteflies and praying mantids.
When Preto is not out in the field monitoring insects, you'll usually find her reading about them or studying them in the lab—weekends included. “It's extremely fascinating,” she said.
Her career goal? To work for a vineyard in a pest and disease management position, preferably in an organic grape or sustainable vineyard. Another goal: to receive her Pest Control Adviser license.
“I love it,” she said.
"Stop and smell the roses!"
It's a good way to savor the moment, of living in the present instead of the past or future.
We delight in the aroma of the "Sparkle and Shine" yellow rose that we purchased several years ago at the California Center for Urban Horticulture's annual Rose Day on the UC Davis campus.
Sometimes there's an added bonus--a praying mantis, a honey bee, a longhorned bee, European wool carder bee, carpenter bee, a hover fly, a butterfly, or another insect. They do not all get along. Like beginners in an elementary school band, they do not play well together. Some of the territorial bees want to claim ownership ("Mine! mine! mine!"). The honey bees linger longer than they should. The butterflies don't. The hover flies hover. And the praying mantis? It just wants dinner.
Today, it was not an insect but an arthropod that caught our attention: a jumping spider. We pointed the Canon MPE-65mm lens directly in its eyes. It just looked back at us, figuring we were no threat.
If you like to "look back" at insects or arthropods, then you should head over to the UC Davis open house this Saturday, Sept. 27 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, Room 1124 of the Academic Surge building on Crocker Lane. It's off LaRue Road. The open house is free and open to the public.
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, houses some eight million specimens, plus a live "petting zoo," filled with critters you can hold, such as walking sticks, millipedes, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, and tarantulas.
It's a day when entomologists will be there to show you how to collect insects, pin a butterfly, and how to look through a microscope. You'll also see a bee observation hive provided by the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.
And, if you have a mind to, you can visit the gift shop and purchase such items as nets, T-shirts, jewelry, posters and books.
You'll even find books on spiders.
Yes, plants can communicate.
And that's exactly what ecologist Rick Karban, professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, will discuss at the LASER-UC Davis (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) event on Thursday night, Oct. 9 in Room 3001 of UC Davis Plant and Environmental Sciences Building.
Karban will speak on "Plant Communication" from 8:10 to 8:45. He is one of four speakers booked from 7 to 9 p.m. The event, free and open to the public, begins at 6:30 with socializing and networking. It is sponsored by the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program.
Karban drew international scientific and media attention with his research on “Kin Recognition Affects Plant Communication and Defense,” published in February 2013 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. He and four colleagues showed that kin have distinct advantages when it comes to plant communication, just as “the ability of many animals to recognize kin has allowed them to evolve diverse cooperative behaviors,” he told the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology in a news release.
“When sagebrush plants are damaged by their herbivores, they emit volatiles that cause their neighbors to adjust their defenses,” Karban said. "These adjustments reduce rates of damage and increase growth and survival of the neighbors.”
“Why would plants emit these volatiles which become public information?” he asked. “Our results indicate that the volatile cues are not completely public, that related individuals responded more effectively to the volatiles than did strangers. This bias makes it less likely that emitters will aid strangers and more likely that receivers will respond to relatives.”
Karban was featured in Michael Pollan's piece on “The Intelligent Plant: Scientists Debate a New Way of Understanding Plants,” published last December in The New Yorker.” He is also spotlighted on YouTube.
A member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology since 1982, Karban received his bachelor's degree in environmental studies from Haverford (Pa.) College, and his doctorate in biology from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and has published more than 100 journal articles and two books.
Other speakers at the Oct. 9th event are:
7 to 7:25 p.m.: Tami Spector, a professor of organic chemistry at the University of San Francisco, whose topic is “The Molecular Elusive."
7:25 to 7:50: Katharine Hawthorne, a San Francisco-based dancer and choreographer, who will discuss “Analog Bodies”
8:40 to 9: Cody Ross, a postdoctoral cultural and statistical anthropologist working at the Santa Fe Institute and UC Davis, whose topic is “Art Is Offensive: Integrative Art and Social Justice.”
The event promises to be educational and informative, according to moderator/organizer Anna Davidson ot the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, who recently received her doctorate. She studies fruit tree ecophysiology and is an instructor with the UC Davis Art Science Fusion Program.