ESA will be meeting with the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), and the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) with an expected attendance of more than 7,000 scientists and researchers. The theme: "Synergy in Science: Partnering for Solutions."
Bugs rule. They definitely do.
"Insects did just about everything first," according to Kjer. "They were the first to form social societies, farm, and sing — just about anything you can imagine. Insects are the dominant players in almost all terrestrial ecosytems, and as such, they have a major impact on agriculture and human health.”
It's indeed a high honor to be delivering a Premier Presentation; ESA officials selected only 20, and two of the presenters are affiliated with UC Davis--Kjer and Jenny Carlson, who recently received her doctorate in entomology from UC Davis and now holds a postdoctoral position at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. Carlson, who studied at UC Davis with major professor Anthony Cornel, was based in the William Reisen lab. Reiser, newly retired, directed the Center for Vectorborne Diseases.
UC Davis will be well represented at the ESA meeting.
James R. Carey, distinguished professor of entomology, will receive the ESA's distinguished national teaching award.
Mohammad-Amir Aghaee, formerly with the Larry Godfrey lab, will receive the John Henry Comstock Award, Pacific Branch of ESA (PBESA). He holds a doctorate in entomology from UC Davis and is now a postdoctoral researcher at North Carolina State University.
The championship UC Davis Student Debate Team, captained by Danny Klittich, doctoral candidate in the Parrella lab, will defend its title. Members are Rei Scampavia (labs of Ed Lewis and Neal Williams), Jenny Carlson (Anthony Cornel lab), Ralph Washington Jr. (Steve Nadler lab) and Joanna Bloese (Larry Godfrey lab).
The student debate will include the following topics: What is the single best genetically engineered technology for arthropod pest control? With the development of tools like RNAi, in the future we may be capable of eradicating species. If we can eradicate a species, should we? What is the single best tool for managing pesticide resistance?
The UC Davis Linnaean Team, which won the PBESA competition, will compete for the top honors. It won the PBESA competition with Ralph Washington Jr. (Steve Nadler lab) as captain; and members Jéssica Gillung (Lynn Kimsey lab), and Brendon Boudinot (Phil Ward lab). New to the team is Ziad Khouri (Lynn Kimsey lab). The Linnaean Games are lively college-bowl type competitions at which the teams answer questions about insects and entomologists.
The Insect Photo Salon includes "some of the most beautiful insect photos in the world will be presented this year in the Insect Photo Salon,” according to the ESA program. (Yours truly was honored to have two accepted.)
EGSA will be selling T-shirts at the meeting, including its 2015 winning T-shirt by Stacey Rice, junior specialist in the Larry Godfrey lab. It depicts a long-legged wasp on a penny-farthing or big wheel bike. By the way, it's a new "species"--she depicted it with long legs to be able to reach the pedals. And the bike? That's part of the UC Davis culture.
The UC Davis Entomology Graduate Student Association (EGSA) has decided to provide travel funds to entomology undergraduates who want to present their research at entomological associations.
So EGSA has established the Jude Plummer Travel Grant, so named because Plummer, a pest control manager in Florida, donated $50 “to be used for such a cause,” said EGSA president Jenny Carlson, a Ph.D. candidate in the Vector Genetics Lab.
This week EGSA announced the first recipient of the Jude Plummer Travel Grant: Daren Harris, who received his bachelor of science degree in entomology from UC Davis in December.
Harris will receive a travel grant of $300 to present his poster on the spotted wing drosophila at the 2013 meeting of the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America, set April 6-11 at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, Stateline, Nev.
Harris' poster is titled “Seasonal Trapping of Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae) in a Multi-Crop Setting.” He works as a lab assistant in the Frank Zalom lab, studying with professor Zalom and Ph.D candidate Kelly Hamby.
“We will be providing an opportunity for UC Davis undergraduates to apply twice a year for a total of $300, depending on funds,” Carlson said. “We will have one in the winter and one in the fall.” Those who want to support the project can donate to the EGSA fund or buy entomology t-shirts.
Harris, who minored in fungal biology and ecology, plans to pursue a master’s degree in forest entomology. “I would like to study insect-fungus interactions with a focus on inoculation of forest pests with entomophagous fungi,” he said. “Many of these pests are gregarious so capture, inoculation and release of a few individuals may disseminate the pathogen to a large population.”
“My ultimate goal is to work with the USDA forest service. I would love nothing more than to make my living tromping around in beautiful north American forests."
Harris said he initially wanted to be a taxidermist. “As a child I had bookshelves filled with biological oddities and ‘specimens,’ including dead animals in jars of formaldehyde. My collection included everything from pet rodents to road kill. A high school biology teacher turned me on to entomology and I was hooked. The capture and curation of insects satisfied that childhood collection impulse, with the added bonus of frolicking through fields with a net.”
An article in the July 21st edition of Nature asked that very question.
Author Janet Fang, an intern in Nature's Washington, D.C., office, wrote that "Malaria infects some 247 million people worldwide each year, and kills nearly one million. Mosquitoes cause a huge further medical and financial burden by spreading yellow fever, dengue fever, Japanese encephaltis, Rift Valley fever, Chikungunya virus and West Nile virus."
So, how about a world without mosquitoes? "Would anyone or anything miss them?" she asked.
Fang went on to ask scientists that very question. But the fact is, they're here and they're not going anywhere--except over here to bite us.
Meanwhile, over in the UC Davis Department of Entomology, two graduate students just received William Hazelton Memorial Fellowship Awards to further their mosquito research.
Tara Thiemann (top photo), a doctoral candidate studying with major professor William Reisen, received $2100 for her statewide research on bloodfeeding patterns of Culex mosquitoes. She studies both urban and rural populations of mosquitoes and their host meals.
Jenny Carlson (bottom photo), an incoming doctoral student who will be studying with major professor Anthony 'Anton' Cornel, received $2000 for her research on avian malaria parasites.Thiemann's project involves analyzing the blood meals of Culex mosquitoes to identify specific host species--research important toward understanding both the maintenance and epidemic transmission of the West Nile virus.
Carlson’s research will take her to West Africa where she will collect mosquito vector and avian blood samples to study the mechanisms of malaria parasite transmission. She hypothesizes that the diversity of mosquito and avian parasites will be lower in deforested areas than forested areas.
The award memorializes William “Bill” Hazeltine (1926-1994), who managed the Lake County Mosquito Abatement District from 1961-64 and the Butte County Mosquito Abatement District from 1966-1992. He was an ardent supporter of the judicious use of public health pesticides to protect public health. He continued work on related projects until his death in 1994.
Hazeltine studied entomology in the UC Berkeley graduate program from 1950-53, and received his doctorate in entomology from Purdue University in 1962.
UC Davis medical entomologist Bruce Eldridge eulogized Hazeltine at the 2005 American Mosquito Control Association conference. His talk, "William Emery Hazelton II--Rebel With a Cause," was later published in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association. (See PDF)
It's good to know that Hazeltine's cause lives on through his family's generosity.