- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The UC Davis Entomology Games Team edged out Alabama's Auburn University 75 to 70 to win the national championship at the Entomological Society of America's Entomology Games, waged Tuesday night, Nov. 15 at the ESA meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.
This is the fourth national championship for UC Davis since 2015.
The 2022 UC Davis team was comprised of four doctoral candidates from the Department of Entomology and Nematology: Zachary Griebenow of the Phil Ward lab, captain; Jill Oberski of the Ward laboratory; Erin “Taylor” Kelly of the Geoffrey Attardo lab; and Madison “Madi” Hendrick of the Ian Grettenberger lab.
"The 2022 Entomology Games were once again a highlight of the ESA Annual Meeting for students in entomology from all over the country," said Games Committee chair Meredith Spence Beaulieu, university program manager of Global One Health Academy, North Carolina State University. "My fellow members of the Entomology Games Committee and I congratulate the University of California, Davis, team on their victory, and we commend all the teams and students who participated this year."
The highly anticipated event is a lively question-and-answer, college bowl-style competition on entomological facts played between university-sponsored student teams. The question categories are biological control, behavior and ecology, economic and applied entomology, medical, urban and veterinary entomology, morphology and physiology, biochemistry and toxicology, systematics and evolution integrated pest management and insect/plant interactions.
Among the questions (paraphrased) asked at the Entomology Games:
- The principal blood sugar of insects is a disaccharide called what? Answer: Trehalose.
- All Neuroptera pupate within shelters spun from silk produced by what anatomical structure? Answer: Malpighian tubules
- In 1973 Dr. David Gibby of the Washington State University Extension Center started a program to meet the demand for urban horticulture and gardening advice, which has since expanded to all 50 states and 8 Canadian provinces. What is the name of this program? Answer: The Master Gardeners' Program
In the finals, the Auburn team was comprised of Dan Aurell, Chelsia Smith and Dylan Brown. In the preliminary round, Alan Jeon also competed with them.
The student-quiz event, launched in 1982, was formerly known as the Linnaean Games but the ESA Board of Directors changed the name in July of 2020 to "Entomology Games." Students compete first at an ESA branch level, with each branch sponsoring the winning team and runner-up at the nationals. UC Davis won the championship at the Pacific Branch in April. UC Riverside placed second.
The ESA meeting, themed "Entomology as Inspiration: Insects Through Art, Science and Culture," opened Nov. 13 and continues through Nov. 16. It is a joint meeting with the Entomological Society of Canada and the Entomological Society of British Columbia.
The Entomology Games championship match video will be posted soon on ESA's YouTube channel. The full bank of questions will be loaded on this site. The previous UC Davis championships:
- 2018: The University of California team (UC Davis/UC Berkeley) defeated Texas A&M. Members of the UC Team: captain Ralph Washington Jr., then a UC Berkeley graduate student with a bachelor's degree in entomology from UC Davis; doctoral students Brendon Boudinot, Jill Oberski and Zachary Griebenow of the Phil Ward lab, and doctoral student Emily Bick of the Christian Nansen lab.
- 2016: UC Davis defeated the University of Georgia. Members of the UC Davis team: captain Ralph Washington Jr., Brendon Boudinot and Emily Bick.
- 2015: UC Davis defeated the University of Florida. Members of the UC Davis team: captain Ralph Washington Jr., and members Brendon Boudinot, Jessica Gillung and Ziad Khouri.
Founded in 1889 and located in Annapolis, Md., the 7000-member ESA is the world's largest entomological organization. It is affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry and government. Members are researchers, teachers, extension service personnel, administrators, marketing representatives, research technicians, consultants, students, pest management professionals, and hobbyists. The 2022 president is evolutionary biologist Jessica Ware, associate curator of invertebrate zoology at the American Museum of Natural History, New York.
- Listen to the 2018 Entomology Games (won by the University of California team, comprised of three UC Davis graduate students and one UC Berkeley students who is a UC Davis alumnus), posted on YouTube (audio only, no video)
- Watch the 2016 National Linnaean Games Championship Round (won by UC Davis), posted on YouTube
- Watch the 2015 National Linnaean Games Championship Round (won by UC Davis), posted on YouTube