- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
It's a tough world out there for pollinators.
Take it from UC San Diego bee scientist James Nieh, who will be on the UC Davis campus next week to speak on "Animal Information Warfare: How Sophisticated Communications May Arise from the Race to Find an Advantage in a Deadly Game Between Honey Bees and Their Predators."
His seminar, part of the fall quarter seminar series hosted by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, will take place at 4:10 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 25 in 122 Briggs Hall, Kleiber Hall Drive. Fellow bee scientist Brian Johnson, associate professor of entomology, is the host.
"In addition to the classical arm race that has evolved between predators and prey, information races also occur, which can lead to the evolution of sophisticated animal communication," says Nieh, a professor in the Section of Ecology, Behavior and Evolution, Division of Biological Sciences. "Such information can shape the food web and contribute to the evolution of remarkable communication strategies, including eavesdropping, referential signaling and communication within and between species, including between predators and prey."
"I focus on the world of information exchange (acoustic, olfactory and visual) that has co-evolved between Asian honey bees (Apis cerana, A. florea, and A. dorsata) and their predators, the Asian hornets (Vespa velutina and V. mandarinia)," Nieh says in his abstract. "I will explore how and why such information races occur through the remarkable examples provided by these high social insects."
He presented a TED talk on "Bees and Us: an Ancient and Future Symbiosis" in July 2019.
A native of Taiwan, Nieh grew up in Southern California and received his bachelor's degree in organismic and evolutionary biology in 1991 from Harvard University, Cambridge, and his doctorate in neurobiology and behavior from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., in 1997. He subsequently received a NSF-NATO postdoctoral fellowship to study at the University of Würzburg in Germany. A Harvard junior fellowship followed.
Nieh joined the faculty of the Section of Ecology, Behavior and Evolution in 1997 as an assistant professor, advancing to associate professor in 2007 and professor in 2009. He served as vice chair of the section from 2009 to 2014, and as chair from 2014 to 2017.
His latest co-authored research, published in the journal Chemosphere in 2019, is titled Combined Nutritional Stress and a New Systemic Pesticide (flupyradifurone, Sivanto®) Reduce Bee Survival, Food Consumption, Flight Success, and Thermoregulation.
Assistant professor Rachel Vannette is coordinating the fall quarter seminars. Nieh's seminar is the first of the fall quarter. (See list of seminars.) Vannette may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
That's when eminent honey bee scientist Gene E. Robinson of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will speak on “Me to We: Using Honey Bees to Find the Genetic Roots of Social Life” in Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, UC Davis campus.
His presentation, part of the Chancellor's Colloquium Distinguished Speakers Series, is from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Registration is underway on the Chancellor's Colloquium series website. The event is free and open to all interested persons but registration is required. (See Colloquium series website to register.)
Robinson pioneered the application of genomics to the study of social behavior and led the effort to sequence the honey bee genome.
Many of us have heard him speak, and many more have read his work. You may have heard him present a Tedx Talk, or read his piece on "The Behavior of Genes" (New York Times). Science writer Nick Zagorski profiled him in the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Robinson needs no introduction; his work is legendary. He is the University Swanlund chair and directs the Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB) and the Bee Research Facility. He received his doctorate in entomology from Cornell University in 1986 and joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1989.
He served as interim director of IGB, 2011-2012; director of the Neuroscience Program, 2001-2011; and leader of the Neural and Behavioral Plasticity Theme at the IGB, 2004-2011.
Robinson has authored or co-authored more than 275 publications, including 26 published in Science or Nature. He has been the recipient or co-recipient of more than $50 million in funding from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture and private foundations; pioneered the application of genomics to the study of social behavior; led the effort to gain approval from the National Institutes of Health for sequencing the honey bee genome; and founded the Honey Bee Genome Sequencing Consortium.
In addition, Robinson serves on the National Institute of Mental Health Advisory Council and has past and current appointments on scientific advisory boards for companies with significant interests in genomics.
His honors include University Scholar and member of the Center of Advanced Study at the University of Illinois; Burroughs Wellcome Innovation Award in Functional Genomics; Founders' Memorial Award from the Entomological Society of America; Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship; Guggenheim Fellowship; NIH Pioneer Award; Honorary Doctorate from Hebrew University; Fellow, Animal Behavior Society; Fellow, Entomological Society of America; Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.
A native of Buffalo, N.Y., Robinson received his doctorate in entomology from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., in 1986. What prompted him to study entomology? You'll need to read Nick Zagorski profile of him in the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).