"It" is the three-cornered alfalfa hopper, Spissistilus festinus, a lear-winged, wedge-shaped (thus the name "three-cornered") insect that's about a quarter of an inch long. That's about the size of a pomegranate seed.
And the spotlight will shine on the hopper on Wednesday, Dec. 5 when Cindy Preto--who recently received her master's degree in entomology from the University of California, Davis, studying with major professor Frank Zalom--delivers a UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology seminar.
Preto's hourlong seminar, titled “Behavior and Biology of the Three-Cornered Alfalfa Hopper in Vineyards," begins at 4:10 p.m. in 122 Briggs Hall, located on Kleiber Hall Drive. Preto received her bachelor's degree in viticulture and enology, with an entomology minor in agricultural pest management, from UC Davis in 2014.
Zalom, a distinguished professor in the department, a former director of the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM), and a past president of the 7000-member Entomological Society of America (ESA), will introduce her.
Back in October of 2016, UC Davis-based research on the three-cornered alfalfa hopper and the Grapevine Red Blotch Disease grabbed the headlines. It made the cover story of a special focus issue, "Disease Management in the Genomics Era," in the journal Phytopathology.
Zalom and research biologist Mysore "Sudhi" Sudarshana of the USDA's Agriculture Research Services (ARS), who is based in the UC Davis Department of Plant Pathology, led the research.
In 2015, the Zalom team hypothesized that the three-cornered alfalfa hopper could transmit the Grapevine Red Blotch-associated virus, GRBaV, "based in part on phylogeneic analysis of coat protein sequences of 23 geminiviruses that revealed that GRBaV-CP was most similar to that of another geminivirus that was transmitted by another treehopper," explained Zalom, a distinguished professor of entomology with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and a past president of the Entomological Society of America
Their research, published in the journal, confirms that the alfalfa hopper “was able to both acquire the virus from a grapevine infested with GRBaV and transmit the virus to healthy grapevines in the laboratory.”
“In commercial vineyards, lateral shoots of grapevines girdled due to feed injury by the adult three-cornered alfalfa hopper also tested positive for the virus using digital PCR,” the scientists noted in their abstract. “These findings represent an important step in understanding the biology of GRBaV and develop management guidelines.”
The disease, first noticed in 2008 and attributed to a newly identified virus in 2012, is present in many major grape production regions of the United States and Canada. It can reduce fruit quality and ripening. (See this UC IPM document, written by Zalom and his colleagues.)
The scientific name, Spissistilus festinus, sounds a little festive--especially when mentioned during the holiday season.
Names can be deceiving.
More than 2000 scientists are registered to attend the meeting, to be held Sept. 2-6 in Gramado, Brazil.
UC Davis scientists delivering plenary addresses will be Frank Zalom, distinguished professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and a past president of the Entomological Society of America (ESA); Walter Leal, distinguished professor, UC Davis Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and a past chair of the Department of Entomology and Nematology; and Joanna Chiu, associate professor and vice chair, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. More than 2000 attendees are registered.
On behalf of ESA, Zalom is co-organizing and co-chairing a joint conference with Antonio Panizzi, a past president and international delegate of the Entomological Society of Brazil. That event, to take place the day before the XXVII Congresso Brasileiro and X Congresso Latino-Americano meeting, will involve developing a “Grand Challenge Agenda for Entomology in South America.
Zalom will speak on “The American Experience with the Grand Challenge Agenda in Entomology.” In addition, ESA president Michael Parrella, dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Idaho and a former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, will provide an update on the 2018 ESA annual meeting, set Nov. 11-14 in Vancouver, B. C. Speakers also will include the presidents of the entomological societies of Argentina, Peru and Brazil.
Leal, a native of Brazil, will present the opening lecture of the joint conference of the XXVII Brazilian Congress and X Latin American Congress of Entomology on “Insect Vectors: Science with Applications in Agriculture and Medicine,” on Sunday, Sept. 2. This will be his fourth opening lecture—a record—at the Brazilian Congresses of Entomology (2004 in Gramado; 2008 in Uberlandia; and 2014 in Goiania). As an aside, legendary entomologist Marcos Kogan previously held the record: he presented two opening lectures, one in 1983 and another in 2002. Both Leal and Kogan (professor emeritus of agricultural entomology, University of Illinois and professor emeritus, Oregon State University) were elected ESA fellows; Leal in 2009 and Kogan in 2016. Zalom received the honor in 2008.
Zalom, an integrated pest management specialist, and former director of the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM) and Chiu, who specializes in molecular genetics of animal behavior, will speak on their research at the joint meeting. Zalom will deliver a plenary address on “Drosophila suzukii in the United States” on Sept. 5, and Chiu will keynote a symposium on Sept. 3; her lecture is titled “Circadian Clock Research Applied to Agriculture and Public Health.” She will give a second lecture: "Drosophila as an Insect Model" on Sept. 3.
The spotted wing drosophila (SWD) is a serious pest of fruit crops. Most drosophila flies feed on spoiled fruits, but SWD prefers fresh fruit (berries and soft-skinned fruits). Read more about SWD on the UC IPM website.
the largest and most cited of the family of scientific journals published by the Entomological Society of the America (ESA).
He succeeds John Trumble, distinguished professor of entomology at UC Riverside, who announced last year he would be leaving his 20-year post as editor-in-chief in 2018.
Following an intensive search, ESA announced this week that Frank Zalom, a past president of the 7000-member ESA-- and highly skilled in basic biology and applied entomology--will fill that position. He will serve a five-year term. The journal publishes research on the economic significance of insects. It includes sections on apiculture and social insects, insecticides, biological control, household and structural insects, crop protection, forest entomology, and other topics.
Zalom's 40-year career intersects entomological research, teaching, and application. He served 16 years as director of the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM), considered the gold standard of IPM programs. He is the only entomologist in the UC system to receive a simultaneous appointment in teaching, research, and extension. Zalom focuses his research on IPM of agricultural crops.
The UC Davis entomologist's career is closely connected with ESA. He's a 43-year member. He served as president in 2014. He's also a past president of the Entomological Foundation (2015) and continues to serve as a member of the Entomological Foundation board of directors and ESA's Science Policy Committee. More regionally, he served as president of the Pacific Branch of ESA (PBESA) and received the coveted C. W.Woodworth Award, the organization's highest honor.
"I couldn't be more pleased to be selected the next editor-in-chief of the Journal of Economic Entomology," Zalom said. "I have spent the last 40 years of my career trying to solve economically important problems caused by arthropods using an IPM approach, and this journal, as well as ESA's other journals, have always served as a primary foundation and outlet for research conducted in my lab. As I approach the end of my career, I hope to be able to dedicate my efforts to enhancing our Society's influence on science and its application to addressing some of the most important entomological challenges that affect communities worldwide. JEE is uniquely positioned to do exactly that."
Zalom, who received his doctorate in entomology from UC Davis in 1978, holds two degrees in zoology and ecology from Arizona State University (bachelor of science, 1973, and master's degree, 1974). He joined the UC system in 1980, serving in roles ranging from extension IPM coordinator to professor to vice chair of the department to advisor of the UC Davis International Agricultural Development Graduate Group. He has authored more than 335 journal articles and book chapters. including "Food, Crop Pests, and the Environment" published by APS Press. His career includes serving as major professor for 12 Ph.D students and seven master's degree students.
In March of this year, Zalom received a lifetime achievement award, presented at the 9th International IPM Symposium in Baltimore, where officials noted that Frank Zalom's beliefs for IPM are four-fold:
- To solve pest control problems using effective, biologically-based pest management approaches
- To provide IPM leadership at the regional, state, national and international levels
- To provide a vigorous research program in entomology, especially related to IPM and invasive species; and
- To educate a new generation of IPM practitioners through effective undergraduate teaching and graduate student mentoring.
It was also pointed out at the symposium that "Frank has pursued these goals through a combination of fundamental studies related to pest biology, physiology, and community ecology; problem-focused, hypothesis-driven management research; and community-oriented extension efforts. His research focuses on exploiting weaknesses in the biology of a pest species and its niche in the agroecosystem or the broader landscape. He builds multidisciplinary research and outreach teams to pursue innovative ideas needed to solve major IPM challenges. His lab's research has addressed seventeen invasive species introductions: among them southern green stink bug, silverleaf whitefly, glassy-winged sharpshooter, olive fly, invasive salt cedar, light brown apple moth, spotted wing drosophila, and most recently European grape vine moth, brown marmorated stink bug and Bagrada bug." (See more about his career on UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology website.)
Zalom is a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Royal Entomological Society, and ESA. Among his numerous honors: a Fulbright Senior Research Scholarship (1992-93), the ESA Achievement Award in Extension (1992), the ESA Recognition Award (2002), the James H. Meyer Award from UC Davis for teaching, research and service (2004), the Entomological Foundation IPM Team Award (2008), the Entomological Foundation Excellence in IPM Award (2010), Outstanding Mentor Award from the UC Davis Consortium for Women and Research (2013).
The ESA, founded in 1889 and headquartered in Annapolis, Md., is the world's largest organization serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines.
Those catchy words headlined a recent notice of a congressional briefing.
What does coffee, wine and baseball bats have to do with integrated pest management (IPM), you ask?
Well, insects can wreak havoc on the coffee, wine and forestry industries. Consider these invasive species:
- the coffee berry borer, native to Africa, is a pest impacting the coffee industry
- the European grapevine moth, native to southern Italy, targets grapevines
- the emerald ash borer, native to Eastern Russia, Northern China, Japan, and Korea, is a forestry pest.
So there you have it: coffee, wine and baseball bats.
IPM specialist Frank Zalom, distinguished professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and a past president of the Entomological Society of America, played a key role in that U.S. Congressional briefing, held last month in the Rayburn House Office Building.
A newly authored bill by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Florida) seeks a broader expansion of AIPM and a broader invasive species policy. The bill, the Areawide Integrated Pest Management (AIPM) Act of 2018 (H.R. 5411), would amend the Agricultural Research, Extension and Education Reform Act of 1998 with respect to enabling competitive grants for certain areawide integrated pest management projects, and for other purposes.
Zalom moderated the panel and delivered a presentation on the history of AIPM and the need to manage some pests on an areawide basis. AIPM is particularly useful for sites that are not suitable for management on an individual basis, such as natural and urban areas or for public health pests. It is similar to IPM, Zalom said, in that its focus is on implementing systems-based strategies that utilize multiple tactics which emphasize prevention, avoidance, monitoring, and suppression using practices that are biologically-based and reduce risk to human health and the environment. However, its focus is on managing pest populations in all the habitats in which they occur. It involves multi-year strategic planning and organization, and it tends to utilize technologies that may be difficult or less effective when used on a limited scale.
First found in Napa County in 2009, the moth was eventually detected in nine California counties. A partnership that included the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), California Department of Food and Agriculture, County Agricultural Commissioner Offices, grape growers, and University of California Cooperative Extension Advisers and specialists implemented an applied research and public outreach and engagement program that ultimately resulted in the elimination of the insect from throughout these grape-growing areas. (For its work, the European Grapevine Moth Team, led by Lucia Varela, UC IPM advisor, won a Distinguished Service Team award in 2016 from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, and received an international award at this year's 9th International IPM Symposium.)
Note that Rep. Gabbard, in particular, wants to protect Hawaii's coffee industry from the recently introduced coffee berry borer, and Rep. Yoho, the U.S. citrus industry from the Asian citrus psyllid and the devastating bacterial disease that it vectors.
Partner host organizations included the ESA, Weed Science Society of America and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU).
Four panelists—Faith Oi of the University of Florida, Lee Van Wychen of the Weed Science Society of America, Paula Shrewsbury of the University of Maryland and Kelley Tilmon of Ohio State University--zeroed in on urban pests, aquatic pests, forestry pests, and agricultural pests, respectively, and the industry impacts.
- Oi elaborated on mosquitoes, including the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, a major public health issue.
- Van Wychen discussed the waterhyacinth, an aquatic pest in the Sacramento/San Joaquin Delta and Everglades in Florida.
- Shrewsbury drew attention to the emerald ash borer, a pest in both urban and rural forests
- Tilmon covered the agricultural pest, the brown marmorated stink bug.
The panelists focused on various geographic topics to help Congressional offices from across the nation understand why AIPM is relevant to them and to support AIPM-related policies.
AIPM strategies not only offer important economic, health and environmental benefits, Zalom said, but the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 directs federal agencies to use IPM techniques in carrying out pest management activities.
Coffee, wine and baseball bats? The next time you're enjoying a ball game or sipping a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, think about the emerald ash borer, coffee berry borer and the European gravevine moth.
And the IPM specialists trying to protect us from invasive species...
They go together like superman (Clark Kent) and supervillian (Lex Luthor). Or like Coccinellidae (lady beetles) and Aphididae (aphids).
Fact is, IPM specialist Frank Zalom, a distinguished professor of entomology and Extension entomologist at the University of California, Davis, targets pests. He solves pest problems the IPM way--using effective, biologically based pest management approaches.
Over the last four decades, he has honed an incredible career. Absolutely incredible.
And now he's receiving a well-deserved lifetime achievement award at the Ninth International IPM Symposium March 19-22 in Baltimore.
“Dr. Zalom continues to advance the science and implementation of IPM,” said Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. “His integrity, service and respect for all are legendary.”
At the Baltimore seminar, Zalom will deliver a presentation on “The ‘I' in IPM: Reflections on the International IPM Symposium and Evolution of the IPM Paradigm.” He will reflect on his 16 years co-chairing the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities' National IPM Committee, the committee that launched the symposia. Zalom also played a role in organizing the first four IPM Symposia.
In addition, Zalom and fellow members of the UC European Grapevine Moth Team will receive an award of excellence for contributing to eradication of the pest in 2016--only six years after its discovery in California vineyards.
The only other lifetime achievement award recipient this year also has a UC connection: Peter Goodell, UC IPM advisor emeritus, affiliated with the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center. And a longtime friend and colleague of Frank Zalom.
Zalom, who holds a doctorate in entomology from UC Davis, teaches arthropod pest management, targets pests using IPM methods, and develops major agricultural IPM programs for California's specialty crops.
Zalom is a past president of the 7000-member Entomological Society of America; co-founder of the International IPM symposia; and for 16 years, directed the University of California Statewide IPM Program, considered “the gold standard” of IPM programs.
Zalom's 16 years at the helm of the UC IPM program set the standard, nationally and globally, for subsequent IPM programs. He established a statewide, interdisciplinary IPM team of Cooperative Extension farm advisors, and oversaw development of the website's online degree-day tool, and the database of degree-day models that remains widely used by California's county-based extension staff and crop consultants.
“Advancing the science and implementation of IPM will reduce the impact of pests and pest control on agriculture and the environment,” Zalom said. “This is critical in California, where we grow more than a third of our nation's vegetables and two-thirds of our nation's fruits and nuts. California agriculture is a $42.6 billion industry that generates at least $100 billion in related economic industry.”
The Zalom laboratory has helped establish biologically based IPM programs for arthropod pests of California tree, vine, small fruit and vegetable crops valued at over $19 billion. The lab has addressed 17 invasive species introductions, among them southern green stink bug, silverleaf whitefly, glassy-winged sharpshooter, olive fly, invasive saltcedar, light brown apple moth, spotted wing drosophila, and most recently European grape vine moth, brown marmorated stink bug and bagrada bug. Specific programs have reduced insecticide use and pesticide runoff into surface waters, and resulted in more effective management of several key and invasive pests of specialty crops.
Zalom interacts broadly with research colleagues, extension educators, growers, consultants, environmental groups, and public agency personnel throughout the state, nation and world to advance the science and use of IPM. He has served on scores of national ad hoc committees of agencies and organizations that shaped IPM policy and directions. He was recently appointed to a new Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) task force that will produce a white paper on behalf of the organization on Integrated Pest Management. He previously served on the task force for the CAST Issue Paper, “Feasibility of Prescription Pesticide Use in the United States."
Zalom's professional goals are four-fold (1) to solve pest problems using effective, biologically based pest management approaches; (2) to provide IPM leadership at the regional, state, national and international levels, (3) to maintain a vigorous cutting edge research program in entomology, especially related to IPM and invasive species; and (4) to educate a new generation of IPM practitioners through effective undergraduate teaching and graduate student mentoring.
Zalom has pursued his goals through a combination of fundamental studies related to pest biology, physiology, and community ecology; problem-focused, hypothesis-driven management research; and community-oriented extension efforts. “I focus my research on exploiting weaknesses in the biology of a pest species and its niche in the agroecosystem or the broader landscape,” Zalom said.
Among his many accomplishments:
- Appointed the first Editorial Board chair of ESA's new Journal of Integrated Pest Management.
- Founding member of the steering committee for the USDA-NIFA Pest Management Information Platform for Extension (ipmPIPE), an effort intended to assess risk of disease and insect outbreaks.
- Co-principal investigator of the USDA grant for $3.49 million that originally funded the Western IPM Center, located at UC Davis
- Numerous leadership roles in the Entomological Society of America (ESA), including president in 2014, member of ESA's presidential line for four years and Governing Board member for four years. He also served as the president of the Entomological Foundation and first chair of ESA's new Science Policy Committee.
- Author of more than 350 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and books, and has served as major professor for 12 Ph.D. students and seven master's students.
- Recipient of multiple awards at UC Davis including one for his outstanding mentoring, of women graduate students and post-doctoral scholars.
- Co-chair of the International Entomology Leadership Summit in 2016 in Orlando,Fla.
Zalom is a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, Entomological Society of America, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Royal Entomological Society (London). Previous IPM awards include the Entomological Foundation's IPM Team Award and Excellence in IPM Award, and the Perry Adkisson Distinguished Speaker Award from Texas A&M University. He is the only entomologist to be awarded the BY Morrison Memorial Medal for horticultural research, presented by the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the American Society for Horticultural Science.
Zalom, who joined the UC Davis faculty in 1980, shortly after receiving his doctorate of entomology in 1978, earned both his bachelor's and master's degrees in zoology and ecology from Arizona State University, Tempe.
Now it's off to Baltimore to receive a well-deserved honor. Congratulations, Frank Zalom, champion of IPM!