Pollination ecologist Alexandra Harmon-Threatt, an associate professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, will speak on "Beyond Flowers; Examining the Role of Soils in Bee Conservation Efforts" at the next UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology seminar.
The online seminar, the last of the spring quarter, is set for 4:10 p.m., Wednesday, June 2. Host is pollination ecologist and professor Neal Williams. Access the Zoom link here.
More than 80 percent of bees nest below ground and most univoltine species spend more than 90 percent of their life cycle in contact with soils, Harmon-Threatt points out. "Yet most conservation efforts ignore soils and few research studies consider these critical life stages and possible exposures that occur during them. In a series of studies, our lab has begun to explore how much soils matter and whether ignoring them is to the detriment of conservation."
In her research, Harmon-Threatt zeroes in on understanding the patterns and processes that govern plant-pollinator interactions for conservation. "Pollinators play a vital role in plant reproduction, food production and ecosystem stability but are believed to be declining globally," she says. Her work focuses on identifying and understanding patterns in natural environments to help conserve and restore pollinator diversity. With a particular focus on bees, she investigates how a number of factors at both the local and landscape scale, including plant diversity, isolation and bee characteristics, effect bee diversity in local communities.
Harmon-Threatt received her doctorate from UC Berkeley, where she worked on bumble bee preferences and phylogenetic patterns. She completed a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship in biology at Washington University in St. Louis.
She was recently featured on the podcast, People Behind the Science. Any change in pollinator populations, she told her audience, can have significant effects on natural and agricultural communities. Recent declines in bee populations, in particular, indicate how "little we know about these important insects in their natural environments, she told her audience."
All seminars will be held on Wednesdays at 4:10 p.m. (Pacific). Join the Zoom seminars by accessing the links below.
Montana State University, Land Resources and Environmental Sciences
Title: "Tigers in Yellowstone National Park: Insect Adaptations to Extreme Environments"
Host: James R. Carey
See seminar at https://youtu.be/z85B0NlmizU
Swapna Priya Rajarapu
North Carolina State University, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology
Title: "Insect-Plant Molecular Interactions: Stories from Invasive Insects to Disease Vectors"
Host: Diane Ullman
University of Idaho, Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Nematology
Title: "Understanding Aphonopelma Diversity Across the Madrean Pine-Oak Woodlands Hotspot by Integrating Western Science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK)"
Host: Jason Bond
University of Wyoming, Department of Geology and Geophysics
Title: "Ancient Bug-Bitten Leaves Reveal the Impacts of Climate and Plant Nutrients on Insect Herbivores"
Host: Emily Meineke
May 5 CANCELLED, DUE TO UNAVOIDABLE CIRCUMSTANCES
USDA-ARS Wapato, Wash., Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research
Title: "Improving Tobacco IPM with Machine Learning"
Host: Madi Hendrick
(Plans call for a future seminar)
Pennsylvania State University, Department of Entomology
Title: "Ecoevolutionary Consequences of Crop Domestication on Plant-Pollinator Interactions"
Host: Rachel Vannette
Javier Ceja Navarro
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Biological Systems and Engineering
Title: "The Complex Microbial Life and Interactions in Lilliputian Landscapes: from the Guts of Insects to the Rhizophere"
Host: Rachel Vannette
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Department of Entomology
Title: "Beyond Flowers; Examining the Role of Soils in Bee Conservation Efforts"
Host: Neal Williams
For any questions, email Ian Grettenberger (firstname.lastname@example.org).
(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 seminar, hosted by Professor Neal Williams begins at 4:10. Click here to register to attend.
Rader, an associate professor, says she is broadly interested in pollination ecology, landscape ecology and plant–animal interactions in natural and human-modified landscapes. She is currently working on projects that investigate the ways in which plant and animal biodiversity respond to global change and the performance of wild and managed insect pollinators in horticultural crops.
She writes on her website: "I am a community ecologist and my research focuses on plant–animal interactions in natural and human-modified landscapes. I am interested generally in the ecology of plants and animals in different types of habitats and landscapes and how they respond to differing management practices and global change. My current projects relate to wild and managed insect pollinators, their efficiency at pollinating horticultural crops and finding ways to improve fruit yield and quality by understanding their life history needs."
Rader holds a bachelor of environmental science (1998) from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. She obtained both her master's degree (2005) and doctorate (2011) from James Cook University, Cairns, Australia. Her master's thesis: "Vertical Distribution, Resource and Space Use in a Tropical Rainforest Small Mammal Community." For her doctorate: "The Provision of Pollination Ecosystem Services to Agro-Ecosystems by a Diverse Assemblage of Wild, Unmanaged Insect Taxa." She won a 2017- 2020 Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award.
Among her most recent journal publications:
- S.A.E.C. Wijesinghe, L.J. Evans, L. Kirkland & R. Rader 2020, ‘A global review of watermelon pollination biology and ecology: The increasing importance of seedless cultivars,' Scientia Horticulturae, vol. 271, pp. 109493,
- Heidi Kolkert, Rhiannon Smith, Romina Rader & Nick Reid 2020, ‘Insectivorous bats foraging in cotton crop interiors is driven by moon illumination and insect abundance, but diversity benefits from woody vegetation cover,' Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, vol. 302, pp. 107068,
- Jamie R. Stavert, Charlie Bailey, Lindsey Kirkland & Romina Rader 2020, ‘Pollen tube growth from multiple pollinator visits more accurately quantifies pollinator performance and plant reproduction,' Scientific Reports, vol. 10, no. 1,
- Liam K. Kendall, Vesna Gagic, Lisa J. Evans, Brian T. Cutting & Jessica Scalzo, Romina Rader. 2020, ‘Self-compatible blueberry cultivars require fewer floral visits to maximize fruit production than a partially self-incompatible cultivar,' Journal of Applied Ecology,
- Vesna Gagic, Lindsey Kirkland, Liam K. Kendall, Jeremy Jones & Jeffrey Kirkland Romina Rader 2020, ‘Understanding pollinator foraging behaviour and transition rates between flowers is important to maximize seed set in hybrid crops,' Apidologie,
"Tsetse flies house an assortment of endosymbiotic bacteria and serve as the prominent vectors of pathogenic African trypanosomes," Weiss says in his abstract. "Tsetse and insect stage trypanosomes are metabolically dependent on the fly's endosymbiotic bacteria in order to maintain their physiological homeostasis. I will describe these interdependencies and
how they can be exploited to decrease tsetse's vector competency."
Weiss received his master's degree from the University of Queensland, Brisbane, in 1997 and his doctorate from the University of Alberta, Canada (2003).
"My research focuses on acquiring a better understanding of the relationship between insect disease vectors and their associated micro-organisms," he writes on his website. "To this end, I currently use the tsetse fly (Glossina morsitans morsitans) as a model system. These insects are the sole vectors of pathogenic African trypanosomes, which are the causative agent of Human African trypanosomiasis. Tsetse flies also harbor indigenous endosymbiotic bacteria that are intimately associated with their host's physiological well-being. I am interested in learning more about (1) the evolution adaptations that permit host tolerance of bacterial endosymbionts, (2) how symbiotic bacteria impact host physiology, with specific emphasis on nutritional supplementation and host immunity, and (3) how to use microbial symbionts to reduce disease vector competence."
Cooperative Extension specialist Ian Grettenberger coordinates the winter seminars. For technical issues, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.