(Editor's Note: See this March 31st seminar on YouTube at https://youtu.be/z85B0NlmizU)
Robert K. D. 'Bob' Peterson, professor of entomology at Montana State University (MSU), Bozeman, and the 2019 president of the Entomological Society of America (ESA), will speak on "Tigers in Yellowstone National Park: Insect Adaptations to Extreme Environments" at the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's online seminar on Wednesday, March 31.
His seminar, hosted by UC Davis distinguished professor James R. Carey, a fellow of ESA, begins at 4:10 p.m. Access this Google document to attend the Zoom event.
The "tigers" are the tiger beetles that live, feed and breed in the thermal pools.
Peterson, with MSU's Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, leads the research, teaching and outreach program in Agricultural and Biological Risk Assessment, a program centered on comparative risk assessment. His other areas of research include insect ecology, plant-stress ecophysiology, and integrated pest management. Peterson teaches undergraduate and graduate courses, including environmental risk assessment, insect ecology and various special-topics graduate courses. He also directs MSU's professional master's degree program in environmental sciences.
A native of Perry, Iowa, Peterson received his bachelor's degree in entomology from Iowa State University, Ames, and his master's degree and doctorate in entomology from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He joined the MSU faculty in 2002 after serving as a research biologist for Dow AgroSciences, Omaha from 1995 to 2001. He has published 123 peer-reviewed journal articles, 15 book chapters, and two books.
Peterson manages the website, Insects of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, an online photographic celebration of the ecosystem's biodiversity. He describes it as a "celebration of the "incredible diversity and abundance of insects in the area." Peterson categorized the site into butterflies and moths; beetles; flies; true bugs; stoneflies; mayflies; net-winged insects; bees, wasps ants and sawflies; grasshoppers, crickets and katydids; and insect relatives. Peterson also hosts a comparable Facebook page, Insects of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
In addition, Peterson is affiliated with two other websites, Insects, Disease and History, devoted to "understanding the impact that insects, especially insect-borne diseases, have had on world history"; and Ag Biosafety, designed to be a "definitive source of scientific, regulatory and educational materials relevant to crop biotechnology and the current debate on the genetic modification of food."
Cooperative Extension specialist Ian Grettenberger coordinates the spring seminars. For technology problems, contact him at email@example.com.
The American Entomologist announced the award in a recent edition.
Bonning serves as the Davies, Fischer and Eckes Eminent Scholar Chair and director of the Center for Arthropod Management Technologies (CAMTech), a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center.
A 1990-1994 postdoctoral research associate in the Bruce Hammock lab, where she researched genetic engineering and optimization of baculovirus insecticides, Bonning is the third Hammock lab recipient of the prestigious PBT award. 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, won the award in 1998, the second year of its presentation. Thomas Sparks, Hammock's first graduate student, received it in 2018.
“During the course of her career, Dr. Bonning has made significant advances in (1) fundamental understanding of stink bug digestive physiology, (2) the genetic optimization of baculovirus insecticides, (3) novel approaches for the development of insect resistant transgenic plants,” wrote the nominating team, which included Hammock.
“We were together for a year in Oxford, making the first recombinant baculoviruses," Hammock related. Following her postdoctoral appointments at the Natural Environment Research Council Institute of Virology in Oxford, UK and at UC Davis, Bonning joined the faculty at Iowa State University, serving from 1994 to 2017 when she accepted her current position in Florida.
"Her husband, Jeff Beetham, got his PhD. with me in biochemistry," Hammock said, "and worked on recombinant baculovirus pesticides and cloned and expressed the human soluble epoxide hydrolase, among other projects.”
Recalling the years they were at UC Davis, Hammock commented that he, Bonning and Beethan and the late Sean Duffey (1943-1997) "and crew used to run 5 to 7 miles four times a week." At the time of his death, Duffey was serving as vice chair of the entomology department.
The PBT award is based on research contributions, quality and originality of research; quality of publications; evaluation by colleagues peers and constituents;impact of research findings on the understanding of the subject; participation and leadership in honor and professional societies; and awards, honors and special recognitions.
Chemical ecologist Walter Leal, UC Davis distinguished professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and a former chair of the entomology department, received the PBT award in 2008. The list of previous award winners is here.
The 7000-member Entomological Society of America, founded in 1889, is comprised of educators, extension personnel, consultants, students, researchers, and scientists from agricultural departments, health agencies, private industries, colleges and universities, and state and federal governments.
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)