- (Focus Area) Agriculture
- Author: Mike Hsu
Salinas Valley lettuce growers lost about $150 million in 2022 due to diseases
A stormy winter could portend another devastating year for the lettuce industry in the Salinas Valley, which saw approximately $150 million in lost gross revenue in 2022 due to INSV (impatiens necrotic spot virus) and associated diseases. Recent drenching rains might mean more weeds – overwintering “reservoirs” for the tiny insect, the Western flower thrips, that carries INSV.
Or the extreme precipitation could benefit growers, as thrips in the soil – during their intermediate stage of development – might be drowned in the waterlogged fields.
As with so many aspects of the INSV crisis, the ultimate effects of flooded fields on thrips populations remain unknown.
“We don't know if thrips are just so persistent and so stable in that pupal stage that maybe they will emerge unaffected,” said Kirsten Pearsons, University of California Cooperative Extension integrated pest management farm advisor for Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties. “There's just so much about their biology and ecology in the Salinas Valley that we just don't know.”
The mystery of thrips, INSV and soilborne diseases (namely Pythium wilt) is why UC Agriculture and Natural Resources assigned Pearsons to the area last November and hired Yu-Chen Wang in October as UCCE plant pathology advisor for the three counties.
“They're stepping in at a critical moment,” said Richard Smith, the region's UCCE vegetable crop production and weed science advisor who retired in January after a 37-year career. “They've gotten grants funded already – and that's just incredible. They're hitting the ground running.”
Experienced in disease diagnosis and collaboration with growers and industry partners, Wang said her pathology background – paired with Pearsons' entomology expertise – will be crucial in addressing INSV and other diseases.
“It is important for Kirsten and me to work together and provide different insights for the vector and the pathogen, respectively,” Wang said.
‘It's going to take everything to get a crop'
One priority is untangling the dynamics of INSV and Pythium wilt co-occurrence – the subject of ongoing research by JP Dundore-Arias, a plant pathologist at California State University, Monterey Bay. While the vegetables may tolerate one disease or the other, their one-two punch often deals the lethal blow.
“The challenge is – which is why it's great to have Yu-Chen and Kirsten – is that we have so many problems now, whether it's Fusarium (wilt), or Verticillium (wilt), or Pythium, or INSV,” said Mark Mason, pest control adviser for Nature's Reward, which primarily grows lettuces on 5,000 acres across the Salinas Valley.
Mason said that co-infections on his crops (sometimes with three or four diagnosed diseases) make it difficult to assign monetary damages to a specific pathogen, but he noted he has seen fields with “100% loss.” According to the Grower-Shipper Association of Central California, about 11,500 acres were deemed not harvestable in 2022, representing 12% of lettuce industry acreage.
Given the gravity and complexity of the disease dilemma, Pearsons said she has been fielding calls from growers seeking new and better solutions – ways to improve existing tools, techniques borrowed from other crop systems, and additional biological or chemical means of control.
And although there are a couple of pesticides that manage the disease-carrying thrips reasonably well, growers and researchers are worried about their diminishing efficacy due to overuse. Plus, they only constitute a short-term fix.
“Managing the thrips will only reduce the amount of INSV that can get transmitted,” Pearsons explained. “You can kill 99.9% of the thrips, but you get one thrips that has INSV that enters a field, and now you have an infected lettuce plant. All of the thrips are going to come and they can spread it from there; pesticide slows things down, but it's not going to eliminate it.”
Finding disease-tolerant lettuce cultivars is a more sustainable approach. Trials conducted last year by Smith, Wang and others identified several varieties that appeared to hold up well to Pythium and INSV. While additional research could maximize their potential benefit, Wang said even the hardier cultivars will lose their resistance over time, and a multi-layered INSV strategy with “integrated management tools” is crucial.
“We realized, when this thing started happening, that we cannot spray our way out of this problem,” Mason said. “We need varieties; we need management practices; we need pesticides…it just seems like it's going to take everything to get a crop.”
Weeds key to disease control
An all-hands-on-deck approach helped control thrips-harboring weeds last winter. With fields drying out from January storms, Smith said communities must get back to weed management – with a focus on prominent weed hosts for INSV and neglected areas adjacent to farms. Hotspots of infection last year were traced to industrial lots that were overlooked during the weeding process.
“People can't lose sight of the fact that we still need to be controlling the weeds in key areas, because that's the reservoir of the virus during the winter,” Smith said. “We have to stay on task with that.”
Yet despite the diligent weed abatement, crop damage from INSV and Pythium was widespread in 2022, and Smith said it's “very possible” that high heat during the summer was a contributing factor to especially prevalent disease in fall. Thrips populations tend to thrive in warmer weather, Smith said, but much more research needs to be done to understand the basic biology of the insect, including how they acquire the virus and how they spread it.
High hopes for future
Pearsons cited the work of Daniel Hasegawa, a research entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who leads teams in monitoring thrips populations in several locations across the Salinas Valley. Currently the counting of thrips on sticky card traps is done manually, but Pearsons and Mason mentioned the possibility of using AI and machine learning to expedite that process.
Mason said that the grower community is excited about the new technologies and ideas that Pearsons and Wang are bringing to the region. As a participant in the search for candidates to fill the advisor positions, Mason said “they were, in my opinion, by far the best fit for what we were looking for.”
“I hope they stay here for 30 years,” he added.
The new advisors both noted the palpable energy and cooperative spirit in the Salinas Valley to proactively meet the challenge.
“Looking to the past, there have been other outbreaks and diseases that they've managed to overcome,” Pearsons said. “These farmers are resilient and creative and I fully believe that lettuce will still be growing here for years to come – it might look a little different, and it might take a little bit of a painful period to get to that point, but I think that we're going to be able to come up with some solutions.”
And while there are concerns that some lettuce growers might decide to leave the region, Wang said she also believes in the industry's strong roots and rich history.
“Salinas Valley has had a beautiful climate for lettuce for so many years; there are some undeniable advantages here,” she said. “This is still the best place in the United States – and maybe the world – to grow lettuce.”/h3>/h3>/h3>/h3>
- Author: Ben Faber
Keys to Soil Taxonomy, Thirteenth Edition (5.14 MB) Online version
The Keys to Soil Taxonomy provides the taxonomic keys necessary for the classification of soils in a form that can be used easily in the field. It also acquaints users of soil taxonomy with recent changes in the classification system.
Soil Survey Staff. 2022. Keys to Soil Taxonomy, 13th ed. USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Illustrated Guide to Soil Taxonomy
The Illustrated Guide to Soil Taxonomy was produced for use by multiple audiences and is not intended to replace the full version of the Keys to Soil Taxonomy for the professional soil classifier. Some of the more technical and complicated criteria have been omitted or referenced in notes to make the user aware that there are exceptions. More complete criteria and definitions are available in the full version of the Keys to Soil Taxonomy.
This edition of the illustrated guide (version 2.0) is based upon the twelfth edition of the Keys to Soil Taxonomy.
When using the illustrated guide, open the bookmarks tab on the left side of the screen in Adobe Acrobat to navigate the document.
Soil Survey Staff. 2015. Illustrated guide to soil taxonomy. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Soil Survey Center, Lincoln, Nebraska.
Keys to Soil Taxonomy, Spanish Version
Claves para la Taxonomía de Suelos, Décima segunda Edición, 2014 (5.41 MB) online
For decades, NRCS has worked with soil scientists from around the world to increase awareness and expand knowledge of the importance of soil and its impact on all aspects of life. The translation expands the horizons of the Keys to Soil Taxonomy by allowing professionals around the world to apply and interpret the system in a more uniform and consistent way. While soils differ globally, the ability to apply a system that is universally understood and accepted is a goal shared by many soil scientists.
As the world struggles with global warming and other environmental challenges, having a universally accepted method that can be applied when soil problems are addressed will contribute to successful outcomes. Soil scientists and other professionals from Latin America, the United States, and other countries will benefit from this translation effort for years to come.
The translation of the “Keys” into Spanish was performed by Carlos Alberto Ortiz-Solorio, Ma del Carmen Gutiérrez-Castorena, and Edgar V. Gutiérrez-Castorena of Área de Génesis, Morfología y Clasificación de Suelos, Programa de Edafología, Campus Montecillo, Colegio de Postgraduados en Ciencias Agrícolas.
Soil Survey Staff. 2014. Claves para la Taxonomía de Suelos, 12th ed. USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Washington, DC.
Ordering Keys to Soil Taxonomy
A printed copy is available from:
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources continued bringing scientists and their practical knowledge to counties across the state throughout the fall and winter. With increased funding from Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state Legislature, UC ANR recently hired UC Cooperative Extension advisors, specialists and academic coordinators who bring expertise in drought, wildfire, food systems, urban and small-scale farms, livestock, 4-H youth development, pest management, wildlife, nutrition and environmental horticulture.
In addition to providing research and extension in traditional subjects, the new hires include scientists who will address water justice policy, climate-smart agriculture, food safety, organic crop production, waste management and economic development for urban and rural communities.
UC Cooperative Extension advisors work directly with community members to apply research-based information to improve the lives and livelihoods of Californians.
To see a list of UC Cooperative Extension advisors who have joined in the past few months, visit https://ucanr.edu/About/DirectorySearch/Recent_Hires. The most recently hired advisors are introduced below.
Flavie Audoin (pronounced Flah-vee Oh-dwan) joined UCCE Central Sierra on Jan. 17 as a livestock and natural resources area advisor serving Calaveras, Amador, El Dorado and Tuolumne counties.
For the last six years, Audoin has been studying the seasonal grazing behavior, diet selection, and meat characteristics of range-fed Raramuri Criollo cattle in southeastern Arizona. Audoin worked directly with Deb and Dennis Moroney, who introduced Criollo cattle in southeastern Arizona about 10 years ago. This experience in the United States provided Audoin with knowledge and skills in rangelands, livestock production (cattle and sheep), direct marketing and science communication. In addition to working on her research, she has also been able to improve her skills as a ranch hand – branding, gathering cattle horseback in rough country, using low-stress livestock handling methods, sheep shearing, fixing fences and water lines, and marketing meat directly to consumers.
Before starting her Ph.D., Audoin was an advisor to beef producers in France and worked for nine years at France's leading brand of packaged meats and meat products while studying.
Born and raised in France, Audoin earned a bachelor's degree in life sciences at Notre Dame de Bonnes Nouvelles, Beaupréau, and technical degree in agronomy with a major in crop and animal production at IUT Angers-Cholet, Angers, then completed an engineering degree in agronomy (equivalent to a masters' degree in the U.S.) with a major in breeding and systems of production at VetAgro Sup, Clermont-Ferrand. She completed a Ph.D. in natural resources from the University of Arizona, where her research focused on ecology, management and restoration of rangelands, with a minor in animal science. She also received a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of Arizona.
Audoin is based in Calaveras and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (209) 454-8472.
Samuel Ikendi joined UC ANR on Dec. 12 as an academic coordinator for climate-smart agriculture.
As an academic coordinator, Ikendi will work with farmers and ranchers, state and federal agencies, campus-based academics and Cooperative Extension academics across the state to implement climate-smart agriculture education through workshops and training. He will develop outreach materials such as curricula and fact sheets.
Before joining UC ANR, Ikendi worked at Iowa State University as a postdoctoral research associate on a project to establish core concepts to improve graduate plant-breeding education, curriculum development, and monitoring. He also worked for the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods and Iowa State University's Uganda Program in Uganda, where he developed performance tracking indicators, conducted the annual evaluation, and developed privacy data protection documents. As an intern with ISU Extension and Outreach, he assisted the county outreach coordinators with delivering research-based educational programming to promote positive youth development.
Ikendi earned a Ph.D. in agricultural extension education and dual master's degrees in community and regional planning and sustainable agriculture from Iowa State University. He earned a bachelor's degree in agribusiness management from Makerere University, Kampala in Uganda.
Ikendi is based at UC Merced and can be reached at email@example.com.
Katie Reidy joined UC ANR on Dec. 5 as the statewide postfire academic coordinator. She will be overseeing a postfire forest resilience education program for private forest landowners. Reidy will coordinate weekly educational workshops held on Zoom with lessons catered to specific ecosystems, and collaboration with local agencies to promote post-fire education. The goal is to help fire-affected communities begin the process of reversing the ecological, economic and environmental impacts of fire.
Reidy grew up in Chicago and received an undergraduate degree from University of North Carolina, Asheville. In 2016, she became an environmental educator at Yosemite National Park. In 2020, she moved to Plumas County and worked for the Feather River Resource Conservation District and began to understand the complexities of natural resource management and the implications of fire on the local landscapes. This compelled her to earn a master's degree in environmental studies with a certificate in science communications and environmental education at the University of Idaho.
After personal experience with catastrophic fire, she is eager and ready to connect and assist communities as the postfire academic coordinator, to combine her passion for ecology and forestry management with outreach and education.
Reidy is based at the UCCE Central Sierra office in Placerville and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Janessa Hartmann joined UC ANR on Nov. 1 as the UCCE community health and nutrition advisor for Shasta, Trinity and Tehama counties to promote education and advance policy, systems and environmental changes that benefit local communities.
Having lived and worked in Shasta County for over a decade, Hartmann is committed to improving the region's health and wellness. She will be developing an integrated and equitable health and nutrition program, applying the latest research and data to address needs identified by the community – especially those of vulnerable populations such as older foster youth.
In addition to focusing on positive youth development, Hartmann also aims to improve food security by expanding access to affordable and healthy food.
“I hope to support community partners in health and nutrition across our region, and amplify existing effective programs,” she said. “I also look forward to working alongside the awesome CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California nutrition education program.”
Although Hartmann began her career in the environmental remediation field, she later worked on food sovereignty and security issues in central Mexico as a Peace Corps volunteer. In 2016, she became the CalFresh Healthy Living, UC program supervisor for Shasta, Trinity and Tehama counties. Subsequently, Hartmann joined Shasta County Public Health, where, during the height of the pandemic, she served as director of the COVID-19 Child Care, School and Higher Education Unit.
Hartmann earned her B.S. in environmental science from Georgia College and State University, an M.S. in environmental science and engineering from Colorado School of Mines and another M.S. in nutritional science from California State University, Chico.
Based at the UCCE Shasta County office in Redding, Hartmann can be reached at email@example.com.
Prakash Kumar Jha joined UC ANR as an assistant project scientist on Nov. 1 and is responsible for developing decision support tools that help growers understand and minimize climate risks, specifically CalAgroClimate.
Prior to coming to California, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow for over five years in Italy, Spain and Colombia. Jha is eager to understand what California's climate will look like in the next five to 10 years. Currently, he is working with climate prediction systems to determine future weather conditions, which growers can use to prepare for situations like low versus high chill hours, shortage of irrigation water and high temperature stress in plants.
Jha recognizes that areas currently used for agriculture might not be suitable for some crops a couple of years from now. For example, Jha is identifying which geographical areas growers should invest in while considering factors such as regulations limiting water use. His work will help growers consider the long-term implications of the decisions they make today.
Before earning a Ph.D. in science management of climate change from the University of Venice Ca' Foscari, Italy, he completed two master's degrees – one in climate change adaptation from the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia, and another in sociology from Tribhuvan University in Nepal.
Originally from Nepal, Jha is excited about the diversity of crops the California offers. “I'm looking forward to expanding my knowledge, especially in tomatoes, cottons, almonds and pistachios,” he said.
Jha is based at the UC Merced-Sierra Nevada Research Institute and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fatemeh Khodadadi joined UC Riverside in October as an assistant professor of extension in the Department of Plant Pathology. She brings expertise in fungal and bacterial diseases of fruit and nut trees and an increasing interest in subtropical plant diseases caused by a variety of plant pathogens.
Khodadadi's research focuses on plant pathogens and disease management strategies for subtropical trees, especially citrus and avocado. She studies identification, characterization and development of molecular methods to detect fungal, bacterial and viral diseases affecting citrus and avocado, including but not limited to avocado branch canker and dieback caused by Botryosphaeria species, phytophthora root rot, sweet orange scab caused by Elsinöe australis, avocado sunblotch viroid and other problematic pathogens on citrus and avocado in California. She also studies the citrus and avocado defense responses to pathogens and the efficacy of fungicides and bactericides.
Before joining UC Cooperative Extension, she held postdoctoral fellowships at Cornell University and Virginia Tech conducting research in bacteriology, mycology, genomics, plant pathology and plant disease management focusing on Colletotrichum species (bitter rot of apple), Erwinia amylovora (fire blight), and Diplocarpon coronaria (apple leaf and fruit blotch).
She identified, described and characterized for the first time a new Colletotrichum species that causes apple bitter rot and belongs to the C. gloeosporioides species complex. Her team named it C. noveboracense.
Khodadadi earned her M.S. and Ph.D. at Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Iran. For her M.S., she studied aflatoxin-producing fungi contaminating pistachio. In her Ph.D. research, partly conducted at UC Davis, she studied the interaction between walnut and bacterial blight disease caused by Xanthomonas arboricola pv. juglandis (Xaj).
Khodadadi is based in the UC Riverside Department of Microbiology & Plant Pathology and can be reached at email@example.com. She will be posting about her research at https://subtropicalplantpathology.com/category/blog-posts/.
Alec Dompka began with UC ANR on Oct. 20 as a rural communities economic development advisor. He will serve as technical support for economic development projects in Del Norte, Humboldt and Trinity counties.
Dompka said he aims to help local communities by working with government entities and private businesses to coordinate and facilitate beneficial projects.
“In this position, I hope to engage with people in the counties to tie them more closely with planning their economic development,” Dompka said. “I hope to show that economic development in rural communities can be locally led and directed, inclusive and effective.”
By applying technical knowledge and science-based expertise to these projects, Dompka said he also hopes to “generate research that pushes forward our understanding of what economic development looks like for rural communities.”
Born and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, Dompka earned a bachelor's degree from North Carolina State, double-majoring in political science and economics. He also holds an M.A. in agricultural and natural resources economics from NC State.
Dompka is based at the Del Norte County UC Cooperative Extension office in Crescent City and can be reached at (707) 464-4711 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Alec_rural_dev.
Kirsten Pearsons began working as a UC Cooperative Extension integrated pest management entomology advisor for Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties on Nov. 7. This is a new role for Pearsons, who joined UC ANR in March as a small farms advisor in San Luis Obispo County.
Pearsons focuses on insect-related concerns on the Central Coast, such as impatiens necrotic spot virus (INSV), a disease transmitted to lettuce by thrips, and identifying possible solutions. In collaboration with USDA scientists and her UC colleagues, Pearsons is researching the biology and ecology of the thrips populations that vector INSV to identify existing tools and new strategies that can help growers manage thrips and INSV.
Though her research focuses on lettuce and cole crops, Pearsons also supports berry growers and other specialty crop producers in the region with large-scale producers and agricultural pest control advisers as current clients.
Pearsons earned a bachelor's in environmental toxicology from UC Davis and a Ph.D. in entomology from Pennsylvania State University, studying how pest management strategies adopted in field crop systems affect non-target soil invertebrates.
During her undergraduate studies at UC Davis, Pearsons was curious to know what alternatives existed for broad-spectrum pesticides.
“Funny enough, I took my first entomology class just to get a basic idea of insect biology, because a lot of what I was learning in my toxicology courses had to do with insecticides,” she said. “The staff and the other students in the entomology department were so awesome that it didn't take much for me to completely fall for the subject.”
Prior to UC ANR, Pearsons worked for the Rodale Institute, an organic research institute in Pennsylvania.
Pearsons is based out of the UCCE Monterey Bay County office and can be reached at email@example.com.
Cuong “Jimmy” Nguyen joined UC Cooperative Extension on Nov. 1 as an assistant food safety and organic production area advisor for Imperial and Riverside counties.
“Organic produce has a shorter shelf life and is more susceptible to outbreaks, recalls and foodborne illness due to the lack of chemical sanitizers and fungicides,” Nguyen said. “Therefore, my future research agenda will continue the focus on improving the quality and safety of organic produce commodities by developing alternatives to chemical fumigations/fungicides, as well as organic pest management without the use of chemical sanitizer or pesticide.”
While earning his Ph.D. in food science at UC Davis, Nguyen developed two novel sanitizing platforms for surface decontamination and liquid systems disinfection. The two systems involve the newly discovered synergistic disinfection effect between natural antimicrobials and UV-A light treatment or ultrasound treatment.
“I am also interested in rapid detection methods using bacteriophage targeting foodborne microbes, and microscopic detection of bacterial microcolonies for early screening and prevention of foodborne outbreaks,” he said.
Nguyen earned a master's degree at Tokyo University of Agriculture in Japan, where he studied sensory and food safety quality of meat, and a bachelor's degree in agriculture at Nong Lam University in Vietnam, where he studied postharvest technologies for food and vegetable commodities. He is fluent in English, Japanese and Vietnamese.
Nguyen is based in Holtville and can be reached at (442) 265-7700 and
Yu-Chen Wang joined UC Cooperative Extension Oct. 3 as a plant pathology advisor for Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties.
“Vegetable and berry are the major crops I work on currently,” said Wang, who will be working with a wide range of crops and different cropping systems on the Central Coast. “So far, I have been contacted by a wide range of growers – including (those who grow) lettuce, broccoli, pepper, celery, bean, apple, strawberry and blackberry – about their disease problems. I am passionate about providing insight to help the community on their disease problems.”
“The lettuce industry here is suffering from impatiens necrotic spot virus (INSV) vectored by Western flower thrip along with soilborne diseases,” she said. Lettuce growers in the Salinas Valley lost an estimated $50 million to $100 million last year and a lettuce supply shortage occurred. Working alongside fellow advisors, UC specialists and industry partners, Wang will be seeking long-term solutions for the industry.
Prior to becoming a UCCE advisor, Wang worked at AVRDC-World Vegetable Center, for a vegetable seed company, and at UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center on research and development.
Wang, a native of Taipei, Taiwan, earned her B.S. and M.S. in horticultural and crop science at National Taiwan University. She earned a second M.S. in plant protection from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
“The idea of farmers feeding the world and awareness of crop loss by pests motivated me to pursue a career in agriculture and plant protection,” she said. “During my M.S. at Cal Poly, I worked closely with the California strawberry growers on industry-oriented research. I look forward to extending my study to vegetable and berry crops and serving the farming community.”
Wang is based in Watsonville and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (831) 201-9689.
Ashley Hooper joined UC ANR on Sept. 1 as the UC Cooperative Extension urban community resiliency advisor in Los Angeles County, a brand-new position. In her role, Hooper is tasked with working with communities who have historically been disadvantaged due to inequitable systems and/or policies.
In collaboration with the community, Hooper will lead efforts focused on building resilience and adaptive capacity. This could look like increasing the community's access to capital, green space, transportation, nutritious food or education.
She already has leveraged data, collected by different organizations, to conduct a content analysis of needs assessments across dimensions of community resilience, such as access to parks and healthcare. Then, as next steps, she will prioritize interviews and field observations.
During her master's program, Hooper worked as a research assistant for the Bureau of Business and Economic Research, where she led interviews with community members facing or trying to counter various inequities like limited access to broadband, housing and health care. For her Ph.D. dissertation, she focused on identifying barriers to and opportunities for resilient food systems in Los Angeles County.
After attending the California Economic Summit in October, Hooper shared her excitement for the prospect of using the arts in building community resilience.
“I went to a creative-economy working group session, and I was reminded of how much the arts and cultural community has to offer in the process of building adaptive capacity in communities,” she said.
Hooper earned a Ph.D. in urban and environmental planning and policy from UC Irvine. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in water resources with a concentration in policy and management from the University of New Mexico.
Hooper is based out of the UCCE office in Los Angeles County and can be reached at email@example.com.
Joanna Solins joined UC ANR on Oct. 3 as a UC Cooperative Extension environmental horticulture advisor for Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties.
Solins will focus on research and outreach related to urban plants, landscaping and climate change, while building relationships with county and municipal governments, nonprofits, landscape and tree care professionals, nursery growers and utilities, among others. She also will support the UC Master Gardener coordinators in her assigned counties, collaborating to extend knowledge and resources to community members.
“My core goals are to improve the climate suitability and ecological performance of urban landscaping and promote the equitable distribution of benefits from urban plants,” Solins said.
After attaining a bachelor's degree in environmental studies at Vassar College, Solins began her career leading outreach education programs for the New England Aquarium and writing for educational publishers. She also worked in communications at the Coral Reef Alliance in San Francisco before starting graduate school at UC Davis, which culminated in a master's in geography and Ph.D. in ecology.
Solins' research at UC Davis combined field studies and geographic information system analysis to investigate plant communities, tree canopy and soils along urban creeks in the Sacramento area. She also carried out postdoctoral research on green stormwater infrastructure, urban forest composition, and the water demand of urban vegetation across California, and contributed to projects examining residential landscaping and urban heat in Sacramento.
Solins is based in Sacramento and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (916) 875-2409.
Stephanie Mar joined UC Cooperative Extension on Oct. 3 as the assistant organic materials management advisor serving Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties. Mar is responsible for investigating ways to divert organic wastes from landfills to alternative end markets, such as circular food economies, composting and wastewater reclamation.
“To me, waste doesn't have an end life, just a next life,” said Mar. “A lot of people don't know what happens to their waste after the garbage truck comes or they flush a toilet, so a part of my job is to understand what we are wasting and what happens to it.”
Mar attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she earned a master's degree in public health focused on environmental science and engineering, and a master's degree in city and regional planning focused on land use and environmental planning. She also has a bachelor's degree in public health from UC Berkeley.
Much of Mar's professional experience, like her time working for the City of Berkeley, is centered on community outreach and policy development, two strengths that she believes will serve her well in this new role.
Previously, Mar worked as a public health analyst for UC San Francisco and as a social research analyst with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services too. Both of which strengthened her understanding of policy and program development, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation.
“Research gives us a lot of information, but then there's a need for translation from what we know to what it actually means,” she said. “There are a lot of people doing different things [to manage their waste], so there's a need for coordination and dispersal of information."
Mar's background in policy development is something she'll rely on to operationalize the research being done by herself and her colleagues.
Behavioral change is one of Mar's anticipated challenges in this role. Even if research and policy efforts yield successful results, encouraging the community to adapt can be an uphill battle.
“Sorting trash, for example, is more of a mental burden than a physical one,” she explained. “We know what the research says and what we need to do, it's just about developing the market to make it happen.”
Mar is based out of Irvine at the South Coast Research and Extension Center and can be reached at email@example.com.
Kristin Dobbin has joined UC ANR and the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist focused on water justice policy and planning.
Originally from Utah, Dobbin comes to Rausser College from UC Los Angeles' Luskin Center for Innovation, where she was a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow. Dobbin pairs her love for rural communities, community natural resource management and environmental justice organizing with a strong belief that research can and should play an important role in advancing policy. She hopes to leverage her new position, the first of its kind for UC, to uplift community water managers and impacted residents as leaders and experts in conversations surrounding water management and access.
“It's a dream and a responsibility to be assuming a role that so perfectly weds research and impact,” Dobbin tweeted about her new UC Cooperative Extension water justice policy and planning specialist role.
Dobbin earned her Ph.D. in ecology with an emphasis in environmental policy and human ecology from UC Davis and B.A. in environmental analysis from Pitzer College in Claremont. Prior to graduate school, she worked for the Community Water Center – a grassroots environmental justice organization that advances community-driven solutions for water justice in the Central Valley.
Dobbin is based at UC Berkeley and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @kbdobbin.
Kristen Shive has joined UC ANR and the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist focused on forest and fuels management.
Bringing more than 20 years of experience in conservation, forest and fire management, and ecology, her work broadly focuses on restoring fire to fire-adapted ecosystems, prioritizing areas for restoration, and understanding shifting fire regimes. Prior to joining UC ANR, Shive led the forest program science team for The Nature Conservancy's California Chapter and was the director of science for Save the Redwoods League. She also has worked for the National Park Service in Alaska, California, and Wyoming, most recently as the fire ecologist for Yosemite National Park.
She earned her master's degree in forestry from Northern Arizona University and a Ph.D. in ecosystem science from UC Berkeley.
Shive is based at UC Berkeley and can be reached at email@example.com and (630) 917-5170 and on Twitter @klshive.
Matt Rodriguez joined UC Cooperative Extension on Sept. 5 as a 4-H youth development advisor for Nevada, Placer, Sutter and Yuba counties. As a 4-H advisor, Rodriguez implements extension education and applied research programs grounded in positive youth development theory. He also provides expertise to enhance volunteer engagement in 4-H youth development programs.
Rodriguez earned his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland's School of Public Health in the Department of Family Science. His dissertation, “Influence of Latinx Fathers' Behaviors, Cognitions, Affect, and Family Congruence on Youth Energy Balance-Related Health Outcomes,” investigated Latinx father involvement in the context of youth energy balance-related behaviors. During his doctoral training, Rodriguez also supported several USDA-funded research initiatives involving Latinx fathers and youth. His recent publication, "Predictors Associated with Fathers' Successful Completion of the FOCUS Program,” investigated a sample of fathers in Texas who participated in a child welfare parenting intervention.
Rodriguez currently co-chairs the Men in Families focus group at the National Council on Family Relations. He was also recently elected as Section Counselor for the American Public Health Association's Health Informatics Information Technology section.
Prior to his doctoral studies, Rodriguez was a professional web developer for several large nonprofits in the Midwest. Growing up in a multicultural family with ancestry deriving from Puerto Rico, Japan, Nigeria and England, he embraces the importance of cultural diversity and competency in his family science research.
Rodriguez is based in Auburn and can be reached at (530) 889-7391 and firstname.lastname@example.org and on social media @MattR_Rodriguez.
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The event, set Saturday, Feb. 18, will showcase 11 museums or collections on campus. It's free and family friendly.
Donors can help support the project by accessing the site. Their donation can be in honor of someone or in memory of someone.
Eleven museums or collections on campus will showcase their work:
- Anthropology Museum, 328 Young Hall and grounds, noon to 4 p.m.
- Arboretum and Public Garden, Habitat Gardens in the Environmental GATEway, adjacent to the Arboretum Teaching Nursery on Garrod Drive, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Bohart Museum of Entomology, Room 1124 and main hall of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane, 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m.
- Botanical Conservatory, the greenhouses along Kleiber Hall Drive, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- California Raptor Center, 340 Equine Lane, off Old Davis Road, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Center for Plant Diversity, Sciences Laboratory Building/Esau Science Hall, off Kleiber Hall Drive, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Nematode Collection, Sciences Laboratory Building/Esau Science Hall, off Kleiber Hall Drive, 9 am. to 3 p.m.
- Marine Invertebrate Collection, Sciences Laboratory Building/Esau Science Hall, off Kleiber Hall Drive, 9 am. to 3 p.m.
- Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, Room 1394, Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Paleontology Collection, 1309 Earth and Physical Sciences Building, 434 LaRue Road, 12 noon to 4 p.m.
- Phaff Yeast Culture Collection, Robert Mondavi Institute Brewery and Food Processing facility, Old Davis Road, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (See news story)
The UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day is traditionally held on Presidents' Day Weekend at various venues on campus. The 2022 event, however, took place March 6 in the UC Davis Conference Center and drew some 1000 visitors. This year, it's back home to the individual departments where scientists will be on hand to greet visitors and answer questions.
Organizers of the crowdfunding are Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum of Entomology; Brennen Dyer, Bohart Museum collections manager; and Melissa Cruz Hernandez, outreach and leadership program manager, UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden.
"Your support will enable our 11 collections--the students, staff and faculty associated with them-- to hold this event," they announced. Donations will not only help us sustain this free science event, they will enable our student interns to take science outreach to a whole new level. The goal of our event is to connect people from all walks of life to science and the biodiversity surrounding them. All donors will be recognized on the Biodiversity Museum Day social media accounts with a shout-out post."
The donor wall is at https://crowdfund.ucdavis.edu/project/35545/wall. Gifts are tax-deductible.
- Author: Cameron Zuber
- Author: Elizabeth J Fichtner
The removal of nuts remaining on almond trees from the prior year's crop is an important winter sanitation practice for the management of navel orangeworm (NOW), Amyelois transitella. Residual nuts are called ‘mummies' and the process of removing the mummies is referred to as a ‘mummy shake' because they are mechanically shaken from trees. This practice is conducted during the dormant and delayed dormant season, a time when orchard access may be thwarted by the winter rains.
Most growers strive to have the mummy shake complete by mid-January when buds are dormant and less likely to abscise from the vibration caused by a mechanical shaker. As the flower buds progress toward bloom, they become more sensitive to the shaker vibration and more likely to abscise. Studies conducted in the 1980s (Sibbett et al.) established that the shaking of mummies by January 31 (approximately 8 days prior to bloom) at a Kern County site did not adversely affect yield; however, the authors cautioned growers of the risk of delaying mummy shakes further, particularly on early blooming varieties and in locations in the southern San Joaquin Valley1. Because bud development and bloom date advance with increasing latitude, the potential risk of early and mid-February mummy shakes was investigated by W. Asai (Pomology Consulting, Turlock, CA) in the northern San Joaquin Valley. This work, conducted at a more northern latitude, suggested shakes conducted in early February may not compromise yield2.
The lack of yield detriment attributed to a mummy shake-mediated bud loss may seem counterintuitive; however, simple concepts of tree physiology may help explain this phenomenon. Consider that only approximately 30% of the flowers on a tree set a crop. A given tree does not have the carbohydrate stores needed to set every flower. As a result, the loss of a subset of flower buds may have little effect on overall yield. Naturally, the risk of crop loss increases the closer the shake approaches bloom, and both research groups suggested that mummy shakes be complete prior to the pink bud stage of development.
Although rainy years make it difficult for growers to access orchards and complete orchard sanitation tasks, the heightened soil moisture adversely affects NOW survival in comparison to dry winters. Mummy nuts on the ground support enhanced NOW survival on a dry orchard floor than on moist soil with winter vegetation in the row middles. The next step in managing overwintering populations of NOW is destruction of mummies by flailing or mowing. Flailing and mowing should be completed by March 1, prior to the emergence of NOW. The emergence profile of NOW varies by location, but the first flight generally starts in late March.
Growers who have not completed their winter sanitation practices by the end of January should walk their orchards to assess bud development in consideration of a delayed mummy shake. Winter sanitation can reduce now damage by up to 80%, so an early February shake may be worth the effort if orchard access is possible and bud development has not advanced into pink tip. For more information on NOW management, visit www.ipm.ucdavis.edu.