Fortunately for the entomological world, he switched majors shortly after he enrolled in an insect science course.
As we mentioned in a piece posted on the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology website, Jay was a third-year physics major in 1981 when—“on a lark”--he enrolled in Professor Harry Kaya's Entomology 100 course.
The professor inspired him, the class enthralled him, and insects captivated him.
In mid-term, Jay changed his major to entomology, and went on to earn two degrees in entomology (bachelor's degree from UC Davis in 1983, and doctorate from UC Berkeley in 1987); join the UC Davis faculty in 1990; and become a UC Davis distinguished professor in 2018.
The former UC Davis physics major is now a newly inducted Fellow of the 7000-member Entomological Society of America (ESA), a global honor accorded to only 10 persons annually.
Marshall Johnson, a 2006 ESA Fellow and an emeritus Cooperative Extension specialist and researcher at UC Riverside, nominated Rosenheim for the award. “Jay was my postdoc at the University of Hawaii,” Johnson said. “He did a great job and I have kept my eye on his career ever since."
“I would say that Jay is the most astounding entomologist that I know, given his broad interests and creative manner in studying biological/ecological questions,” Johnson said. “He is also an excellent human being.”
And it all began four decades ago in a UC Davis classroom. This is what occurred.
“About a month or so before the course was to be taught, I received a call from this physics student, Jay Rosenheim, who wanted to take Entomology 100,” recalled Kaya, now an emeritus professor and himself an ESA Fellow (2007) for his international contributions to insect pathology and nematology. “I asked a few questions on why he wanted to take the course. He said he always loved insects but he said he did not have the prerequisites for the class--no college biology-- but he was keenly interested in insects and really wanted to take the class.”
Kaya was actually teaching the class for Professor Robbin Thorp (1933-2019), a bee specialist on sabbatical. “At the time, I had a 25 percent teaching appointment in entomology and a 75 percent research appointment in nematology,” Kaya said. “When Martin Birch, the department chair, asked me to teach the course, I told him that I hoped he could find someone else, but he came back and said I would be the best to teach it.” Birch assigned two of Thorp's graduate students, Evan Sugden and John Skinner, as teaching assistants for the twice-a-week entomology lab.
“Jay also worked briefly in my lab as an undergraduate as well,” Kaya related. “I should add other superlatives as outstanding and world-renowned entomologist. In my view, it did not matter who taught the ENT 100 course. Jay is simply an outstanding individual and has contributed so much on his own merit. Plus, he has a great personality.”
A native of Yorktown, N.Y, young Jay developed an interest in biology while exploring the vernal pools behind his Hudson River Valley home.
His insect interests not only led to his being elected an ESA Fellow but a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; recipient of teaching awards from the Associated Students of UC Davis and the UC Davis Academic Senate; and the Distinguished Student Mentoring Award from ESA's Pacific Branch. He has authored more than 160 peer-reviewed publications, and mentored nearly 40 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, now in the private sector, conservation nonprofits, journalism, or academia.
And it all began when a physics major named Jay Rosenheim asked to enroll in Professor Harry Kaya's entomology class.
He's known for his scientific intellect, his research, his publications, his dedication, his commitment, his enthusiasm, his caring, and his kindness.
And, did we mention he's internationally known in his field?
We're delighted to see that Jay is now a newly elected Fellow of the Entomological Society of America (ESA). We wrote about him today in a piece on the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology website.
Each year only 10 are selected for the honor. This year the Board of Governors selected five women and five men. They will be recognized at ESA's virtual annual meeting, Entomology 2020, Nov. 11-25.
Rosenheim, who joined the UC Davis entomology faculty in 1990, is internationally known for his research on the ecology of insect parasitoids and predators, insect reproductive behavior, and the application of big data, or "ecoinformatics," methods in agricultural entomology.
“Rosenheim's work has shown that the structure of insect communities is more complex than the archetypal model of three discretetrophic levels, under which predators eat only herbivores and herbivores eat only plants," ESA wrote in a news release. "Instead, widespread predator-predator interactions (intraguild predation), omnivory, and cannibalism create rich and diverse dynamics that can either enhance or disrupt biological control. Rosenheim has also worked to introduce big data techniques to agricultural entomology. By harnessing the decentralized data gathering efforts of farmers, field scouts, and consultants, large data sets can be created and analyzed to reveal important relationships between pests, natural enemies, and crop performance. Rosenheim's research has also examined how organisms evolve to balance multiple factors that can emerge as limits to reproductive success, and how this shapes insect and plant reproductive traits.”
Rosenheim and two other faculty members of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology--associate professors Louie Yang and Joanna Chiu-- are co-founders and co-directors of the Research Scholars Program in Insect Biology, a mentored research program for undergraduates. Founded in 2011, the program has now trained more than 100 undergraduate researchers.
I remember back in 2018 when Jay was nominated for the "Distinguished Student Mentoring Award," given by the ESA's Pacific Branch. The branch encompasses 11 states, plus U.S. territories and parts of Canada and Mexico. Rosenheim won. The praise was long and loud. Students, former students, graduate students and others lauded him. One called him "best teacher on campus--take him if you can." A former graduate student described Rosenheim as a “successful scientist with a brilliant and inquisitive mind.” Another wrote that he is “one of the most dedicated and effective teachers” he's ever encountered. The ultimate compliment: “Someday I hope to be able to teach and inspire students as well as Jay does.”
One student's comments were particularly memorable. "Since I joined his lab, Jay has been a source of inspiration, constructive feedback, and support. Jay is extremely accessible to answer questions, brainstorm ideas, and provide feedback. His kind and supportive demeanor encourages students to make us of his open-door policy."
"Before I joined the lab, Jay was already willing to read over a grant proposal, which resulted in a successful funding by the National Science Foundation's Graduate Student Fellowship. His willingness to give feedback on grant proposals and paper drafts has never waned; Jay always returns thoughtful feedback in a timely fashion. Further, Jay cultivates a laboratory atmosphere that is both collaborative and independent: Jay has never once tried to steer me in a direction I did not want to pursue with my research. Jay does not treat graduate students like employees or inferiors; he treats them as equals, as collaborators, and in doing so encourages independent, rigorous scientific thought. Because of this, I have been able to develop my own research program during my PhD."
Jay Rosenheim: great mentor, great teacher, great human being.
And now, he's achieved the well deserved honor of Fellow of the Entomological Society of America. The Department of Entomology and Nematology, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis, and the UC system are fortunate to have him!
Congratulations, UC Davis Distinguished Professor and now ESA Fellow Jay Rosenheim!
Have you ever considered them as important vectors of floral microbes?
Well, they are!
Community ecologist Ash Zemenick, formerly in the graduate student program of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, will present an exit seminar, "Do Flower Visitors Network with Floral Microbes?" from 4:10 to 5 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 8 in 122 Briggs Hall, UC Davis campus.
"Flowers are colonized by diverse microbial communities that can influence plant and pollinator health and mediate plant-pollinate interactions," says Zemenick, now a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow in the Weber lab at Michigan State University. "Because flower-visiting insects and hummingbirds can harbor high densities of microbial cells, flower visitors are thought to be important vectors of floral microbes. Although floral microbe community assembly is dependent, in part, on dispersal by flower visitors, floral microbe community assembly has yet to be fully considered in the context of the rich network of plant-flower visitor interactions with which they are linked."
The Zemenick dissertation involved "using an historic flower visitor dataset, field experiments and construction of a plant-flower visitor-microbe network to demonstrate the importance of flower visitor identity and interaction in mediating floral microbe community assembly and structure at both local and regional scales."
"With the help of four motivated undergraduates and many gracious entomologists, I built a tripartite plant-flower visitor-floral microbe network. Data was collected from 20 co-flowering plant species over a short phenological timespan in a high elevation wet meadow located in the Tahoe National Forest."
"Questions I (set about) answering with this dataset included: do plants occupy similar positions in both networks? Do plants with similar visitors have similar microbes? Which plants are hubs of floral microbe diversity? Can we determine whether dispersal (by visitor) or environmental filtering (by plant traits) is more important in structuring floral microbial communities?"
As a PhD candidate in the Rosenheim lab, Zemenick worked to "disentangle how the structure of plant-flower visitor interactions varies for different types of flower visitors, and the implications of varying structure for floral microbe communities."
Now, as a post doc in the Weber lab, "I will be studying how plant-mite interactions directly and indirectly influence leaf microbial communities and subsequent invasibility by pathogens. I will also be working on building a repository of introductory biology teaching material that humanizes the field of biology and biologists. It will include how biological research applies to current societal problems and highlight what it is like to be a biologist. The materials will be comprised of examples provided by biologists that self-identify as being part of underrepresented group(s) in STEM (e.g. in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sex, sexuality, income, nationality, immigrant status, cognitive and physical ability, etc.)."
Overall, Zemenick enjoys studying ecological networks, community assembly, plants, insects, and microbes. "I also love to teach and help students get involved in research."
See more information on Zemenick's website, Inclusive Plant-Insect Microbial Ecology.
The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's fall quarter seminars, coordinated by Rachel Vannette, assistant professor, are held Wednesdays from 4:10 to 5 p.m. in 122 Briggs Hall. They are open to all interested persons. See seminar schedule.
That's what postdoctoral scholar Bodil Cass of the Jay Rosenheim lab, University of California, Davis, will discuss at her seminar from 4:10 to 5 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 25 in 122 Briggs Hall, UC Davis campus. Admission is free, and the seminar is open to all interested persons.
"Citrus is a major agricultural industry in California with a established integrated pest management (IPM) program," she says. "However, the IPM guidelines for citrus are based on years of experience and careful field research in navel oranges, and have not been updated to accommodate the recent dramatic increase in mandarin acreage in the San Joaquin Valley. We know oranges and mandarins are very different plants, but not which practices need to be modified to effectively control pests in mandarins."
Cass says that updating the IPM guidelines for "a new citrus species is a substantial challenge, given the scale and pace of citrus production. We are using a combination of ecoinformatics--data mining of pest management records provided by cooperating citrus growers--and field experiments to expand our understanding of the arthropod pest complex in California citrus. Analyses of the historical commercial data indicate that fork-tailed bush katydids, Scudderia furcata, which are a key pest in oranges, very rarely damage some species of mandarin. We are using field experiments to test hypotheses to explain this intriguing observation, and to determine whether katydids are indeed a pest at all in mandarins."
A native of the state of Queensland, Australia, Cass is an accomplished scholar who holds several degrees:
- A bachelor's degree (2005) from the University of Queensland, where she graduated with high distinction and a dean's commendation for high achievement. (She completed the Advanced Studies Program in Science in 2005, and the Enhanced Studies Program in Chemistry, 2012)
- Honors Integrative Biology (2006), University of Queensland, with high distinction and valedictorian
- Doctorate in Interdisciplinary Program in Entomology and Insect and minor in ecology and evolutionary biology (2015) from the University of Arizona (4.0 GPA)
Cass joined the lab of Jay Rosenheim, UC Davis professor of entomology, in 2016, and also serves as an associate in the Center for Population Biology at UC Davis. She has published her work in Oecologia, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, Microbial Ecology, Research in Microbiology, Science, and PLoS Genetics, PLoS Biology and PLoS Pathogens, among other journals.
A member of the Entomological Society of America (ESA), Cass delivered oral presentations at the ESA annual conferences in 2011 and 2015, and also at the 2016 International Congress of Entomology (ICE), co-chaired by UC Davis chemical ecologist Walter Leal and held last September in Orlando, Fla. She is the co-principal investigator of a 2017 grant awarded by the Citrus Research Board.
Cass has also won a number of fellowships and awards, including national awards in the P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship Program in both 2008 and 2009.
It's not at all surprising that one of the many awards she won in the beginning of her career was the "Smart Women, Smart State Award" in the undergraduate category, statewide competition (Queensland) in 2005.
He feuded with fellow entomologists, was a bigamist (married to two wives at the same time) and caused an uproar when a tunnel he dug in a Washington, D.C. alley collapsed in 1924 and some declared it the work of German spies.
All that will come to light on Thursday, April 28 at UC Davis when entomologist Marc E. Epstein talks about his newly published book on Dyar's eccentric life, Moths, Myths and Mosquitoes: The Eccentric Life of Harrison G. Dyar, Jr.
Epstein will present a lecture and book signing from 7:15 to 8:45 p.m., in the International House, 10 College Park, Davis.
The event, free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by Jay Rosenheim, professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and by his department. Epstein is a longtime research associate and friend of Rosenheim's.
“As far as how I got into doing research on Dyar, at the onset it was related to my dissertation at University of Minnesota on Limacodidae (family of slug caterpillar moths, so called because their caterpillars bear a distinct resemblance to slugs),” Epstein said.
This led to Epstein and Henson to writing the American Entomologist article “Digging for Dyar: the Man behind the Myth.”
“Since the article appeared in 1992 I've accumulated a lot more information about Dyar, his genealogy, and even more significant connections between him and his favorite moths,” Epstein said.
The book, published by Oxford University Press, will be available for purchase at Epstein's talk.
Epstein is a senior insect biosystematist for the order Lepitopdera (butterflies, moths) with the Plant Pest Diagnostics Branch, California Department of Food and Agriculture. He is a research associate for the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Smithsonian Institution.
Harrison G. Dyar Jr. (1866-1929) was a Smithsonian entomologist of the early 20th century. He was a taxonomist who published extensively on moths and butterflies, mosquitoes, and sawflies. As a teenager, he studied insects, particularly moths. He received his bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1889 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his master's degree in biology from Columbia University in 1894. His doctoral dissertation (1895) dealt with airborne bacteria in New York City.
Oxford University offers this description of Moths, Myths and Mosquitoes:
"On September 26, 1924, the ground collapsed beneath a truck in a back alley in Washington, D.C., revealing a mysterious underground labyrinth. In spite of wild speculations, the tunnel was not the work of German spies, but rather an aging, eccentric Smithsonian scientist named Harrison Gray Dyar, Jr. While Dyar's covert tunneling habits may seem far-fetched, they were merely one of many oddities in Dyar's unbelievable life."
"For the first time, insect biosystematist Marc E. Epstein presents a complete account of Dyar's life story. Dyar, one of the most influential biologists of the twentieth century, focused his entomological career on building natural classifications of various groups of insects. His revolutionary approach to taxonomy, which examined both larval and adult stages of insects, brought about major changes in the scientific community's understanding of natural relationships and insect systematics. He was also the father of what came to be known as Dyar's Law, a pragmatic method to standardize information on insect larval stages as they grow. Over the course of his illustrious career at the U.S. National Museum, Smithsonian Institution from 1897-1929, Dyar named over 3,000 species, established the List of North American Lepidoptera, an unrivaled catalog of moths and butterflies, and built one of the nation's premier Lepidoptera and mosquito collections."
Epstein researches and writes on evolution and classification of moths and their biodiversity, and develops identification tools for moths that threaten agriculture. He served with NMNH's Department of Entomology (1988-2003), co-founding the department's Archives and Illustration Archives. He received his master's degree (1982) and doctorate (1988) from the University of Minnesota.
For more information on the April 28th event, contact Jay Rosenheim at firstname.lastname@example.org.