Are you ready to celebrate Moth Night at the Bohart Museum of Entomology at the University of California, Davis?
Mark your calendar for 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, July 21.
That's when the Bohart Museum will join forces with National Moth Week, July 21-29, to celebrate the beauty, life cycles and habitats of moths. It's free, open to the public, and family friendly.
The Bohart, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane, is hosting the "Moth Night" both inside and outside the museum. You will see scores of moth and butterfly displays inside. Outside, moth light traps will be set up so you can see what moths are drawn to the blacklighting displays.
The UC Davis event is one of only two public events scheduled in California during the week; the other is in San Mateo County on July 28.
Bohart scientists will be on hand to discuss moths and answer questions. They include three Bohart associates: entomologist Jeff Smith of Rocklin, curator of the the moth and butterfly specimens; and "Moth Man" John DeBenedictis and naturalist and photographer Greg Kareofelas, both of Davis, who will staff the light traps/blacklighting displays. The best time to see the moths in the light traps is later in the evening, closer to 10, according to Lynn Kimsey, director of the museum, and Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator.
"We will focus on colorful moths of the night--night rainbows if you will and the biodiversity of tropical moths," Yang said. A family craft activity is planned. Last year the family craft activity featured making moth-shaped window ornaments resembling stained glass.
Free refreshments--cookies and hot chocolate--will be served. Common Grounds, a Davis coffee shop. will be providing the large containers of hot water for the event.
One of the "oh, wow!" moths is Attacus atlas (Atlas moth), found in the rainsforests of Asia. One of the largest moths in the world, it has a wingspan that can measure 10 to 11 inches.
Last year more than 15 species landed on the blacklighting display. The first moth to arrive was the alfalfa looper moth, Trichopusia ni. The most striking: the grape leaffolder, Desmia funeralis.
Some facts about moths, from the National Moth Week website:
- Moths are among the most diverse and successful organisms on earth.
- Scientists estimate there are 150,000 to more than 500,000 moth species.
- Their colors and patterns are either dazzling or so cryptic that they define camouflage. Shapes and sizes span the gamut from as small as a pinhead to as large as an adult's hand.
- Most moths are nocturnal--others fly like butterflies during the day.
- Finding moths can be as simple as leaving a porch light on and checking it after dark. Serious moth aficionados use special lights and baits to attract them.
The Bohart Museum houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens. It is also the home of the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity. Noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007) founded the museum. It maintains a live "petting zoo," featuring Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, tarantulas, and praying mantids. The museum's gift shop, open year around, includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
The Bohart Museum's regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. It is closed to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and on major holidays. Admission is free.
Although the festival, set from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in downtown Woodland, focuses on honey bees--they're the pollinators that produce honey!--you'll see other arthropods there, too, including native bees and spiders.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis will be displaying bee specimens, including sweat bees, leafcutter bees, blue orchard bees, bumble bees, carpenter bees, sunflower bees and others. Directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, the insect museum houses some eight million insect specimens, plus a live "petting zoo" (think Madagascar hissing cockroaches, tarantulas, and stick insects) and a year-around gift shop. It's located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building.
Look for spiders, too, at the California Honey Festival. "Interns will be tabling from Heidi Ballard's Education 142 class on environmental education," said Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum's education and outreach coordinator, who is assisting with the project. They will be discussing the different hunting techniques of various spiders, including crab spiders, jumping spiders, trapdoor spiders and orbweavers.
The California Honey Festival is a free, family friendly event sponsored by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center and the City of Woodland. it will include bee presentations, live music, cooking demonstrations, a beer and wine garden, and a Kids' Zone. You'll learn from world-class bee garden designer and author Kate Frey on what to plant in your garden to attract bees. She and Professor Gretchen LeBuhn of San Francisco State University authored the award-winning book, The Bee Friendly Garden.
Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño, California's state apiculturist, and a member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty, will present three "live" bee demonstrations in a circular screened bee tent. Her demonstrations are scheduled for 11:15, 1 p.m. and 3:45 in the bee tent, UC Davis Stage. See complete schedule of events.
Amina Harris, director of the Honey and Pollination Center, says the festival was created in 2017 to cultivate an interest in beekeeping, and to educate the public in support of bees and their keepers. "Bees face many threats today—it is the goal of the festival to help attendees understand the importance of bees to food diversity in the United States."
The California Honey Festival's mission is to promote honey, honey bees and their products, and beekeeping. Through lectures and demonstrations, the crowd can learn about bees and how to keep them healthy. Issues facing the bees include pests, pesticides, diseases, malnutrition, and climate changes.
So, come for the bees. Stay for the native bees and...the spiders. Then next year on March 14 you can celebrate National Save a Spider Day.
The Hammock lab and the Guodong Zhang lab at the University of Massachusetts published exciting research today (April 30) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that involves hope for patients with obesity-enhanced colon cancer.
Their research showed that inhibiting an enzyme, soluble epoxide hydrolase--discovered in the Hammock lab--may reduce the risk of obesity-enhanced colon cancer and may offer a therapeutic target to block and treat colonic inflammation.
Co-first authors Weicang Wang and Jianan Zhang of the Zhang lab, and Jun Yang of the Hammock lab/UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, noted that 30 percent of Americans are obese, and these individuals have a 30 to 60 percent higher risk of developing colon cancer. It is the third most common cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Colon inflammation is an early symptom of cancer.
“But to date, the mechanisms by which obesity increases cancer risks are not well understood, and there are few effective strategies to prevent obesity-enhanced colon cancer," said Zhang, a former postdoctoral researcher in the Hammock lab and now an assistant professor of food science at UMass where he focuses his research on prevention of colonic inflammation (inflammatory bowel disease) and colon cancer. "Our study showed that soluble epoxide hydrolase and its metabolites are over-expressed in colon of obese mice. In addition, we found that pharmacological inhibition or genetic deletion of soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) abolishes obesity-induced inflammation and activation of pro-tumorigenic pathways in colon. These results showed that sEH is an essential enzyme involved in obesity-enhanced colonic inflammation and potentially colon cancer, and pharmacological inhibitors of sEH could be novel agents for prevention of these diseases.”
In the study, the 18-member team investigated the roles of sEH in obesity-induced colonic inflammation, which included using two different sEH inhibitors and a knockout mouse genetically modified not to produce sEH. Results proved similar in all cases.
They further conducted another study in both lean and obese mice with experimentally induced colon inflammation and used molecular analyses to follow a pathway called Wnt. About 90 percent of sporadic colorectal cancers have activating mutations within the Wnt pathway. The team found that obesity increases activation of Wnt signaling in the colon, but it can be abolished by the two different inhibitors and the knockout.
“The sEH inhibitor blocked obesity-induced colon inflammation,” said Hammock. “This worked even for mice on high fat diets.”
“Colon inflammation is highly associated with a variety of diseases and the inflammation often progresses to colon cancer,” Hammock said. “Weicang Wang, Guodong Zhang and co-workers have done a meticulous job investigating the biologically active fats including fatty acid diols that are associated with the inflammation. By blocking the production of these diols they were able to block the inflammation.”
“The study was an exciting discovery from lipidomics technique,” said co-first author Jun Yang. “The consistent results from pharmacologic inhibition and genetic knockout (KO) as well as the signaling pathway mechanistic studies all support sEH as a potential treatment for obesity-induced colon inflammation."
Co-author Jun-Yan Liu is already collecting human samples to extend the study, and Hammock pointed out that they hope that the soluble epoxide hydrolase inhibitor will be in human clinical trials this year.
This work, titled “Lipidomic Profiling Reveals Soluble Epoxide Hydrolase as a Therapeutic Target of Obesity-Induced Colonic Inflammation,” drew grant support from the USDA's National Institute for Food and Agriculture; National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIH/NIEHS); NIEHS Superfund Research Program, and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.
The five UC Davis researchers—Bruce Hammock, Jun Yang, Jia Sun, and Sung Hee Hwang and Debin Wan—are all with the Hammock lab/UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The UMass researchers, in addition to those listed above: Yuxin Wang, Wiepeng Qi, Haixia Yang, and Professor Yeonhwa Park, Department of Food Science, Katherine Sanidad, Food Science and Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Program, and Professor Daeyoung Kim of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.
Hammock, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Inventors, directs two major UC Davis programs; the Superfund Program financed by the National Institute of Environmental Health's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIH-NIEHS); and the NIH Biotechnology Training Program. He began his career reseaching insect pests but switched to human health issues.
To date, the Hammock laboratory has published almost 900 peer-reviewed papers on the sEH enzyme, discovered while Hammock and Sarjeet Gill (now of UC Riverside) were researching insect developmental biology and green insecticides at UC Berkeley. The work, begun in 1969, led to the discovery that many regulatory molecules are controlled as much by degradation as by biosynthesis, Hammock said. These epoxy fatty acid chemical mediators control blood pressure, fibrosis, immunity, tissue growth, and pain and inflammation.
For many years Gill and Hammock were alone in studying this enzyme but today its importance is well recognized in mammalian biology, with more than 17,000 peer-reviewed papers in the area. Hammock credits the NIEHS for supporting research in this area since the 1970s.
A Davis-based company, EicOsis, has received a large grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health to move inhibitors to the clinic to treat diabetic neuropathic pain. “We are developing a non-opiate analgesic to treat the chronic pain often associated with diabetes and hope to be in human trials over the next 12 months,” said William Schmidt, vice president of clinical development at EicOsis.
A group of scientists associated with the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis, journeyed to Belize last summer to add to the Bohart Museum's global collection of insects. The group included professors, graduate and undergraduate students, and Bohart Museum staff and volunteers.
But just wait until you see what they brought back.
You will at the Bohart Museum of Entomology open house from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 18 in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane. You can learn about their journey, what they collected, and also glean information on how to collect insects.
The event, free and open to the public, is the first in a series of weekend open houses at the Bohart Museum during the academic year. All open houses are family friendly.
Two scientists, Dave Wyatt, a professor at Sacramento City College, and Bohart Museum associate Fran Keller, assistant professor at Folsom Lake College, led the collection trip. Wyatt has been on more than a dozen collection trips to Belize and has also collected in Costa Rica. Keller is not only a veteran of Belize collecting trips but is a former student of Wyatt's. It was Wyatt who introduced her to entomology at Sacramento City College. Keller went on to receive her doctorate in entomology from UC Davis, studying with major professor Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum.
How many specimens did they bring back? About 100,000, Keller estimated.
The Bohart Museum is a world-renowned insect museum that houses a global collection of nearly 8 million specimens. It also maintains a live “petting zoo,” featuring walking sticks, Madagascar hissing cockroaches and tarantulas. Among the newest additions to the "zoo" are a young praying mantis and a population of Gulf Fritillaries--the public can see the caterpillars, chrysalids and adult butterflies.
At the open house, visitors can engage in one-on-one conversations with the scientists about the Belize trip. And they can also hold and photograph some of the petting zoo residents. A gift shop, open year around, includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
Family arts and crafts activities are also planned, said Tabatha Yang, public education and outreach coordinator.
The Bohart Museum's regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. The museum is closed to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and on major holidays. Admission is free.
More information on the Bohart Museum is available by contacting (530) 752-0493 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Images of arthropods in the public domain that you can download.
Free. For. All.
Noted insect photographer/entomologist Alex Wild, curator of entomology for the Biodiversity Collections, University of Texas at Austin, has launched the "Insects Unlocked" Project, aiming for $8000 over a month-long campaign.
Wild, who received his doctorate in entomology in 2005 from the University of California, Davis, is a professional insect photographer extraordinaire. And, under his mentorship, a team of students in UT's Insect Image Lab "will learn the art and artistry of digital microphotography while capturing images of Texas's smallest wildlife," he explains. They will "create thousands of beautiful, unique, and informative visual works for release into the public domain. The resulting image collection will be open for anyone to use, free of the constraints of traditional copyright."
"Where can you use Insects Unlocked's images?" he asks. "Anywhere you'd like! Web pages, magazine covers, books, billboards, blogs, t-shirts, scientific papers, apps, social media, coffee mug designs, classroom presentations, Wikipedia, and more. Ours are public works and can be used for anything, including commercialization, without the need for advance permission or even credit."
Today he posted on his Facebook page: "I am pleased to report that the Insects Unlocked project to crowd-fund public domain arthropod images is more than 60% funded, not even a week into a month-long campaign. Your support has been generous and unexpected--thanks so much! To celebrate, over the weekend I created some new public domain images for the project, including this 60 image focus-stack of a Brachygastra mellifica Mexican honey wasp (see below). If you'd like to support more images like this, consider contributing at the link: https://hornraiser.utexas.edu/proj…/54e79bbc14bdf7205ddd5ab7
Basically, donations to the program will support several undergraduate students as they learn the UT imaging system and receive training in scientific imaging, entomology, and outreach. As Wild says, "Donations will also improve our processing computers, add cameras and lighting rigs for field use, and offset the costs of web hosting. Our team will start in the summer of 2015, using the 2015-16 academic cycle as a pilot while we evaluate the feasibility of a long term publicly-funded program."
How many images will be in the public domain? "The amount and type of images we produce is proportional to the level of support we receive," Wild says. "Our image lab is located inside the UT insect collection, and we begin with high-magnification captures of curated material, as well as live field photography at the adjoining Brackenridge Field Laboratory. Should we exceed our funding goal, the Insects Unlocked team may be able to mount expeditions to diverse parts of Texas to photograph and video more live insect behavior in the field.
Wild, who studied with major professor/ant specialist Phil Ward at UC Davis, captures amazing images of insects. His work has been published in scientific journals, books, magazines, and newspapers, including the New York Times, National Geographic and Scientific American. He returned to the UC Davis campus in October 2011 to deliver a presentation on "How to Take Better Insect Photographs." His presentation is the most popular of all the UCTV seminar videos posted by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. Watch it online.
Wild is enjoying his new position as curator. The collection contains about 500,000 pinned and 500,000 ethanol specimens. "We have one of the world's largest collections of cave arthropods," he said.
Alex Wild appreciates the generosity of the 75 donors (as of today). But he, too, is generous--exceedingly generous!--with his time and talents that will benefit us all.