- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation has awarded $1.34 million in grants to UC ANR scientists for research on pest control alternatives to the banned pesticide chlorpyrifos.
"Finding less-toxic alternatives to pesticides like chlorpyrifos, and promoting their adoption and implementation throughout California, is a priority, and our grant programs play a vital role in reaching those goals," DPR Director Val Dolcini said.
The grants, awarded through DPR's Research Grants Program, will go to the following researchers:
- Mark Hoddle, UC Cooperative Extension entomology specialist, UC Riverside, "Taking Chlorpyrifos out of Citrus: Maximizing IPM of Argentine Ant and Sap Sucking Pests with Biodegradable Hydrogels, Infra-Red Sensors and Cover Crops." ($500,000)
- Dong-Hwan Choe, UC Cooperative Extension urban entomology specialist, UC Riverside, "A sustainable boric acid liquid bait delivery system (as alternative to chlorpyrifos sprays) for the management of pest ants in agricultural settings." ($340,467)
- David Haviland, UC Cooperative Extension IPM advisor for Kern County, "Hydrogel baiting systems for sugar-feeding ants in California grapes and citrus." ($500,000)
"These researchers are at the cutting edge of their fields and I'm really pleased that DPR can support their efforts," said Dolcini.
Full descriptions of each research project are available on DPR's website.
Funding for these grants came from a one-time $2.1 million General Fund allocation to DPR for research projects that advance safer, more-sustainable pest management alternatives to chlorpyrifos. DPR previously funded three research grants for alternatives to chlorpyrifos research.
Following California's historic decision to end use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos in 2019, DPR and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) convened the Alternatives to Chlorpyrifos Work Group to evaluate potential alternatives. The work group's report outlines actions that can further support agriculture and the health of local communities, farmworkers and the environment.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Emily Delk joined the Development Services team in August as the director of Annual Giving and Donor Stewardship Programs.
She brings fundraising and event planning experience from a broad background of nonprofit organizations including the Crocker Art Museum, Sutter Health, and Fairytale Town. Earlier this year, Delk was selected as one of 10 development professionals to compete for cash and in-kind support through a public-speaking program called Fast Pitch, where she earned high praise and won top prizes.
She holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in communications from Chapman University in Orange.
Delk is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1346 and email@example.com.
Akif Eskalen, a UC Cooperative Extension specialist whose research focuses on plant pathology at UC Riverside, has accepted a new position at UC Davis. He will be filling the position of his late mentor, Doug Gubler. From now on, he will work on grapes, strawberries, caneberries, blueberries and other tree fruits.
“Akif has been instrumental in bringing new light to the understanding of such basic disease problems as citrus twig and shoot dieback, citrus botryosphaeria branch canker, citrus dry root rot and ‘Fukumoto' foamy bark (http://eskalenlab.ucr.edu/citrusdiseases.html),” wrote Ben Faber, UCCE advisor in Ventura County, in the Topics for Subtropics blog. “He has cleared up the mysteries surrounding avocado black streak, dothiorella branch canker and avocado stem and leaf blight. His studies have also covered oak diseases that are exacerbated by invasive pests (http://eskalenlab.ucr.edu/handouts/oakwoodlandsdiseasesmanagement.pdf).”
Eskalen and John Kabashima, UCCE advisor emeritus, recently received the Award of Arboricultural Research from the Western Chapter International Society of Arboriculture, recognizing their research on the polyphagous shot hole borer, a beetle that is causing severe fusarium dieback damage to avocado and landscape trees in Southern California (http://eskalenlab.ucr.edu/pshb.html).
Eskalen can be reached at 267 Hutchison Hall at UC Davis and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark Hoddle and Richard Stouthamer have been elected 2018 fellows of the Entomological Society of America, the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and individuals in related disciplines.
Hoddle and Stouthamer are among 10 new fellows elected by the Governing Board of the ESA, an honor that acknowledges outstanding contributions to entomology in research, teaching, extension and outreach, administration or the military.
Hoddle, a UC Cooperative Extension specialist and director of UC Riverside's Center for Invasive Species Research, is known for his work on the biological control of invasive arthropods that adversely affect agricultural, urban and wilderness areas.
Stouthamer, a UC Riverside professor of entomology, is known for his research on wolbachia, invasive species and insect-transmitted plant pathogens.
The fellows will be recognized during Entomology 2018, the Joint Annual Meeting of the Entomological Societies of America, Canada and British Columbia, Nov. 11-14, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Merenlender elected California Academy of Sciences fellow
In a nominating letter, UC Berkeley biology professor Claire Kremen called Merenlender “an accomplished and impactful conservation biologist.”
Merenlender's work spans an array of topics, from genes to ecosystems and single species management to regional land use planning. Currently she is involved in three main research efforts:
- Land use planning to support biodiversity conservation and climate resilience in California oak woodlands
- Watershed restoration and sustainable watershed management in Mediterranean ecosystems
- Development of effective citizen science and amateur naturalist and steward training programs with lasting benefits for biodiversity conservation
According to the academy, the scientists elected as fellows have shown strong evidence of world-class impact, measured through publications, discoveries and awards. Merelender has published more than 80 papers in conservation biology, including co-writing the book “Corridor Ecology: the science and practice of linking landscapes for biodiversity conservation.” In 2016, Merenlender was recognized for her extension and outreach when she won the UC ANR Distinguished Service Award.
In its selection criteria for fellows, the academy notes that potential candidates are engaged in science communication efforts.
Merenlender is founder and director of the UC California Naturalist program. The program launched in 2012 with five partner institutions and has grown into a network of more than 37 partners. They have collectively offered more than 100 certification courses, training 1,864 naturalists who have contributed more than 100,000 volunteer hours, reaching 53,000 people.
Building on the success of the California Naturalist program, Merenlender is designing a Climate Stewards program to provide outreach, training and engagement with diverse audiences on climate change science and policy. The Climate Stewards advisory team has set the goal of launching the program in 2019.
“As an extension scientist, (Merenlender) is strongly attuned to the importance of conducting research with direct relevance to contemporary environmental challenges and to connecting research with conservation on the ground,” wrote UC Berkeley professor David Ackerly in a letter seconding Merenlender's nomination to be a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences. – Jeannette Warnert
UC communicators bring home gold, silver and bronze
Six communicators affiliated with UC Davis and UC ANR received a total of 10 awards for excellence from the international Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Life and Human Sciences (ACE).
They brought home five gold or first-place awards: three silver or second-place awards; and two bronze or third-place awards. “That was quite a haul!” commented an ACE member on Facebook.
Diane Nelson, communication specialist with the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, won two golds. One was for promotional writing, “Weighing Pig Personality,” (https://bit.ly/2KDdYmQ), featuring animal science professor Kristina Horback's pioneering research examining the role personality plays in the welfare and sustainable production of pigs. The second gold was for web writing, “The Last Stop: When There's Nowhere Colder to Go,” (https://bit.ly/2M6iOOR), spotlighting research by animal science professor Anne Todgham, who studies how climate change affects polar species. Both of Nelson's submissions drew perfect scores from the judges.
Kathy Keatley Garvey, communication specialist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, won gold for best newswriting, “Why These Youngsters Want to Become Entomologists” (https://bit.ly/2sYwhye), about children of California migratory workers touring the Bohart Museum of Entomology and then staging a press conference to interview director Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis professor of entomology. Judges awarded the news story a perfect score. Garvey also received a silver in the writing-for-the-web category for her Bug Squad blog post, “Once Upon a Monarch” (https://bit.ly/2BrePU5). She writes the blog, launched in 2008, every night, Monday through Friday, on the UC ANR website.
David Slipher, director of marketing and communications for the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences, won gold for best picture story for his piece on “Pigeon Parenting” (https://bit.ly/2KCfCoN), focusing on research from the Rebecca Calisi Rodríguez lab. Calisi Rodríguez is an assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior.
Steve Elliot, communication coordinator for the Western Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Center, won two silvers and a bronze: a silver for his photo essay, “America's Arctic Agriculture: Growing Crops, Managing Pests and Monitoring Invasives in Alaska” (https://bit.ly/2OS2Vtc); silver for the diversity awards video category, “Gold Spotted Oak Borer: A Threat to California's Oaks” (https://youtu.be/In2e5atd3ZY); and a bronze for the Western IPM Center's monthly newsletter, “The Western Front” (https://bit.ly/2M5mL6s). The center, a USDA-funded program, aims to promote smart, safe and sustainable pest management to protect the people, environment and economy of the American West, encompassing 17 western states and territories.
Gregory Watry, science writer for the College of Biological Sciences, won a bronze award in the “Writing for Diverse Audiences” (https://bit.ly/2M4Nq3o) in a diversity awards category. The story described undergraduate research opportunities in Calisi Rodriguez's lab.
ACE is a worldwide association of communicators, educators and information technologists, offers professional development and networking for individuals who extend knowledge about agriculture, natural resources, and life and human sciences. The awards were presented Aug. 7 at the 2018 Ag Media Summit held in Scottsdale, Ariz., where ACE members joined forces with U.S. crop and livestock news media professionals. – Kathy Keatley Garvey
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Nine UCCE specialists and advisors are participating in the $3.7 million grant for “Management of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug in U.S. Specialty Crops,” submitted by North Carolina State University, Raleigh. The stink bug project is a multi-state project to develop management tools and strategies using biological control.
“This is a very common invasive insect in Sacramento and other urban areas but has not widely infested agricultural areas,” said Larry Godfrey, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. “Based on what the insect has done in the mid-Atlantic states in the East, everyone expects it to invade crop areas. The grant is not crop specific, other than specialty crops, which is about all of the crops we grow in California--except (primarily) rice, corn and cotton. We will be studying how this pest adapts to California conditions and crops. And also studies will be done on the fit of biological control for managing this pest. Clearly some of our major crops such as grapes, almonds and other nut crops, tomatoes, cool-season vegetables, stone fruits, etc. will be subjects of research.”
Other UC scientists working on the brown marmorated stink bug project with Godfrey are Frank Zalom, UCCE specialist and professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, UCCE specialists Kent Daane in the UC Berkeley Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, and Mark Hoddle in the UC Riverside Department of Entomology; UCCE advisors Monica Cooper in Napa County and Chuck Ingels in Sacramento County; and area integrated pest management advisors Emily Symmes in Butte County, Shimat Joseph in Monterey County and Jhalendra Rijal in Stanislaus County.
One study will identify plants currently available in the marketplace that attract pollinators and the pollinators which visit them. Another study will document the actual risk to pollinators from current and alternative ornamental horticulture production practices. Extension efforts include developing recommendations for growers and landscape professionals for effective pest management while protecting pollinators and crafting guidelines for pollinator education displays at garden centers and public gardens.
For more information about the 19 grants funded, visit USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Specialty Crop Research Initiative website.