Since PBESA canceled its 104th annual meeting, initially set April 19-22 in Spokane, Wash., “this year's conference will be virtual,” announced PBESA president Elizabeth Beers of Washington State University.
As of Tuesday, more than 230 individuals from 18 countries have registered for the sensory physiology symposium, said Leal, a chemical ecologist and distinguished professor with the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and former professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. As the recipient of the PBESA's 2020 Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching, he will be among those honored at the conference.
Countries represented are United States, France, Brazil, New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Turkey, Spain, Colombia, United Kingdom, India, The Netherlands, Grece, Finland and Sweden.
The symposium, featuring eight scientists, begins at 1:30 on Monday, April 20, Pacific Daylight Time, via Zoom. Each will speak for 15 minutes, and a five-minute question and answer session will follow each presentation. To register for the symposium, access this Google document site. Each registrant will receive a link to the meeting.
1:30 to 1:50
Genevieve Tauxe, University of Washington
“The Nose Knows: Olfaction in Host-Seeking Behavior”
(See news story from UC Riverside)
1:50 to 2:10
Walter Leal, University of California, Davis
“Reception of Carbon Dioxide in Mosquitoes”
2:10 to 2:30
Dennis Mathew, University of Nevada, Reno
“Mechanism Underlying Starvation-Dependent Modulation of Olfactory Sensory Neurons in the Drosophila Larva”
2:30 to 2:50
Anand Ray, University of California, Riverside
“Control of Insect Behavior Using Odorants”
2:50 to 3:00
Virtual Coffee Break
3 to 3:20
Jeremy Chan, University of Washington
“Change Is in the Air: Atmospheric Chemistry Impact on Floral Scent and Plant-Pollinator Interactions”
3:20 to 3:40
Claire Rusch, University of Washington
“Closed-Loop Behavioral Control and Attention-like Processes Modulate Neural Activity in the Medulla of the Honey Bee”
3:40 to 4
Aide Macias-Muñoz, University of California, Irvine
“Evolution of Phototransduction Genes in Lepidoptera”
4 to 4:20
Kate Loudon, University of California, Irvine
"Mechanical Damping in Sensory Structures"
4:20 to 4:35
PBESA encompasses 11 western states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming), U.S. territories, and parts of Canada and Mexico
For more information on PBESA and to register for the virtual conference, see https://www.entsoc.org/pacific.
Mandatory coronavirus pandemic precautions led to the canceling of the 104th annual meeting, initially scheduled April 19-22 in Spokane, Wash., announced PBESA president Elizabeth "Betsy" Beers of Washington State University. (See her video update on YouTube).
The three UC Davis faculty members selected for prestigious awards are:
- Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, recipient of the PBESA's highest honor, the C. W. Woodworth Award
- Robert Kimsey, forensic entomologist and associate adjunct professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, recipient of the Distinction in Student Mentoring Award
- Walter Leal, chemical ecologist and distinguished professor, UC Davis Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology (now Department of Entomology and Nematology), recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching
The virtual meeting will begin at 9 a.m, Pacific Daylight Time; register online here. In her video message, Beers said the last time the meeting was canceled was in 1945. The next PBESA meeting is scheduled in Hawaii in 2021.
PBESA encompasses 11 western states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming), U.S. territories, and parts of Canada and Mexico.
Capsule information on the recipients:
Lynn Kimsey, C. W. Woodworth Award
Lynn Kimsey was singled out for her 31 years of outstanding accomplishments in research, teaching, education, outreach and public service. "She is an immense credit to the field of entomology; in fact, we rarely see anyone of her caliber come forth, and do as much as she does," wrote nominator Steve Nadler, professor and chair, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
An alumnus of UC Davis, Lynn received her undergraduate degree in 1975 and doctorate in 1979. She joined the UC Davis faculty in 1989. Since 1990, she has administered the world-renowned Bohart Museum of Entomology, which houses eight million insect specimens and is the seventh largest university insect museum in North America.
Richard M. Bohart, for whom the insect museum is named, served as her major professor and she was his last student. Kimsey's areas of expertise include insect biodiversity, systematics and biogeography of parasitic wasps, urban entomology, civil forensic entomology, and arthropod-related industrial hygiene. She has served in numerous leadership roles at the international, national and local level, including two terms as president of the International Hymenopterists, board member of the Natural Science Collections Alliance, and interim chair and vice chair (twice) of the UC Davis Department of Entomology (now the Department of Entomology and Nematology).
Professor Kimsey is a recognized global authority on the systematics, biogeography and biology of the wasp families, Tiphiidae and Chrysididae: the author of 127 peer-reviewed publications; and has described more than 270 news species. She is the author of The Chrysidid Wasps of the World (Oxford, co-authored by Richard Bohart), California Cuckoo Wasps in the Family Chrysididae, and Systematics of Bees of the Genus Eufriesea, among others.
She earlier received two other PBESA awards: the Systematics, Evolution and Biodiversity Award in 2014, and shared the Team Award in 2013 with colleagues Eric Mussen, Robbin Thorp, Neal Williams and Brian Johnson, who were recognized for their collaborative work specializing in honey bees, wild bees and pollination issues through research, education and outreach. (Their service to UC Davis at the time spanned 116 years.) Kimsey won the highly competitive UC Davis Academic Senate Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award in 2016.
The Woodworth award memorializes eminent entomologist Charles William Woodworth (1865-1940), who founded the UC Berkeley Department of Entomology. He excelled in research, teaching and public service. (See previous Woodworth Award recipients.)
Forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey, a member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty for three decades, has served as an associate adjunct professor and lecturer since 1990. He holds two degrees from UC Davis: a bachelor of science degree in 1977 and a doctorate in 1984. He is described as a "trusted advisor, mentor, teacher, friend and confidant--has served above and beyond what is expected."
"His dedication to graduate and undergraduate students as a mentor, advisor and teacher, all intertwined, is beyond exemplary; it is colossal," wrote nominator Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the department. Since 1990, Kimsey has taught and interacted with some 7000 students, including entomology, biology and animal biology majors.
Kimsey, known as “Dr. Bob,” shares with his students his many and varied research interests: public health entomology; arthropods of medical importance; zoonotic disease; biology and ecology of tick-borne pathogens; tick-feeding behavior and biochemistry. He has served as the master advisor for the Animal Biology (ABI) major since 2010 and an ABI lecturer since 2001. He has taught ABI 50A for 20 years, giving lectures and instructing labs to a total of 900 students per year. He has taught ABI 187 for 12 years, presenting material to a total of 450 students.
A U.S. Army veteran, Kimsey served as an instructor of medical entomology, epidemiology and preventive medicine in the Academy of Health Sciences from 1971-1974. He is a past president of the North American Forensic Association (2014-2016). He is the director of the Forensic Sciences and instructor for the San Luis Obispo Fire Death Investigation Strike Team (since 2011) and an instructor and member of the Glen Craig Institute Advisory Committee (since 2012). He is married to Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology (see above).
The recipient of seven outstanding teaching or mentoring awards, Robert Kimsey was named the 2019 UC Davis Outstanding Faculty Advisor of the Year; 2019 Eleanor and Harry Walker Faculty Advising Award from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; and a regional faculty advisor award from NACADA, the Global Community for Academic Advising.
His students are highly successful. Under his guidance, they have established careers as professor of microbiology at Cal Poly; campus veterinarian at UC San Diego; Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Sergeant in Molecular Biology for Contra Costa County Sheriff; CSI Sergeant in Trace Evidence, Ballistics and Tool Marks for Contra Costa County Sheriff; CSI for Sacramento City Police, CSI in the Santa Rosa CA Department of Justice (DOJ) Laboratory, DOJ laboratory manager for the Central Region, Rippon, CA; and laboratory manager in the Jan Bashenski DOJ DNA Laboratory. Many others are serving as laboratory technicians in local police and sheriff's units.
Since 1998, Kimsey has co-chaired the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's Picnic Day activities. (This year's event is canceled due to coronavirus pandemic precautions.)
Walter Leal is a distinguished professor in the UC Davis Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and former professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. A member of the UC Davis faculty since 2000, he has taught insect physiology for 13 years and biochemistry for six years.
In his classrooms, Leal employs the strategic use of digital technology in truly innovative ways to generate animated eReviews, eClarifications, and eSolutions. He teaches, motivates, and inspires. His motto: “I don't teach because I have to; I teach because it is a joy to light the way and to spark the fire of knowledge."
Leal received the 2020 Distinguished Teaching Award for Undergraduate Teaching from the UC Davis Academic Senate. He is a fellow of four organizations: Entomological Society of America (ESA), National Academy of Inventors, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the California Academy of Sciences. He also received the Gakkaisho (fellow equivalent) from the Japanese Society of Applied Entomology and Zoology.
Leal was the first non-Japanese scientist to earn tenure in the Japan Ministry of Agriculture. His other honors include Technology Prize, Society for Bioscience, Biotechnology and Agrochemistry, Japan; ESA's Nan Yao Su Award for Innovation and Creativity; Silver Medal, International Society of Chemical Ecology; Medal of Achievement, Entomological Society of Brazil; and Corresponding Member, Brazilian Academy of Sciences. Leal co-chaired the 2016 International Congress of Entomology and delivered ESA's 2019 Founders' Memorial Lecture in honor of Tom Eisner, father of chemical ecology.
Wrote nominator James R. Carey, distinguished professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology: "One of the most astonishing responses to a professional talk I have ever witnessed in my entire career—and that is saying something—is the 5-minute standing ovation given to Walter after the 50-minute presentation (“Tom Eisner—An Incorrigible Entomophile and Innovator Par Excellence”) he gave to the over 1,000 attendees at the Founder's Memorial Awards program on the morning of November 19th at the national ESA meetings in St Louis."
"Walter designs and delivers his lectures to engage, encourage and inspire students, prompting them to think, ask questions, and resolve problems," wrote Carey, who received the PBESA teaching award in 2014 and went on to win the national ESA teaching award. "His students appreciate his state-of-the-art technology, dedication, kindness, and enthusiasm, coupled with his finely honed sense of humor."
To register for the virtual meeting, click here.
Keating, a member of the Class of 2020, will receive his bachelor's degree in entomology in June. Usually the award is presented at a separate ceremony hosted by the department, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the presentation is pending.
"Garrett is working on interactions between the solitary bee Osmia lignaria and microbes that are found in the larval provisions,” said Vannette, an assistant professor. “Larvae of this bee feed on the stored nectar and pollen provision, during which time the fungi and bacteria from collected nectar and pollen grow on these stored resources.”
“Garrett is examining how bacterial and fungal composition changes over time as the provisions age--and larvae grow--so this is a study in microbial community succession in bee food,” she added. “We are interested to see if microbes in stored nectar and pollen (provisions) affect the provision itself and if they end up in the gut of larval bees. He has already performed the sampling and is finishing up bioinformatics and analysis right now.”
His project is a collaboration between the Vannette lab and Neal Williams lab.
Keating, who joined the Vannette lab in 2019, plans to spend the summer working in the lab, and then next year “working at a nature-based outdoor education program in Sonoma,” he said. “After that I hope to return to entomology research.”
“I've been interested in entomology ever since I was a kid,” Keating said. “I grew up playing with spiders in my backyard and watching ants fight termites. My dad helped me set up science fair projects with pill bugs and water striders.”
Keating, from the East Bay city of Piedmont, enrolled at UC Davis after transferring from UC Riverside from 2016-2018. "In 2017-2018 I worked in Jessica Purcell's lab, studying socially polymorphic ants," he said, "and in the summer of 2018 I conducted a independent research project in Switzerland, studying bumble bee diversity along an elevational gradient. This was done through the UC study abroad program."
He graduated from Naropa University, a private university in Boulder, Colo., where he was involved in the Naropa LeapYear Gap Experience Program. During his freshman year, he earned semester credit while studying, working and doing internships in the United States and abroad.
Keenly interested in the environment, Keating served as a volunteer in a UC Berkeley professor's project in 2015 to stop the growth of Sudden Oak Death. Also in 2015, he engaged in a 100-hour project at The Presidio, San Francisco, to preserve wildlife and remove invasive species.
Keating completed an internship in 2016 with the Volunteer Initiative Nepal, where he worked on a water research project in Kathmandu, Nepal. His other work experiences range from cabin leader to camp counselor to head counselor for youth outdoor education programs from 2012 to 2018.
An avid volunteer, Keating engaged in a variety of projects with Amor Ministries from 2012 to 2015; in 2012 and 2013, he built houses for needy families in San Juan, Mexico. In the summer of 2014, he volunteered with Amigos de las Américas in Oaxaca, Mexico, and also conducted a summer program there to teach children the importance of amaranth as a grain or pseudocereal.
Wargin, to receive her bachelor's degree in entomology in June (she is minoring in ecology and comparative literature), holds a near straight-A grade point average. Plans to present the awards are pending due to coronavirus pandemic precautions.
Wargin is a member of the highly competitive Research Scholars Program in Insect Biology (RSPIB), founded and co-directed by faculty members Jay Rosenheim, Joanna Chiu and Louie Yang of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. As part of RSPIB, Wargin joined the lab of Stacey Combes, associate professor, Department of Neurology, Physiology, and Behavior, to research the biomechanics and behavioral ecology of flying insects.
Combes described her as “one of the most promising undergraduates I have ever worked with in terms of her potential for research and a career in academia.”
Academic advisor Sharon Lawler, professor of entomology, praised Wargin's academic record, zeal and communication skills. “She is an extraordinarily talented and hard-working scholar. Her achievements and clear research focus promise early and extended success.”
For the past year, Wargin has been working on an experiment investigating the effects of changing barometric pressure on bumble bee (Bombus impatiens) foraging behavior. She presented the preliminary results at the 2020 annual meeting of the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology in January.
As part of her research, Wargin built a device to “experimentally control pressure using a plexiglass box, which could hold an entire hive of bees and a nectar source, a solenoid valve system connected to an air source and vacuum, and a variety of cameras to record behavior.”
“I subjected the hive inside the box to two pressure regimes in my preliminary trial: increasing pressure and decreasing pressure,” Wargin said. “With the cameras, I captured images of individually tagged worker bees leaving and returning to the hive during foraging, as well as videos of the inside of the nest to observe overall activity.”
“Currently, I have completed a preliminary trial of this experiment,” the UC Davis senior said. “I am now refining the methodology and working out a few issues I had with data collection in order to streamline future trials and improve the scope of the data I collect. While I don't have enough data for publishable results, I have discovered from my preliminary trial that pressure does appear to have some effect on bumble bee foraging behavior. Specifically, when the pressure is decreasing, the bees tend to be more active; they go on more foraging trips and are slightly busier inside the nest. When the pandemic has calmed down a bit and I am able to return to lab, I hope to complete a few more trials and publish the results.”
“Last spring, Annaliese and I began discussing ideas for an independent research project for her to conduct during her senior year,” Combes said. “She became excited about the idea of experimentally testing the effects of barometric pressure changes (which often precede storms and other changes in weather) on bumble bee foraging and nest care behavior. Anecdotal accounts of the effects of pressure changes on bees and other animals abound, but experiments have rarely been performed on this topic in a controlled setting – partly because it's not entirely straightforward how to design a system that allows one to control and alter barometric pressure. “
“However, Annaliese dove right into this challenge and set about designing a custom-built, air-tight enclosure to house a colony of bees and their foraging chamber,” Combes said. “She spent several months constructing this system--researching and ordering proportional solenoid valves to precisely control inflow and outflow from the chamber (to alter pressure) and designing camera systems to automatically capture videos of in-hive behavior as well as motion-activated photographs of individual foragers that she marked with QR-code tags. Annaliese succeeded in producing a system to test her questions and conducted a preliminary experiment over several weeks on one hive this summer. The results are very promising, and we plan to follow up with several more experiments on additional hives this year.
Said Combes: “Annaliese's creativity in research questions and approaches, her determination in designing and trouble-shooting a very difficult technical set-up, and her diligence in collecting rigorous data for hours on end have resulted in what I think will be some novel and very important findings about how a ubiquitous environmental variable affects the behavior of key pollinators. I anticipate this research resulting in a high-impact publication over the next year, with Annaliese as the lead author.”
In addition, she has “devoted herself to outreach and to sharing her extraordinary passion for insects with the general public, and especially with girls and women,” Combes said. “She has always loved insects and was initially mystified when many of her classmates (especially girls) seemed scared of these creatures.”
A native of Rancho Palos Verdes, a suburb in Los Angeles County, Annaliese developed her interest in insects in early childhood. “I spent the early years of my life in Chicago, where I had a few encounters with insects like cicadas, mantises and bees,” she related. “These experiences sparked my interest and inspired me to pursue a career that was closely connected to the natural world. I went through a few different phases when I was a teenager when it came to what I wanted to do in college, but all of them were related to the biological sciences, and I eventually decided to do what I always did--spend a lot of time looking at and learning about insects. That initial fascination with insects has since developed into a broad interest in the fields of insect behavior and insect ecology.”
As a teen-ager, Annaliese won the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest Girl Scout honor, for her 80-hour self-led service project focused on insect outreach. She delivered several presentations to children in her community about insects and their importance to the natural world. The award honors the “dreamers and the doers who take ‘make the world a better place' to the next level, according to the Girl Scout Association.
An active member of the Entomology Club, Wargin worked with advisor Bob Kimsey and fellow members in 2018 to collect data on Alcatraz Island for the National Park Service. They surveyed old buildings for beetle damage and set up experimental trials for future data collection. In addition, Wargin served as a student researcher in the Department of Evolution and Ecology in 2019, and worked on a native pollinator project in the summer of 2017 at the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy.
Wargin's seven academic scholarships include the UC Davis McBeth Memorial Scholarship, given to entomology students who plan to further their education in the field.
Her future plans? “I plan to attend graduate school and earn a PhD in insect ecology,” Wargin said. “I feel drawn to research and am excited about what I'll study in the future. “
“When I was young, I spent six months living in a tent and planting trees in the Deep South,” states Andrew calmly as we chat in Hutchison Hall. Andrew Ross, Staff Research Associate here at UC Davis, has great stories about his life experiences.
A UC Davis alum, Andrew started his campus career in 2007 as a lab manager. The lab experience has certainly come in handy in his current role managing safety and facilities for Plant Pathology, Entomology and Nematology departments. Andrew notes, “I'm generally the first person lab personnel call with an issue because I know the equipment.”
In his role, Andrew also acts as a department liaison between safety entities. He assists principal investigators in making updates or corrections to meet safety requirements. If construction needs to take place, Andrew ensure the plans comply with requirements as well.
With safety requirements always changing, maintaining compliance can be challenging. However Andrew is passionate about keeping labs and other facilities safe. “Whatever I can do to help people out, that's what I enjoy doing,” stresses Andrew. Another challenging aspect of the job is finding low-cost alternatives to necessary equipment. Andrew explains that he needs to be efficient with costs since lab grants typically don't include funding for safety.
When Andrew isn't keeping his departments running safely and smoothly, he enjoys spending time with his wife and grandkids. From camping to hiking, he loves spending time outdoors.
Thank you, Andrew for being an asset to the campus community!
(Editor's Note: Andrew Ross serves the Department of Entomology and Nematology and the Department of Plant Pathology. He may be reached at 77 Hutchison, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. His telephone is (530) 752-2592.)