- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Keating, a member of the Class of 2020, will receive his bachelor's degree in entomology in June. Usually the award is presented at a separate ceremony hosted by the department, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the presentation is pending.
"Garrett is working on interactions between the solitary bee Osmia lignaria and microbes that are found in the larval provisions,” said Vannette, an assistant professor. “Larvae of this bee feed on the stored nectar and pollen provision, during which time the fungi and bacteria from collected nectar and pollen grow on these stored resources.”
“Garrett is examining how bacterial and fungal composition changes over time as the provisions age--and larvae grow--so this is a study in microbial community succession in bee food,” she added. “We are interested to see if microbes in stored nectar and pollen (provisions) affect the provision itself and if they end up in the gut of larval bees. He has already performed the sampling and is finishing up bioinformatics and analysis right now.”
His project is a collaboration between the Vannette lab and Neal Williams lab.
Keating, who joined the Vannette lab in 2019, plans to spend the summer working in the lab, and then next year “working at a nature-based outdoor education program in Sonoma,” he said. “After that I hope to return to entomology research.”
“I've been interested in entomology ever since I was a kid,” Keating said. “I grew up playing with spiders in my backyard and watching ants fight termites. My dad helped me set up science fair projects with pill bugs and water striders.”
Keating, from the East Bay city of Piedmont, enrolled at UC Davis after transferring from UC Riverside from 2016-2018. "In 2017-2018 I worked in Jessica Purcell's lab, studying socially polymorphic ants," he said, "and in the summer of 2018 I conducted a independent research project in Switzerland, studying bumble bee diversity along an elevational gradient. This was done through the UC study abroad program."
He graduated from Naropa University, a private university in Boulder, Colo., where he was involved in the Naropa LeapYear Gap Experience Program. During his freshman year, he earned semester credit while studying, working and doing internships in the United States and abroad.
Keenly interested in the environment, Keating served as a volunteer in a UC Berkeley professor's project in 2015 to stop the growth of Sudden Oak Death. Also in 2015, he engaged in a 100-hour project at The Presidio, San Francisco, to preserve wildlife and remove invasive species.
Keating completed an internship in 2016 with the Volunteer Initiative Nepal, where he worked on a water research project in Kathmandu, Nepal. His other work experiences range from cabin leader to camp counselor to head counselor for youth outdoor education programs from 2012 to 2018.
An avid volunteer, Keating engaged in a variety of projects with Amor Ministries from 2012 to 2015; in 2012 and 2013, he built houses for needy families in San Juan, Mexico. In the summer of 2014, he volunteered with Amigos de las Américas in Oaxaca, Mexico, and also conducted a summer program there to teach children the importance of amaranth as a grain or pseudocereal.