The mutual adaption of native and non-native species is changing best practices for promoting biodiversity, acknowledges UC Davis evolutionary ecologist Scott Carroll, founding director of the Institute for Contemporary Evolution and a member of the Sharon Lawler lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
What can we do? Scott advocates interdisciplinary solutions.
Carroll will discuss “An Approach to Conservation that Reconciles Past, Present and Future Landscapes in Nature” at 6 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 30 at the Commonwealth Club of California, located at 595 Market St., San Francisco. This is part of the ongoing forum topic, “Science of Conservation and Biodiversity in the 21st century.”
A networking reception begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by the program at 6. The cost is $20 for non-members; $8 for members, and $7 for students (with valid ID). Registration is available through the website, http://www.commonwealthclub.org/ or by telephoning (415) 597-6705.
Non-club-members can enjoy the program at the discounted rate of $8 (rather than $20), using the coupon code listed below:
Thursday, Jan. 30, 6 p.m. - Scott Carroll: Conciliation Biology: An Approach to Conservation that Reconciles Past, Present and Future Landscapes in Nature. Coupon Code: friendsforcarroll. For program detail and registration, please see: http://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/2014-01-30/scott-carroll-conciliation-biology
Carroll, who directs the Institute for Contemporary Evolution, does research on patterns of ongoing evolution in wild and anthropogenic environments. His studies on evolutionary changes in soapberry bugs in response to plant introductions are seminal contributions to our understanding of diversification.
The UC Davis evolutionary ecologist is the co-editor of the book, Conservation Biology: Evolution in Action (Oxford University Press, 2008). with Charles Fox, professor of insect genetics, behavior and evolutionary ecology, University of Kentucky.
Carroll co-authored a research paper that was selected in 2013 as one of the top 100 most influential papers ever published by the worldwide British Ecological Society, headquartered in London. The 13-page article, “Adaptive Versus Non-Adaptive Phenotypic Plasticity and the Potential for Contemporary Adaptation in New Environments,” is published in the April 2007 (Volume 21) in the British Ecological Society’s journal, Functional Ecology.
The Commonwealth Club of California is the nation's oldest and largest public affairs forum. It brings more than 400 annual events on topics ranging across politics, culture, society and the economy to 20,000 members. Its mission: to be the leading national forum open to all for the impartial discussion of public issues important to the membership, community and nation.
Founded in 1903, The Commonwealth Club has played host to a diverse and distinctive array of speakers, from Teddy Roosevelt in 1911 to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor Alec Baldwin and author Christopher Hitchens in recent years. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Bill Gates have all given landmark speeches at The Club.
For members outside the Bay Area, the Club's weekly radio broadcast — the oldest in the U.S., dating back to 1924 — is carried across the nation on public and commercial radio stations. The website archive features audio and video of our recent programs, as well as selected speeches from our long and distinguished history.
Two More UC Speakers Pending
Talks by two more UC scientists, butterfly expert Arthur Shapiro of the UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology and forest ecologist Joe McBride of UC Berkeley, are pending at the Commonwealth Club.
Shapiro will speak on "Ecological Communities and the March of Time" at noon, Monday, March 24, while McBride will discuss "The History, Ecology and Future of Eucalyptus Plantations in the Bay Area at noon Wednesday, April 9.
When it ought to be raining, it's raining pink.
They say you can't fool Mother Nature or outsmart Father Time but that's not the case in the UC Davis Arboretum. A red Japanese apricot, Prunus mume "Matsubara red" glows with absolute radiance in the Storer Garden. It's a early bloomer, but this year it's really early due to the springlike temperatures.
We first noticed it blooming Jan. 5. It's still blooming, and honey bees--probably from the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road--are all over it.
The flowering apricot bears the name "red Japanese apricot," but its origin is China and Korea. It's been cultivated in Asia for some 500 years.
If you've never been to the Storer Garden, you should go. As it says on the Arboretum website: "The Ruth Risdon Storer Garden is a Valley-wise garden, featuring flowering perennials and small shrubs that are especially well suited to Central Valley gardens, including many Arboretum All-Stars, our recommended plants for Valley-wise gardens. It is designed for year-round color with low water use and low maintenance, and features a demonstration planting of roses and companion plants. Educational exhibits highlight the principles of sustainable gardening. The garden is named for Dr. Ruth Storer, Yolo County’s first pediatrician and an avid gardener."
For most of January, it's been raining pink in the Storer Garden. Now we need the wet stuff.
That's where it usually begins when your father is an entomologist.
Tom Hammock, son of distinguished professor Bruce Hammock, of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, learned about insects early in life. Young Tom caught, sketched and released such insects as dragonfiles, damselflies and wasps.
"He didn't want to kill them," his father recalled.
Tom took art lessons from noted scientific illustrator Mary Foley Benson, and initially pondered a career as a scientific illustrator. He considered biology as a college major, and finally, landscape architecture. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a degree in landscape architecture, Tom studied film design at the American Film Institute and worked on such films as Breaking Bad, Dexter and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Tom, who now lives in Hollywood, is better known for his work in the wildly popular young adult and horror genre, including "You're Next!" and "All the Boys Love Mandy Lane."
"Will o' the Wisp" is based on many of his father's childhood memories of the Deep South. Bruce Hammock, born in Little Rock, Ark., and a graduate of Louisiana State University, beguiled him with fascinating stories about southern swamps and will o' the wisps, his pet raccoon, a biological supply company, venomous creatures, and dermestid beetles, used to clean animal skeletons.
You'll read about them--and more--in "Will o' the Wisp."
“Almost no one writes for girls and almost no one writes for girls dealing with girls and science,” Tom said. “Graphic novels for girls are rare and have a tough road in the publishing world.”
Assorted bugs, including butterflies, scorpions, fireflies, mosquitoes, beetles and spiders, find their way into the book. And a tattoo of a dermestid beetle found its way on Hutchison's arm. (For more information on the graphic novel, access ossuaryisle.com, and then check out the trailer, Facebook page, and YouTube video.)
"Will o' the Wisp" is drawing rave reviews, and rightfully so. Already it has been nominated for "best young adult graphic novel" award from the American Library Association.
The Hammock-Hutchison team plans to make this a trilogy.
One online comment, with triple exclamation points, says it all: "OMG!! This was so good. I hope and hope and hope there will be more!!!!"
Looking back, entomologist Bruck Hammock commented: "Tom was always interested in landscape, art, and biology. However, film and graphic novels are so far from my background, I never saw this as a career path. In retrospect it is obvious."
And it all began with bugs.
But there is a "bee" in its name. It's the "long-nosed bee fly."
I once captured an image of that curious critter in the Storer Garden, UC Davis Arboretum (see below)
"This nominee is a personal favorite of the team @ The INN for it is bodacious!," Brady wrote on the INN website. He broadcasts INN on Wednesdays from 4 to 5 p.m. and Fridays from noon to 1 on KDRT 95.7 FM, Davis. You can also listen online.
"Long-nosed bee flies (Bombylius major) stay low to the ground are highly territorial and are easy to track," Brady wrote. "Unlike the majority of glyciphagous dipterans, the bee flies feed on pollen (from which they meet their protein requirements). A similar trophic behavior occurs among the hover flies, another important family of Diptera pollinators.
"Watching these flies argue over a flower or a patch of plants is pure enjoyment for the whole family. While the Bombyliidae include a large number of species in great variety, most species do not often appear in abundance, and for its size this is one of the most poorly known families of insects. There are at least 4,500 described species, and certainly thousands yet to be described. So if you pay attention and plant the right flowers, you may be able to create a Citizen Science project that is a little Hollywood and a little Natural History Museum. You might even discover a new species, and then you can name it whatever you want!"
The first runner-up? The honey bee. Interesting that the long-nosed bee fly and the honey bee were "neck and neck" for awhile.
Brady is delighted that the bee fly won because it's a fairly unknown and unusual bug--a bugs that doesn't get much attention.
As for the honey bee, it's "the perennial candidate for the Bug of the Year (BOTY)," Brady says, acknowledging that the honey bee "perhaps the most important insect to human civilization."
So, bee fly, first. Honey bee, second.
Here's the top 10:
1. Long-Nosed Bee Fly
2. Honey bee
3. Kirk Jellum’s Praying Mantis Sculpture from Burning Man
4. The Monarch Butterfly
5. Madagascar Sunset Moth
6. Ogre-Faced Spider
7. Elephant Hawk-Moth Caterpillar
8. Mirror Spider
9. Salt Marsh Tiger Beetles
10. Orchid Bee
You know which of the 25 nominees for Bug of the Year came in dead last?
The mosquito! It's "not last but not least..." It's "last and definitely least."
Nobody likes the mosquito.
The three queen bumble bees (Bombus melanopygus) we found circling our porch lights the night on Jan. 9 appear to be fine.
Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis, cared for them at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility from Jan. 9 through Jan. 22. Were they parasitized? Curious minds wanted to know.
We speculated that a parasitoid florid fly, Apocephalus borealis, which lays its eggs in bumble bees, wasps and honey bees, may have accounted for the strange behavior of the queens' "red-eye" flight. Were they "zombie" bees?
Result: No signs of parasitism. No sign of being "zombie" bumble bees. Nothing.
So this morning we released them back into their habitat. Two of the queens buzzed off immediately, while the third lingered. She foraged on the nearby pansies, considered a nuc box for her home, sipped some honey, buzzed back into the nuc box, foraged on some more pansies, sipped some more honey, and then buzzed back into the nuc box.
Her new home? Maybe.
However, we still don't know why the three bumble bee queens were buzzing around at night. We may never know.
Thorp said it best: "It was probably the Girls' Night Out."/span>