Picnic Day serves as the university's annual open house for prospective and current students, families, alumni, staff, faculty, and the greater Davis and regional communities. It all begins with the parade opening ceremony at 9:30 a.m. by the grandstands on North Quad Avenue, across from Wickson Hall. The parade begins at 10 a.m. Most Picnic Day events will run from 10 a.m. to 4 or 4 p.m. (See more information on the campus website.)
At Briggs Hall, home of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, activities will take place from 9 a.m. to around 4:30 p.m., while the Bohart Museum will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.--shorter hours to enable the Bohart scientists and volunteers to help at Briggs Hall and with the UC Davis Picnic Day Parade. The UC Davis Entomology Club's parade entry is a gigantic black widow spider.
The Bohart Museum, themed, "Will Travel for Bugs: The Bohart Museum of Entomology's Collections from Around the World," is nominated for a people's choice award, as is the honey tasting at Briggs Hall. QR codes will be at each site. "Visitors will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite exhibits in five award categories," according to Madhuri Narayan, UC Davis Picnic Day exhibits director. Folks can vote by QR or vote here from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. April 13. The prize for earning the most votes? "An awesome certificate and bragging rights," Narayan said.
Briggs Hall. Among the scheduled events:
- Cockroach Races: Participants can pick their favorite "roach athlete" and cheer it to victory.
- Honey Tasting: Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño is planning on a number of varietals of honey.
- Maggot Art: Participants will dip a maggot into water-based, non-toxic paint and position it on paper and let it crawl. Voila! Maggot art, suitable for framing.
- Virtual Reality Bugs: Medical entomologist Geoffrey Attardo will set up a virtual reality system to enable people to view three dimensional models of insects. In VR, the models can be made to look life size, 40 feet tall or anywhere in between, he says. Here's the link that to view them in your web browser: https://skfb.ly/6xVru
- Bee Observation Hive: Viewers can check out the queen, workers and drones in the bee observation hive and see tools used in beekeeping.
- Bug Doctor: The Doctor Is In: Graduate students will identify insects and arachnids and answer questions
- IPM Booth: UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program professionals will discuss and answer questions about insect pests, beneficial insects and pest control. They will display their publications and live insects. In keeping with tradition, they will give away free lady beetles (lady bugs), to be released in gardens to devour aphids and other soft-bodied insects.
- Ants: Graduate students from Professor Phil Ward's lab will talk to visitors about the amazing world of ants.
- Mosquito Abatement: Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District professionals will staff a booth
- Dr. Death: Forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey will staff his traditional Dr. Death booth, inviting the visitors to ask questions and look through microscopes.
- Davis Fly Fishers: The anglers will demonstrate fly-tying techniques in Briggs 158
- Aquatic Insects: Professor Sharon Lawler's lab will display a number of aquatic insects.
- Scavenger Hunt: Participants will search for and identify insects.
- Insect Face Painting: Entomology Club members will face-paint bees, butterflies, lady beetles and other insects
- T-Shirt Sales: Visitors can take their pick or picks among insect-themed t-shirts (popular t-shirts include beetles and honey bees). Newly printed t-shirts feature the roach races, an American Gothic of entomologists, and a cicada plugged into an amp. Selection and prices are online at https://mkt.com/UCDavisEntGrad/
- Bake Sale: The Entomology Club will offer insect-themed baked goods.
"At the Bohart, we are focusing on the various countries from around the world and some of their insect fauna," said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. The 12 countries that the Bohart is highlighting, besides the United States, are Australia, Belize, Democratic Republic of Congo, Korea, Madagascar, Malayasia, Mexico,Papua New Guinea, Peru, Republic of South Africa, and Turkey.
“So for anyone who is from there, has lived there, has visited there, or who wants to visit there, please come and take a peak at some unique insects from around the world,” Yang said. “Some people enjoy traveling to explore cuisine and culture, but traveling for the flora and fauna of the world is equally wonderful. Insects are an important part of nature, so be curious, not afraid.”
The Bohart Museum was founded in 1946 by UC Davis entomologist Richard “Doc” Bohart (1913-2007). It is the home of nearly eight million insect specimens, plus a year-around gift shop and a live "petting zoo" that includes Madagascar hissing cockroaches, stick insects, tarantulas and praying mantids. The gift shop is stocked with books, jewlery, t-shirts, insect-collecting equipment, insect-themed candy, and stuffed animals.
The Bohart Museum is open to the general public Mondays through Thursdays, from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m., plus occasional, weekend open houses. Admission is free. Further information is available on the Bohart Museum website.
The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology is chaired by nematologist/professor Steve Nadler. Molecular geneticist/physiologist Joanna Chiu, associate professor, serves as the vice chair.
All will take place from 4:10 to 5 p.m., Wednesdays in 122 Briggs Hall.
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
No seminar today. (Seminar by Sarah Stellwagen, postdoctoral researcher, University of Maryland
will present her previously scheduled seminar on “Toward Spider Glue: From Material Properties to Sequencing the Longest Silk Family Gene” on April 24.)
Wednesday, Jan. 23
Jenita Thinakaran, UC Davis postdoctoral researcher based at the Shafter Agricultural Research Station
Title: "A Systems Approach to Managing Potato Psyllid in Relation to Its Alternate Hosts"
Host: Geoffrey Attardo, assistant professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
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:
Stephen "Fringy" Richards, associate professor, Baylor College of Medicine, Human Genome Sequencing Center.
Topic: "Evolutionary Genomic Innovation Within the Phylum Arthropoda"
Host: Steve Nadler, professor and chair, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
Spring Break: March 20-27
For further information on the seminars, contact Geoffrey Attardo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Water balloons, water guns, super sprayers, and buckets prevailed when dozens of scientists participated in the 15th annual Bruce Hammock Lab Water Balloon Battle on the Briggs Hall lawn at the University of California, Davis.
The July event, also known as "Bruce's Big Balloon Battle at Briggs," proved to be an international soakfest. That's because the 28 researchers in the Hammock lab hail from seven countries: the United Stares, China, France, Ukraine, Lebanon, Japan and Korea. They include postdoctoral scholars, researchers, graduate students, visiting scholars, visiting graduate students, visiting summer students, short-term visiting scholars and student interns.
The annual battle amounts to 15 minutes, or "15 Minutes of Aim." That's how long it takes for the some 40 water warriors to toss 2,000 water balloons. Joining in were scientists from the Aldrin Gomes lab, UC Davis Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior; Frank Zalom lab of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology; and the UC Davis Department of Mathematics, plus family and friends.
Hammock, a UC Davis distinguished professor who holds a joint appointment with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, hosts the annual event in mid-July when triple-digit temperatures strike the campus. It's an opportunity for the lab members--who work hard throughout the year and play hard for 15 minutes--to engage in a little fun and camaraderie. The thirsty lawn benefits, too.
First the water warriors fill the balloons in an assemblyline procedure, and at exactly 3 p.m., the soakfest begins. As the H2O dwindles, they empty buckets at unsuspecting targets. The last part: picking up every single balloon remnant from the lawn.
Hammock, trained as a entomologist, chemist and toxicologist--and who now focuses his research on human health, is recognized for his work on using natural chemical mediators to control inflammation and intractable pain. He co-discovered the soluble epoxide hydrolase, and many of his more than 1100 publications and patents are on the P450 branch of the arachidonate cascade where the soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) degrades natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory compounds.
Hammock, an alumnus of UC Berkeley with a doctorate in entomology, joined the UC Davis faculty in 1980. He is the founding director (1987-present) of the UC Davis NIEHS (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) Superfund Research Program and is a founding member (1990-present) of the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. He has directed the UC Davis NIH/NIEHS Combined Analytical Laboratory for 25 years.
Highly honored by his peers, Hammock is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, which honors academic invention and encourages translations of inventions to benefit society. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the Entomological Society of America, and the recipient of the Bernard B. Brodie Award in Drug Metabolism, sponsored by the America Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. He is the first McGiff Memorial Awardee in Lipid Biochemistry. The Eicosanoid Research Foundation recently honored him for work on oxidized lipids.
But on one day in July--for 15 minutes--noted academician Bruce Hammock leaves his Briggs Hall office and transforms into an elite water warrior. He's practiced for 15 years, 15 minutes at a time.
"Bruce has a good aim," said Christophe Morisseau, a Hammock lab researcher who coordinates the annual battles.
Two of the department's exhibits are in the running for special awards at the 103rd annual UC Davis Picnic Day, set Saturday, April 22. One is “Honey Tasting” at Briggs Hall, and the other is “Bigger, Better, Buglier: Impressive Science” at the Bohart Museum of Entomology.
“Honey Tasting" will feature a selection of varietal honeys in a display that's the work of Extension apiculturist Elina Niño and colleagues at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Facility.
"We will have the crowd favorites: coffee blossom, sweet meadowfoam, as well as some classics such as orange blossom and blackberry blossom and the 'love-it-or-hate-it' buckwheat honey," Niño said. "This year we will also be featuring our own 2016 crop of UC Davis honey from the apiculture program." The exhibit is one of six competing for awards in the category, "Hunger Fix.”
“Bigger, Better, Buglier: Impressive Science” from the Bohart Museum is one of six entered in "Secrets of Nature." The insect museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane. It is the home of nearly 8 million insect specimens, plus a live petting zoo (Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and taranatulas) and a year-around gift shop that includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
The department's two exhibits are among 30 special exhibits competing in five categories: Best in Show, Fun with Crafts, Arts and Humanities, Hunger Fix and Secrets of Nature, said UC Davis Picnic Day exhibits director Helen Xie.
The way it works: Picnic Day attendees vote for their favorite exhibits. Winning exhibits will be featured on social media pages such as Picnic Day website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat accounts after Picnic Day. They will also be featured next year, in preparation for Picnic Day 2018.
The poll will open at 8 a.m. and close at 10 p.m. the same day. All are welcome to vote at: https://orgsync.com/51524/forms/258052.
Last year the department won two special awards. By popular vote, "Little Swimmers and Fly Tyers (Briggs Hall)," won the category, Hidden Treasures; and "Real Insects and Mimics" (Bohart Museum of Entomology) won the category "Family Friendly."
This year's Briggs Hall activities will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Bohart Museum of Entomology will swing open its doors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Graduate student Brendon Boudinot, who is chairing the department's Picnic Day Committee, announced these activities at Briggs:
- Honey Tasting (You can sample varietals of honey)
- Bug Doctor (The doctor is in!)
- Cockroach Races (Pick a winner: this event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
- Scavenger Hunt (Do you know your insects?)
- Dr. Death (Forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey will answer your questions)
- Insect Face Painting (Get a bee, lady beetle or another insect painted on your face)
- Little Swimmers and Fly Tying (Watch and identify aquatic insects, a project from the Sharon Lawler lab, and learn "how to tie a fly" from the Fly Fishers of Davis
- Maggot Art (Dip a maggot into a water-based, non-toxic paint and create a painting suitable for framing)
- UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management (UC IPM) (See their many publications and ask questions; youngsters can receive a vial of free lady beetles, aka ladybugs)
- T-shirt sales by the UC Davis Entomology Graduate Students' Association (popular t-shirts include beetles and honey bees)
- Social insects, insect forestry, medical entomology, and more (See a honey bee observation hive from the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility and ants from the Phil Ward lab; and also learn about forest insects and mosquitoes. The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District will staff a booth)
The nematology collection will be on display in the Sciences Laboratory Building, across from Briggs.
Theme of this year's campuswide Picnic Day is "Growing Together." The event gets underway at 9:30 a.m. with an opening ceremony by the grandstands on North Quad Ave., across from Wickson Hall. The parade starts at 10 a.m. from the same site. Announcement locations are at 2nd and D streets in downtown Davis; F Street in front of PDQ Fingerprinting, and 3rd and C streets in downtown Davis. The UC Davis Entomology Club, advised by forensic entomologist Bob Kimsey, will enter its popular black widow float.
By popular vote, "Little Swimmers and Fly Tyers (Briggs Hall)," won the category, Hidden Treasures; and "Real Insects and Mimics (Bohart Museum of Entomology)" won the category "Family Friendly."
"Little Swimmers" featured an aquatic insect display from Professor Sharon Lawler's lab, while "Fly Tyers" was the work of the Fly Fishers of Davis, headed by president Dana Hooper and vice president Paul Berliner.
Coordinating the Bohart Museum Picnic Day exhibit were Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum; Tabatha Yang, public outreach and education; and Steve Heydon, senior museum scientist.
Chairing the Briggs Hall Picnic Day Committee were forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey of the faculty and doctoral candidate Danny Klittich, representing the Entomology Graduate Student Association (EGSA). Kimsey also serves as the EGSA advisor. The Briggs Hall sub-committee chairs included:
- Erin Donely-Marineau - Registration
- Joanna Bloese and Brendon Boudinot - Maggot Art
- Stephanie Kurniawan - Medical Entomology
- Elina Niño - Honey Tasting and Apiculture
- Margaret "Rei" Scampavia - Pollinator Pavilion
- Jackson Audley and Corwin Parker - Forestry Entomology
- Bob Kimsey - Collecting Equipment and Dr. Death
- Cindy Preto - EGSA T-Shirts
- Sharon Lawler - Little Swimmers
- Ralph Washington Jr. - Bug Doctor
- Arachnids - Jeff Smith and Ziad Khouri
- Bumble Bees - Robbin Thorp
- Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches - Nicole Tam
- Thorny Walking Sticks- Patrik Barcelos
- Tomato Hornworms - Laurie Casebier
- Australian Walking Sticks - Charlotte Herbert
- Tardigrade Display - Angel of Love "Lovey" Corniel and Tabatha Yang
- Mimicry Displays - Steve Heydon and Tabatha Yang
- Gift Shop - Ivani Li
The UC Davis Entomology Club entered a giant black widow float in the Picnic Parade. Taking the lead were Maia Lundy, president, and Marko Marrero, past president. Jamie Fong and Lovey Corniel led the baking for the entomophagy bake sale. Visitors purchased cricket-flour cookies and other goodies at a table in front of Briggs.
Scores of Entomology Club members participated in Picnic Day. Andre Poon and Stacey Lee Rice designed the club T-shirts, with ordering and selling overseen by Sydney Morrill and Tom Nguyen. Nguyen and Lundy also coordinated the tabling and face painting. Among the volunteers:
Face Painting: Jim Shen, Ushrayinee Sarker, Karissa Merritt, Maia Lundy, Jessica Nguyen, Marko Marrero, Stacey Lee Rice, Miriam Nansen, Ann Kao and Tom Nguyen
Baking: Jamie Fong, Lovey Corniel, Mary Corniel, Jessie Liu, Keith Wong, John So, Qiming Yang, Andre Poon, James Heydon
Tabling: Tom Nguyen, Qiming Yang, Andre Poon, Chloe Shott, Keith Wong, Darian Dungey, Jessie Liu and John So
Parade: Jamie Fong, Val Fong, Marko Marrero, Alex Nguyen, Ben Maples, Chloe Shott, Andre Poon, Qiming Yang, Maia Lundy, Jade Lundy, James Heydon, lovey Corniel, Mary Corniel, Massiel Melendez, Sydney Morrill, Andy Yu, Farian Dungey, Ushrayinee Sarker, Stacey Lee Rice and Kyle Leong.
(Editor's Note: Below are photos from the award-winning exhibits. For more photos from Picnic Day, see the Department of Entomology and Nematology's Flickr page.)