Jay Rosenheim was a third-year physics major at the University of California, Davis, in 1981 when—“on a lark”--he enrolled in Professor Harry Kaya's Entomology 100 course.
The professor inspired him, the class enthralled him, and insects captivated him.
In mid-term, Jay changed his major to entomology, and went on to earn two degrees in entomology (bachelor's degree from UC Davis in 1983, and doctorate from UC Berkeley in 1987); join the UC Davis faculty in 1990; and become a UC Davis distinguished professor in 2018.
The former UC Davis physics major is now a newly inducted Fellow of the 7000-member Entomological Society of America (ESA), a global honor accorded to only 10 persons annually.
Marshall Johnson, a 2006 ESA Fellow and an emeritus Cooperative Extension specialist and researcher at UC Riverside, nominated Rosenheim for the award. “Jay was my postdoc at the University of Hawaii,” Johnson said. “He did a great job and I have kept my eye on his career ever since.
ESA singled out Rosenheim at its virtual meeting for his contributions on the ecology of insect parasitoids and predators, insect reproductive behavior, and the application of big data, or "ecoinformatics," methods in agricultural entomology.
And it all began four decades ago in a UC Davis classroom. This is what occurred.
“About a month or so before the course was to be taught, I received a call from this physics student, Jay Rosenheim, who wanted to take Entomology 100,” recalled Kaya, now an emeritus professor and himself an ESA Fellow (2007) for his international contributions to insect pathology and nematology. “I asked a few questions on why he wanted to take the course. He said he always loved insects but he said he did not have the prerequisites for the class--no college biology-- but he was keenly interested in insects and really wanted to take the class.”
Kaya was actually teaching the class for Professor Robbin Thorp (1933-2019), a bee specialist on sabbatical. “At the time, I had a 25 percent teaching appointment in entomology and a 75 percent research appointment in nematology,” Kaya said. “When Martin Birch, the department chair, asked me to teach the course, I told him that I hoped he could find someone else, but he came back and said I would be the best to teach it.” Birch assigned two of Thorp's graduate students, Evan Sugden and John Skinner, as teaching assistants for the twice-a-week entomology lab.
“Jay also worked briefly in my lab as an undergraduate as well,” Kaya related. “I should add other superlatives as outstanding and world-renowned entomologist. In my view, it did not matter who taught the ENT 100 course. Jay is simply an outstanding individual and has contributed so much on his own merit. Plus, he has a great personality.”
A native of Yorktown, N.Y, young Jay developed an interest in biology while exploring the vernal pools behind his Hudson River Valley home.
His insect interests not only led to his being elected an ESA Fellow but a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; recipient of teaching awards from the Associated Students of UC Davis and the UC Davis Academic Senate; and the Distinguished Student Mentoring Award from ESA's Pacific Branch. He has authored more than 160 peer-reviewed publications, and mentored nearly 40 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, now in the private sector, conservation nonprofits, journalism, or academia.
And it all began when a physics major named Jay Rosenheim asked to enroll in Professor Harry Kaya's entomology class.
The UC Davis winners, all doctoral students, are Erin Taylor Kelly of the Geoffrey Attardo lab, Hyoseok Lee of the Christian Nansen lab, Jill Oberski of the Phil Ward lab, Lacie Newton of the Jason Bond lab, and Clara Stuligross of the Neal Williams lab.
- Kelly won first place for her poster, “Metabolic Snapshot: Using Metabolomics to Compare Near-Wild and Colonized Aedes aegypti,” in the Physiology, Biochemistry and Ecology Section.
- Lee won first place for his entry, “Predicting Spring Migration of Beet Leafhoppers, Circulifer tenellus (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) from Natural Overwintering Sites into Tomato fields in California" in the Graduate 10-Minute Papers category of the Plant-Insect Ecosystems, Behavioral Ecology Section
- Oberski won first place for her entry, “Why Do Museum Collections Matter?” in the Graduate Infographics category, Systematics, Evolution and Biodiversity Section.
- Newton won second place for her entry, “Integrative Species Delimitation Reveals Cryptic Diversity in the Southern Appalachian Antrodiaetus unicolor (Araneae: Antrodiaetidae) Species Complex,” in the Graduate 10-Minute Papers category in the Systematics, Evolution and Biodiversity Section, Genomics.
- Stuligross won second place for her entry, "Larval Pesticide Exposure Reduces Adult Wild Bee Reproduction,” in the Graduate 10-Minute Papers category in the Plant-Insect Ecosystems, Pollinators 2 Section.
The first-place winners received a $75 cash prize, a one-year membership in ESA and a certificate, while the second-place winners won a year's membership and a certificate.
Erin Taylor Kelly of the Geoffrey Attardo lab expects to receive her doctorate in June 2023. She holds a bachelor of science degree in biology (2016) from Santa Clara University, where she minored in chemistry, with an emphasis in molecular an cell biology.
On her Aedes aegypti poster:
Research in our lab has identified significant variability in the resistance phenotype of mosquitoes with target-site mutations, prompting us to wonder about the metabolic mechanisms involved in resistance in California populations of Aedes aegypti. The resistance phenotype is thought to have multiple fitness costs, including reduced fecundity, adult body size and longevity (6–9). We hypothesize that looking at the insect's metabolome may allow us to better understand the physiology behind these potential fitness costs by providing a snap shot of the insect's metabolite composition and insight into pathway demands and energetic deficiencies. Metabolomics has the benefit of providing insight into mosquito biology at the level of phenotype.
Hyoseok Lee, who joined the Christian Nansen lab in 2017, holds a master's degree in entomology (2014) from Seoul National University.
Most of tomato production in California occurs in the Central Valley, which has “the foothills” as its western boundary. Beet leafhoppers overwinter in green natural vegetation in the foothills and migrate into crop fields, including tomato, during spring as natural vegetation dries out and green crop vegetation becomes available. In this study, we built a simulation model predicting spring migration of beet leafhoppers based on vegetation greenness in the foothills. Vegetation greenness (EVI, Enhanced vegetation index) in the foothills was calculated based on analyses of satellite imagery. Spring migration of s was monitored at three different locations in the foothills for two years using yellow sticky cards. Spring migration of beet leafhoppers was well described by the Weibull function. At all monitoring locations, the spring migration was started when the EVI values dropped to 0.2, and the proportion of migrating beet leafhoppers rapidly increased as the EVI values decreased. Our study indicates that the decrease in vegetation greenness triggers spring migration of beet leafhoppers and shows great potential for developing an early warning system.
Why Do Museum Collections Matter?
"Cabinets of curiosity” and natural history museums are the original basis of our knowledge of global biodiversity. Such collections, however, are more than just well-organized dead organisms. Museums are enormous libraries of identified species, localities, and dates, constantly updated and reorganized based on the best new information. These data inform countless fields of research, and can even answer future questions no one has yet thought to ask. Most importantly, they preserve irreplaceable type specimens, which are a crucial part of species description. Now that many of these insect collections are being digitized and accessed from around the globe, why is it necessary to maintain them as physical materials? While many datasets do lend themselves well to digitization, insect specimens experience significant data loss. Most commonly, photographs are taken of the specimens, but photos are usually inadequate for discerning taxonomic features. Even high-resolution 3D scans are no substitute for direct observations. Finally, museums are centers of education and public outreach. Through collections, biology students and communities can physically experience global insect biodiversity they might not otherwise see, regardless of location or mobility. The “wow” factor of magnificent specimens is most powerful in person. As our lives become increasingly computer-oriented, we must recognize that to enjoy and study nature, no digital replacement will suffice.
Lacie Newton of the Jason Bond lab, expects to obtain her doctorate in entomology in June 2022. She holds a bachelor of science degree in biological sciences (2016) from Millsaps College, Jackson, Miss.
Although species delimitation can be highly contentious, the development of reliable methods to accurately ascertain species boundaries is an imperative step in cataloguing and describing Earth's quickly disappearing biodiversity. Spider species delimitation remains largely based on morphological characters; however, many mygalomorph spider populations are morphologically indistinguishable from each other yet have considerable molecular divergence. The focus of our study, the Antrodiaetus unicolor species complex containing two sympatric species, exhibits this pattern of relative morphological stasis with considerable genetic divergence across its distribution. A past study using two molecular markers, COI and 28S, revealed that A. unicolor is paraphyletic with respect to A. microunicolor. To better investigate species boundaries in the complex, we implement the cohesion species concept and use multiple lines of evidence for testing genetic exchangeability and ecological interchangeability. Our integrative approach includes extensively sampling homologous loci across the genome using a RADseq approach (3RAD), assessing population structure across their geographic range using multiple genetic clustering analyses that include structure, principal components analysis and a recently developed unsupervised machine learning approach (Variational Autoencoder). We evaluate ecological similarity by using large‐scale ecological data for niche‐based distribution modelling. Based on our analyses, we conclude that this complex has at least one additional species as well as confirm species delimitations based on previous less comprehensive approaches. Our study demonstrates the efficacy of genomic‐scale data for recognizing cryptic species, suggesting that species delimitation with one data type may underestimate true species diversity in morphologically homogenous taxa with low vagility.
Clara Stuligross, who joined the Neal Williams lab in 2016, received her bachelor of science degree in environmental studies, with minors in biology and outdoor education, in 2014 from Earlham College, Richmond, Ind.
Bees encounter pesticides across landscapes as they forage for pollen and nectar. Exposure to pesticides has negative effects on wild bees, but little is known about the effects of chronic larval exposure on adult performance. We investigated the effects of larval and adult pesticide exposure on the foraging and reproduction of the solitary bee, Osmia lignaria. We established nesting O. lignaria females in 16 field cages containing wildflowers treated with or without imidacloprid, the most widely used neonicotinoid insecticide. As larvae, these parent bees were reared on provisions containing imidacloprid or controls. Larval and adult pesticide exposure directly affected bee nesting activity. Bees exposed to pesticides as adults were less likely to start nesting and produced fewer offspring. Additionally, bees exposed to pesticides as larvae provisioned fewer offspring than unexposed controls. Our research provides experimental evidence of the effects of pesticide exposure on solitary bees across multiple life stages, a critical step in understanding mechanisms underlying pollinator health.
The Entomological Society of America, headquartered in Annapolis, Md., and founded in 1889, is the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. They include educators, extension personnel, consultants, students, researchers, and scientists from agricultural departments, health agencies, private industries, colleges and universities, and state and federal governments. It is a scientific and educational resource for all insect-related topics. For more information, visit www.entsoc.org.
The ESA governing board elected Rosenheim and nine other entomologists as Fellows for their outstanding contributions in research, teaching, extension and outreach, administration or the military. The Fellows' Class of 2020, comprised of five men and five women, will be recognized at ESA's virtual annual meeting, Entomology 2020, Nov. 11-25.
"Jay's substantial contributions to basic and applied entomology are world-renowned, and clearly merit his election as a Fellow of the ESA," said Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Rosenheim, who joined the UC Davis entomology faculty in 1990, is internationally known for his research on the ecology of insect parasitoids and predators, insect reproductive behavior, and the application of big data, or "ecoinformatics," methods in agricultural entomology.
“Rosenheim's work has shown that the structure of insect communities is more complex than the archetypal model of three discretetrophic levels, under which predators eat only herbivores and herbivores eat only plants," ESA wrote in a news release. "Instead, widespread predator-predator interactions (intraguild predation), omnivory, and cannibalism create rich and diverse dynamics that can either enhance or disrupt biological control. Rosenheim has also worked to introduce big data techniques to agricultural entomology. By harnessing the decentralized data gathering efforts of farmers, field scouts, and consultants, large data sets can be created and analyzed to reveal important relationships between pests, natural enemies, and crop performance. Rosenheim's research has also examined how organisms evolve to balance multiple factors that can emerge as limits to reproductive success, and how this shapes insect and plant reproductive traits.”
Rosenheim and two other faculty members of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology--associate professors Louie Yang and Joanna Chiu-- are co-founders and co-directors of the Research Scholars Program in Insect Biology, a mentored research program for undergraduates. Founded in 2011, the program has now trained more than 100 undergraduate researchers.
A native of Yorktown, N.Y, where he developed an interest in biology while exploring the vernal pools behind his Hudson River Valley home, Rosenheim holds a bachelor's degree in entomology from UC Davis (1983) and a doctorate in entomology from UC Berkeley (1987). Rosenheim served as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaii, and then studied as a Fulbright junior researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.
The UC Davis distinguished professor has authored more than 160 peer-reviewed publications. In 2009, he was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Highly honored for his teaching and mentoring, Rosenheim received teaching awards from the Associated Students of UC Davis and the UC Davis Academic Senate, and the 2018 Distinguished Student Mentoring Award from the Pacific Branch, ESA. He has mentored 34 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who are pursuing careers in the private sector, conservation nonprofits, journalism, and academia.
When he was nominated for the Pacific Branch award, his former students praised him for his excellence, kindness and dedication. The awards packet included such comments as “best teacher on campus,” “kind and patient,” and “someone who cares about us and our future.” A former graduate student described Rosenheim as a “successful scientist with a brilliant and inquisitive mind.” Another wrote that he is “one of the most dedicated and effective teachers” he's ever encountered. The ultimate compliment: “Someday I hope to be able to teach and inspire students as well as Jay does.” The Pacific Branch represents 11 states, seven U.S. territories, and parts of Canada and Mexico.
Rosenheim, named a UC Davis distinguished professor in 2018, joined ESA in 1983. He serves on the editorial board of the journals Biological Control and Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, and as a subject-matter editor of Ecology and Ecological Monographs.
Locally, he serves as the volunteer faculty representative for the Jepson Prairie Preserve, a Dixon-area site renowned for its vernal pools. The preserve is owned by the Solano Land Trust, which manages the site with UC Davis, the Nature Conservancy and Jepson Prairie Docents.
Rosenheim and his wife, Shulamit Glazerman, are the parents of four children: Hillel, 20, a student at the State University of New York (SUNY) Binghamton; Leah, 18, soon to begin her studies at SUNY Binghamton; and Eitan, 16, and Meirav, 14 of the family home in Davis.
Other newly elected ESA Fellows are
- Carol Anelli, professor, Department of Entomology and the Honors and Scholars Program at Ohio State University
- Carolina Barillas-Mury, head of the Mosquito Immunity and Vector Competence Section, National Institutes of Health, and formerly with Colorado State University
- David Dame, former medical entomologist with the Agricultural Research Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and a former independent consultant
- Richard Hellmich, lead scientist with the USDA–ARS, Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research Laboratory, and affiliate professor of entomology, Iowa State University
- Philip Koehler, emeritus professor of entomology at the University of Florida
- Catherine Loudon, vice chair and senior lecturer, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, School of Biological Sciences, UC Irvine
- Corrie Moreau, Martha N. and John C. Moser Professor of Arthropod Biosystematics and Biodiversity at Cornell University in the Departments of Entomology and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in Ithaca, N.Y.
- James Truman, emeritus professor of biology, University of Washington (UW); former group leader at the Janelia Research Campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Northern Virginia; and now a UW researcher at the Friday Harbor Laboratories, San Juan Island, Puget Sound.
- Susan Weller, director of the University of Nebraska State Museum and professor of entomology at University of Nebraska–Lincoln
ESA, founded in 1889 and headquartered in Annapolis, Maryland, is the world's largest organization serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related disciplines. Its members are affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. See list of ESA Fellows.
(ESA contributed to this news story)
The article, “The Diversity of Hornets in the Genus Vespa (Hymenoptera: Vespidae; Vespinae); Their Importance and Interceptions in the United States,” is the work of three entomologists: lead author Allan Smith-Pardo, U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS); and co-authors James Carpenter of the American Museum of Natural History's Division of Invertebrate Zoology, and Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology at UC Davis.
North America's first known colony of the Asian giant hornet, Vespa mandarinia, was detected and destroyed in September 2019 on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. A single V. mandarinia was found dead in Blaine, Wash., in December 2019.
“Hornet species identification can be sometimes difficult because of the amount of intraspecific color and size variation,” the authors wrote in their abstract. “This has resulted in many species-level synonyms, scattered literature, and taxonomic keys only useful for local populations. We present a key to the world species, information on each species, as well as those intercepted at United States ports of entry during the last decade.”
The journal article includes images of the 22 species and some previously described subspecies. The key should help state and federal officials identify the Vespa species, the authors said. Beekeepers, farmers and ecologists and others on the lookout for the Asian giant hornet can also benefit from the key.
In the USDA-funded research, the trio combed through scientific literature and museum collections to separate the species. They list their sources and offer insights on the distribution of each hornet, and a discussion.
The Asian giant hornet's distribution is India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Malaya, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, eastern Russia, Korea, Japan (including Ryukyus), the authors wrote.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology, home of a global collection of nearly eight million insect specimens, houses 20 specimens of V. mandarinia. The largest one, a queen, measures about an inch and a half long, Kimsey said.
“Insects introduced in the United States often come in cargo boxes from Asia to U.S. ports, establish colonies, and expand their range,” she said.
The only known European hornet to colonize the United States is Vespa crabro, introduced on the East Coast in the 1800s. “It is now fully established in the southeastern U.S,” Kimsey said. “A decade or more ago, there was a colony of another species, Vespa asiatica, reported near the Port of Long Beach but nothing ever came of that.”
What's next for the research team? "We will be continuing to create online identification tools and a detailed website," Kimsey said.
"From 2010 to 2018, there have been close to 50 interceptions of Vespa (hornets) and Vespula (yellow jackets (Vespula) at U.S. ports of entry. Little less than half of those interceptions were hornets. The Vespa species intercepted include V. bellicosa, V. crabro, V. orientalis, V. mandarinia, and V. tropica. One of the interceptions of significance was an entire nest of V. mandarinia containing live brood and pupae that was sent via express courier from Asia. All species of Vespa, except V. crabro, which is already introduced into the eastern United States, are considered of quarantine importance by the USDA-APHIS."
A website, Invasive Hornets, part of a cooperation between the USDA, Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) and the University of Georgia, is taking shape. According to the journal article: "This website contains more than 1,000 stacked, high-quality images of all the species and most of the races of the genus Vespa. It is important to have the resources for the identification and prevention of introduction of non-native species and to understand the potential effects of invasive hornets in our ecosystems. Hornets are dangerous for the beekeeping industry because they can alter pollination in agriculture and disrupt the beekeeping industry, as well as create public health and safety problem."
The authors credited senior museum scientists Christine Lebeau of the American Museum of Natural History and Steve Heydon of the Bohart Museum of Entomology “for helping to process the loan of Vespa material.” Mary Burns of the National Identification Services (NIS) of the USDA-APHIS- Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) provided information about the number of interceptions of Vespa at U.S. ports of entry.
In an article posted in Entomology Today, science writer-educator Leslie Mertz wrote that the team is "building a publicly available, online adjunct to the newly published key that uses menus of distinguishing characteristics, as well as illustrations and photographs. They hope to have the online key up and running in 2021.”
Entomology Today publication, "Big, Beautiful, and Confusing: Deciphering the True Hornets"
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.