Like to know more about honey bees make collective decisions?
Mark your calendar to attend a seminar this week at the University of California, Davis.
Brian Johnson, assistant professor at the UC Davis Department of Entomology, will speak on "Organization of Work in the Honey Bee" from 12:10 to 1 p.m., Friday, Feb. 17 in 6 Olson Hall. This is part of the Animal Behavior Graduate Group's winter seminar series.
The talk is open to all interested persons.
"I will be speaking on the role of self-organizing pattern formation mechanisms in biology using collective decision making in the honey bee as a case history," said Johnson, who joined the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty last year. He received his doctorate in 2004 from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. in behavioral biology. His UC Davis lab does research on integrative approaches to honey bee behavior, genetics, evolution, and health.
Johnson's major professor, noted bee expert Thomas Seeley of Cornell, delivered two presentations at UC Davis last month.
Seeley, author of Honeybee Democracy, says that honey bees "make decisions collectively--and democratically. Every year, faced with the life-or-death problems of choosing and traveling to a new home, honey bees stake everything on a process that includes collective fact-finding, vigorous debate, and consensus building."
Fortunately, Seeley's two UC Davis talks are available for (yes, free!) public viewing on UCTV. The first, presented Jan. 19, is titled Swarm Intelligence in Honey Bees. The second, given Jan. 20, is The Flight Guidance Mechanism of Honey Bee Swarms.
Also on UCTV, you can listen to Johnson's UC Davis talk last October on How Bees Use Teamwork to Make Honey.
All three were webcast by professor James R. Carey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. Carey strongly believes that research seminars from all 10 UC campuses should be recorded and posted on UCTV. He led the drive to make that happen.
One thing's for certain: you'll never look at honey bees the same way again after accessing these three videos--or reading Seeley's book--or attending Johnson's lecture on Friday.
That's one of the topics at the next meeting of the Northern California Entomology Society, to be held from 9:15 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday, May 6 in the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis.
It promises to be lively.
Matter of fact, the meetings are almost always lively. Entomologists have a keen sense of humor.
Take, for instance, "The Good, the Bad, the Bugly: Controlling Pests in Home Gardens." Baldo Villegas of the California Department of Food and Agriculture will be presenting that talk at 11:15.
Two UC Davis entomologists, James R. Carey (photo above) and Robbin Thorp (photo below), will speak--Carey on the medfly and Thorp on native pollinators.
Carey, a professor of entomology who specializes in insect biodemography and invasion biology, will present his talk on “Insect Invasion Biology: Overview of the General Principles and Case Study of the Medfly in California” at 9:45 a.m.
Thorp, an emeritus professor of entomology who continues his research at his Laidlaw facility office, will discuss "Native Bees as Pollinators” at 10:30 a.m.
Other speakers are
--Ralph Fonseca of the Contra Costa County Department of Agriculture, will speak at 1:15 p.m. on “Personal Protective Equipment, Including UC Exemptions.”
--Humberto Izquierdo of the Napa County Department of Agriculture, will give a talk on “European Grapevine Moth Update” at 2 p.m.
A catered lunch will be served at noon. Or, attendees can bring their own lunch. There's still time to attend and/or order lunch if you contact the society's secretary-treasurer, Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty at email@example.com or (530) 752-0472.
The Northern California Entomology Society seeks new members; you don't have to be an entomologist to join. The group meets three times a year: the first Thursday in February, usually in Sacramento; the first Thursday in May, at UC Davis; and the first Thursday in November in the Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District conference room, Concord.
The president is agricultural biologist Matthew Slattengren of the Contra Costa County Department of Agriculture.
And oh, yes, membership dues are only $10 a year.
That's the "good" part of the "The Good, The Bad and the Bugly."
If you've ever wondered about the relationship between predator biodiversity and herbivore suppression, that subject is on tap Wednesday, Jan. 27 at UC Davis.
The UC Davis Department of Entomology will host associate professor William Snyder (right) of the Department of Entomology, Washington State University, at a noon seminar in 122 Briggs Hall, Kleiber Drive.
The seminar is from 12:10 to 1 p.m. and will be Webcast. Folks can tune in, listen, and ask questions. Graduate students James Harwood and Amy Morice of the James Carey lab will be Webcasting the lecture. Here's the link to listen to the Webcast.
Snyder, who received his doctorate in entomology from the University of Kentucky in 1999, focuses his research on the relationship between biodiversity and biological control; community ecology; predator-prey interactions; and sustainable agriculture.
Snyder shares this abstract:
Classic ecological theory suggests that species must differ in their resource use patterns in order to co-exist. Although much recent empirical work has shown that resource use generally increases with greater species diversity, it has nonetheless proven difficult to demonstrate that resource partitioning truly underlies this pattern. Progress has been limited by the fact that differences among species in resource use typically are confounded with other species-specific attributes (size, metabolic rate, fecundity, etc.). In the first study I will discuss, we overcame this obstacle by co-opting plasticity in host choice among a community of aphid parasitoids, in order to manipulate the breadth of resource use independent of parasitoid species identity and diversity. We found that aphid suppression improved with greater specialist, but not generalist, parasitoid diversity. Thus, it was resource partitioning among species that fostered greater resource consumption in multi-species communities. I will then discuss results from several other natural enemy communities we have been studying, where resource partitioning among predator and/or pathogen species again appears to underlie stronger herbivore suppression at higher diversity levels.
James R. Carey is used to dissent.
The entomology professor at the University of California, Davis, fervently believes that the Mediterranean fruit fly and light brown apple moth, two exotic and invasive pests, have long been established in California and cannot be eradicated.
Trying to eradicate them, he says, is like "throwing money down a rathole."
Check out the current (Jan. 8th) edition of Science Magazine and read the three-page NewsFocus piece headlined "From Medfly to Moth: Raising a Buzz of Dissent."
This is sure to garner a plethora of comments, concern and criticism. This is about as high-profile as it gets in the scientific community. And this is not the message that the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is trying to get across. (See CDFA's Web site on the light brown apple moth).
Carey, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, just completed a term as the chair of the UC Systemwide Academic Senate University Committee on Research Policy. He also directs a federally funded program on lifespan and aging; the program just received a $3.4 million grant renewal from the National Institute on Aging.
"James Carey is at it again," began writer Ingfei Chen of Santa Cruz. "In the early 1990s, as a scientific adviser in California's unpopular pesticide-spraying war against the Mediterranean fruit fly, the entomologist vocally charged that the state's program was fundamentally flawed. Bucking conventional wisdom, Carey claimed that the Medfly was already established, defying the eradication attempt."
Fast forward to February 2007 and the discovery in California (Bay Area) of a new invasive pest, the light brown apple moth, a native of Australia.
Aerial spraying of a pheromone resulted in a "red-hot-public ruckus, forcing the state to shift to a plan to release zillions of sterile moths...And once again, Carey has surfaced as a relentless voice of dissent," Chen wrote.
Carey insists it can't be eradicated, that it's here to stay and we ought to focus on pest management, not eradication.
What's next? Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology wants to organize a spring conference "to reexamine the invasive species-policy paradigm from to bottom," Chen wrote.
"The goal," she wrote, "is an open dialogue with major stakeholders," including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and CDFA.
Carey told us today that Parrella plans to meet with him and a group of other entomologists next week to discuss the proposed workshop.
"It would be nice to think we could sit down and discuss things," Parrella told Chen in the Science Magazine article. "It's not us versus them."
Like to know more about the biocontrol of tea pests? Aging of insects? What honey bee research is under way?
If you can't physically attend the UC Davis Department of Entomology's fall seminars, starting Wednesday noon, Oct. 7 in 122 Briggs Hall, you can participate via Webinars or listen to the archived Webcasts. Most will be Webcast.
UC Davis entomology professor James Carey, former chair of the UC Systemwide Academic Senate University Committee on Research Policy, launched a pilot program in February to inform and educate the scientific community and the public on research findings.
Carey's lab researchers and graduate students began taping the series of Webinars on Feb. 18. Then came the summer break. Now that we're into the fall season, the Webinars will continue Oct. 7.
Here's the link to access the Webinar.
The UC Davis Webinars drew international attention on March 4 when chemical ecologist Tom Baker of Pennsylvania State University spoke on “But Do We Shoot the Driver? Meeting New Challenges in Detecting Agents of Harm by Using Old Entomological Knowledge.” Joining in were listeners from 10 countries: Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Mexico, France, Spain, Netherlands, Germany and Japan as well as the United States.
“We were hooked up to Pennsylvania State, too, so my colleagues knew where I was at, what I was doing and what I was saying,” Baker quipped.
Fellow chemical ecologist Walter Leal, UC Davis professor of entomology, who hosted Baker, later marveled at the technology.
“Just think, someone was sitting at a computer in Japan at 4 in the morning listening to Tom,” Leal said.
Both the virtual and physical audience can ask questions.
Webinars not only save time, but money, Leal pointed out. “The average round trip cost for airfare only for the 10 countries that participated in Baker’s seminar is $1,480, with Mexico being the cheapest ($700) and Montivideo, Uruguay the most expensive ($3,600).”
“It means that we saved in average $59,200 considering one participant per computer,” Leal said. “Note that in a couple of cases the presentation was displayed for multiple participants. If all participants would be accounted for, the cost would be astronomical.”
“As for travel time, only for each way, the average for the 10 countries would be 20 hours and 30 minutes, with the shortest trip being from Mexico (six-hour flight plus six hours of layover and check-in) and the longest from Montivideo (19-hour flight, plus six hours for layover and check-in),” Leal said.
The archived Webinars, from Feb. 18 through May 27, are online.
Here's the fall line-up:
Oct. 7: Biological control scientist Madoka Nakai, associate professor, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, will discuss biocontrol of tea pests in her talk, “A Novel Protein from Lepidopteran Virus Killing Endoparasitoid and Viral Control for Tea Pests in Japan” (Webcast)
Oct. 14: Plant taxonomist Dean Kelch, assistant researcher, University and Jepson Herbaria, UC Berkeley, “Mimicking Science Interpretation: A Visit to the Creation Museum” (this one won't be Webcast)
Oct. 21: Entomologist James R. Carey, professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology, “Demography of the Finitude: Insights into Lifespan, Aging and Death from Insect Studies" (Webcast)
Oct. 28: Insect virus researcher Michelle Flenniken, Haagen-Dazs Postdoctoral Fellow, “Microarray-Based Pathogen Detection and the Antiviral Role of RNA Interference in Honey Bees” (not Webcast)
Nov. 4: Chemical ecologist Jonathan Gershenzon, professor, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany, "Plant Volatiles: Versatile Agents of Defense"
Nov. 18: Community ecologist and population biologist Matt Forister, assistant professor, University of Nevada-Reno, on the “Agricultural” Melissa Blue butterfly: “Anatomy of a Niche Shift: Lycaeides melissa and the Colonization of Alfalfa”
Dec. 2: Entomologist Michael Parrella, professor and chair, UC Davis Department of Entomology, “An International Perspective on Sustainable Production in Greenhouses”