That's just one of the facts that UC Davis medical entomologist-geneticist Geoffrey Attardo will discuss when he presents a seminar on "The Mating Biology of Tsetse Flies--Insights into the Morphological, Biochemical, and Molecular Responses to Mating Stimuli in a Viviparous Disease Vector."
The seminar, hosted by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, is set for 4:10 p.m., Monday, Oct. 9 in 122 Briggs Hall.
Attardo, an associate professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and chair of the Designated Emphasis in the Biology of Vector-Borne Diseases, is a global expert on vectorborne diseases, including his groundbreaking work on tsetse flies. He researches the invasive yellow mosquito, Aedes aegypti, which can carry such diseases as dengue, chikungunya, Zika and yellow fever.
His work involves predicting insecticide resistance and tracking movements of genetically independent populations of aegypti throughout the state.
"Research into the reproductive behavior of tsetse flies offers key insights into controlling diseases like African sleeping sickness," Attardo writes in his abstract. "Unique among insects, these flies give birth to live offspring. During mating, males transfer a mix of sperm and other vital substances to the females. This study employs state-of-the-art techniques, including 3D scanning and genetic analysis, to monitor changes in the female fly's reproductive system over a 72-hour period post-mating. Findings indicate that mating sets off a chain of intricate changes in the female, affecting everything from biochemistry to gene activity. These changes prepare her for pregnancy and childbirth. The study opens up new avenues for understanding tsetse fly biology and offers potential strategies for disease control."
The seminar also will be on Zoom. The link:
The Attardo lab monitors the dynamics of vector insects at the levels of physiology, population genetics and environmental interactions.
Attardo, who holds a doctorate in genetics from Michigan State University, where he researched the molecular biology of mosquito reproduction, joined the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology in 2017 from the Yale School of Public Health's Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases.
For his outstanding work, he received the 2022 Medical, Urban, and Veterinary Entomology Award from the Pacific Branch, Entomological Society of America, which encompasses 11 Western states, plus parts of Canada and Mexico, and U.S. territories.
For any technical issues regarding Zoom, contact seminar coordinator Brian Johnson at email@example.com.
Sam Jaffe, founder and executive director of The Caterpillar Lab, Keene, New Hampshire, will present a UC Davis virtual seminar on Wednesday, April 26 on "Telling The Whole Story: Using Native Caterpillars, Their Ecological Connections, and Novel Outreach Tools to Showcase the Importance of Biodiversity."
His seminar, hosted by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, begins at 4:10 p.m. The Zoom link:
Jaffe relates that he will present "an original photograph and video-packed talk that explores backyard pollinators, plants, parasitoids, and the many caterpillars that are positioned at the center of it all. I will introduce a 'Whole Story' perspective of natural history study and appreciation that just might make you reconsider an herbivore's place in our world. Throughout the presentation, I will relate these topics to my experience with outreach education, showcase invaluable educational tools such as digital microscopes, and be available for discussion about The Caterpillar Lab's outreach techniques and how they might be incorporated into your own work."
Jaffe, a New England-based naturalist, photographer, and educator who works with native insects, is a native of eastern Massachusetts, where he spend his childhood "chasing birds, mucking through ponds, and turning over leaves." For the last seven years, he has been photographing caterpillars and organizing programs "to promote these special creatures to the public." He founded The Caterpillar Lab in 2008 and now "travels across the country working with museums, nature centers, schools, and individual teachers helping native insects find their place in our everyday lives."
Jaffe holds a bachelor's degree in ecology and evolutionary biology (2007) from Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, and a master's degree in environmental science (2014) from Antioch University New England, Keene, N.H. He served as a lab technician at Harvard Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Labs for a year, gaining experience with caterpillar and ant care and reproduction, ant-caterpillar interaction research and experimental design/implementation; morphological study; native insect collection; natural history guided walks.
On his LinkedIn page, Jaffe describes The Caterpillar Lab, a non-profit corporation, as fostering "greater appreciation and care for the complexity and beauty of our local natural history through live caterpillar educational programs, research initiatives, and photography and film projects. We believe that an increased awareness of one's local environment is the foundation on which healthy and responsible attitudes towards the broader natural systems of this world is built."
The Caterpillar Lab "works with native New England caterpillar species as a resource for art, education, science, and other natural history pursuits," he writes, adding that he shows his fine art collection of caterpillar photographs at galleries and museums across the country; offers educational workshops; and works with BBC as a consultant, providing caterpillars and expertise.
Department seminar coordinator is urban landscape entomologist Emily Meineke, assistant professor. For technical issues, she may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. (See complete list of spring seminars.)
Chamberland's in-person and virtual seminar, titled "The Biogeography and Eye Size Evolution of the Ogre-Faced Spiders," will take place from 4:10 to 5 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 25 in 122 Briggs Hall. A coffee social in 158 Briggs will precede the seminar from 3:30 to 4:10 p.m.
The Zoom link:
Chamberland studies the evolution and biogeography of spiders as an arachnologist in the laboratory of Jason Bond, associate dean, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Natural Resources, and professor and the Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
“Net-casting spiders (Deinopidae) comprise three genera with enigmatic evolutionary histories. Deinopis and Asianopis, the ogre-faced spiders, are best known for their giant light-capturing posterior median eyes (PME), whereas Menneus does not have enlarged PMEs,” Chamberland says in her abstract. “Molecular phylogenetic studies have revealed discordance between morphology and molecular data. We employed a character-rich, ultra-conserved element (UCE) dataset and a taxon-rich cytochrome oxidase I (COI) dataset to reconstruct a genus-level phylogeny of Deinopidae, aiming to investigate the group's historical biogeography, and examine PME size evolution. Although the phylogenetic results support the monophyly of Menneus and the single reduction of PME size in deinopids, these data also show that Deinopis is not monophyletic. Deinopid biogeographic history reflects the separation of Western Gondwana as well as long-distance dispersal events.”
Chamberland joined the Bond lab in 2021. She holds a doctorate in biology (2020) from the University of Vermont, Burlington, where she studied with Ingi Agnarsson. Her dissertation title: "From Gondwana to GAARlandia: Molecular Phylogenetics and Historical Biogeography of Spiders." She received her bachelor's degree in biology and anthropology in 2013 from the University of Vermont.
Love at First Sight. “As an undergraduate at the University of Vermont, I was introduced to deinopids, the ogre-faced spiders, and it was love at first sight,” Chamberland related. “With a wide range of dispersal propensities and diverse hunting strategies, spiders have been a rich source for me to explore biogeographic and evolutionary questions. I would like to continue my work with historical biogeography and spiders after my postdoc and help foster the upcoming generation of arachnologists. I enjoy teaching, especially through the lens of phylogenetics and systematics, and I am working towards finding a teaching career where I can teach, mentor, and continue to ask evolutionary questions.”
Chamberland and Bond co-hosted the 2022 American Arachnological Society Summer Symposium at UC Davis and she also delivered a research presentation at the symposium. At both UC Davis and at the University of Vermont, she has led and taught lab and field techniques, molecular methods and data analyses, and arachnology to high school, undergraduate, and graduate students resulting in publications on systematics, evolution, and biogeography of spiders.
She earlier served as the invertebrate collections manager at the Zadock Thompson Zoological Collections (2020-2021), University of Vermont.
Chamberland is the lead author of “Biogeography and Eye Evolution of the Ogre-faced Spiders," published Oct. 22, 2022 in Scientific Reports and co-authored by Ingi Agnarsson, Iris Quayle, Tess Ruddy, James Starrett and Jason Bond.
The department seminars, coordinated by urban landscape entomologist Emily Meineke, assistant professor, are held on Wednesdays through March 15. (See schedule.) Eight of the 10 will be in-person in 122 Briggs Hall, and all will be virtual.
You should also think about "pollination journeys."
On Wednesday, March 10, community ecologist Romina Rader from the University of New England's School of Environmental and Rural Science will speak on "The Journey to Effective Pollination" at the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's virtual seminar.
Rader, an associate professor, says she is broadly interested in pollination ecology, landscape ecology and plant–animal interactions in natural and human-modified landscapes. She is currently working on projects that investigate the ways in which plant and animal biodiversity respond to global change and the performance of wild and managed insect pollinators in horticultural crops.
She writes on her website: "I am a community ecologist and my research focuses on plant–animal interactions in natural and human-modified landscapes. I am interested generally in the ecology of plants and animals in different types of habitats and landscapes and how they respond to differing management practices and global change. My current projects relate to wild and managed insect pollinators, their efficiency at pollinating horticultural crops and finding ways to improve fruit yield and quality by understanding their life history needs."
Rader holds a bachelor of environmental science (1998) from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. She obtained both her master's degree (2005) and doctorate (2011) from James Cook University, Cairns, Australia. Her master's thesis: "Vertical Distribution, Resource and Space Use in a Tropical Rainforest Small Mammal Community." For her doctorate: "The Provision of Pollination Ecosystem Services to Agro-Ecosystems by a Diverse Assemblage of Wild, Unmanaged Insect Taxa." She won a 2017- 2020 Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award.
Among her most recent journal publications:
- S.A.E.C. Wijesinghe, L.J. Evans, L. Kirkland & R. Rader 2020, ‘A global review of watermelon pollination biology and ecology: The increasing importance of seedless cultivars,' Scientia Horticulturae, vol. 271, pp. 109493,
- Heidi Kolkert, Rhiannon Smith, Romina Rader & Nick Reid 2020, ‘Insectivorous bats foraging in cotton crop interiors is driven by moon illumination and insect abundance, but diversity benefits from woody vegetation cover,' Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, vol. 302, pp. 107068,
- Jamie R. Stavert, Charlie Bailey, Lindsey Kirkland & Romina Rader 2020, ‘Pollen tube growth from multiple pollinator visits more accurately quantifies pollinator performance and plant reproduction,' Scientific Reports, vol. 10, no. 1,
- Liam K. Kendall, Vesna Gagic, Lisa J. Evans, Brian T. Cutting & Jessica Scalzo, Romina Rader. 2020, ‘Self-compatible blueberry cultivars require fewer floral visits to maximize fruit production than a partially self-incompatible cultivar,' Journal of Applied Ecology,
- Vesna Gagic, Lindsey Kirkland, Liam K. Kendall, Jeremy Jones & Jeffrey Kirkland Romina Rader 2020, ‘Understanding pollinator foraging behaviour and transition rates between flowers is important to maximize seed set in hybrid crops,' Apidologie,
Agricultural Extension specialist Ian Grettenberger coordinates the seminars. For technical issues, contact him at email@example.com.
Molecular nematologist Peter DiGennaro of the University of Florida's Department of Entomology and Nematology will present his seminar on "Gaps in Molecular Plant Nematology" from 4:10 to 5 p.m. (Link to the form to join the Zoom meeting.)
"What has molecular plant nematology done for me?" asks DiGennaro, who will present a collection of short stories describing the need for, and benefits of, a symbiosis-centered approach in understanding plant-nematode interactions at the molecular level.
"Dr. DiGennaro does great work on plant-nematode interactions," said seminar host Shahid Siddique, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
DiGennaro, interested in the molecular basis of nematode parasitism in plants, primarily researches the root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne spp.); specifically, he is concerned with nematode-derived signaling molecules and subsequent host responses. His lab utilizes an array of genomic, genetic and biochemical tools to understand the fundamental mechanisms behind nematode host range, parasitism, and plant responses.
"The goal of our research is to develop novel avenues for safe and sustainable nematode control strategies," he says.
DiGennaro received his bachelor of science degree in biochemstry in 2007 from the State University of New York at Geneseo, and his doctorate in functional genomics, with a minor in plant pathology, from North Carolina State University (NCSU) in 2013. At NCSU, he studied the molecular basis for nematode parasitism in plants. He served as a postdoctoral researcher with the Plant Nematode Genomics Group at both NCSU and at UC Berkeley before joining the University of Florida, Gainsville, in July 2016.
Coordinating the seminars is Cooperative Extension specialist Ian Grettenberger, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. For any technical issues, he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.