Let The Games begin!
The award-winning UC Davis Entomology Games Team is gearing up for the national competition.
The popular Entomology Games, a lively question-and-answer, college bowl-style competition on entomological facts played between university-sponsored student teams, takes center stage at the annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America (ESA). This year's meeting is set Nov. 13-16 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
A preliminary round will be held from 1 to 3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 13 in the West Ballroom of the Vancouver Convention Center. The final round is from 5 to 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 15 at the same site. The event was formerly known as the Linnaean Games.
The UC Davis team defeated the UC Riverside team at the 2022 meeting of the Pacific Branch, Entomological Society of America (PBESA) to advance to the nationals. UC Riverside also will compete in the nationals as the PBESA runner-up. The Pacific Branch encompasses 11 Western states, parts of Canada and Mexico and several U.S. territories.
Some of the questions asked of the teams at the PBESA meeting, held April 10-13 in Santa Rosa:
- Give the binomial name of the new record-holder for millipede with greatest number of legs, along with its country of origin. (Answers: Eumillipes persephone; Australia)
- What is a chemical called that is added to an insecticide that enhances the formulation and efficacy, but is not itself toxic? (Answer: an adjuvant)
- Name the heme containing enzymes that play a role in the detoxification of xenobiotics such as pesticides. (Answer: Cytochrome P450s)
- What is the most prevalent virus affecting humans that is vectored by Aedes mosquitoes? (Answer: Dengue)
In last year's national match, Ka Mea Kolo, an entomology club at the University of Hawaii, defeated Texas A&M to claim the championship. Auburn University won the national championship in 2020, and the University of Florida in 2019.
Since 2015, UC Davis has scored three national championships:
- 2018: The University of California team (UC Davis/UC Berkeley) defeated Texas A&M. Members of the UC Team: captain Ralph Washington Jr., then a UC Berkeley graduate student with a bachelor's degree in entomology from UC Davis; doctoral students Brendon Boudinot, Jill Oberski and Zachary Griebenow of the Phil Ward lab, and doctoral student Emily Bick of the Christian Nansen lab.
- 2016: UC Davis defeated the University of Georgia. Members of the UC Davis team: captain Ralph Washington Jr., Brendon Boudinot and Emily Bick.
- 2015: UC Davis defeated the University of Florida. Members of the UC Davis team: captain Ralph Washington Jr., and members Brendon Boudinot, Jessica Gillung and Ziad Khouri.
The 7000-member ESA, founded in 1889 and located in Annapolis, Md., is the world's largest entomological organization. It is affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry and government. Members are researchers, teachers, extension service personnel, administrators, marketing representatives, research technicians, consultants, students, pest management professionals, and hobbyists.
- Listen to the 2018 Entomology Games (won by the University of California team, comprised of UC Davis and UC Berkeley students), posted on YouTube (audio only, no video)
- Watch the 2016 National Linnaean Games Championship Round (won by UC Davis), posted on YouTube
- Watch the 2015 National Linnaean Games Championship Round (won by UC Davis), posted on YouTube
Let The Games begin!
The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology Team, with a history of three national championships, is gearing up for the Entomology Games at the annual meeting of the Pacific Branch, Entomological Society of America (PBESA). The meeting takes place April 10-13 in the Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country. Santa Rosa.
The team includes doctoral candidate Zachary Griebenow of the Phil Ward lab, captain; doctoral candidate Jill Oberski of the Ward lab; doctoral student Erin “Taylor” Kelly of the Geoffrey Attardo lab; and doctoral student Madison “Madi” Hendrick of the Ian Grettenberger lab.
The Entomology Games is a lively question-and-answer, college bowl-style competition on entomological facts played between university-sponsored student teams. It was formerly known as the Linnaean Games.
The preliminary round is from 5 to 6 p.m., April 10. Plans are to hold three rounds with questions from each of the 10 categories: Biological Control, Behavior and Ecology, Economic and Applied Entomology, Medical-Urban-Veterinary Entomology, Morphology and Physiology, Biochemistry and Toxicology, Systematics and Evolution, Integrated Pest Management and Plant-Insect Interactions, History of Entomology, and Entomology in Popular Culture. (See 2021 sample questions.)
The final round is from 8 to 10 p.m., April 11. Both the championship team and the runner-up team will represent PBESA at the Entomological Society of America (ESA) meeting, Nov. 13-16 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Last year's national champion was the University of Hawaii, which edged Texas A&M University.
In 2018, the University of California team won the national championship, defeating Texas A&M. The team included captain Ralph Washington Jr., then a UC Berkeley graduate student with a bachelor's degree in entomology from UC Davis; doctoral students Brendon Boudinot, Jill Oberski and Zachary Griebenow of the Phil Ward lab, and doctoral student Emily Bick of the Christian Nansen lab.
UC Davis won the national competition in both 2016 and 2015, defeating the University of Georgia in 2016, and the University of Florida in 2015.
Some of the questions in the past have involved the work entomologists affiliated with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology: emerita Mary Lou Flint, a longtime leader of the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management (UC IPM) Program and an Extension entomologist based in the department; Rebecca Godwin, who received her doctorate from UC Davis and is now an assistant professor of biology at Piedmont University, Demorest, Ga.; and Jason Bond, the Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair and associate dean, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Q. Mary Lou Flint's textbook, IPM in Practice; Principles and Methods of Integrated Pest Management, cites the management of what invasive plant, first introduced to North America from Europe, as an "excellent example of classical biological control in the Western US?" This plant was controlled by importing the European chrysomelid beetle Chrysolina quadrigemina.
A. Klamath weed / St. John's Wort / Hypericum perforatum
Q: In early 2021, (Rebecca) Godwin and (Jason) Bond described 33 new species of the trapdoor spider genus Ummidia, including a species named in honor of what alt-country singer-songwriter, who was the most-nominated woman at the 2019 Grammy Awards? She has had success both as a solo artist and as a member of the all-female supergroup The Highwomen, and her annual music festival "Girls Just Wanna Weekend" is held in Mexico near the type locality of her namesake trapdoor spider. Name this singer.
A: Brandi Carlile
PBESA is comprised of 11 Western states, parts of Canada and Mexico, and several U.S. territories.
The fall quarter seminars begin Sept. 29 and conclude Dec. 1.
"The fall quarter series will be a mixture of in-person and virtual seminars and we have an exciting list of seminars that includes both national and international speakers," Siddique said. "Both in-person and virtual seminars will be held on Wednesdays at 4 p.m. (Pacific Time)."
The in-person seminars will take place in Room 122 of Briggs Hall. "We have already lined up seven speakers who will be giving in-person seminars," he said. Those will be recorded for later viewing.
Three of the seminars will be virtual. "Virtual seminars will be accomplished using the Zoom meeting software package," Siddique related. A Zoom link will be provided a week before the seminar.
First on tap will be the exit seminar of doctoral candidate Hanna Kahl of the lab of UC Davis distinguished professor Jay Rosenheim. She will speak on "Herbivory of Citrus Fruit by European Earwigs in California" at 4 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 29. This will be an in-person seminar.
No seminar will be held Nov. 3, which conflicts with the annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America (ESA), set Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in Denver, Colo. Many faculty attend the annual meeting.
Siddique joined the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology in July 2019 after serving as a research group leader for several years at the University of Bonn, Germany. Research in the Siddique lab focuses on basic as well as applied aspects of interaction between parasitic nematodes and their host plants. "The long-term object of our research is not only to enhance our understanding of molecular aspects of plant–nematode interaction but also to use this knowledge to provide new resources for reducing the impact of nematodes on crop plants in California."
For further information on the seminars, contact Siddique at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 10 Fellows were announced today.
Hoover, who received her doctorate in entomology from UC Davis in June, 1997, studied with major professors Sean Duffey (1943-1997) and Bruce Hammock. Hoover joined the PSU faculty as an assistant professor in 1998, achieving full professor in 2010.
Hoover's areas of expertise include biology and ecology of invasive species, insect-microbial symbiosis, tritrophic interactions, insect virology, and pollination of forest trees.
She is active in PSU's Center for Chemical Ecology, Center for Pollinator Research, and the Insect Biodiversity Center.
“Hoover is internationally recognized for uncovering detailed mechanisms of how phytochemicals reduce mortality by baculoviruses through physiological impacts on the larva's midgut (epithelial cells and peritrophic matrix,” said nominator Gary Felton, professor and head of the PSU Department of Entomology. Hoover and her co-advisors “patented baculovirus formulation additives that counteract these physiological effects, and thus increase the sensitivity of larvae to infections.”
“Kelli was a delight to have in the laboratory at UC Davis,” said Hammock, now a UC Davis distinguished professor who holds a joint appointment with the Department of Entomology and Nematology and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. “She started her Ph.D. at Davis at an exciting time when we were trying to move recombinant baculoviruses into practical agriculture as green pesticides. Among the laboratories of Sean Duffey, Susumu Maeda, Kevin Heinz and extramural collaborators around the world, we had an exciting critical mass ranging, including virology, peptide chemistry, scorpion venoms, genetic engineering, pest management and others.”
“Kelli's interest in tritrophic interactions and her outgoing and engaging personality were just what was needed to pull the team together,” said Hammock, a 2010 Fellow. “As one would expect, Kelli's talents in science and leadership have served her well at Penn State. There her baculovirus work transitioned into a broader program in gypsy moth control and the invasion of the Asian longhorned beetle provided an opportunity to look at gut symbionts. Every project that Kelli touches seems to yield exciting results with practical implications. I am thrilled that the ESA has recognized what a star she is in our field.”
UC Davis doctoral alumnus Bryony Bonning, a professor at the University of Florida and a 2013 ESA Fellow, commented that “Kelli is so deserving of this award.”
“I worked with Kelli for two, delightful years at UC Davis, and was particularly impressed by the number of undergraduate students that she managed to mentor at the bench!” Bonning said. “Since then, she has established a stellar research program that has recently focused on both the fundamental biology and management solutions for invasive pests including Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) and spotted lantern fly. Analysis of ALB semiochemicals resulted in a blend now sold by two companies and used in North America and Europe for ALB management."
“In collaboration with engineers, she has also spearheaded development of a method to prevent introduction of invasive species in the wood packing associated with international shipments,” Bonning noted. “This dielectric heating technology, used to treat and kill insects hidden in the wood packing, is at the stage of commercial equipment prototype. These examples reflect both the interdisciplinary breadth of Kelli's research program and the seamless melding of science to address fundamental questions that lead to practical solutions. This breadth of scope and ability to identify commercially useful components of the system is a relatively rare phenotype among entomologists! Further, Kelli is driven to engage the necessary parties (scientists, stakeholders, policy makers) toward implementation of strategies to prevent or manage the impact of invasive species on U.S. agriculture."
In his nomination letter, Felton, a 2014 ESA Fellow, said that Hoover excels in research, teaching, and service. “There are three key attributes that stand out in Dr. Hoover's research contributions: interdisciplinary, collaborative, and integrative,” he wrote. “Hoover's program encompasses research, education, outreach and service related to the biology of and solutions for invasive species threats, in forest, ornamental, and agricultural systems. She integrates basic and applied research in multi-trophic interactions, microbial symbioses, invasion biology, and insect physiology.”
For 19 years, Hoover has collaborated with industrial engineers and national and international regulatory agencies “to develop a novel technology (patents pending) to reduce the risk of pathways that can introduce alien forest pests through international trade,” Felton wrote. “She has used her studies to create a platform for education and training of a diverse group of undergraduates, graduate students, and post-graduate scholars. Since Hoover's interdisciplinary approach allows her to interact with and serve as a bridge between multiple disciplines and diverse stakeholders, she has initiated broad networking opportunities for members of these communities by organizing and leading multi-disciplinary research teams, symposia, and international conferences.”
Asian Longhorned Beetle, Gypsy Moth
“The vast majority of Hoover's studies focuses on basic and applied research on invasive species, such as the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) and gypsy moth and most recently the spotted lanternfly,” Felton wrote. “Hoover and collaborators investigated semiochemical communication in ALB in an effort to help regulatory agencies detect and monitor ALB in the field, especially at low densities. Hoover and colleagues took the male-produced volatile sex pheromone (discovered by USDA/ARS) and conducted years of basic lab and field research to produce a commercially available ALB lure (pheromones and kairomones) and trapping system, which primarily captures virgin females. The blend developed by Hoover and her team is sold by two major pheromone companies and has been used in North America, Germany, Britain, Switzerland and Italy. She and collaborators also characterized behavioral responses to a putative female-produced trail pheromone that elicits following behavior by males.”
Hoover is also heavily involved in preventing the introduction of invasive species. Her research draws support from governmental grant programs, commodity groups and the private sector. She is currently the principal investigator or co-PI on grants totaling $10 million, with $1.62 million directly supporting her program, Felton said, adding that she has actively collaborated with researchers in Europe, China, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.
Felton described her as “an effective educator and mentor of the next generation of scientists.”
She has mentored 43 undergraduates, 11 PhD and 10 masters students, and 13 postdoctoral scholars, “many of whom have received prestigious awards and fellowships.”
High Impact Interdisciplinary Research
“While making new discoveries through basic research, she continues to strive to apply the outcomes of that research by actively engaging other scientists, stakeholder groups, and policymakers within Pennsylvania, nationally, and globally to make a difference -- to prevent and/or manage the consequences of invasive species on our ecosystems,” Felton wrote. “Her ability to conduct high impact interdisciplinary research and integrate transformational and translation research is truly outstanding.”
Born in Lubbock, Texas, but raised in the south San Francisco area,Kelli received her bachelor of science degree in 1979 from UC Berkeley, with honors, majoring in the biology of natural resources. She obtained her master's degree in biology, with an emphasis on entomology, from San Jose State University in 1992 before joining the doctoral program at UC Davis. After a year as a President's Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley, she joined the faculty in the Department of Entomology at PSU in 1998.
Active in ESA since 1996, Hoover has judged student competitions at 10 national meetings. She has organized numerous national or branch meeting symposia and served as a subject editor for Environmental Entomology. She chaired or co-chaired organizing committees for three annual meetings of the International Society for Invertebrate Pathology and held the office of treasurer for four years.
Fellows of ESA are individuals who have made outstanding contributions to entomology— via research, teaching, extension, administration, military service, and public engagement and science policy —and whose career accomplishments serve to inspire all entomologists, according to the ESA, a worldwide organization with a membership of some 7000.
Entomologist Marlin Rice, a past president of the Entomological Society of America (ESA), penned the piece, titled "Bruce D. Hammock: Science Should Be Fun!"
Wrote Rice: "Bruce D. Hammock is widely known for his groundbreaking research in insect physiology, toxicology, pharmacology, and experimental therapeutics. Early contributions were in fundamental regulatory biology, development of both small molecules and recombinant viruses as environmentally friendly pesticides, and the application of accelerator mass spectrometry to biological science. His laboratory pioneered the use of immunoassay for the analysis of human and environmental exposure to pesticides and other contaminants.His laboratory provides graduate training that is diverse in disciplines and research areas. He recently formed a company, EicOsis, to develop an orally active non-addictive drug for inflammatory and neuropathic pain for humans and companion animals."
Hammock, who joined the UC Davis faculty in 1980 from UC Riverside, has directed the UC Davis Superfund Research Program (funded by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) for nearly four decades. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors and ESA.
A native of Little Rock, Ark., Bruce received his bachelor's degree in entomology (with minors in zoology and chemistry) magna cum laude from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, in 1969. He received his doctorate in entomology-toxicology from UC Berkeley in 1973 with John Casida at UC Berkeley. Hammock served as a public health medical officer with the U.S. Army Academy of Health Science, San Antonio, and as a postdoctoral fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation, Department of Biology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.
Read the feature story here.
Some Related Links:
- Bruce Hammock and EicOsis, Innovator of the Year
- Bruce Hammock Receives $6 Million Grant
- Bruce Hammock Water Balloon Battle: 15 Minutes of Aim
- Research Could Lead to Drug to Prevent or Reduce Autism, Schizophrenia
- Hammock Lab Union Draws 100 Scientists from 10 Countries
- Bruce Hammock: Scientist Extraordinaire
(Editor's Note: Thanks to Lisa Junker, ESA's director of publications, communications and marketing, who reached out to "our publishers at Oxford" to grant free community access to this feature story in American Entomologist)