And what's the canceled 105th annual UC Davis Picnic without virtual insects?
The Department of Entomology and Nematology annually hosts dozens of insect-themed Picnic Day events at Briggs Hall and at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. But this year, the insects went virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic precautions.
The campuswide Picnic Day Committee hosted a virtual tour of some of the planned events, and posted this link: https://picnicday.ucdavis.edu/virtual/
The spotlight paused on the Bohart Museum, which houses nearly eight million insect specimens; the seventh largest insect collection in North America; the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity; and a live “petting zoo” comprised of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, tarantulas and the like. It also is the home of a gift shop, stocked with T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
Directed by UC Davis entomology professor Lynn Kimsey for 30 years, the museum is named for noted entomologist Richard Bohart (1913-2007). The Bohart team includes senior museum scientist Steve Heydon; Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator; and entomologist Jeff Smith, who curates the Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths section).
If you browse the Bohart Museum site, you'll find fact sheets about insects, written by Professor Kimsey.
But if you want to see the Bohart Museum's virtual tours, be sure to watch these videos:
- Director Lynn Kimsey giving a Bohart Museum introduction
- Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator, presenting an arthropod virtual tour
- Diane Ullman, professor of entomology and former chair of the department, presenting a view of the Lepidodpera section.
Also on the UC Davis Virtual Picnic Day site, you'll learn “How to Make an Insect Collection," thanks to project coordinator James R. Carey, distinguished professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology; and "Can Plants Talk to Each Other?" a TED-Ed Talk featuring the work of ecologist Rick Karban, professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
"Female tsetse flies carry their young in an adapted uterus for the entirety of their immature development and provide their complete nutritional requirements via the synthesis and secretion of a milk like substance," he says. PBS featured his work in its Deep Look video, “A Tsetse Fly Births One Enormous Milk-Fed Baby,” released Jan. 28, 2020. (See its accompanying news story.)
PBS also collaborated with the Attardo lab and the Chris Barker lab, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, for a PBS Deep Look video on Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that transmits dengue fever and Zika. The eggs are hardy; "they can dry out, but remain alive for months, waiting for a little water so they can hatch into squiggly larvae," according to the introduction. Watch the video, "This Dangerous Mosquito Lays Her Armored Eggs--in Your House."
In the meantime, the UC Davis Picnic Day leaders are gearing up for the 106th annual, set for April 17, 2021. What's a picnic without insects?
Headlines on colony collapse disorder dominated the news media, as scientists declared "honey bees are in trouble."
Under the direction of interim department chair Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, a crew installed the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven (named for it major donor) on Bee Biology Road, next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.
Fast forward to the fall of 2019.
A 10th anniversary celebration will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 28 in the bee garden. It will include sales of plants and native bee condos, honey tasting (honey from Sola Bee Honey, Woodland), catch-and-release bee observation and identification, and beekeeping and research displays. Several mini lectures are planned.
Visitors will see analemmatic sundial--the only one of its kind in the Sacramento area--and they can discuss the sundial with dial master and beekeeper Rick Williams, M.D. to learn how the dial was created and the links between human and bee perception of the sun. Visitors also will learn about "our research on bee use of ornamental landscape plants," said manager Chris Casey. In addition, visitors can "donate a book on insects, gardening, or nature for our Little Free Library," she announced.
- 10:30 a.m.: Donor and volunteer recognition
- 11 a.m.: Hive opening by beekeeper from the California Master Beekeepers' Association
- 11:30: Mini lecture, "Getting Started with Beekeeping"
- 12: Mini lecture, "Plants for Bees"
- 12:30: Mini lecture, "Using Solitary Bee Houses
- 1 p.m.: Hive opening by beekeeper from the California Master Beekeepers' Association
History of the Bee Garden
Häagen-Dazs wanted the funds to benefit sustainable pollination research, target colony collapse disorder, and support a postdoctoral researcher. It was decided to install an educational garden, conduct a design contest, and award a research postdoctoral fellowship to Michelle Flenniken (now with the Montana State University).
A Sausalito team--landscape architects Donald Sibbett and Ann F. Baker, interpretative planner Jessica Brainard and exhibit designer Chika Kurotaki--won the design competition. The garden was installed in the fall of 2009 under the direction of interim department chair Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology.
An eight-member panel selected the winner of the design competition: Professor Kimsey; founding garden manager Missy Borel (now Missy Borel Gable), then of the California Center for Urban Horticulture; David Fujino, executive director, California Center for Urban Horticulture at UC Davis; Aaron Majors, construction department manager, Cagwin & Dorward Landscape Contractors, based in Novato; Diane McIntyre, senior public relations manager, Häagen-Dazs ice cream; Heath Schenker, professor of environmental design, UC Davis; Jacob Voit, sustainability manager and construction project manager, Cagwin and Dorward Landscape Contractors; and Kathy Keatley Garvey, communications specialist, UC Davis Department of Entomology.
Others who had a key role in the founding and "look" of the garden included the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, founded and directed by the duo of entomologist/artist Diane Ullman, professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, and self-described "rock artist" Donna Billick. The art in the garden is the work of their students, ranging from those in Entomology 1 class to community residents. Eagle Scout Derek Tully planned, organized and built a state-of-the-art fence around the garden.
"The Honey Bee Haven will be a pollinator paradise," Kimsey related in December 2008. "It will provide a much needed, year-round food source for our bees at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. We anticipate it also will be a gathering place to inform and educate the public about bees. We are grateful to Haagen-Dazs for its continued efforts to ensure bee health."
The garden, Kimsey said, would include a seasonal variety of blooming plants that will provide a year-round food source for honey bees. It would be a living laboratory supporting research into the nutritional needs and natural feeding behaviors of honey bees and other insect pollinators.
Visitors to the garden, she said, would able to glean ideas on how to establish their own bee-friendly gardens and help to improve the nutrition of bees in their own backyards.
Feb. 19, 2008
Häagen-Dazs Donation to UC Davis
Dec. 8, 2008
Häagen-Dazs Launches Bee Garden Design Contest
Feb. 26, 2009
Sausalito Team Wins Design Competition
Aug. 6, 2009
Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven Site Preparation
Aug. 13, 2009
Bee Biology Website to Be Launched
Aug. 13, 2009
Thinking Outside the Box
Sept. 15, 2009
Campus Buzzway: Wildflowers
Dec. 15, 2009
Bee Biology Website Lauded
June 6, 2010
Grand Opening Celebration of Honey Bee Garden
July 30, 2010
More Than 50 Bee Species Found in Haven: Robbin Thorp (Now there's more than 80 and counting!)
Aug. 25, 2010
Donna Billick: Miss Bee Haven
April 11, 2012
Brian Fishback: Spreading the Word about Honey Bees
Aug. 26, 2013
Eagle Scout Project: Fence Around the Bee Garden
Sept. 11 2012
A Fence to Behold
List of Donors Who Helped Launch the Garden (2009 through July 2014)
Missy Borel, then manager of the California Center for Urban Horticulture (and now Missy Borel Gable, director of the California Master Gardener Program) served as the founding manager, a part-time position. Nineteen volunteers assisted her.
Today Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the Department of Entomology and Nematology, serves as the faculty director of the bee garden. Christine Casey is the academic program manager.
UC Davis entomology professor Diane Ullman is off to France in November but it's not a dream vacation. It's a dream opportunity: a Fulbright-funded scholarship to research plant virus-insect interactions. She will be studying plant viruses and the insects that transmit them.
Her sabbatical will take her to Montpellier, France, to work with renowned vector biologists Stéphane Blanc and Marilyne Uzest at the National Institute of Agronomic Research (INRA) on the Campus International de Baillarguet near Montpellier. The Biologie et Génetique des Interactions Plante-Parasite (UMR-BGPI, CIRAD-INRA-SupAgro) focuses on plant pathogens and their interactions with arthropod vector in agroecosystems. She will be studying plant viruses in the genus Orthotospovirus (family Tospoviridae). This family holds the only plant infecting members in the order Bunyaviriales. The other viruses in this order infect animals and humans and are transmitted primarily by mosquitoes and ticks.
"New evidence suggests the bunyavirus, Rift valley fever virus (an animal infecting member of the Bunyavirales), uses a multicomponent system in which individual virions do not co-package all segments and infection requires virion populations, a possibility with profound implications for virus evolution and antiviral target discovery,” said Ullman, an international authority on orthotospoviruses. “I will test the hypothesis that orthotospoviruses use multicomponent genome organization and segment copy regulation occurs in their hosts.”
The UC Davis professor has researched insect-transmitted plant pathogens for 37 years, targeting numerous insect vector species--from thrips, whiteflies, and leafhoppers to mealybugs--and the plant pathogens they transmit, including viruses, phytoplasma and bacteria.
“Sustainable management of insect-transmitted pathogens is a key concern for food production in France and the United States,” Ullman wrote in her Fulbright application. “Both countries grow many of the same crops and growers face similar challenges from insect-transmitted plant viruses. Current management strategies rely heavily on pesticides that may cause significant health and environmental concerns, including damage to bees and other pollinators, as shown with neonicotinoid pesticides. Clearly, better knowledge about these insect-transmitted viral systems…has potential to reduce pesticide use by providing novel and innovative technologies to manage tospoviruses and thrips in France and the United States.”
Ullman, former chair of the Department of Entomology and Nematology and a former associate dean with the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, expects the project will build strong research relationships between UC Davis and Montpellier that will lead to grant applications for international research and scholarly exchange opportunities for scientists, students and post-doctoral scholars.
Professor Diane Ullman of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology will speak on “Winds of Change: Bridging Art and Science” at a seminar hosted by the UC Davis Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology on Wednesday, April 25 in Meyer Hall.
The seminar will take place from 3:45 to 5 p.m. in the Foster Room, Room 1138.
Ullman, co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, will describe the building blocks, innovations and outcomes of the program that she and nationally known ceramicist Donna Billick of Davis formed in 2006.
Ullman and Billick created the art/science fusion concept in 1997 with an undergraduate course, “Art, Science and the World of Insects,” that became the centerpiece and inspiration for the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program.
Since then, the program “has been a hot bed of innovation, bridging art and science with diverse undergraduate courses, exhibitions, performances and colloquia with collaboration among design faculty, science faculty, museum educators, professors artists and UC Davis students,” Ullman related.
Ullman, both a noted entomologist and artist, will relate how the program was developed, why the connections between art and science can be transformational to teaching in both formal and informal settings, and how community inspirations and educational infrastructure are needed to succeed. “As the winds of change moved across the landscape, bridges between visual and performing arts, design, science and technology were built and programs around this concept have arisen worldwide,” Ullman noted.
The settings and circumstances growing from this intellectual borderland yielded many unexpected outcomes that Ullman will share in her presentation.
One of the their most noted works is Nature's Gallery, a mosaic mural in the Ruth Storer Gardens, UC Davis Arboretum, off Garrod Drive. Handcrafted by UC Davis staff, faculty and community members, under the umbrella of the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, it features interlocking tiles showing the diversity of plants and insects in California. The 140 ceramic tiles depict plants and insects. The mosaic mural drew more than 300,000 visitors when it was displayed in the summer of 2007 in the U.S. Botanic Garden on the Capitol Mall, Washington, D.C.
Ullman, who holds a bachelor's degree in horticulture from the University of Arizona, Tucson, and a doctorate in entomology from UC Davis, joined the UC Davis entomology faculty in 1991, after serving on the faculty of the University of Hawaii.
She chaired the UC Davis Department of Entomology from 2004 to 2005, and then served as associate dean for undergraduate academic programs, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, from 2005 to 2014.
Ullman focuses her research on insect/virus/plant interactions and the development of management strategies for insect-transmitted plant pathogens. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in entomology and the Science and Society Program.
A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Entomological Society of America, Ullman received the 2014 Excellence in Teaching Award from the Entomological Society of America and the UC Davis Chancellor's Achievement Award for Diversity and Community in 2007.
Coordinators of the exhibit are Natalie Nelson, director and curator of the Pence Gallery; and UC Davis professor of entomology and artist Diane Ullman, co-founder and co-director of the UC Davis Art Science/Fusion Program.
The work of 17 artists from a field of 85 worldwide artists are featured in the exhibit, which opened Jan. 26 and continues through March 2. The jurors--Jiayi Young, UC Davis assistant professor of design and Helen Donis-Keller, professor of biology and art at Olin College of Engineering, Mass.—will present the awards at the Feb. 9th reception at 8 p.m.
The exhibit includes installations, video, 2D and 3D work by contemporary artists in the United States and abroad who are exploring themes in both fields of art and science. Selected artists, who range from Davis to Spain, are Omar Armendariz, Kenna Doeringer, Tamren Dong, Annette Goodfriend, Belinda Hanson, Joe Hedges, Allison Leigh Holt, Rickie Jacobs, Stephen Kaltenbach, Pantea Karimi, Alexandra Knie, Robert Krawczyk, Chris Santa Maria, Gail Morrison, Jennifer E. Padilla, Melinda K. P. Stees, and Daniel Tran.
English polymath, scientist, Anglican priest, philosopher, theologian, and historian of science William Whewell (1794-1866) coined the term "consilience" in 1840. “Consilience is the linking together of facts and principles from different disciplines to form a broad, comprehensive theory that spans the realms of knowledge,” Whewell said. American biologist, researcher, theorist, naturalist and author E. O. Wilson brought consilience into the modern lexicon with his acclaimed book, “Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge.”
The goals of the exhibition, as announced last December, are three-fold: to show creative work that explores the intersection between art and science; to foster communication between the arts and sciences, and to spark new ways of viewing the world and ourselves, the organizers said.
Art juror Jiayi Young holds a master's degree in fine arts (multimedia and painting) from Washington State University, Pullman, Wash.; a master of science in atomic physics from Kansas State University, Manhattan; and a bachelor's degree in fine arts and physics, Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisc. She works in the field of digital media with an emphasis on the cross-disciplinary areas of design, integrating art and science with cutting edge technology. Young focuses her current creative work on constructing data-driven interfaces, installations, real-time projection graphics, and performances in public and cultural places.
Donis-Keller, who integrates the fields of art and biology, holds a master of fine arts in Studio Art from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Tufts University, and a doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology from Harvard University. She says an appreciation for the natural world from the molecular level to the biosphere drives her art.
The exhibit is open from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday through March 2. Further information on the show is available from Nelson at (530) 758-3370 or email@example.com.