- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
DAVIS--Entomologist James R. Carey, distinguished professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, is the recipient of a UC Davis Academic Senate Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award for his “outstanding research, outreach and advocacy program involving invasion biology, specifically his significant contributions on two California insect pest invaders, the Mediterranean Fruit Fly (medfly) and the Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM).”
Carey will be honored at a combined Academic Senate/Academic Federation awards ceremony on Tuesday, May 5 in the Student Community Center. The event will take place from 5:15 to 7:45 p.m. Other 2014-15 recipients of the Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award are Harry Cheng, professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; and Robert Powell, professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science.
“His public service led to much-needed in-depth discussions and greater understanding of these two agricultural pests; saved California millions in cancelled ineffective programs; and focused national and worldwide attention on how to deal with invasive pests,” wrote nominator Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
An internationally recognized leader and distinguished scholar in invasion biology, spanning three decades, Carey launched an informed, concerted and widespread effort to reveal the science about the invaders that threaten California's $43.5 billion agricultural industry. Carey's well-documented research in basic and applied aspects of invasion biology shows that these pests are established and cannot be eradicated. They continue to spread, despite more than 30 years of intervention and nearly 300 state-sponsored eradication programs.
In his letter of nomination, Parrella wrote that Carey exemplifies what public service, based on sound science, is all about: integrity, dedication, commitment, enthusiasm, and an eagerness to investigate, serve and share. Carey, who holds a doctorate in entomology from UC Berkeley, joined the UC Davis faculty in 1980.
Carey has published his research in major journals, served on the governor-appointed California Medfly Science Advisory Panel, testified before the U.S. Congress and California state legislators and to other government entities; held workshops with citizenry; developed and disseminated information; and granted more than 200 interviews with major print and electronic news media, including the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Science. Carey drew state, national and international attention with his groundbreaking paper documenting medfly establishment in California in a 1991 edition of Science, and more recently, with the LBAM invasion.
Carey's public service includes:
Carey testified about the biology and establishment of LBAM to the California Legislature, California Assembly Agriculture Committee, California Senate Environmental Quality Committee, San Francisco Board of Supervisors, California Roundtable for Agriculture and the Environment, Senator Migden hearings, Nancy Pelosi staff meetings, and California Senate Committee on Food and Agriculture. His expertise continues to be highly sought. He collaborated with colleagues Bruce Hammock and Frank Zalom, both distinguished professors in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, to write to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to point out (1) a lack of evidence that this method would work and (2) that LBAM is not an important pest.
In landmark research (“From Trickle to Flood: The Large-Scale, Cryptic Invasion of California by Tropical Fruit Flies”) published in August 2013 in Proceedings of the Royal Society, Carey and his colleagues (Nikos Papadopoulos, University of Thessaly, Richard Plant, UC Davis) found that at least five fruit flies and as many as nine species of the 17 they studied are permanently established in California and cannot be eradicated.
In July, Carey and Papadopoulos presented the results of this study to an international group of fruit fly entomologists (Tephritid Workers of Europe, Africa and the Middle East) in Crete. One of his papers, “Clear, Present, Significant and Imminent Danger: Questions for the California Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana) Technical Working Group,” published in October 2013 in the journal American Entomologist, continues to draw worldwide attention. The journal Science sent a reporter to UC Davis to write a major, three-page news story on Dr. Carey's involvement in medfly and LBAM science policy.
Carey is also considered the preeminent global authority on arthropod demography. He has authored more than 250 scientific articles.
Carey is a fellow of the Entomological Society of America (ESA), American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Gerontological Society of America, the California Academy of Sciences. Carey is the first entomologist to have a mathematical discovery named after him by demographers—The Carey Equality—which set the theoretical and analytical foundation for a new approach to understanding wild populations.
His past public service includes chair of the University of California Systemwide Committee on Research Policy; member of the systemwide UC Academic Council; and vice chair of his department. He presently serves as the associate editor of three journals: Genus, Aging Cell, and Demographic Research.
Carey is also known for his digital technical expertise on the UC Davis campus, providing advice and recommendations to key UC Davis administration on educational and information technology in support of instruction, research, administration and public service. He is the adviser of the nine-university CARTA (Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa).
Highly honored by his peers, Carey received the 2014 C. W. Woodworth Award, the highest award given by the Pacific Branch of ESA, and a 2014 Academic Senate Undergraduate Teaching Award. He was selected a plenary speaker for ICE 2016, the XXV International Congress of Entomology, to meet Sept. 25-30, 2016 in Orlando, Fla.
Past Recipients of Distinguished Scholarly Achievement Award (Download PDF)