His appointment was announced this week by Helene Dillard, dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter.
Nadler chaired the Department of Nematology for six years, until the two departments merged in 2011. He succeeds Michael Parrella, who has accepted a position as the dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Idaho, effective Feb. 1, 2016.
“Steve is an exceptionally strong researcher and teacher and has considerable administrative experience,” said Parrella, who served as chair from 1991-1999 and from 2009-2015. “I am confident he will continue to move the nationally ranked Department of Entomology and Nematology forward. It is good to know that I am leaving the department in very good hands.”
“I am pleased to have this opportunity to lead the Department of Entomology and Nematology,” Nadler said. “The department has remarkable faculty, and I look forward to working with them and our dedicated staff and students to advance our research, teaching and extension goals.”
The Department of Entomology and Nematology was recently ranked as the top program of its kind in the United States and has an annual budget of almost $20 million. The department has 21 ladder-rank faculty, 40 graduate students, an undergraduate major with 40 students and oversees the undergraduate animal biology major with more than 300 students.
Nadler joined the UC Davis faculty in 1996 as an associate professor and associate nematologist, advancing to professor in 2001. He was named chair of the Department of Nematology in May 2005 and held that leadership position until June 2011.
Nadler researches the molecular evolutionary biology of free-living and parasitic nematodes and teaches undergraduate classes in parasitology and nematology, and a graduate class in molecular phylogenetic analysis.In 2013 he was awarded the Henry Baldwin Ward Medal by the American Society of Parasitologists; this is the society's highest research honor. His research program is well funded by the National Science Foundation. He is a co-author (with L. S. Roberts and J. Janovy, Jr.) of Foundations of Parasitology (9th edition, McGraw Hill), globally the most widely used undergraduate parasitology textbook.
“Much of my recent evolutionary research,” Nadler said, “has focused on nematodes of the suborder Cephalobina, a group that includes numerous bacterial-feeding species in soil, but also some parasitic taxa hosted by invertebrates. My current NSF research is designed to discover and characterize nematode biodiversity in soil by applying high-throughput sequencing of individual nematodes and metagenetics.”
A native of St. Louis, Mo., Nadler received his bachelor of science degree, cum laude, in biology in 1980 from Missouri State University, Springfield. He holds a master's degree (1982) and a doctorate (1985) in medical parasitology from Louisiana State University Medical Center, New Orleans.
He did postdoctoral research from 1985 to 1986 as a National Institutes of Health research trainee in the Experimental Parasitology Training Program, Center for Parasitology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, followed by two years as a National Science Foundation postdoctoral research associate at Louisiana State University's Museum of Natural Science, Baton Rouge.
Nadler joined the biological sciences faculty at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, as an assistant professor in 1990. He was promoted to associate professor in 1995.
Active in the American Society of Parasitologists (ASP), Nadler served as the organization's president from 2007 to 2008. He is an associate editor of Systematic Parasitology; subject editor of Zookeys (molecular systematics and phylogeny); and a member of the editorial board of Parasitology (British).
He will be inducted as vice president-elect at the ESA's 63rd annual meeting, Nov. 15-18 in Minneapolis, Minn. He is scheduled to advance to vice president, president-elect, and president, and then serve a year fulfilling the duties of past president, according to Richard Levine, ESA communications program manager.
"The science represented by entomology and ESA has never been stronger," Parrella said in an ESA news release. "As a member of the governing board for six years, I supported an aggressive approach that followed the leadership of past presidents that has radically changed the society. I am honored to be able to continue this forward-looking stance to enhance the science of entomology, and the visibility and impact of the society at the national and international levels."
Active in ESA since graduate school, Parrella served as the Pacific Branch ESA representative to the ESA's governing board for six years, from 2007-2013. He received an ESA Recognition Award in 1987, was selected a fellow in 2008, and won the ESA Distinguished Achievement Award in Horticultural Entomology in 2011. Parrella currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Environmental Horticulture and the International Journal of Pest Management.
Two other UC Davis entomologists have served as the ESA president: Frank Zalom, distinguished professor of entomology, who served as president in 2014; and Donald McLean (1928-2014), emeritus professor and former chair of the department, who held that office in 1984. Zalom is an integrated pest management specialist, while McLean specialized in the insect transmission of pathogens.
Parrella received his bachelor of science degree in animal science from Rutgers-State University of Cook College, New Brunswick, N. J., and his master's degree and doctorate in entomology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA.
He joined the faculty of UC Riverside's Department of Entomology in 1980, and then the UC Davis Departments of Entomology and Environmental Horticulture in 1988. A professor in the Departments of Entomology (now the Department of Entomology and Nematology) and Plant Sciences since 1991, he served as associate dean, Division of Agricultural Sciences, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences from 1999 to 2009.
Parrella focuses his research on developing integrated pest management (IPM) programs for greenhouse and nursery crops with an emphasis on biological control.
ESA, founded in 1889 and now totaling nearly 7000 members, is the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Its members are affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. Members are researchers, teachers, extension service personnel, administrators, marketing representatives, research technicians, consultants, students, and hobbyists. For more information, visit http://www.entsoc.org.
A resident of Davis, Judson served as a faculty member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology (now UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology) for 30 years, from 1961 until his retirement in 1991.
"The Department of Entomology and Nematology lost one of its pillars with the passing of Dr. Judson," said Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the department. "Although the department's national and international reputation is based on the work of current faculty, it cannot be denied the prestige of the department can also be attributed to our retired faculty. It sounds cliched, but we are standing on the shoulders of giants and Dr. Judson was one of these. Dr. Judson continued to be an active member of the department -- coming regularly to our seminars and participating in social events. Up until a few years ago, he helped teach our core course in Insect Physiology. Chariie Judson's contributions to the science of entomology and to the department will never be forgotten."
Born Oct 21, 1926 in Lodi, Calif., Charles grew up on a ranch in Riverside, where he developed and nurtured his passion for the outdoors, nature, science and animals. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II, serving on the USS Wichita.
He received his bachelor of science degree in zoology from UC Santa Barbara in 1950, and his doctorate in entomology from UC Berkeley in 1954. He and his wife, Marilyn, and family moved to Davis in 1958 when he accepted a position with the California Department of Public Health. He joined the UC Davis faculty in 1961 as an insect physiologist professor. He was a 35-year member of the Entomological Society of America.
“Our family quickly learned not to be afraid of insects, but to respect them in our environment,” recalled Jan. “We don't squish most bugs, but put them outside.”
“Charles enjoyed his work as a researcher and student advisor and often would invite students to his home, maintaining lifelong relationships,” Marilyn said.
Professor Judson launched the career of many PhD students; he inspired them to better understand insect behavior by investigating insect physiological control mechanisms
Emeritus entomology professor Robert Washino, former department chair and former associate dean, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, recalled that “Charles Judson was one of the newcomers who among others--Professors Norman Gary, George McClelland, Donald McLean-- joined the department in the early sixties and introduced greater emphases on physiology and behavior into the teaching and research program that previously stressed taxonomy and regulatory entomology.”
“Charles was one of the first faculty members in the department to be awarded a National Institutes of Health grant for his work on mosquito egg physiology,” Washino said. “I believe Charlie's calm and deliberate manner of successfully carrying out his teaching, research and public service made him a most valuable member of the department. One of Charlie's most productive graduate students, Henry Hagedorn, went on to make major contributions in mosquito reproductive physiology at the University of Arizona at Tucson.”
Many of Professor Judson's colleagues praised him as an excellent scientist and wonderful friend. Said distinguished professor of entomology James R. Carey: "Charlie Judson radiated graciousness, trust and respect, and personified everything good in a university scientist, mentor, and teacher. He not only helped shape our department in its early days, but also set a very high bar for personal decency and professional integrity. Colleagues like Charlie are hard to find, difficult to lose, and impossible to forget."
Albert Grigarick, UC Davis emeritus professor of entomology, said “Charlie was a friend, colleague, and neighbor for nearly 50 years. He was always willing to help you in your academic endeavors or backyard projects. He will be missed by the many students that sought his scientific knowledge and friendly advice.”
Former graduate student Tom Batchelor. who focused his research on the nature of physiological lesions in insects caused by radiation, was Professor Judson's last graduate student. “Gaining control of mosquitoes to reduce their impact on human health has been at the heart of many research programs for decades,” said Batchelor, who now lives in New Zealand. “Professor Judson's research contributed to a better understanding of specific aspects of their feeding and oviposition behavior, and the physiological control mechanisms underpinning this behavior.”
Throughout his academic career, Professor Judson focused his research on the stimuli that caused mosquito eggs to hatch. “Using the eggs of Aedes aegypti and A. nicromaculis, he found that mosquito eggs in water under low oxygen conditions hatched readily,” Batchelor said. “Just the act of decreasing the oxygen concentration, and not just a low oxygen concentration itself, proved to be a powerful hatching stimulus. He also examined the ability of various compounds to penetrate the egg of the mosquito, since mosquito eggs are rather impermeable to water and several chemicals. His research on the ovicidal qualities of these compounds led to further research on better ways to control mosquitoes at the egg stage.”
Another aspect of his research explored the physiological basis underlying a mated female's predisposition to oviposit. Professor Judson showed oviposition was stimulated by a “biochemical signal” emitted by the accessory gland of the male mosquito, Batchelor pointed out. “Virgin females tend to retain their eggs and not oviposit, but they will oviposit if a male accessory gland is implanted into them. Similarly, Professor Judson showed that mosquito biting behavior coincided with the terminal phases of each egg cycle, and that fewer mated females fed at these times than virgin females.”
As an aside, Batchelor said he sometimes saw Professor Judson feeding his laboratory mosquitoes by putting his whole arm in their cage—“when the hamster was having a day off.” Professor Judson commented that feeding the mosquitoes this way was not putting his health at risk, “but rather the health of the mosquitoes exposed to low levels of nicotine and alcohol residues in his blood!” Batchelor recalled.
Entomologist Fran Keller, who served as Professor Judson's teaching assistant for his insect physiology class while working toward her doctorate in entomology, recalled that “Charlie was always happy to see students. At the Department of Entomology's barbecues, I remember how he would make the rounds and make sure he talked with all the students. My interactions with him as a TA for insect physiology were always informative, relaxed and positive. He enjoyed teaching and sharing his knowledge with students. He was a thoughtful, caring and compassionate mentor.”
“Charlie also served on my oral exam committee,” Keller said. “He had a way of confronting you with questions that made you think. As a mentor, that is what you are supposed to do. As a physiologist he asked me, ‘Why do you want to work so hard on beetles doing a revision when somebody is just going to come along and change it all around in 50 years? You taxonomists always seem to be changing names,' and as a taxonomist I answered, ‘Well, if I do it correctly, then changes will be made when there are new discoveries, so I am providing a foundation for future work.' And he replied, 'Okay that makes sense.' He wanted students to think about their future and what they were doing. To say Charlie was concerned for and kind to his students would be an understatement. I am very saddened by his passing and I will miss his presence as a friend and mentor.”
In addition to his teaching and research, Professor Judson was actively involved in the community, working with Habitat for Humanity, Yolo County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Yolo County Grand Jury, Yolo Family Service Agency, Sierra Club, Short-Term Emergency Aid Committee (STEAC), Senor Learning Unlimited and All Things Right and Relevant.
His other interests included politics, gardening, photography, woodworking and the building of wooden boats. He and his family spent many hours on Loon Lake, the Sierras, in his hand-built vessels, including kayaks, canoes and dinghies. His involvement with the Traditional Small Craft Association, his family said, “led to wonderful friendships, as well as involvement in Seeds of Learning, through which he spent several summers in El Salvador.”
His parents met on the UC Davis campus when both were students at UC Berkeley and were required to spend a year at “The Farm” because of their major. His father help plant the black walnuts on Russell Boulevard.
At his request, no memorial service will be held. The family will gather during the holidays to scatter his ashes in Monterey Dunes, sharing fond memories of beachcombing, digging holes in the sand, and just being together as a close-knit family.
Professor Judson was a strong believer in “walking the walk” by acting on his integrity and beliefs, his family said. In lieu of flowers, he would ask that people “pay it forward” by reaching out to another person or group.
The UC Davis Picnic Day judges decided that the Department of Entomology and Nematology's Bug Doctor booth ("The Doctor Is In!") in front of Briggs Hall "best embodies the Picnic Day theme, "Heart of the Community." It won the "most community-oriented award."
"This year, the exhibits team had the opportunity to visit several exhibits, one of which was 'Bug Doctor,' wrote exhibits director Tammy Ng to Entomology Picnic Day coordinator Erin Donley. "As a team, we noticed that the 'Bug Doctor' exhibit attracted and engaged people of all ages. We believe that out of the 95 exhibits on Picnic Day 2015, 'Bug Doctor' best embodies the Picnic Day 2015 theme: 'Heart of Our Community.'"
The Bug Doctor is a traditional part of the department's UC Davis Picnic Day activities, which also include cockroach races, maggot art, honey tasting, bee observation hive, forensic entomologist Bob Kimsey's "Dr. Death booth," and displays of ants, bees, lady beetles, caterpillars, aquatic insects, mosquitoes and insect-collecting equipment. Traditional participants also include the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito Control District and the Fly Fishers of Davis. This year featured a new exhibit, the Pollinator Pavilion, coordinated by graduate student Rei Scampavia (separate story and photos pending). Thousands flocked through Briggs Hall.
At the Bohart Museum of Entomology, on Crocker Lane, the officials carried out the theme, "The Good, the Bad and the Bugly," with the displays centered on pollinators. Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and professor of entomology at UC Davis, estimated a crowd of 4000 at the Bohart.
Link to PLOS ONE research article is at http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0118785)
Crickets, known to pack a protein punch, are often touted as “the sustainable food of the future,” but the issue is far more complex than that, say University of California Cooperative Extension agronomist Mark Lundy and horticultural entomologist Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, in research published April 15 in the Public Library of Science (PLOS ONE). The research is titled "Crickets Are Not a Free Lunch: Protein Capture from Scalable Organic Side-Streams via High-Density Populations of Acheta domesticus."
"While there is potential for insect cultivation to augment the global supply of dietary protein, some of the sustainability claims on this topic have been overstated,” said Lundy, who headed the research at UC Davis while seeking his doctorate in agronomy. “Our study demonstrates that the sustainability gains associated with cultivating crickets as an alternative source of protein will depend, in large part, on what the crickets are fed and which systems of livestock production they are compared to.”
“Insect cultivation is more likely to contribute to human nutrition at a scale of economic and ecological significance if it does not rely on a diet that competes with conventional livestock, but more innovation is needed for this to become a reality,” Lundy said. “Moving forward, the imperative will be to design cost-effective processes that enable large populations of insects to capture protein from underutilized organic waste and side streams."
For the study, the researchers modified a UC Davis greenhouse into replicated cells. They measured the biomass output and feed conversion ratios of populations of crickets (Acheta domestics) reared on food that ranged from grain-based to highly cellulosic diets.They found that the biomass accumulation was “strongly influenced by the quality of the diet.”
“The measurements were made at a much greater population scale and density than any previously reported in the scientific literature,” they wrote. “The biomass accumulation was strongly influenced by the quality of the diet, with the nitrogen concentration, the ratio of N to acid detergent fiber content, and the crude fat explaining most of the variability between feed treatments. In addition, for populations of crickets that were able to survive to a harvestable size, the feed conversion ratios (FCR) measured were higher (less efficient) than those reported from studies conducted at smaller scales and lower population densities. Compared to the industrial-scale production of broiler chickens, crickets fed a poultry feed diet showed little improvement in protein conversion efficiency (PCE), a key metric in determining the ecological footprint of grain-based livestock protein.”
“Crickets fed solid filtrate from food waste processed at an industrial scale via enzymatic digestion were able to reach a harvestable size and achieve an FCR and PCE similar to that of broiler chickens,” they wrote. “However, cricket populations fed minimally-processed, municipal-scale food waste and diets composed largely of straw experienced more than a 99% mortality before reaching a harvestable size.”
The researchers concluded that the potential for “Acheta domesticus to sustainably supplement the global protein supply, beyond what is currently produced via grain-fed chickens, will depend on capturing regionally scalable organic side-streams of relatively high-quality that are not currently being used for livestock production.”
Worldwide, statistics show that crickets are the most widely cultivated insects for the human diet, and are considered the “gateway bug” to entomophagy. They are touted as highly nutritious, and much better for the planet—environmentally and financially--than livestock due to their comparatively efficient feed conversion.
Lundy, who received his doctorate in agronomy from UC Davis in 2013, and his master's degree in international agricultural development from UC Davis, in 2010, has engaged in entomophagy. Crickets? Yes. “I ate some of my experimental subjects, after weighing them for the research,” he said. He dusted them with cornmeal and Cajun seasoning and fried them in olive oil. He has also snacked on protein bars made with cricket flour.
“I'm all for exploring alternatives, and I am impressed by the amount of innovation that has sprung up around insect cultivation and cuisine in the last few years,” Lundy said. “However, I also think we need to be clear-eyed about what the sustainability gains are and aren't, and focus our innovative efforts and limited resources to where they will have the most lasting impact.”
Crickets are readily available in pet stores as food for turtles, frogs and other pets. Part of many human diets, they are considered delicacies or snacks in many countries. Cricket flour is now commonly found in protein bars, baked goods and protein powders.