- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
"Most people are unaware of the glue on a spider's web because you can't see the droplets with your naked eye, but it's a really important feature of the web that spiders rely on to capture prey," says postdoctoral researcher and spider glue expert Sarah Stellwagen of the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) lab of Mercedes Burns.
Stellwagen, who will speak at the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology seminar on Wednesday, April 24, says that spider glue "is also a modified silk protein, but has lost its fibrous characteristics that we think of when we hear the word silk. Currently, there are only around 20 full-length silk genes known--but many many partial sequences--because these genes are really hard to sequence due to their size and repetitiveness."
Her seminar, titled "Towards Spider Glue: From Material Properties to Sequencing the Longest Silk Family Gene," is at 4:10 p.m. in Room 122 of Briggs Hall, off Kleiber Hall Drive. Hosts are Hanna Kahl, UC Davis doctoral student in entomology, and Jason Bond, the Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Stellwagen and colleague Rebecca Rensberg sequenced the genes that encode for the spider glue protein. Their work appears in the April edition of the journal G3-Genes Genomes Genetics. (See her website, http://www.spiderglues.com)
Of her UC Davis seminar, Stellwagen said: "I'll be talking about the biomechanics of spider glue--how droplets of glue on a spiders web stretch, and how environmental variables like humidity, temperature, and ultraviolet light affect that stretch. I'll also be talking about the molecular biology of the glue--discovering the DNA sequences that code for main proteins that make up the glue, and how that sequence relates to the mechanical properties." (See It's All About the Glue.)
She delivered oral presentations on "Towards Spider Glue:Sequencing the Longest Known Silk Family Gene" at the 2019 International Congress of of Arachnology, Christchurch, New Zealand, and the 2018 American Arachnological Society Annual Meeting in Ypsilanti, Mich.
Stellwagen received her doctorate in biological sciences in July of 2015 from Virginia Tech. Her dissertation: "Structure and Function of the Viscous Capture Spiral and its Relationship to the Architecture of Spider Orb Webs." She completed her master's degree thesis, from Clemson University, on "Spider (Aranea) Diversity, Habitat Distributions and Pitfall Trapping in Kings Mountain National Military Park, South Carolina."
The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology seminars, coordinated by medical entomologist/assistant professor Geoffrey Attardo, take place at 4:10 p.m. every Wednesday in Room 122 of Briggs Hall, through June 5. (See list of seminars)
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Medical entomologist Geoffrey Attardo, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, has compiled a great line-up of speakers for the winter quarter. The Wednesday seminars, to begin Jan. 9 and continue through March 13, will take place from from 4:10 to 5 p.m. in 122 Briggs Hall. They are open to all interested person. Some seminars will be recorded for later posting.
First up on Jan. 9 is Brian Gress, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of integrated pest management specialist Frank Zalom, distinguished professor of entomology in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and a past president of the 7000-member Entomological Association of America. Gress will discuss the fruit fly, Drosophila suzukii: its host selection and resistance evolution.
The spotted-wing drosophila, a major agricultural pest, damages fruit in many California counties, according to the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Program (UC IPM). First discovered here in 2008, "it infests ripening cherries throughout the state and ripening raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, and strawberry crops, especially in coastal areas. It also has been observed occasionally attacking other soft-flesh fruit such as plums, plumcots, nectarines, and figs when conditions are right."
The adults are about 1/16 to 1/8 inch long with red eyes and a pale brown thorax and abdomen with black stripes on the abdomen, UC IPM says on its website. The males have a black spot toward the top of each wing. The females have not spots. They have "a very prominent, sawlike ovipositor for laying eggs in fruit."
The seminars, as of today, Dec. 20:
Wednesday, Jan. 9
Brian Gress, postdoctoral fellow in the Frank Zalom lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Title: "Host Selection and Resistance Evolution in Drosophila suzukii"
Host: Frank Zalom, distinguished professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, Jan. 16
Sarah Stellwagen, postdoctoral researcher, University of Maryland
Title: “Toward Spider Glue: From Material Properties to Sequencing the Longest Silk Family Gene”
Hosts: Hanna Kahl, doctoral student in the Jay Rosenheim lab, and Jason Bond, Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, Jan. 23
Wednesday, Jan. 30:
Laura Burkle, assistant professor of ecology, Montana State University, Bozeman
Topic: Wild bees, interactions with flowers
Hosts: Pollination ecologist Neal Williams, professor of entomology, and Maureen Page, doctoral student in the Williams lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, Feb. 6
Alan Hastings, theoretical ecologist and distinguished professor, UC Davis Department of Environmental Science and Policy
Title: "Stochasticity and Spatial Population Dynamics"
Host: Hanna Kahl, doctoral student in the Jay Rosenheim lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, Feb. 13
Antoine Abrieux, postdoctoral fellow, Joanna Chiu lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Title: "Understanding the Molecular Mechanisms underlying Photoperiodic Time Measurement in Drosophila melanogaster"
Host: Joanna Chiu, associate professor and vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, Feb. 20:
Alexander Raikhel, distinguished professor, UC Riverside
Title: "The Role of Hormone Receptors and MicroRNAs in Mosquito Reproduction and Metabolism"
Host: Geoffrey Attardo, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematolgoy
Wednesday, Feb. 27:
Lauren Esposito, faculty member, San Francisco State University, and assistant curator and Schlinger Chair of Arachnology at the California Academy of Sciences
Title: "Evolution of New World Scorpions and Their Venom"
Host: Jason Bond, Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, March 6:
Monika Gulia-Nuss, assistant professor, biochemistry and molecular biology, University of Nevada, Reno
Topic: DNA Methylation in Ticks
Host: Geoffrey Attardo, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Wednesday, March 13:
Spring Break: March 20-27
For further information on the seminars, contact Geoffrey Attardo at email@example.com./span>