That's about all it takes to toss 2000 water balloons.
The annual event, coordinated by researcher Christophe Morisseau of the Hammock lab, begins at 3 p.m., Friday, July 22 on the north lawn of Briggs Hall, Kleiber Hall Drive.
Tabbed the alliterative "Bruce's Big Battle at Briggs," the water balloon battle draws professors, researchers, visiting scientists, postdoctoral scholars, graduate students and undergraduate students and their friends and families in showcasing what the internationally known Hammock lab does for camaraderie and fun.
Temperatures are expected to reach 97 degrees.
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.
A member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, he directs the campuswide Superfund Research and Training Program, an interdisciplinary program funded by the National Institute of Environmental Sciences (NIEHS) that has brought in almost $60 million to the UC Davis campus. The Hammock lab is also the home of the National Institutes of Health Training Grant in Biomolecular Technology. The lab alumni, totaling more than 100 graduates, hold positions of distinction in academia, industry and government as well as more than 300 postdoctorates.
Balloon filling starts at 1:15 in Room 82 of Briggs Hall. All are invited to participate, but "no filling/no throwing," Morisseau said. Many are expected to watch.
The event was canceled last year due to the severity of the drought.
In 2014, the water warriors took drought-conservation precautions.
“We did try filling the balloons differently this year to conserve water,” Hammock lab program manager Cindy McReynolds said that year. “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. Water conservation was a big topic surrounding the event, so we also used it as an opportunity to discuss ways we have changed our daily routines to conserve water."
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.
The Society of Nematologists (SON) will present him with its Teaching Excellence Award at its 55th annual meeting, set July 17 – 21 in the city of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Caswell-Chen, who joined the UC Davis Department of Nematology (now the Department of Entomology and Nematology) in 1989, was praised as being an “exemplary teacher who loves to teach and interact with his students.”
“Ed is known for his enthusiasm, dedication, high-quality instruction and keen interest in helping his students understand and appreciate nematology—from the undergraduate level to the graduate level and beyond,” his nominators said.
“If I had to distill my endorsement of Ed into a single sentence, it would be that he has unbridled passion and dedication when it comes to getting undergraduates excited about science,” said nematologist Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology and Nematology. “His dedication to teaching is truly altruistic, and although he has maintained a solid program of research, his major effort in recent years has involved teaching undergraduate and graduate students.”
Over the last five years, Caswell-Chen has taught 24 undergraduate courses, enrolling some 2400 students. His commitment to teaching includes five years of service as associate dean of the Graduate Program, UC Office of Graduate Studies. He is a former chair of the UC Davis Department of Nematology, and the Graduate Group in Ecology.
Caswell-Chen, who considers teaching his No. 1 priority, says the classroom is “an important forum for communication with students, and an opportunity for outreach with respect to the Agricultural Experiment Station mission, especially when lecturing to undergraduates in nematology, animal biology, and science and society courses.” His students describe his courses as informative, interesting and engaging.
Caswell-Chen said his philosophy of teaching “is that to be effective, teaching must engage students by highlighting the relevance of course material, and instructors must capture student attention through enthusiasm and supportive stimulation of student creativity. Interaction helps students learn how to think, ask questions, and form connections among the diverse facts they learn in their courses.”
“If students are participating and engrossed with the topic in the classroom, they don't immediately realize that they are learning—they are carried along by their thinking and engagement with the material,” he said. “All of these features of effective classroom instruction are relatively easy to attain when the subject matter is nematology—and biology, for that matter—because of the field's many fascinating and relevant aspects. In a nematology course, one can incorporate a wide range of intriguing topics, from nematode biodiversity and the deep, hot biosphere to soil ecology, to the fascinating interactions between nematodes and other organisms, to the importance of animal parasites and means for their management, to plant parasites, nematicides, and genetic engineering of crop plants for nematode resistance, to topics in aging and neurobiology from research on the model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.”
Caswell-Chen is known for his research on the life history and ecology of C. elegans, a free-living or non-parasitic nematode that lives in temperate soil environments.
His interest and dedication to undergraduate education is reflected in his current service as the chair of the UC Davis Academic Senate Undergraduate Council, membership on the UC system-wide Educational Policy Committee, and his recent appointment as vice chair of that same Educational Policy Committee for the coming academic year.
UC Davis researcher Kristi Sanchez, former undergraduate student who received her doctorate from him in 2014 and served as his teaching assistant, described him as “the best professor I've ever had.”
“I have not met another professor at UC Davis who not just focuses on his research but enjoys, loves and wants to make teaching classes a priority for undergraduate students,” Sanchez said. “He is always about the students and making sure they understand the material. He always goes out of his way to provide more office hours so they can learn the material better or ask questions. And he is a professor who has the students text him instead of emailing him. The students love it.”
She credited him with inspiring her to pursue her degree and career in nematology. “Ed has given me many opportunities to pursue research questions that I would like to investigate, provides great advice and not just as a major professor but a father figure. He has pushed me to follow my goals and with my hard work, anything is possible.”
Said graduate student Chris Pagan, who has known Caswell-Chen for 12 years, beginning as an undergraduate student and then as a lab technician: “Ed makes the classroom a comfortable place. He is always approachable, and always genuinely interested in hearing what students have to say. Ed is always revising his lecture material and methods. He is constantly seeking new ways to keep students engaged.”
Nematologist Becky Westerdahl, UC Davis professor of entomology and nematology, praised Caswell-Chen for his excellence in teaching and as “one of the first professors at UC Davis to embrace the use of World Wide Web technology for teaching…He was instrumental in obtaining, establishing and maintaining the first web server for teaching in the Department of Nematology.” She said Caswell-Chen provides his students with “an excellent foundation, not just as future researchers, but as future educators as well.”
Caswell-Chen also teaches animal biology courses and Science and Society courses. He sometimes teaches freshman seminars by using the Campus Book Project selections, such as “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria” and “Half the Sky.” He has also taught his own selection of topics, including “The Ancient Middle East: Cradle of Civilization, Religion and Science” and “Protest Songs.”
Caswell-Chen received his bachelor's and master's degrees in botany and plant pathology from Michigan State University in 1979 and 1982, respectively, and his doctorate in 1985 in plant pathology from UC Riverside. He began his academic career in 1985 as an assistant professor in the University of Hawaii's Department of Plant Pathology before joining the UC Davis faculty in 1989.
Activities, free and open to the public, will take place inside the museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, and outside the building where black lighting will be set up to observe and collect moths and other insects.
Entomology graduate student Jessica Gillung will participate, "so there will be an entomologist fluent in Spanish and Portuguese on site," said Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum's education and outreach coordinator.
Visitors are invited to view the Bohart Museum's vast collection of worldwide moth specimens and participate in family friendly craft activities featuring a moth motif. Scientists will explain how to differentiate a moth from a butterfly. Free hot chocolate will be served.
The event is in keeping with International Moth Week: Exploring Nighttime Nature, July 23-31, a citizen science project celebrating moths and biodiversity. The annual event is held the last week of July.
Moths continue to attract the attention of the entomological world and other curious persons. Scientists estimate that there may be more than 500,000 moth species in the world. They range in size from a pinhead to as large as an adult's hand. Most moths are nocturnal, but some fly during the day, as butterflies do. Finding moths can be as “be as simple as leaving a porch light on and checking it after dark,” according to International Moth Week officials (http://nationalmothweek.org/), “Serious moth aficionados use special lights and baits to attract them.”
The Bohart Museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, is a world-renowned insect museum that houses a global collection of nearly 8 million specimens. It also maintains a live “petting zoo,” featuring walking sticks, Madagascar hissing cockroaches and tarantulas. A gift shop, open year around, includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
The Bohart Museum's regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The museum is closed to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and on major holidays. Admission is free.
More information on the Bohart Museum is available by contacting (530) 752-0493 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The European Grapevine Moth Team received the 2016 "distinguished service award for outstanding team." The members "coordinated a program that saved the wine and table grape industries from economic disaster caused by an invasive insect,” according to UC ANR Vice President Glenda Humiston.
“The impact of the team's work has reduced quarantines for European grapevine moth from 10 counties in 2010 to a portion of one county at the end of 2015 and no moths have been trapped in the last remaining quarantine zone since 2013," Humiston noted. "If no European grapevine moths are trapped in this zone in 2016, the last remaining quarantine for the pest will be lifted."
Humiston called the team "an excellent example of UC ANR working with government and industry partners under the Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases Strategic Initiative.”
Zalom, a past president of the 7000-member Entomological Society of America (ESA) and a past director of the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management (UC IPM), is the lead author of the European Grapevine Moth provisional guidelines page on the UC IPM website. Co-authors are Lucia Varela, UC Cooperative Extension, North Coast and Mountain Region, and Monica Cooper, UC Cooperative Extension, Napa County.
In addition to Zalom, Varela and Cooper, the European Grapevine Moth Team included:
- Walter Bentley, UC IPM entomologist emeritus
- Larry Bettiga, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Monterey County
- Kent Daane, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the UC Berkeley Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management (ESPM)
- Rhonda Smith, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Napa County
- Robert Van Steenwyk, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the UC Berkeley ESPM
- Joyce Strand, UC IPM academic coordinator emeritus
The distinguished service awards are given biennially for outstanding contributions to the teaching, research and public service mission of UC ANR.
The European Grapevine Moth is a serious pest of grapes; it causes significant damage to the flowers and berries. Native to Southern Italy, it was first reported in the United States in Napa County vineyards in October 2009. It is now found throughout Europe, North and West Africa, the Middle East, and eastern Russia.
(Editor's Note: See other UC ANR awards presented)
He will receive the award in September at the ESA meeting in Orlando, Fla., being held in conjunction with the International Congress of Entomology (ICE).
Loeb's laboratory is located at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y., where he has research and extension responsibilities for grapes and small fruit crops.
Loeb received his doctorate in entomology from UC Davis in 1989, studying with Professor Rick Karban. He earlier (1977) received his bachelor's degree at UC Davis, majoring in vertebrate zoology. "I was really into ornithology as an undergraduate but shifted to insect ecology as I was finishing up my master's (in ecology) at San Diego State," he said.
Excerpts from the ESA award announcement:
"Broadly speaking, his research focuses on species interactions involving plants, herbivores, natural enemies, and, more recently, microbes, with the specific applied goal of developing novel approaches to pest management. Along with collaborators, his research on tritrophic interactions involving leaf morphology (acarodomatia) and predatory and mycophagous mites has established new directions in plant breeding for enhancing conservation biological control.
"He is currently directing considerable research effort toward developing a better understanding of the biology and management of the invasive species spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii), a significant pest of soft-skinned fruit crops throughout much of North America and abroad. Projects include the chemical ecology and behavior of host finding as a basis for behavioral management, overwintering and spring biology, monitoring and decision making, interactions with microbes, including biological control with entomopathogens, mechanical control using netting, and optimizing chemical control.
"Other research projects ongoing in his lab include vector-pathogen interactions and biological control and pollination ecosystem services. In addition to research and extension responsibilities, he co-teaches a course on grape pest management and serves as program leader for the Department of Entomology and Geneva Experiment Station."
IPM specialist Frank Zalom, distinguished professor of entomology at UC Davis, received the Excellence in IPM award in 2010. His former PhD student, Douglas Walsh, now a professor at Washington State University, won the award in 2013. See list of other recipients.
(Editor's Note: Richard Levine of ESA contributed to this news story.)