Washington will be one of nine speakers from various disciplines at the TEDxUCDavis Conference (Igniting X) to begin at 1 p.m., Sunday, May 1 in Jackson Hall of the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, UC Davis. The program also will feature "two mesmerizing performances, and a number of interactive activities and exhibits!" according to the website.
TED bills itself as a nonprofit devoted to "Ideas Worth Spreading." This one is about ideas not only worth spreading but creating a call to action. To quote from their website: "It is a daunting task discovering new ideas. However, it is a different realm of challenges kindling ideas that not only resonate with our minds, but also create a call to action. This year, TEDxUCDavis strives to eliminate the fear of being different. We welcome everyone to the territory of unconventional thinking, where ideas are meant to revitalize, encourage, and inspire. In passing the torch of ideas, join us to ignite discussions exploring areas including technology, health, art, business, social change, and much more. Discover a richer understanding of what it means to be alive during the TEDxUCDavis Conference on May 1st." Tickets are $35 for general admission; and $17 for students and children under 18. (The event is not eligible for the UC Davis free student tickets, or staff, student and subscriber discounts.)
In addition to Washington, the speakers are
- Michael C. Webb
Director of Recruiting at Novogradac & Company LLP
- Ellen Davis
Communication Major at UC Davis
- David Lang
Professor and chair of the Economics Department at California State University, Sacramento
- Kevin Riutzel
Student at Touro University, Nevada
- Mindy Romero
Founder and director of the California Civic Engagement Project at the UC Davis Center for Regional Change
- Rylan Schaeffer
Computer Science Engineering and Statistics double major, UC Davis
- Fong Tran
Program Advisor/Coordinator for the UC Davis Cross Cultural Center
- William Tavernetti
Lecturer at UC Davis Department of Mathematics
Performances will be presented by:
- Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan (BTD) dedicated to art of taiko
- Birdstrike Theatre, improv comedy team at UC Davis
About Ralph Washington, Jr.: He is studying for his doctorate with major professors Steve Nadler and Brian Johnson, who respectively specialize in systematics and evolutionary biology of nematodes and the evolution, behavior, genetics, and health of honey bees
If you attended the 2016 UC Davis Picnic Day and wandered over to Briggs Hall, you saw Washington holding forth as The Bug Doctor where he urged visitors to hold and photograph stick insects and to ask questions about insects in general.
If you attended the 2015 Linnaean Games at the Entomological Society of America meeting last November in Minneapolis, you saw Washington captaining the UC Davis Linnaean Games team--Brendon Boudinot, Jessica Gillung and Ziad Khouri--which went on to win the national championship. See YouTube video at https://youtu.be/_hA05K0NET4. The Linnaean Games is a college-bowl type competition in which teams answer questions about insects and entomologists.
And if you attend the 2016 Linnaean Games at the Entomological Society of America meeting in September in Orlando, Fla., you'll see the UC Davis team on stage defending its championship.
Although only in the second year of his doctoral program, Washington is already an incredible scientist and leader. He is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, chair of the UC Davis Graduate Student Association, co-chair of the UC Council of Student Body Presidents, and one of the leaders of the UC Davis Black Graduate and Professional Students Association.
"Through these endeavors, Ralph has had the convenient opportunity to pursue his commitments to both science and social justice," the TEDxUCDavis organizers noted. "He will continue doing so during his future career as a research professor, by presenting science to low-income children."
It's good to see TEDxUCDavis focus on what matters, and in so doing, motivate, inspire and encourage others to do pursue their education, chase their dreams and reach their goals.
In sheer numbers, diversity and special honors.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology, home of nearly eight million insect specimens, won a special honor for its display, "Real Insects and Their Mimics." It won the people's vote for the best "Family Friendly" exhibit. The display included look-a-like butterflies, meant to confuse predators, and honey bees and flies (drone flies), meant to confuse editors!
Over at Briggs Hall, home of the administrative office of UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, "Little Swimmers and Fly Tyers" won the people's vote for the best display/activity in the "Hidden Treasures" category. The Fly Fishers of Davis showed visitors how to tie a fly, while over in the aquatic insect display, Professor Sharon Lawler and graduate students showed a wide variety of insects--from boatmen to caddisflies--and fielded questions
Yes, bugs ruled at Briggs and the Bohart.
Then there were the displays of ants and forest insects, the bee observation hive, and insect-collecting equipment. You could get a butterfly painted on your face while you ate a cricket-flour cookie, after you bought a t-shirt emblazoned with "The Beetles."
At the Bohart, you could examine specimens, hold walking sticks and Madagascar hissing cockroach, touch the "teddy bear" (male Valley carpenter bee) and buy assorted gifts at the gift shop.
This was the 102nd annual Picnic Day, offering thousands of visitors informative, educational and entertaining displays.
A century ago, the Department of Entomology did not exist. The first insects, however, existed more than 400 million years ago. Probably more. The world's oldest known insect fossil is 400 million years old, according to findings published Feb. 12, 2004 in the journal Nature.
Mark your calendar for Tuesday, March 15 for a two-hour workshop, "Almond Pollination and Orchard Pollinator Planters" in Zamora, Yolo County. It's free and open to the public.
UC Davis pollination ecologists and other experts will be among those speaking at the event, to take place from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at 8304 County Road 91B, Zamora. No reservations are required.
“This field day will provide an overview of integrated crop pollination and on-farm wildflower plantings for almonds in the Sacramento Valley,” said organizer Katharina Ullmann, who received her doctorate in entomology from UC Davis last year with major professor and pollination ecologist Neal Williams. She is now a pollination specialist for the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
“We will hear the latest research from a UC Davis lab studying almond pollination and wildflower plantings, learn about almond pollinators and how to support those pollinators using wildflowers," Ullmann said. "We will also discuss establishment and maintenance practices for planting habitat on field crop edges and provide an overview of plant species appropriate for plantings in the Sacramento Valley and beyond. Two growers will share their perspectives."
The March 15 lineup:
9 a.m.: Welcome by Kat Pope, orchard advisor, UC Cooperative Extension, Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties; and Rachael Long, owner of the DH Long Farm and Yolo County farm advisor
9:10: Integrated crop pollination, almond pollination and research update by Kimiora Ward, research associate, Neal Williams lab, UC Davis; Ola Lundin, postdoctoral researcher, Williams lab, and Katharina Ullmann, crop pollination specialist, Xerces Society
9:40: Almond wildflower plantings 101 (DH Long Farm) by Kimiora Ward, research associate, Williams lab; Kitty Bolte, junior research specialist, Williams lab; and Tom Barrios, Barrios Farms
10:25: Solarization for wildflower planting success (Tadlock Farm) by Jessa Kay Cruz, pollinator conservation specialist, Xerces Society; orchard manager, Tadlock Farm
10:45: Technical and financial support, Ha Troung, Yolo County, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
The sponsors include UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, UC Davis, Xercies Society, Integrated Crop Pollination Project Colusa County Resource Conservation District, and the Yolo County Resource Conservation District.
Continuing education credits will be given. Participants are asked to bring a hat, sunscreen and good walking shoes. For more information contact Katharina Ullmann at email@example.com or at (530) 302-5504./span>
Feb. 14 was a perfect day for foragers, as the temperature climbed into the '70s, an unusually warm February day.
The site: The Glen Cove Marina in Vallejo, Calif., across the Carquinez Straits from Crockett.
We focused on one Bombus vosnesenskii--but only because the other four buzzed out of camera range. For 10 minutes, we watched her work the rosemary, buzzing from flower to flower as honey bees and syrphid flies zeroed in for their share, too.
But look at the bumble bee's pollen load, reminiscent of Halloween candy corn, those triangle-shaped yellow, orange and white-layered sweets.
"She obviously switched from one plant species with pale pollen to one with orangish pollen and maybe back again during her foraging bout," noted native polinator specialist Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis and co-author of California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists (Heydey) and Bumble Bees of North America: An Identification Guide (Princeton University Press.)
"A fickle forager," Thorp declared. "Rosemary has whitish pollen, but it is usually a nectar resource for honey bees and others. So there must be some other plants being visited by B. vos. females in the area."
Indeed there were. California golden poppy (the state flower), wild radish, oxalis, and mustard.
"Detective" Thorp quickly figured it out. "The wild radish, mustard, and oxalis all have yellow pollen. Poppy has orange pollen. So it looks like your female may have started on rosemary (upper whitish part of the load), moved over to poppy for a while, and back to rosemary (bottom pale part of the load). Since poppy produces no nectar, visits to rosemary are primarily to tank up on nectar for flight fuel and apparently to collect some pollen there as well. It is often said that a mix of different pollen types is best for bees, so she is picking up a balanced diet for her babies."
Bottom line: When you capture an image of a bumble bee, you may not know where it's going, but a top-notch pollinator specialist can tell you where it's been!
Honey bees aren't the only bees out foraging.
We saw our first native bee of the season on Jan. 25 at the Benicia Capitol State Historic Park.
Native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology at the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, identified it as a female sweat bee, Halictus rubicundus.
"The head shape, lack of long curled hairs below at the base of the hind leg, and the bent basal vein in the wing" helped him identify it as a Halictus. The lack of facial foveae confirmed it was not an Andrena.
"Nice early record for this species," added Thorp, who is the co-author of California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists (Heydey) and Bumble Bees of North America: An Identification Guide (Princeton University Press.)
Halicutus rubicundus is found in Europe, northern Asia, and across the United States and Canada, according to the book, The Bees in Your Backyard, A Guide to North America's Bees, by Joseph S. Wilson, assistant professor of biology at Utah State University, and Olivia J. Messinger Carril, who received her doctorate in plant biology from Southern Illinois University and "has been studying bees and wasps for more than a decade," according to the publisher, Princeton University Press.
You can see more images of this sweat bee on BugGuide.Net.
So, one sweat bee down. Hundreds more to go as the seasons unfold.