Bruce's Big Battle at Briggs, which draws professors, researchers, visiting scientists, postdoctoral scholars, graduate students and undergraduate students and their friends and families, showcases what the internationally known Hammock lab does for camaraderie and fun.
The event amounts to a 10-minute break from their 52 weeks of scientific work.
The water warriors are so proficient that the event actually spans about 8 to 9 minutes, said organizer Christophe Morisseau, associate research scientist.
Hammock, a distinguished professor of entomology who holds a joint appointment with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, launched the water balloon fest in 2003 as a way to build camaraderie and gain relief from the heat. Temperatures soared to 98 degrees on Thursday, July 24, the afternoon of the battle.
For the occasion, the water warriors first filled 2000 small water balloons on the Briggs Hall lawn.
“We did try filling the balloons differently this year to conserve water,” said Hammock lab program manager Cindy McReynolds. “We devised a filling station out of drip line and valves so we could fill the balloons outside and also turn off the water when not in use.”
Thirty-nine people comprise the Hammock lab: 11 postdoctoral fellows, 8 research staff, 7 visiting scholars, 4 graduate students, 4 undergraduates, 4 staff and one part-time student assistant.
The Hammock lab has always enjoyed an international presence. Of the researchers this year, 8 are from China, 3 from France, 2 from Hong Kong, 2 from the Ukraine, and 1 each from India, Japan and Canada.
“They caught on quickly,' said Louisa Suet Yi Lo, administrative assistant. “It didn't take long for them to warm up and they really enjoyed dousing each other, especially the big boss, Bruce Hammock.”
"It was great seeing everyone relaxing and having so much fun," said Grace Bedoian of the administrative staff who will be retiring July 30. "They work hard and they play hard.”
Hammock, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the Entomological Society of America, directs the campuswide Superfund Research Program, National Institutes of Health Biotechnology Training Program, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Combined Analytical Laboratory.
As an extra bonus, the annual battle provides a little water for the thirsty Briggs Hall lawn, which is used by campus wildlife, including ducks, turkeys, squirrels, birds, butterflies and bees.
ACE annually conducts a Critique and Awards (C&A) program that recognizes excellence in communications skills for individuals involved in the public sector – USDA, land-grant universities, state extension service or experiment stations, and international foundations.
This year Garvey won the first-place award for best feature photo with an image of a Polish scientist Jakub Gabka wearing a bee beard. The visiting scientist was part of an after-hours bee bearding event, coordinated by bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey, at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road.
Garvey's other gold award was for best "writing on the web" for her "Thankful for Insects" Bug Squad blog, posted on the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR website).
The bronze award was a third-place award for best series of photos on her Bug Squad blog.
The awards were presented at the organization's annual meeting, held recently in Portland, Ore.
Several other UC communicators received ACE awards at the Portland conference.
Steve Heindl, Marissa Stein and Ray Lucas of Communication Services & Information Technology won gold the Educational Package category for the online “Introduction to Forest Management” course they produced for Rick Standiford, UCCE specialist in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley.
For promotional videos, ACE awarded silver for the UC Cooperative Extension centennial video. The video was produced by UCOP's multimedia team of Jessica Wheeler, Zach Long and Larissa Branin with direction from CSIT's Pam Kan-Rice and Cynthia Kintigh.
The “Grape Pest Management, Third Edition” won a silver award for technical publications for Larry J. Bettiga, UCCE viticulture advisor in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties, as technical editor, CSIT editors Steve Barnett and Hazel White and CSIT designers Robin Walton and Will Suckow. They also received a bronze award for the reference book's design in the 2014 PubWest Book Design Awards.
(Editor's Note: UC ANR's Pam Kan-Rice, assistant director, News and Information Outreach, Communication Services and Information Technology, contributed to this report)
The Bohart Museum of Entomology's last open house of the 2013-14 academic year will explore the theme, "Arachnids: Awesome or Awful?" on Saturday, July 26 from 1 to 4 p.m. The Bohart Museum is located in Room 1124 of Academic Surge on Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus.
Many locally found spiders, include the black widow, jumping spider and cellar spiders--alive and specimens--will be exhibited.
A special attraction is Rosie, a 24-year-old tarantula reared by entomologist/Bohart volunteer Jeff Smith of Sacramento. Visitors are invited to hold it and photograph it.
Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis, will be present to talk about insects. He is the co-author of Bumble Bees of North America: An Identification Guide, which is available in the Bohart gift shop. Thorp will be available to sign the books.
Children and/or family activities are also planned, said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator at the Bohart.
The museum's gift shop, open throughout the year (credit-card purchases are accepted), includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, houses the seventh largest insect collection in North America. It is also the home of the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity. Noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007) founded the museum.
Bohart officials schedule weekend open houses throughout the academic year. The museum's regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The insect museum is closed to the public on Fridays and on major holidays. Admission is free.
More information is available from Tabatha Yang at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning (530) 752-0493.
The 12th annual Bruce Hammock Lab Water Balloon Battle will take place at 3 p.m., Thursday, July 24 on the north side of the Briggs Hall lawn.
Christophe Morisseau, associate research scientist, said the lab has 2000 water balloons to fill; anyone who wants to be a water warrior must participate in the filling, which starts at 1 p.m. by the Briggs loading dock.
All are invited. “Whoever wants to get wet,” Morisseau said. “Children and spouses are always welcome.”
In the past, the water warriors, led by Bruce Hammock and Morisseau, have included professors, researchers, visiting scientistis, postdoctoral scholars, graduate students and undergraduate students.
In addition to the water balloons, some favor squirt guns and toy pressurized water blasters. Others hoist half-filled buckets of water for sneak attacks.
So proficient are the water warriors that the “15 minutes of fame” often turns into “10 minutes of aim.”
Hammock, a distinguished professor of entomology who holds a joint appointment with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, launched the water balloon fest in 2003 as a way to build camaraderie and gain relief from the heat.
The Hammock lab works hard and plays hard. Hammock, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the Entomological Society of America, directs the campuswide Superfund Research Program, National Institutes of Health Biotechnology Training Program, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Combined Analytical Laboratory.
When award-winning biology teacher Donald “Doc Boc” Bockler of Arlington (Mass.) High School, died at age 65 of an apparent heart attack on Sept. 2, 2008 at his home, two of his former students from the Class of 1993--Tabatha Bruce Yang of the Bohart Museum and Margaret Dredge Moore of Arlington--launched a fundraising drive to name an insect after him.
They selected a newly discovered species in the genus Lanthanomyia--being described by Bohart Museum senior museum scientist Steve Heydon. They sought the name, Lanthanomyia bockleri.
Heydon recently published his work on Lanthanomyia bockleri Heydon in Zootaxa, a worldwide mega-journal for zoological taxonomists and the name is now official.
“Once an article goes through the scientific review process and is published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, the name of the new species is official and immortalized in the scientific literature,” explained Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor of entomology at UC Davis.
Kimsey described species-naming as “a unique, lasting form of dedication” and “a great honor both for the person giving the name and for the individual or other honoree whose name is being given to the species.”
Heydon said Lanthanomyia is a genus whose species are restricted to central and southern Chile and adjacent parts of Argentina. The new species is found in the Nothofagus forests of Patagonian Chile, including Chiloe Island. It belongs to a family of parasitic wasps called the Pteromalidae. “Unlike other related species, this one has a unique dorsal attachment of the head to the thorax. If you see a specimen of Lanthanomyia with the neck attaching close to the top of the head, you know it is bockleri,” Heydon said. “Adults are reared from galls on Nothofagus and are thought to be parasites of gall-forming weevils.”
“Donald Bockler was fascinated by evolution and nature and he would have been proud,” said Yang, education and outreach coordinator at the Bohart Museum. Like many other Bockler students, she credits him for influencing her decision to pursue a career in science.
His former students and teaching colleagues said the naming of the insect is a fitting tribute to a teacher who lived for and loved science and instilled the enthusiasm in his students. Wrote one colleague in an email to Yang and Moore: “His students were blessed by his passion and devotion to inquiry learning. As a friend and mentor, he left an indelible mark on my career as a teacher and scholar… Most importantly, he helped us all believe in the value of our work.”
Bockler's obituary in the Boston Globe related that he “found his place among the subjects he loved and the students he taught. During his career he led classes in all levels of biology, environmental science, and earth science.”
“...He was past president of the Massachusetts Association of Biology Teachers (MABT), was a reader for the AP biology and Environmental Science exams, and presented at state and national conferences… He received an award for Excellence in Environmental Education in 2003 and was recognized by Tufts University for excellence in mentoring practice teachers.
“Once retired in 2003, he continued working in science education, writing curricula for the Urban Ecology Institute, home-schooling science students, and becoming a teaching assistant at Harvard University Extension. Recently he had begun working with the Encyclopedia of Life Project.
“His essence is reflected in comments made by students and teachers: "The learning community has lost one of its greats." "A gentleness is passed." "He was loved by all and will be sorely missed as our world has lost one of its finest teachers and human beings."
He and his wife, Marzina, had no children.
MABT established a memorial scholarship in his name and wrote on its website: “Don's energy and enthusiasm for teaching were an inspiration to us all. Don was a dedicated educator who taught for over 30 years at Arlington High School and before that as a Peace Corps volunteer in South America. His students learned their lessons to a high standard because of his outstanding teaching. In addition to his dedicated service to MABT, he chaired the Massachusetts Outstanding Biology Teaching Award Committee for years. Don was an avid reader; his personal library held more than 5000 volumes, the diversity of which reflected his many varied interests and his inquisitive mind.
The Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 Academic Surge on Crocker Lane, established its BioLegacy program “to support species discovery and naming, research and teaching activities of the museum through sponsorships,” Kimsey said.
“At a time when support for taxonomic and field research is shrinking, researchers find it increasingly difficult to discover, classify and name undescribed species. Yet there are thousands yet to be discovered. Taxonomy is the basis of all biology and without species discovery and naming much of the world's biodiversity will remain unknown and therefore unprotectable.”
Agriculture and human settlement are expanding, and according to conservative estimates, around 17,500 species become extinct every year. “Most of these have not even been discovered, let alone researched or exploited,” Kimsey said. “This loss has ecological and economic consequences which, though difficult to measure, are undoubtedly of major significance. Extinction is forever!”
The Bohart Museum of Entomology posts information about naming rights and insects needing names on its BioLegacy website. A minimum sponsorship of $2,500 is requested. Participation in the BioLegacy Program is open to the public (of legal age) and scientists in research organizations. Taxonomists are expressly invited to join the BioLegacy Program. The Bohart Museum is a non-profit organization and donations are tax-deductible.
The BioLegacy Program:
- provides donors the opportunity to sponsor and give a scientific name to a newly discovered insect species;
- provides researchers responsible for identifying the new species with names provided by donors;
- ensures that names provide by donors are used in a scientifically sound and scientifically correct manner in accordance with International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature rules;
- provides donors with documentary proof of their name for the new species in question; ensures that donated funds go to the support of taxonomical research in the Bohart Museum of Entomology;
- publishes donor-named species and information about the research on its website
The Bohart Museum, dedicated to teaching, research and public service, houses nearly eight million specimens and is the seventh largest insect collection in North America. It is named for noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007).