- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The UC Davis winners, all doctoral students, are Erin Taylor Kelly of the Geoffrey Attardo lab, Hyoseok Lee of the Christian Nansen lab, Jill Oberski of the Phil Ward lab, Lacie Newton of the Jason Bond lab, and Clara Stuligross of the Neal Williams lab.
- Kelly won first place for her poster, “Metabolic Snapshot: Using Metabolomics to Compare Near-Wild and Colonized Aedes aegypti,” in the Physiology, Biochemistry and Ecology Section.
- Lee won first place for his entry, “Predicting Spring Migration of Beet Leafhoppers, Circulifer tenellus (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) from Natural Overwintering Sites into Tomato fields in California" in the Graduate 10-Minute Papers category of the Plant-Insect Ecosystems, Behavioral Ecology Section
- Oberski won first place for her entry, “Why Do Museum Collections Matter?” in the Graduate Infographics category, Systematics, Evolution and Biodiversity Section.
- Newton won second place for her entry, “Integrative Species Delimitation Reveals Cryptic Diversity in the Southern Appalachian Antrodiaetus unicolor (Araneae: Antrodiaetidae) Species Complex,” in the Graduate 10-Minute Papers category in the Systematics, Evolution and Biodiversity Section, Genomics.
- Stuligross won second place for her entry, "Larval Pesticide Exposure Reduces Adult Wild Bee Reproduction,” in the Graduate 10-Minute Papers category in the Plant-Insect Ecosystems, Pollinators 2 Section.
The first-place winners received a $75 cash prize, a one-year membership in ESA and a certificate, while the second-place winners won a year's membership and a certificate.
Erin Taylor Kelly of the Geoffrey Attardo lab expects to receive her doctorate in June 2023. She holds a bachelor of science degree in biology (2016) from Santa Clara University, where she minored in chemistry, with an emphasis in molecular an cell biology.
On her Aedes aegypti poster:
Research in our lab has identified significant variability in the resistance phenotype of mosquitoes with target-site mutations, prompting us to wonder about the metabolic mechanisms involved in resistance in California populations of Aedes aegypti. The resistance phenotype is thought to have multiple fitness costs, including reduced fecundity, adult body size and longevity (6–9). We hypothesize that looking at the insect's metabolome may allow us to better understand the physiology behind these potential fitness costs by providing a snap shot of the insect's metabolite composition and insight into pathway demands and energetic deficiencies. Metabolomics has the benefit of providing insight into mosquito biology at the level of phenotype.
Hyoseok Lee, who joined the Christian Nansen lab in 2017, holds a master's degree in entomology (2014) from Seoul National University.
Most of tomato production in California occurs in the Central Valley, which has “the foothills” as its western boundary. Beet leafhoppers overwinter in green natural vegetation in the foothills and migrate into crop fields, including tomato, during spring as natural vegetation dries out and green crop vegetation becomes available. In this study, we built a simulation model predicting spring migration of beet leafhoppers based on vegetation greenness in the foothills. Vegetation greenness (EVI, Enhanced vegetation index) in the foothills was calculated based on analyses of satellite imagery. Spring migration of s was monitored at three different locations in the foothills for two years using yellow sticky cards. Spring migration of beet leafhoppers was well described by the Weibull function. At all monitoring locations, the spring migration was started when the EVI values dropped to 0.2, and the proportion of migrating beet leafhoppers rapidly increased as the EVI values decreased. Our study indicates that the decrease in vegetation greenness triggers spring migration of beet leafhoppers and shows great potential for developing an early warning system.
Why Do Museum Collections Matter?
"Cabinets of curiosity” and natural history museums are the original basis of our knowledge of global biodiversity. Such collections, however, are more than just well-organized dead organisms. Museums are enormous libraries of identified species, localities, and dates, constantly updated and reorganized based on the best new information. These data inform countless fields of research, and can even answer future questions no one has yet thought to ask. Most importantly, they preserve irreplaceable type specimens, which are a crucial part of species description. Now that many of these insect collections are being digitized and accessed from around the globe, why is it necessary to maintain them as physical materials? While many datasets do lend themselves well to digitization, insect specimens experience significant data loss. Most commonly, photographs are taken of the specimens, but photos are usually inadequate for discerning taxonomic features. Even high-resolution 3D scans are no substitute for direct observations. Finally, museums are centers of education and public outreach. Through collections, biology students and communities can physically experience global insect biodiversity they might not otherwise see, regardless of location or mobility. The “wow” factor of magnificent specimens is most powerful in person. As our lives become increasingly computer-oriented, we must recognize that to enjoy and study nature, no digital replacement will suffice.
Lacie Newton of the Jason Bond lab, expects to obtain her doctorate in entomology in June 2022. She holds a bachelor of science degree in biological sciences (2016) from Millsaps College, Jackson, Miss.
Although species delimitation can be highly contentious, the development of reliable methods to accurately ascertain species boundaries is an imperative step in cataloguing and describing Earth's quickly disappearing biodiversity. Spider species delimitation remains largely based on morphological characters; however, many mygalomorph spider populations are morphologically indistinguishable from each other yet have considerable molecular divergence. The focus of our study, the Antrodiaetus unicolor species complex containing two sympatric species, exhibits this pattern of relative morphological stasis with considerable genetic divergence across its distribution. A past study using two molecular markers, COI and 28S, revealed that A. unicolor is paraphyletic with respect to A. microunicolor. To better investigate species boundaries in the complex, we implement the cohesion species concept and use multiple lines of evidence for testing genetic exchangeability and ecological interchangeability. Our integrative approach includes extensively sampling homologous loci across the genome using a RADseq approach (3RAD), assessing population structure across their geographic range using multiple genetic clustering analyses that include structure, principal components analysis and a recently developed unsupervised machine learning approach (Variational Autoencoder). We evaluate ecological similarity by using large‐scale ecological data for niche‐based distribution modelling. Based on our analyses, we conclude that this complex has at least one additional species as well as confirm species delimitations based on previous less comprehensive approaches. Our study demonstrates the efficacy of genomic‐scale data for recognizing cryptic species, suggesting that species delimitation with one data type may underestimate true species diversity in morphologically homogenous taxa with low vagility.
Clara Stuligross, who joined the Neal Williams lab in 2016, received her bachelor of science degree in environmental studies, with minors in biology and outdoor education, in 2014 from Earlham College, Richmond, Ind.
Bees encounter pesticides across landscapes as they forage for pollen and nectar. Exposure to pesticides has negative effects on wild bees, but little is known about the effects of chronic larval exposure on adult performance. We investigated the effects of larval and adult pesticide exposure on the foraging and reproduction of the solitary bee, Osmia lignaria. We established nesting O. lignaria females in 16 field cages containing wildflowers treated with or without imidacloprid, the most widely used neonicotinoid insecticide. As larvae, these parent bees were reared on provisions containing imidacloprid or controls. Larval and adult pesticide exposure directly affected bee nesting activity. Bees exposed to pesticides as adults were less likely to start nesting and produced fewer offspring. Additionally, bees exposed to pesticides as larvae provisioned fewer offspring than unexposed controls. Our research provides experimental evidence of the effects of pesticide exposure on solitary bees across multiple life stages, a critical step in understanding mechanisms underlying pollinator health.
The Entomological Society of America, headquartered in Annapolis, Md., and founded in 1889, is the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. They include educators, extension personnel, consultants, students, researchers, and scientists from agricultural departments, health agencies, private industries, colleges and universities, and state and federal governments. It is a scientific and educational resource for all insect-related topics. For more information, visit www.entsoc.org.