He was just notified that he's a recipient of the UC Davis Academic Senate's 2017 Distinguished Scholarly Public Service.
"Professor Zalom is deserving of the Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award for his outstanding leadership in state, national and international organizations focused on integrated pest management," the Academic Senate awards committee wrote. "While serving as the president of the 7000-member Entomological Society of America, Professor Zalom pioneered initiatives aimed at identifying sustainable solutions for some of the world's important insect-based problems. For example, he organized and co-chaired the 'Summit on the Aedes aegypti Crisis in the Americas' that brought together more than 70 researchers, public health officials, entomologists, and government agencies throughout the hemisphere to identify immediate steps to sustainable solutions to control the yellow mosquito that can carry dengue fever and Zika fever viruses."
And IPM? The Academic Senate pointed out:
"Professor Zalom is known globally for his leadership in the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities IPM Committee from 1999-2015, for being a founding member of the IPM Voice, which is a non-profit organization that advocates for progressive IPM that provides environmental, social and economic benefits, and for serving on the Board of Counselors of the Entomological Foundation that promotes educational programs for grades K-12. Professor Zalom's efforts in public service have contributed to the betterment of California and the U.S."
Zalom joins previous UC Davis entomology recipients Lynn Kimsey (2016), James Carey (2015) and Robert Washino (2012).
Zalom, who holds a doctorate in entomology from UC Davis, joined the UC Davis faculty in 1980 as the Extension IPM coordinator for the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM) and then served as the UC IPM director for 16 years before returning to the Department of Entomology in 2002.
For his work in IPM, he is also the recipient of the 2017 Perry Adkisson Distinguished Speaker Award from Texas A&M. He will deliver an invited presentation, “Invasive Species, Integrated Pest Management, and One Perspective from the West Coast" on Thursday, March 30 in College Station, Texas. The annual lecture honors Perry Lee Adkisson, chancellor emeritus and distinguished professor emeritus of the Texas A&M University System. His research accomplishments are internationally known in the areas of sustainable insect control and crop protection.
“Perry Lee Adkisson is among the icons of integrated pest management, and one of the people that I have most looked up to since starting my career in entomology," Zalom said last week. "I can't adequately express how honored I am to receive this award, and have an opportunity to visit with him once again in College Station.”
Zalom, too, is an IPM icon. (See more on Zalom's work on the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology website.)
An icon, for sure.
It's buggin' ya.
No worries. The UC Davis Entomology Graduate Students' Association (EGSA) to the rescue. Every year EGSA conducts a t-shirt contest and the faculty, staff and students pick the winner. The t-shirts--past, present, and most popular--are for sale, with proceeds going to support the many activities of EGSA.
EGSA treasurer and graduate student Cindy Preto of the Frank Zalom lab is coordinating the t-shirt sales. The themes include honey bees, beetles, a wasp, a moth, weevils (“See No Weevil, Hear No Weevil and Speak No Weevil") and “Entomology's Most Wanted” (malaria mosquito, red-imported fire ant, bed bug and house fly). One of the best sellers is “The Beetles,” mimicking The Beatles' album cover, “Abbey Road.”
EGSA, Preto said, is "run by and for graduate students who study insect systems. Our objectives are to connect students from across disciplines, inform students of and provide opportunities for academic success, and to serve as a bridge between the students and administration. We also plan social and academic events for students, faculty, and staff to enhance social and intellectual cohesion and to connect our department with the community at large."
It's the cover story of a special focus issue, "Disease Management in the Genomics Era," in the journal Phytopathology.
The research was directed by UC Davis integrated pest management (IPM) specialist Frank Zalom and research biologist Mysore "Sudhi" Sudarshana of the USDA's Agriculture Research Services (ARS), who is based in the UC Davis Department of Plant Pathology.
Last year the Zalom team hypothesized that the three-cornered alfalfa hopper could transmit the Grapevine Red Blotch-associated virus, GRBaV, "based in part on phylogeneic analysis of coat protein sequences of 23 geminiviruses that revealed that GRBaV-CP was most similar to that of another geminivirus that was transmitted by another treehopper," explained Zalom, a distinguished professor of entomology with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and a past president of the Entomological Society of America.
“In commercial vineyards, lateral shoots of grapevines girdled due to feed injury by the adult three-cornered alfalfa hopper also tested positive for the virus using digital PCR,” the scientists noted in their abstract. “These findings represent an important step in understanding the biology of GRBaV and develop management guidelines.”
The disease, first noticed in 2008 and attributed to a newly identified virus in 2012, is present in many major grape production regions of the United States and Canada. It can reduce fruit quality and ripening.
The research team consisted of Zalom; Sudarshana; Brian Bahder, then a postdoctoral researcher in the Zalom lab and now an assistant professor and insect vector ecologist with the University of Florida; and Maya Jayanth, then a student in the Sudarshana lab.
In the Pest Alert, Zalom, a former director of the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, noted that “red leaf symptoms that differed from other known red leaf diseases affecting grape foliage” were first noticed in red wine grape cultivars in Napa County, and subsequently in many other California grape growing counties as well.
“Leaf symptoms first appear approximately mid-summer; however, timing of symptom expression differs among grapevine cultivars and year,” Zalom wrote. “In red-fruited cultivars, common symptoms include red blotches originating from the leaf margin or within the leaf blade and primary and secondary veins that often turn red. In white fruit cultivars, symptoms appear as pale green to pale yellow patches.”
Zalom noted that symptoms usually start on basal leaves and progress up the shoot. In some cultivars, such as Chardonnay and Zinfandel, “marginal burning may occur similar to severe potassium deficiency. In some red-fruited cultivars such as Malbec and Mourvèdre, the entire blade may turn red by harvest.” Grapes produced on infected vines are characterizes by reduced brix and other changes that can seriously impact wine quality.
“Foliar symptoms are generally distinct from those of grapevine leafroll disease (GLD) early in the season, but leaf blade coloration may resemble those of GLD by late fall,” Zalom pointed out. “At this time, red blotch disease is not known to kill grapevines.” However, the effect of the virus infections on yield and fruit quality varies and no cure exists at this time.
But back to the three-cornered alfalfa hopper. What's it look like? It's a green, clear-winged, wedge-shaped (thus the name "three-cornered") insect that's about a quarter of an inch long. That's about the size of a pomegranate seed or a tiny pea.
Earler this year we borrowed (and returned) a couple of insects from the Zalom lab and set out to capture some images of Spissistilus festinus on a grape leaf.
It's definitely a good hopper; we popped it in the refrigerator for a few minutes to slow it down.
And it's definitely camouflaged. Green on green.
It draws its name from alfalfa, but it feeds on many other plants, including soybeans, beans, cowpeas and sweet clover. It also can infest tomato, melon, wheat, oats, Bermuda grass and Johnson grass and the like.
Expect to hear more about Spissistilus festinus...
It's an incredible photo.
Nicole "Nikki" Nicola, a staff research associate in the Frank Zalom lab in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, University California, Davis, captured an image in her back yard of both the male and female Valley carpenter bee (Xylocopa varipuncta) sharing the same passionflower (Passiflora).
Most of us often see--and hear--the solid black female, but not so much the green-eyed blond male. And rarely together.
But to see them on the same flower? What a great example of sexual dimorphism!
Nicola works with Zalom, an integrated pest management specialist and distinguished professor of entomology. A noted entomologist, he is a past president of the 7000-member Entomological Society of America.
As for those Valley carpenter bees, the next time you see the female frequenting the Passiflora, check out those tiny grains of golden pollen. They look for all the world like gold dust.
Valley carpenter bees are found in the Central Valley and southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and southward through Mexico, according to native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis.
ESA will be meeting with the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), and the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) with an expected attendance of more than 7,000 scientists and researchers. The theme: "Synergy in Science: Partnering for Solutions."
Bugs rule. They definitely do.
"Insects did just about everything first," according to Kjer. "They were the first to form social societies, farm, and sing — just about anything you can imagine. Insects are the dominant players in almost all terrestrial ecosytems, and as such, they have a major impact on agriculture and human health.”
It's indeed a high honor to be delivering a Premier Presentation; ESA officials selected only 20, and two of the presenters are affiliated with UC Davis--Kjer and Jenny Carlson, who recently received her doctorate in entomology from UC Davis and now holds a postdoctoral position at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. Carlson, who studied at UC Davis with major professor Anthony Cornel, was based in the William Reisen lab. Reiser, newly retired, directed the Center for Vectorborne Diseases.
UC Davis will be well represented at the ESA meeting.
James R. Carey, distinguished professor of entomology, will receive the ESA's distinguished national teaching award.
Mohammad-Amir Aghaee, formerly with the Larry Godfrey lab, will receive the John Henry Comstock Award, Pacific Branch of ESA (PBESA). He holds a doctorate in entomology from UC Davis and is now a postdoctoral researcher at North Carolina State University.
The championship UC Davis Student Debate Team, captained by Danny Klittich, doctoral candidate in the Parrella lab, will defend its title. Members are Rei Scampavia (labs of Ed Lewis and Neal Williams), Jenny Carlson (Anthony Cornel lab), Ralph Washington Jr. (Steve Nadler lab) and Joanna Bloese (Larry Godfrey lab).
The student debate will include the following topics: What is the single best genetically engineered technology for arthropod pest control? With the development of tools like RNAi, in the future we may be capable of eradicating species. If we can eradicate a species, should we? What is the single best tool for managing pesticide resistance?
The UC Davis Linnaean Team, which won the PBESA competition, will compete for the top honors. It won the PBESA competition with Ralph Washington Jr. (Steve Nadler lab) as captain; and members Jéssica Gillung (Lynn Kimsey lab), and Brendon Boudinot (Phil Ward lab). New to the team is Ziad Khouri (Lynn Kimsey lab). The Linnaean Games are lively college-bowl type competitions at which the teams answer questions about insects and entomologists.
The Insect Photo Salon includes "some of the most beautiful insect photos in the world will be presented this year in the Insect Photo Salon,” according to the ESA program. (Yours truly was honored to have two accepted.)
EGSA will be selling T-shirts at the meeting, including its 2015 winning T-shirt by Stacey Rice, junior specialist in the Larry Godfrey lab. It depicts a long-legged wasp on a penny-farthing or big wheel bike. By the way, it's a new "species"--she depicted it with long legs to be able to reach the pedals. And the bike? That's part of the UC Davis culture.