"The spotted-wing drosophila, Drosophila suzukii, first invaded California in 2008," says UC Davis postdoctoral researcher Brian Gress, "and has since rapidly spread throughout North America and Europe."
Gress will discuss "Host Selection and Resistance Evolution in Drosophila Suzukii" at a UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology seminar at 4:10 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 9 in 122 Briggs Hall.
He will be introduced by his advisor, integrated pest management specialist Frank Zalom, distinguished professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and a past president of the Entomological Society of America.
"The female D. suzukii possess a unique serrated ovipositor that allows them to cut into ripening fruit, causing major economic losses for berry and cherry producers across the globe," Gress writes in his abstract. "Growers rely heavily on the use of insecticides to control this pest, and spinosad is among the most important materials currently available for protecting susceptible host crops."
Recent reports, however, "have raised concerns that the efficacy of this insecticide is declining in fields near Watsonville, Calif., a major hub of commercial berry production in the United States," Gress says. "In this seminar, I will present a series of studies aimed at assessing the degree of resistance in the population, the evolutionary potential for resistance to increase, and novel strategies for managing resistance in the field."
The spotted-wing drosophila, a major agricultural pest, damages fruit in many California counties, according to the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Program (UC IPM). "The males have a black spot toward the top of each wing. The females have not spots. They have "a very prominent, sawlike ovipositor for laying eggs in fruit."
Gress joined the Zalom lab in January 2017. He lists his research aims as
- understand the evolutionary processes and genetic mechanisms that give rise to insecticide resistance in agricultural pests;
- develop sustainable and cost-effective strategies for managing agricultural pests by disrupting insect mating behavior and reproductive physiology; and
- assess population dynamics and demography of wild insect populations in the field.
Gress holds bachelor of science degrees in biology and psychology, magna cum laude, from Iowa State University, Ames (2011), and a doctorate in biological science from Syracuse (N.Y.) University (2016).
At Syracuse, Gress received the 2016 Alexander Gourevitch Memorial Award, in recognition of research excellence; and the 2016 College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Dissertation Award. In 2015 he was awarded a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant of $19,050.
Medical entomologist Geoffrey Attardo, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, has compiled a great line-up of speakers for the winter quarter. The Wednesday seminars, to begin Jan. 9 and continue through March 13, will take place from from 4:10 to 5 p.m. in 122 Briggs Hall. They are open to all interested person. Some seminars will be recorded for later posting.
First up on Jan. 9 is Brian Gress, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of integrated pest management specialist Frank Zalom, distinguished professor of entomology in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and a past president of the 7000-member Entomological Association of America. Gress will discuss the fruit fly, Drosophila suzukii: its host selection and resistance evolution.
The spotted-wing drosophila, a major agricultural pest, damages fruit in many California counties, according to the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Program (UC IPM). First discovered here in 2008, "it infests ripening cherries throughout the state and ripening raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, and strawberry crops, especially in coastal areas. It also has been observed occasionally attacking other soft-flesh fruit such as plums, plumcots, nectarines, and figs when conditions are right."
The adults are about 1/16 to 1/8 inch long with red eyes and a pale brown thorax and abdomen with black stripes on the abdomen, UC IPM says on its website. The males have a black spot toward the top of each wing. The females have not spots. They have "a very prominent, sawlike ovipositor for laying eggs in fruit."
The seminars, as of today, Dec. 20:
Wednesday, Jan. 9
Brian Gress, postdoctoral fellow in the Frank Zalom lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Title: "Host Selection and Resistance Evolution in Drosophila suzukii"
Host: Frank Zalom, distinguished professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, Jan. 16
Sarah Stellwagen, postdoctoral researcher, University of Maryland
Title: “Toward Spider Glue: From Material Properties to Sequencing the Longest Silk Family Gene”
Hosts: Hanna Kahl, doctoral student in the Jay Rosenheim lab, and Jason Bond, Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, Jan. 23
Wednesday, Jan. 30:
Laura Burkle, assistant professor of ecology, Montana State University, Bozeman
Topic: Wild bees, interactions with flowers
Hosts: Pollination ecologist Neal Williams, professor of entomology, and Maureen Page, doctoral student in the Williams lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, Feb. 6
Alan Hastings, theoretical ecologist and distinguished professor, UC Davis Department of Environmental Science and Policy
Title: "Stochasticity and Spatial Population Dynamics"
Host: Hanna Kahl, doctoral student in the Jay Rosenheim lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, Feb. 13
Antoine Abrieux, postdoctoral fellow, Joanna Chiu lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Title: "Understanding the Molecular Mechanisms underlying Photoperiodic Time Measurement in Drosophila melanogaster"
Host: Joanna Chiu, associate professor and vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, Feb. 20:
Alexander Raikhel, distinguished professor, UC Riverside
Title: "The Role of Hormone Receptors and MicroRNAs in Mosquito Reproduction and Metabolism"
Host: Geoffrey Attardo, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematolgoy
Wednesday, Feb. 27:
Lauren Esposito, faculty member, San Francisco State University, and assistant curator and Schlinger Chair of Arachnology at the California Academy of Sciences
Title: "Evolution of New World Scorpions and Their Venom"
Host: Jason Bond, Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, March 6:
Monika Gulia-Nuss, assistant professor, biochemistry and molecular biology, University of Nevada, Reno
Topic: DNA Methylation in Ticks
Host: Geoffrey Attardo, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, March 13:
Spring Break: March 20-27
For further information on the seminars, contact Geoffrey Attardo at email@example.com./span>
The spotlight is on spotted wing drosophila, a major fruit crop pest that wreaks economic havoc throughout the world.
Native to Southeast Asia, Drosophila suzukii infests soft-skinned fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, cherries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches and grapes. The insect was first detected in the United States in 2008 when scientists identified it in the central coastal region of California. It can cause an estimated $300 million in damage annually to California crops.
Enter Kent Daane, Cooperative Extension specialist at UC Berkeley. He'll present a UC Davis seminar, hosted by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, on "Classical Bio-Control of the Spotted Wing Drosophila: Collecting and Processing Parasitoids Through the Quarantine Process" from 4:10 to 5 p.m., Wednesday, April 18 in 122 Briggs Hall, located off Kleiber Hall Drive.
"A classical bio-control program has been undertaken against the olive fly using parasitoids imported from Africa and the spotted wing drosophila, both newly invasive species in California," Daane says. "Drs. Xingeng Wang and Antonio Biondi have been cooperating with other researchers in California, Oregon, Delaware, Hawaii, Italy, China, South Africa, South Korea and France by quarantine screening imported parasitoid species to determine their potential to control these invasive pests without causing any harm to non-target insects. The quarantine work is like the gatekeeper that screens imported material to allow only those natural enemies that will be beneficial into California."
The spotted-wing drosophila was first observed in Japan as early as 1916. The females lay their eggs in ripe and ripening fruit, unlike other Drosophila species known to infest overripe and blemished fruit. The larvae feed on the fruit. The adult is the only stage that can be targeted for control by conventional pesticides, according to integrated pest management specialist Frank Zalom, distinguished professor of entomology at UC Davis. The most commonly used insecticides are organophosphates, pyrethroids and spinosyns.
Daane, who received his doctorate in entomology from UC Berkeley, focuses his research on the development of ecologically-based insect pest management systems. His research studies include classical biological control, augmentation programs, insect-plant interactions, use of least-disruptive insecticides and the biology of natural enemies."
Coordinators of the department's seminars are Rachel Vannette, assistant professor, and Brendon Boudinot, Ph.D candidate, Phil Ward lab.
Deep in the bowels of Briggs Hall on the UC Davis campus, entomology graduate student Kelly Hamby works on a pest that is giving growers fits: spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii).
First detected in California in the fall of 2008, the fly has become an significant pest of berry and cherry crops, which have a combined farmgate value of $1.9 billion.
“My research is focused on the molecular biology and genomics of insecticide resistance in this fly,” said Hamby, who works in the lab of her major professor, integrated pest management specialist Frank Zalom, professor and former vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
“It is closely related to the model organism Drosophila melanogaster for which much is already known, so I hope to draw from those studies to enhance mine. I plan to monitor the genomic changes as resistance develops in both the field and the lab, and use this information to help growers manage insecticide resistance. “
Her work has not gone unnoticed.
The Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America (PBESA) is honoring her as the branch recipient of the Lillian and Alex Feir Graduate Student Travel Award in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry or Molecular Biology. She'll receive a commemorative plaque at an awards luncheon on Tuesday, March 29 at PBESA's meeting in Waikoloa, Hawaii.
The branch will then nominate and endorse her for the national award, to be given at the ESA's annual meeting Nov. 13-16 in Reno.
This is indeed a high honor.
PBESA encompasses 11 U.S. states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming); several U.S. territories, including American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands; and parts of Canada and Mexico.
Hamby, pursuing her doctorate in entomology, is a graduate of UC Davis with a bachelor of science degree in environmental toxicology. In her fruit fly project, she works closely with molecular geneticist Joanna Chiu, a UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty member who specializes in molecular chronobiology.
"I greatly appreciate Joanna’s willingness to work with my students to add an exciting and useful new dimension to their work," Zalom said.
Dorothy Feir (1929-2008), the 1989 president of ESA, established the award as a tribute to her parents who, “at considerable self-sacrifice, "encouraged education and travel experience for their daughters,” she related.
Feir, who grew up in Missouri, received her doctorate in entomology from the University of Wisconsin in 1968; taught biology at St. Louis University, beginning in 1961; and was the first woman president of the now 6000-member ESA. ESA named her a fellow in 1993, an honor limited to only 10 persons a year.
Feir donated her multimillion estate to various institutions and organizations for the study of insects--so future entomologists can benefit.