- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Know the answer? The UC Davis Entomology Games Team--competing in the Entomological Society of America's Entomology Games Nov. 15 in Vancouver, British Columbia--did, and they went on to win the national championship.
The answer: The Master Gardener program.
The UC Davis team members, all doctoral candidates in the Department of Entomology and Nematology, are 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. They won the championship round by edging Alabama's Auburn University team, 75-70.
Congrats, UC Davis, on your fourth championship!
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.
The student-quiz event, launched in 1982, was formerly known as the Linnaean Games. To get to the nationals, teams first have to win first or second at the branch level. UC Davis won the regional championship at the Pacific Branch meeting in April. UC Riverside placed second. The branch includes 11 Western states, part of Canada and Mexico, and several U.S. territories.
So, getting to the nationals is not easy.
"It was so exciting to see the high level of knowledge at the games--I'm not surprised, because the teams have worked hard to prepare, strategize, and qualify for the championships," said Gamesmaster Alix Whitener, an ESA board-certified entomologist who coordinated the Entomology Games and presided over the event. "It was exciting to have some close games, too!"
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 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
Ready to answer some more questions--questions that were asked at the 2022 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
You got them both correct, of course?