I am pleased to announce funding decisions for the 2017 UC ANR Competitive Grants Program/High Risk, High Rewards Program. As in past years, the number of requests received exceeds funding available. With 45 competitive grant proposals requesting over $7 million and six high-risk high-reward proposals requesting over another $500,000, we are pleased to be able to support around 25 percent overall.
I want to thank the Strategic Initiative Panels for their work in screening letters of intent and the Technical Review Panels for their efforts reviewing proposals for technical merit, feasibility and extension prior to the review by Program Council. Program Council then reviewed proposals against all the criteria and had the difficult task of making recommendations to me how best to distribute the finite resources available. I commend the principal investigators and their teams for their submissions. While each submission represented important work, not all proposals could be funded.
I am particularly pleased to see that funded proposals represent each of the Strategic Initiatives and have as principal investigators advisors, specialists, academic administrators and AES faculty from each of the AES campuses, our county academics, and our UC ANR statewide programs. The partnering in each of the proposals illustrates one of the principles of our ANR Promise.
The Strategic Initiative Leaders will be sending review comments out to all applicants over the next few weeks.
Congratulations to all of the awardees. The list of funded proposals is below and also posted on the 2017 funding opportunities web page.
Title Principal Investigator Award Amount
Pathways to Your Future: Destination UC Shannon Horrillo $200,000
Massive tree mortality in the Sierra Nevada: Jodi Axelson $200,000
Consequences for forest health
Reducing nitrate leaching to the groundwater by accounting Daniel Geisseler $199,978
for the soils' capacity to supply N through mineralization
Advancing urban irrigation management to enhance water Amir Haghverdi $199,975
The California Master Beekeeper Program: Development of a Elina Nino $199,949
continuous train-the-trainer education effort for CA beekeepers
Silent straws: understanding water demands from woody Lenya Quinn-Davidson $199,937
encroachment in California's oak woodlands
Impact of a warmer and drier future on rangeland ecosystems Jeremy James $199,831
and ecosystem services
Closing the adaptive management loop for sustainable Leslie Roche $199,502
Developing a culturally relevant civic science approach to Steve Worker $194,768
improving scientific literacy for Latino youth
Creating cyst nematode suppressive soils by managing James Borneman $100,000
indigenous populations of the hyperparasitic fungus
Smart Farming: Monitoring the health of chickens Maja Makagon $81,293
Recruiting the next generation of extension professionals Jennifer Heguv $11,030
Bohls, who is seeking her doctorate in entomology, with a focus on honey bee queen rearing and health, studies with Extension apiculturist Elina Niño. Originally from Macedonia, Ohio, Bohls received her bachelor's degree in neuroscience and environmental studies at Hiram (Ohio) College.
Page, who began her graduate students this fall with pollination ecologist Neal Williams, associate professor of entomology, is exploring pollinator communities in response to agricultural management and the benefits of providing diverse floral habitat. She completed her undergraduate work at Scripps College, Claremont, Calif.
The Honey and Pollination Center, directed by Amina Harris, received financial support from philanthropists Doug and Juli Muhleman of Healdsburg and through the Center's sale of UC Davis honey, honey wheels and notecards.
To date, the center has donated more than $65,000 to the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. The Center helped fund the newly launched California Master Beekeeper Program (CAMBP), the annual Bee Symposium and has increased its support of graduate students through scholarships, awards and travel allowances, Harris said.
The Muhlemans last year received the Charles J. Soderquist Award, a $5,000 gift from the UC Davis Foundation to be donated to a university program of their choice. The annual award is presented to individuals who demonstrate excellence in philanthropy, volunteerism, leadership and overall commitment to UC Davis. The Honey and Pollination Center was selected to steward their award, which was matched by the Muhlemans, bringing the gift to $10,000.
Doug Muhleman, a UC Davis alumnus, retired in 2008 as Anheuser-Busch's Group Vice President of Brewing Operations and Technology, where he was responsible for 10,000 employees across five corporate groups, the company's domestic and international breweries and its agricultural operations. “Over the course of my career, AB hired scores of UC Davis grads because the UC Davis-educated brewer came with a skill set and knowledge base that really wasn't possible from another university,” Muhleman recently told UC Davis Giving. The Muhlemans' two children are also UC Davis graduates.
Muhleman furthered the partnerships between his employer and alma mater by helping create the Anheuser-Busch Endowed Chair for Malting and Brewing Sciences in the Department of Food Science and Technology and the pilot brewery, a campus research facility that opened in April 2006. He also was instrumental in arranging a $5 million matching pledge from the Anheuser-Busch Foundation to establish the August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory in UC Davis' Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.
In addition to donating to the Honey and Pollination Center, the Muhlemans have supported several initiatives around campus, including the creation of the Michael J. Lewis Endowment for Brewing Science in honor of his teacher and mentor.
Other benefactors of the Honey and Pollination Center:
Poster Competition Winners
As part of its drive to support students engaged in research, teaching and outreach, the Honey and Pollination Center provided cash awards to the winners of its annual UC Davis Bee Symposium Graduate Student Poster competition, held May 7.
- First place, $1000: Co-authors Laura Ward and Sara Winsemius, Ph.D. candidates at UC Berkeley in Environmental Science, Policy and Management, for their work on “Exploring Potential Routes of Neonicotinoid Exposure within Pollinator Hedgerows Adjacent to Seed-Treated Sunflowers.”
- Second place, $750: Cameron Jasper, a Ph.D. candidate in the UC Davis Department Entomology and Nematology for his research project, “Investigating Potential Synergistic Effects of Chronic Exposure to Amitraz and Multiple Pesticides on Honey Bee Survivorship.”
- Third place, $500: Brittney Goodrich, a Ph.D. candidate in the UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, for her research project, ""Honey Bee Health: Economic Implications for Beekeepers in Almond Pollination."
- Fourth place, $250: John Mola, a Ph.D. candidate from the UC Davis Graduate Group in Ecology, for "Fine Scale Population Genetics and Movement Ecology of the Yellow-Faced Bumble Bee (Bombus vosnesenkii)."
The poster competition drew eight submissions. A panel of three judged the presenters and their work: Dennis vanEnglesdorp, assistant professor of entomology, University of Maryland; Quinn McFrederick, assistant professor of entomology, UC Riverside and Robbin Thorp, distinguished professor emeritus of entomology and nematology, UC Davis.
California Master Beekeeper Program
The Center is helping to fund the newly created California Master Beekeeper Program (CAMBP), aimed at using science-based information to educate beekeepers to be ambassadors for honey bees and beekeeping, Harris said. California has more than half a million commercial beehives and thousands more in backyards. The Center has channeled gifts from the Springcreek and Kaiser Family Foundations to expand funding for CAMBP. The College of Agricultural and Environmental Science has also helped fund the program “which will help to ensure that every beekeeper has access to ongoing education to help keep our bees healthy and our citizens educated about the value of bees to our lives and our economy,” Harris said..
“In addition to the educational component, a full website for CAMBP will be developed so that beekeepers can access courses, lectures and additional information on an ongoing basis,” Harris said. “The program will include classroom experiences with hands-on training at UC Davis this fall with plans to extend classes throughout the state in upcoming years.”
The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, ranked nationally, continues to lead the way in agricultural innovation and sustainability, in part through fostering pollinator-related research and conferences.
To learn more information about the Honey and Pollination Center and its programs, or to provide support for its work, see www.honey.ucdavis.edu.
You don't want to just keep bees, you want to devote your life to learning more about them and understanding them. And you want to engage in public service.
“Any universal and immutable scale with which to measure mastery of a human pursuit is at best elusive,” says Master Beekeeper Mea McNeil of San Anselmo, who doubles as a journalist, writing for beekeeping journals and other publications. “For those whose lives are devoted to understanding the wonders that are bees, every research answer begets a new question. So it is that an array of Master Beekeeper programs have been developed to bring dedicated beekeepers to a sophisticated level of knowledge that is defined by each course.”
McNeill, who is also an organic farmer, wrote those words for an article published 10 years ago in The American Bee Journal. Roger Morris of Cornell University taught the first known Master Beekeeping course, she related, and the first Master Beekeeping certificate went to beekeeper Peter Bizzosa in 1972.
The good news is that the University of California, Davis, is now planning its first-ever Master Beekeeping course. There are no times and dates. Not yet. It's all in the beginning stages, says Extension apiculturist Elina Niño of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
If you want to get on the Master Beekeeper list, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org from your email address or the address you want subscribed. In the subject line of your message, type in: subscribe camasterbee Firstname Lastname.
“I completed the Master Beekeeping Program at the University of Nebraska under Dr. Marion Ellis,” McNeil said, adding that it was quite comprehensive. “I learned enough about bees and beekeeping to become humbled at the vastness of the subject. An important component of that program is service, so, as a working journalist, I began writing about the bee world as a result.”
In her journal article, McNeil described several programs, but pointed out that “No two programs may be alike, but they spring from a common philosophy: the bees are precious and necessary, and those who know them well will serve to help them thrive. Most intend to create ambassadors for the bees, a mission to bring the public into greater awareness of their importance.”
These are university-level courses--extensive, detailed and challenging--with written, lab, oral and field exams. You have to know the material and be comfortable in explaining it. You may have to, for example, identify “a blob of unidentifiable substance” and “describe the cause and how to prevent it,” as McNeil wrote. One blob turned out to be “chewed up bees from skunks sucking the juices from bees, then spitting out bee parts.”
Take the Master Beekeeping Program at the University of Florida. It's an ongoing program that spans a minimum of five years. Participants work toward “advancing to the next level by reading books, demonstrating public service credits, participating in research projects, or extension programs, etc.," the website says. "In order to enter the program, you must begin by taking the written and practical examination for the Apprentice Beekeeper level." Master Beekeepers serve as an arm of the Extension services.
Meanwhile, in addition to the pending Master Beekeeper course, UC Davis offers beekeeping and queen-rearing courses for novices, intermediates and advanced beekeepers. If you're interested in joining the beekeeping course list, send an email to email@example.com from the address you want to subscribed to the list. In the subject line, type: subscribe elninobeelabclasses Firstname Lastname.
A number of eminent bee scientists will be speaking soon at UC Davis. They include David Tarby, Gene Robinson and Dennis vanEngelsdorp.
David Tarpy, Wednesday, Feb. 3
Extension apiculturist/professor David Tarpy of North Carolina State University will present a seminar on "Young Regality: a Day in the Life of a Virgin Queen Bee" from 12:10 to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 3 in 122 Briggs Hall, Kleiber Hall Drive, UC Davis.
The seminar, free and open to all interested persons, is part of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's noonhour seminars. It also will be recorded for later posting on UCTV. His host is Elina Niño, Extension apiculturist, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
"Social insects have long fascinated entomologists, and honey bees have been a model system for their study," said Tarpy, who received his doctorate in entomology at UC Davis in 2000 with major professor Robert Page, former chair of the Department of Entomology and now university provost emeritus and Foundation chair of Life Sciences, Arizona State University. "At the heart of the colony is a single queen, the mother of all nestmates and critical member for colony productivity. The natural history of queens is a fascinating story, one that interweaves the complexities of social behavior, genetics, and evolutionary ecology."
Tarpy joined the North Carolina State University faculty in 2003 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship with Tom Seeley of Cornell University. He received his bachelor's degree in biology in 1993 from Hobart College and his master's degree in biology in 1995 from Bucknell University.
Gene Robinson, Monday, Feb. 22
Eminent honey bee scientist Gene E. Robinson of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will speak on “Me to We: Using Honey Bees to Find the Genetic Roots of Social Life” at the UC Davis Chancellor's Colloquium on Monday, Feb. 22 in Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. This was initially scheduled to take place in the Vanderhoef Studio Theatre, but has been changed due to the increasing registration.
His presentation, part of the Chancellor's Colloquium Distinguished Speakers Series, is from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Registration is underway on the Chancellor's Colloquium series website. The event is free and open to the public but registration is required.
Robinson pioneered the application of genomics to the study of social behavior and led the effort to sequence the honey bee genome.
Robinson is the University Swanlund chair and directs the Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB) and the Bee Research Facility. He received his doctorate in entomology from Cornell University in 1986 and joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1989.
Dennis vanEngelsdorp, Saturday, May 7
The second annual UC Davis Bee Symposium is scheduled Saturday, May 7, with details forthcoming. We do know, however, that bee scientist Dennis vanEngelsdorp of the University of Maryland will be among the featured speakers, according to Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, and Extension apiculturist Elina Niño, of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. So mark your calendars for this all-day symposium.
Van Engelsdorp says on his website: "My research focus on pollinator health, and honey bee health specifically. I am particularly intrigued with using an epidemiological approach to understanding and (importantly) improving honey bee health. This approach is multi-faceted, requiring understanding both the etiology of individual bee diseases and the large scale monitoring of colony health."
Van Engelsdor presented an outstanding TED talk on "A Plea for Bees" back in July of 2008 and you can watch it here. The teaser: "Bees are dying in droves. Why? Leading apiarist Dennis vanEngelsdorp looks at the gentle, misunderstood creature's important place in nature and the mystery behind its alarming disappearance."
If you missed the 2015 UC Davis Bee Symposium, you missed hearing Marla Spivak, the distinguished McKnight Professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Minnesota and winner of a MacArthur Genius Grant, deliver the keynote address. She delivered a TED talk in June of 2003 on our disappearing bees and you can watch it here.
Meanwhile, check out the Honey and Pollination Center website to see photos and data from the inaugural UC Davis Bee Symposium. UC Davis is the place to "bee" to learn about bees.
The bees are a'buzzing!
If you plant it, they will come—the pollinators as well as members of the UC Davis campus community.
As of Tuesday morning, Nov. 3, the large concrete planter at the main entrance to Briggs Hall is thriving with bee friendly plants, including ceanothus, rosemary, evergreen currant, salvias, seaside daisy, snowberry, gum plant, California buckwheat, California fuschia and California goldenrod.
“The Campus Grounds removed the existing plants to allow us to do this,” said Christine Casey, staff director of the department's Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road. Garden volunteers Sarah Dohle, Sky Johnson, Finnegan Pitchford, Betty Warne, Rick Williams, and Sharon Kirkpatrick comprised the team that completed the project.
Casey credited Skip Mezger, campus landscape architect, and Cary Avery, associate director, Campus Planning and Community Resources, for approvals and help with logistics. She and Ellen Zagory, director of horticulture for the UC Davis Arboretum, collaborated on the plant selection.
The Arboretum also donated the California goldenrod, “Cascade Creek.” Other plants were purchased with Häagen-Dazs funds.
The plant list is online at http://hhbhgarden.ucdavis.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Briggs-Hall-Pollinator-Garden-plant-list-and-plan.pdf. The chart indicates the botanical name, common name, family name, sun/shade exposure, flowering period and flower color.