All seminars will be in-person and will take place on Mondays at 4:10 p.m. in Room 122 Briggs Hall through Dec. 4, and also will be broadcast on Zoom. The exception: UC Davis doctoral alumnus' Charlotte Alberts' seminar on Nov. 13 will be Zoom only.
The Zoom link:
Research scientist at the Chicago Botanic Garden and a professor of instruction at Northwestern University
Title: "Understanding the Dynamics of Plant-Animal Interactions in a Changing World"
Abstract: "Plant-pollinator interactions are ubiquitous and play an important role in ecosystem functioning across the globe. Critically, plants, pollinators, and their interactions face numerous threats in our changing world, including those related to climate change. However, our understanding of the consequences of these threats to plant-pollinator interactions has been hampered because we lack knowledge of the basic ecology of many of these organisms, and how their ecology responds to changing abiotic and biotic conditions. We will investigate these issues in this seminar."
Monday, Oct. 9 (postponed, not rescheduled yet)
Emeritus professor, Cornell University
Title: "Our Changing Menu: Using the Power of Food to Confront Climate Change'
Abstract: "Food is loved and needed, it is emotive, and it is deeply embedded in our cultures and family histories. However, not enough people know the subtle to profound changes happening to their food as the world rapidly warms. It is an ideal messenger that can help make climate change relevant to everyone — we all eat. Results of our national survey showed that regardless of political affiliation, most people are concerned about climate change effects on their food choices, they would pay more for good grown using climate friendly practices, and they want to learn more about the future of their food. An audience awaits to hear this story. We can all tap the power of food to bring about the rapid and at scale changes that are desperately needed to keep our favorite foods on the menu, and coincidentally, keep the planet livable."
Anthony Domiano Vaudo
Research entomologist, U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station
Title: "Pollen Nutritional ecology of Bee-Blower Interactions"
Abstract: "Pollen provides bees their primary source of protein and lipid macronutrients, essential for development, fitness, and resistance to stress. Yet, pollen macronutrient quality differs substantially among host-plant species. And thus, bees may be sensitive to their nutritional needs and differentially forage among host plants to obtain appropriate nutrition. In this presentation, I will highlight my research that has linked bumble bee host plant foraging preferences to pollen nutritional quality and individual and colony health. Using this as a theoretical framework, I will present recent research where I show that floral pollen nutritional quality can help explain the structure and patterns of bee-wildflower community interactions among diverse populations; and how this research can inform conservation practices. Finally, I will discuss how the quality of pollen that bees collect may differ between and remain consistent within species populations and help explain their history of floral preferences."
Monday, Oct. 23
Assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Environmental Toxicology Department
Title: "Disarming the Defenses of Resistant Pests: Rational Design of Inhibitors for ABC Transporter Proteins in the Varroa Mite"
Abstract: "Varroa mites pose a significant global menace to honeybee colonies, causing colony losses, ecological imbalances, and food scarcity. Escalating pesticide resistance in these mites necessitates innovative strategies to bolster acaricide effectiveness. Small molecule synergists that heighten mite susceptibility to acaricides offer a promising solution by amplifying chemical treatment efficacy, thus reducing overall pesticide demand. Present synergist development strategies primarily target metabolic enzyme inhibition to restore insect sensitivity to pesticides. Our research focuses on ABC efflux transporters, pivotal in cellular xenobiotic handling, as a new approach. We aim to establish a toxicokinetic pipeline to uncover novel synergists and validate their ability to increase Varroa mite vulnerability to existing miticides. By capitalizing on synergistic interactions between sensitizing agents and acaricides, we aim to equip beekeepers and regulators with a sustainable toolbox to combat Varroa resistance, ultimately fostering long-term honey bee well-being."
Monday, Oct. 20
Department of Biology, San Diego State University
Title: "Ring Species, Ring Speciation or a Ring of Species? An Example with California Mygalomorph Spiders."
Abstract: "Ring species can be defined as a chain of interbreeding populations which expands along two pathways around a geographic barrier, where terminal forms can coexist without interbreeding. A broken ring species model preserves the geographic setting and fundamental features of an idealized model but accommodates varying degrees of gene flow restriction through evolutionary time. Members of the genus Calisoga are distributed around the Central Valley of California, and previous genetic studies have shown that this is a lineage-rich complex of mygalomorph spiders, with evidence to suggest that Calisoga might be a case of ring speciation. Here we examine broken ring species dynamics in Calisoga spiders, using UCEs and mitogenomes we test key predictions of timing, ancestry, connectivity and terminal overlap. I will discuss why ring species should not be viewed as homogeneous entities, but rather as heterogeneous units with different predicted evolutionary dynamics in different geographic parts of the ring."
Monday, Nov. 6
Research Microbiologist at the USDA-ARS United State Horticultural Lab in Fort Pierce, FL.
Title: "Managing Soilborne Pathogens and Pests with Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation (ASD)"
Abstract: "Growers consider soilborne disease management one of their main production issues. It is estimated that members of the soilborne pest complex (SPC), weeds, nematodes, fungi, oomycetes, bacteria, viruses, and protozoans, account for 10-20% crop loss annually worldwide. Methyl bromide was used to manage the SPC, however, it was discovered that it contributed to ozone depletion, thus was banned worldwide. Currently, no registered alternative chemical fumigant is as effective as methyl bromide for SPC management. Anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD) is biologically based alternative to soil fumigation. ASD consists of amending the soil with a labile carbon source, tarping the soil with a plastic film, and watering the soil under the film to field capacity. During the ASD process the soil microbiome undergoes populations shifts and various anti-microbial compounds are produced. ASD has shown to be as effective as methyl bromide SPC management. This presentation will discuss the history of ASD and current research."
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Title: "Assassin Fly (Diptera: Asilidae) Systematics and Predator Ecology"
Abstract: "Assassin flies (Diptera: Asilidae) are a diverse family that plays an essential ecological role as top aerial and venomous predators. Little is known about the evolution of their predatory habits. This study provides a novel phylogenetic hypothesis of Asilidae along with prey preference and ancestral state reconstruction in a maximum likelihood framework. This study is based on 176 assassin fly species, 35 Asiloidea outgroup species, 3,400 prey preference records accumulated from literature and museum collections, and approximately 7,913 bp of nuclear DNA from five genes (18S and 28S rDNA, AATS, CAD, and EF-1a protein-encoding DNA) and mitochondrial DNA from one gene (COI). Of the 12 asilid subfamilies included in the analysis the monophyly of six was supported. We used ancestral state reconstruction and stochastic character mapping to test whether a polyphagous arthropod predator is the ancestral state for Asilidae. Assassin flies are polyphagous arthropod predators, with specialized arthropod prey preferences evolving 20 independently across the Asilidae phylogeny. I will also summarize my other dissertation chapter, a review of Nearctic Saropogon with a new species description."
Monday, Nov. 20
Evolutionary biologist working with genomes at INRAE, France
Title: "Parasitic Success in the Absence of Sex: What Have We Learned from Nematode Genomes?"
Abstract: "Root-knot nematodes are devastating plant parasites of worldwide importance. Interestingly, species that cause most damages reproduce entirely asexually. These nematodes are extremely polyphagous and have a wide geographic range. Theoretically, in the absence of sexual recombination animal species have lower adaptive potential and are predicted to undergo genome decay. To investigate how these species can be successful parasites on many hosts and in many places around the world, we have sequenced and analyzed their genomes. Out analysis confirmed these species are polyploid hybrids and the combination of several genotypes from different species might provide them with a general-purpose genotype. However, this does not explain how with a theoretically fixed genotype these species are able to overcome resistance genes or adapt to a new host. Therefore, we analyzed genomic variability across different populations and the possible mechanisms underlying genomic variations. In this presentation, I will provide an overview of our findings."
Monday, Nov. 27
Senior Scientist in the Institute of Plant Sciences, The Volcani Center, Israel
Title: "Improving Cross-Pollination in Deciduous Fruit Trees"
Abstract: "Tree crops belonging to the Rosaceae, such as almond, pear, apple, and sweet cherry, depend on cross-pollination by insects to set fruit. The primary pollinator of the crops is the honey bee (Apis mellifera). However, due to harsh climatic conditions during flowering, limited movement of bees between cultivars, low preference of the bees for flowers of the target crop, and limited overlap in flowering between the cultivars, pollination is a primary factor limiting yield. Our group has tested multiple approaches to mitigate this problem: Using 'Pollen dispensers,' sequential introduction of beehives to the orchards, selection of honeybee strains with higher preference for the target crop, introduction of bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) colonies and phosphorous fertilization to increase nectar secretion and improve crop-flower attractiveness. I will summarize the effects of those methods on fruit set and yield in apples, almonds, and pears."
Professor in the Section of Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution, Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego, and associate dean in the Division of Biological Sciences
Title: "Danger, Dopamine, and Dance: New Insights from the Magic Well of Honey Bee Communication"
Abstract: "Karl von Frisch referred to the waggle dance as the 'magic well' for the insights that it provides not only on honey bees, but on the general cognitive complexity that social insects are capable of. New research demonstrates that the neurotransmitter, dopamine, the “pleasure molecule” plays a similar hedonic role in honey bees as it does in many vertebrates, regulating the perception of danger and the anticipation of food rewards as revealed in the excitatory waggle dance and the associated, inhibitory stop signal. I will also discuss new data showing that the honey bee waggle dance is partially learned and has elements that may be culturally transmitted. Together, these findings, demonstrate that the waggle dance can teach us a great deal about shared cognitive mechanisms and the importance of social learning across taxa."
For seminars technical issues, contact Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Johnson, a leading expert on the behavior, genomics and evolution of honey bees, is the author of a newly published book, “Honey Bee Biology,” released June 6 by Princeton University Press. Johnson joined the UC Davis faculty in 2011 after conducting postdoctoral research at UC San Diego and UC Berkeley. He focuses his research on the behavior, evolution, theoretical biology and genomics of the honey bee.
“Our lab studies the genetics, behavior, and evolution of honey bees,” Johnson writes on his website. “We use experimental and theoretical approaches to all the questions we explore. Current work in our lab focuses on the evolution and genetic basis of social behavior using comparative and functional genomics, task allocation using behavioral and theoretical approaches, and honey bee health using a combination of genetics, epidemiology, and physiological approaches.”
The open house takes place from 1 to 4 p.m. in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus. The theme: "Household Vampires." The event will zero in on mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, lice and bedbugs. Scientists will be there to answer questions. The event is free and family friendly and parking is also free.
Who's talking about mosquitoes?
- Educators from the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District. See https://www.fightthebite.net/
- Carla-Cristina "CC" Melo Edwards, a first-year doctoral student in the laboratory of medical entomologist-geneticist Geoffrey Attardo, associate professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. She will share her expertise on mosquitoes and show specimens.
- Moriah Garrison, senior entomologist and research coordinator with Carroll-Loye Biological Research (CLBR). She is scheduled to show live ticks and mosquitoes and field questions.
- Nazzy Pakpour, UC Davis alumna, Novozymes scientist and author of Please Don't Bite Me
Professor Attardo, who maintains a lab website on Vector Biology and Reproductive Biology at http://attardo-lab.com, and chairs the Designated Emphasis in the Biology of Vector-Borne Diseases, will display some of his mosquito images, including a blood-fed Aedes aegypti, and a female and male Culex tarsalis. (A prior commitment prevents him from being at the open house the entire time.) One or more images by Alex Wild, a UC Davis doctoral alumnus and curator of entomology, University of Texas, Austin, also will be featured.
Breaking news? The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which can transmit such diseases as Zika, yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya and others, was detected Sept. 11 in Dixon. "The mosquito may be active around dusk and dawn but bites most often during the day and often bites indoors," said Richard Snyder, Solano County Mosquito Abatement District manager, in a news release.
The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito Vector Control District recently announced two fatalities in Sacramento and Yolo counties due to West Nile virus. "In addition to these deaths, currently there are 10 other human cases in Sacramento County and 8 in Yolo County. Since there won't be a significant decline in mosquito populations until mid-October, more human cases will likely be reported."
UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and UC Davis forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey will be among the presenters on other "household vampires."
Attendees can see the Bohart's butterfly collection, curated by entomologist Jeff Smith, and get acquainted with critters in the live insect petting zoo.
The family arts and crafts activity will feature collecting activities. Participants are asked to bring a recycled jar. "This should be a clean and dried glass jar with a wide, metal top--think jam, pickle, peanut butter jars. Four to 16-ounce jars work well," said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. "We will have some on hand as well, but recycling is good! We will fill the bottom with plaster of paris and let it dry and teach people how to use it properly, using something like nail polisher remover containing ethyl acetate as the killing agent. A UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology video explains the procedure: https://youtu.be/s8yCzFGzbn8?si=71sNmA5l8NyP1zj0
For more information, email email@example.com
Fleas? Ticks? Bed bugs? Mosquitoes?
The Bohart Museum of Entomology will host an open house, themed "Household Vampires," from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 23 in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, 455 Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus. It's free and family friendly. Parking is also free.
One of the presenters ready to answer your questions about mosquitoes is Carla-Cristina "CC" Melo Edwards, a first-year doctoral student in the laboratory of medical entomologist-geneticist Geoffrey Attardo, associate professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, who also specializes in reproductive physiology and molecular biology.
In the Attardo lab, Edwards focuses her research "on investigating the physiological mechanisms underlying pyrethroid resistance in Aedes aegypti (the yellow fever mosquito)."
She was a McNair scholar at Baylor University, where she completed her undergraduate degree in cell and molecular biology in May 2021. "I got interested in the mosquito field through my undergraduate research of studying the sensory and oviposition responses of Aedes aegypti in relation to the compound geosmin," Edwards related.
"When I am not in the lab, I enjoy getting involved with my local community by helping out and doing outreach," Edwards said. This past summer she helped the city of Lubbock, Amarillo, and the Texas Public Health Department by identifying mosquitoes for West Nile surveillance. She also served as the outreach chair for the Texas Tech Association of Biologists during her masters' degree pursuit and enjoyed being a mentor for first-generation students.
"In my free time, I like getting coffee with my friends, running (currently training for the California International Marathon), and trying new crafts and recipes."
Attardo will be displaying images of mosquitoes. An image of mosquito larvae by UC Davis doctoral alumnus and macro photographer Alex Wild, curator of entomology at the University of Texas, also will be displayed.
Open house attendees can view the butterfly specimen collection, curated by entomologist Jeff Smith, and get acquainted with live Madagascar hissing cockroaches and stick insects, part of the Bohart Museum's insect petting zoo. A family arts-and-crafts activity is also planned.
The Bohart Museum, founded in 1946, houses a global collection of eight million insect specimens. It also maintains an insect-themed gift shop. UC Davis distinguished professor Lynn Kimsey, a UC Davis alumna, directs the museum.
Robbin Thorp (1933-2019), distinguished emeritus professor, Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Leal, professor of biochemistry in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and former professor and chair of the Department of Entomology, said Thorp "epitomizes how emeriti contribute to UC Davis."
Thorp, a 30-year member of the entomology faculty, and a tireless advocate of pollinator species protection and conservation, retired in 1994, but he continued working until several weeks before his death on June 7, 2019, at age 85. In 2014, he co-authored two books: Bumble Bees of North America: An Identification Guide (Princeton University,) and California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists (Heyday). He published more than 50 percent of his papers following his retirement."
“Robbin's scientific achievements during his retirement rival the typical career productivity of many other academic scientists,” said Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, at the time of the legendary entomologist's death. “His contributions in support of understanding bee biodiversity and systematics are a true scientific legacy.”
The video tribute is online at
It includes images and accomplishments of many of the emeriti, meant as a small representation of the achievements of all. (See news story)
In his message, Chancellor May told the new emeriti: "You played a central role in keeping UC Davis at the forefront of excellence. Your continued engagement through teaching, research, volunteering and philanthropy is vital to our continued growth and success. So I encourage you to stay engaged with campus. The UC Davis Emeriti Association is here with resources and support for this newest chapter of your career. Please take advantage of it. Thank you for our dedication to UC Davis and congratulations on reaching this milestone."
Among its many activities, UC Davis Emeriti Association (UCDEA) interviews and records emeriti who have made "significant contributions to the development of the university." (See Video Records Project.)
One of them is Robbin Thorp. (Watch the video here.)
It was quite a celebration during the unveiling of a UC Davis ceramic-mosaic mural, The Secret Life of Vineyards, took place at a Napa Valley organic vineyard.
The 10 x 6-foot mural, which graces an outer wall of the Matthiasson Winery on Dry Creek Road, Napa, depicts more than 80 arthropods (insects, spiders and centipedes), several bird species, mammals (bobcat, deer, rabbits, squirrels, a pocket gopher), a gopher snake, mycorrhiza fungi and even earthworms, according to the three project leaders, UC Davis distinguished professor Diane Ullman and assistant professor Emily Meineke, both of the Department of Entomology and Nematology, and retired lecturer Gale Okumura of the Department of Design.
The project is the culmination of a spring quarter class, Entomology 001, “Art, Science and the World of Insects,” taught by Professors Ullman and Meineke. Ullman, founding co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, described the project as “a collaboration between students and instructors in ENT 001; community members from Davis, Woodland, and Napa, and Matthiasson Winery; and the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program." Eighty-three UC Davis students participated in the mural.
UC Davis Chancellor Gary May, Professor Ullman and Steve Matthiasson, owner of the winery, were among those delivering presentations.
Also in his address, Chancellor May discussed how UC Davis "is on the leading edge of innovation in the wine world. One of the first things visitors see as they enter our campus is a 120-acre vineyard that's used for grape breeding programs, rootstock trials and other research." (See news story)
In her presentation, Professor Ullman described the project "a testimony to the power of collaboration, community effort, creativity and collective will. This expressive, beautiful and educational artwork celebrates the synergy created when art meets science, and people observe the world around them with fresh eyes, testing their ideas and transforming those ideas into new concepts and new insights, and then share their epiphanies with others through design and art."
Ullman noted that the general education class, "Art, Science and the World of Insects," was founded in 1996. It's been taught ever year since, "attracting students from every major offered on the UC Davis campus," she said.
Meineke, an urban landscape entomologist, was unable to attend the Aug. 16th unveiling. Meineke and her husband Joe Kwon just "brought our newest Aggie, Genevieve Se Hwa Kwon into the world," Ullman told the gathering.
In a joint statement, Ullman and Meineke related that The Secret Life of Vineyards was designed to reflect the ecosystem within and around an organic vineyards as it progresses from early spring to harvest. A Cabernet Sauvignon vine is the centerpiece of the mural, shown from the first bud in the spring to harvest time in the autumn...The work is an ode to the importance of biodiversity and balance in the ecosystem in which wine vines are grown and reflects the passion of the Matthiasson Winery for sustainable viticulture.”
The professors credited artist Amanda Larson of Half Moon Bay "with the engineering and building of the hanging system, as well as the installation."