Williams will speak Feb. 28 on On-Farm Pollinator Benefits for Watermelon Pollination. Williams, an associate professor of pollination and biology and a Chancellor's Fellow, serves as the faculty co-director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center and is a member of UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute. His applied research addresses the integration of wild and managed bees for pollination of diverse agricultural crops including seed production, row crops and orchards.
His research addresses a series of questions:
- Under what contexts, in terms of local management and landscape context, can native pollinators provide sufficient pollination for different crops?
- How can we enhance habitat and diversify agricultural systems to promote managed and wild bees?
- Do pollinators like honey bees and wild bees interact in ways to increase the overall effectiveness of crop pollination?
The answers to these questions help alleviate the stress placed on honey bees, Williams says, and also "inform ways to more sustainability manage agricultural systems to promote biodiversity and production."
Williams worked extensively in agro-ecosystems in California's Central Valley and in eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. A continuing goal is to provide practical information that can be used to improve the long-term stability of pollination for agriculture in California, as well as promote pollinator conservation and management. His work in the East and West has helped form the basis for pollinator conservation planting guidelines.
All speakers will discuss their research, and engage with the audience, said webinar co-coordinator Katharina Ullmann, national crop pollination specialist with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, who holds a doctorate in entomology from UC Davis (studying with major professor Neal Williams). Co-coordinator is Extension apiculturist and professor John Skinner of the University of Tennessee.
The webinar series will examine the role of wild bees, honey bees and other managed bees in supporting crop pollination and yield in almond, blueberry, tree fruit, pumpkin, and watermelon. Each webinar will be 45-60 minutes long, with time for questions and a discussion with the presenter. Each registered attendee will later receive a link to the slides.
"The majority of U.S. specialty crop growers depend on bees for pollination of their crops," Ullmann said. "Growers know that without adequate pollination, they would not be profitable. But what are the best pollination strategies for fruit, vegetable, and nut crops? What farm management practices can growers use to support bees and the crop pollination they provide?"
To register, attendees can click on each link:
- Jan. 24, 11 a.m., Pacific Time: Ensuring Almond Pollination (Theresa Pitts-Singer, USDA-ARS and Utah State University)
- Jan. 31, 11 a.m., Pacific Time: Pollinating Highbush Blueberries: Bees Bring Bigger Berries (Rufus Isaacs, Michigan State University)
- Feb. 14, 11 a.m., Pacific Time: Pollinating Apples and Cherries East of the Rockies (Julianna Wilson, Michigan State University)
- Feb. 28, 11 a.m., Pacific Time: On-Farm Pollinator Benefits for Watermelon Pollination (Neal Williams, University of California, Davis)
- March 21, 11 a.m., Pacific Time: Ensuring Pumpkin Pollination (Shelby Fleischer, Pennsylvania State University)
- March 28, 11 a.m., Pacific Time: How to Manage Solitary Orchard Bees for Crop Pollination (Theresa Pitts-Singer, USDA-ARS and Utah State University)
The webinar series will be hosted by eXtension.org, an online Cooperative Extension network. The webinars are free and open to the public and can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection.
For more information about the webinar series, access the Bee Health eXtension.org website or email email@example.com. Funding for the webinar series will be provided by the Integrated Crop Pollination Project, a USDA-NIFA Specialty Crop Research Initiative Grant (#2012-51181-20105). Plans are to offer continuing education credits for certified crop advisors.
Both are free and open to the public and no reservations are required, announced coordinator Katharina Ullmann, crop pollination specialist for the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation who holds a doctorate in entomology (Neal Williams lab) from UC Davis.
For the March 10th event, titled “Almond Field Day: Integrated Crop Pollination,” participants will meet from 9 to 11 a.m. in an orchard east of Highway 33, about 5.8 miles north of the intersection between Highway 37 and Highway 36, Ullmann said. Signs will guide the way.
“This field day will provide an overview of integrated crop pollination for almonds,” Ullmann said. Topics will include almond pollination, minimizing risks to pollinators during bloom, and research updates on blue orchard bees and wildflower plantings for almond pollination in Kern County. The field day will include a tour of an orchard integrating honey bees, blue orchard bees, and wildflower plantings.
9 a.m.: Welcome by David Haviland, UC Cooperative Extension, Kern County, and Gordy Wardell, manager of pollination operations Wonderful Orchards, formerly Paramount Farms
9:10: Integrated crop pollination and almonds by pollination ecologist Neal Williams, associate professor, UC Davis, and Katharina Ullmann, crop pollination specialist, Xerces Society
9:25: Blue Orchard Bee research update by Natalie Boyle, postdoctoral researcher, U. S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS)
9:45: Wildflower plantings for almond pollination by Neal Williams
10:05: Reducing risks to honey bees for almond pollination by Gordy Wardell, Wonderful Orchards
10:25: Mating disruption for navel orangeworm by Brad Higbee, director of entomology research, Wonderful Orchards
10:45: Technical and financial support, Nikki Smith, soil conservationist, USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Sponsors are the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, UC Davis, Integrated Crop Pollination Project, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Wonderful Orchards, and USDA's NRCS.
For the March 15th event, titled “Almond Pollination and Orchard Pollinator Planters,” all interested persons will gather from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at 8304 County Road 91B, Zamora.
“This field day will provide an overview of integrated crop pollination and on-farm wildflower plantings for almonds in the Sacramento Valley,” Ullmann said. “We will hear the latest research from a UC Davis lab studying almond pollination and wildflower plantings, learn about almond pollinators and how to support those pollinators using wildflowers. We will also discuss establishment and maintenance practices for planting habitat on field crop edges and provide an overview of plant species appropriate for plantings in the Sacramento Valley and beyond. Two growers will share their perspectives.
The March 15 lineup:
9 a.m.: Welcome by Kat Pope, orchard advisor, UC Cooperative Extension, Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties; and Rachael Long, owner of the DH Long Farm and Yolo County farm advisor
9:10: Integrated crop pollination, almond pollination and research update by Kimiora Ward, research associate, Neal Williams lab, UC Davis; Ola Lundin, postdoctoral researcher, Williams Lab, and Katharina Ullmann, crop pollination specialist, Xerces Society
9:40: Almond wildflower plantings 101 (DH Long Farm) by Kimiora Ward, research associate, Williams lab; Kitty Bolte, junior research specialist, Williams lab; and Tom Barrios, Barrios Farms
10:25: Solarization for wildflower planting success (Tadlock Farm) by Jessa Kay Cruz, pollinator conservation specialist, Xerces Society; orchard manager, Tadlock Farm
10:45: Technical and financial support, Ha Troung, Yolo County NRCS
The sponsors include UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, UC Davis, Xercies Society, Integrated Crop Pollination Project Colusa County Resource Conservation District, and the Yolo County Resource Conservation District.
Continuing education credits will be given. Participants at the almond field days are asked to bring a hat, sunscreen and good walking shoes. For more information contact Katharina Ullmann at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (530) 302-5504.
Niño is the first of six speakers at the workshop, which begins at 1 p.m. and continues through 3:30 p.m.
Pollination is important for a number of crops grown in Colusa County, said workshop coordinators Katharina Ullmann of the Xerces Society and Farm Advisor Rachael Long, Yolo County Cooperative Extension Office. At the Crop Pollination Workshop, regional experts will share the latest on honey bee health, onion pollination, management practices that support pollinators of cucurbits and almonds, and how to encourage beneficial insects on your farm using hedgerows.
The workshop also will provide information on Natural Resources Conversation Service (NRCS)-funded conservation cost-share programs, such as those supporting hedgerow establishment.
The event is free and open to all interested persons. No reservations are required. Sponsors include UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Xerces Society, UC Davis, UC Berkeley, Colusa County Resource, and UC Agricultural and Natural Resources.
Niño's presentation is from 1:05 to 1:25. The complete schedule:
1 p.m. Welcome
1:05 p.m. "Multiple Stresses Impact Honey Bees" by Elina Niño, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
1:25 p.m. “Insecticides Reduce Honey Bee Visitation and Pollen Germination in Hybrid Onion Seed Production” by Rachael Long, Farm Advisor, UCCE, Yolo County
1:50 p.m. “Best Management Practices for Squash and Pumpkin Pollinators” by Katharina Ullmann, Pollinator Conservation Specialist, Xerces Society and formerly of UC Davis (she received her doctorate in entomology last year)
2:15 p.m. “Enhancing Habitat in Almonds and Almond Pollination” by Kimiora Ward, staff research associate, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
2:40 p.m. “Hedgerows Enhance Pollinators and Pollination Services” by Lauren Ponisio, graduate student, Environmental Sciences and Policy Management, UC Berkeley
3:05 p.m. “Hedgerows Enhance Biodiversity and Provide Crop Benefits in Agricultural Landscapes” by Rachael Long, Farm Advisor, UCCE, Yolo County
3:20 p.m. “USDA-NRCS Financial and Technical Support for Hedgerows,” Andrea Casey, Colusa NRCS DC
For more information, contact Long at (530) 666-8734 or email@example.com.
This is the last in the series of spring seminars hosted by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. It will be video-recorded for later posting on UCTV.
The squash bee (Peponapis pruinosa) is an important pollinator of squash and pumpkin, Ulmann says. Squash bees collect pollen only from plants in the genus Cucurbita. Like many native bees, they nest in the ground.
"It is well documented that wild native bees can benefit many crops through increased seed and fruit set, thus providing sustainable pollination alternatives in cases of honey bee decline and increased honey bee rental prices," Ullmann said. "Yet, it is unclear how to best manage crop systems to support wild native bees. Research on enhancing wild native bees has historically focused on field border management. However, to ensure the sustainability of a crop-pollination system, a comprehensive approach should also include within field practices."
"Promoting a whole-farm pollinator management strategy is especially important given that agricultural intensification is associated with practices that negatively impact wild native bees. Whole-farm strategies may provide effective alternatives for growers who are slow to adopt resource-intensive, border-management practices. The proposed project will contribute to our understanding of these strategies by determining the impact of tillage practices and crop rotations on a ground-nesting, native bee that is an important pollinator in a specialty crop system."
Ullmann said that cucurbita crops (including squash and pumpkin) rely on pollinators to set fruit. "The specialist squash bee, Peponapis pruinosa, is an important pollinator of Cucurbita and can reduce grower reliance on rented honey bee colonies. In-field management is particularly relevant for this species given that it nests preferentially below its host's vines. I will use observational surveys and manipulative experiments to identify crop rotation schemes and tillage practices that benefit P. pruinosa. These results provide insights into how species persist in agricultural landscapes, with an emphasis on the roles of connectivity and disturbance."
Ullmann, who is expected to receive her doctorate in entomology in September 2014, researches population persistence in dynamic landscapes, and on-farm beneficial insect habitat enhancements. Her interests also include supporting citizen science, translating research related to pollinator conservation and encouraging dialogue between researchers and farmers.
She developed a native bee YouTube channel aimed at providing a direct line of communication between university researchers, farmers and the general public. In addition, she developed the blog Pollinator Farm and associated social media handles on Twitter and Facebook.
Ullmann presented her work at the 2013 UC Cooperative Extension Farmer Workshop, 2012 North American Society for Conservation Biology Annual Meeting, 2011 Entomology Society of America annual meeting and the 2011 Ecology Society of America meeting, and at the 2009 Entomology Society of America annual meeting. She presented a native bee identification workshop for U.S. Forest Service personnel in 2010.
Ullmann served as the 2010 teaching assistant for Introduction to Sustainable Agriculture and has presented at more than 20 workshops on enhancing habitat for native bees around northern California. In 2007, she attended The Bee Course in Portal, Ariz., a 10-day native bee identification field course organized by the American Museum of Natural History. (One of the instructors is native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis.)
She has served as a volunteer with the Student and Landowner Education and Watershed Stewardship (SLEWS) Center for Land-Based Learning program and U.S. Fish and Wildlife RESTORE. Both programs aim to engage youth by restoring native bee habitat on farms and schools.
Ullmann received her bachelor's degree in biology, with honors, from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland in 2002. She received a graduate student research grant in 2013 from the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (WSARE) to study “Best Management Practices that Promote Sustainable Crop Pollination: The Role of Crop Rotations and Tillage Depth."
While at UC Davis, she has also received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program Award, George H. Vansell Scholarship (twice), Teledyne Entomology Scholarship (twice), Jastro Shields Award, and the Robin Magee Memorial Fellowship.
Her publications include:
- Ullmann, K. and N. Williams. 2013. Spatiotemporal connectivity explains bee population density in a dynamic landscape. (in submission)
- Ullmann, K. and N. Williams. 2013. Effects of tillage practices on offspring survival of a ground nesting bee. (in preparation)
- Wilkerson, M, K. Ward, N. Williams, K. Ullmann, and T. Young. 2013. Diminishing returns from higher density restoration seedings suggest tradeoffs in pollinator seed mixes. (in review)
- Kremen, C., K. Ullmann, and R. Thorp. 2011. Evaluating the quality of citizen-scientist data on pollinator communities. Conservation Biology. 25:607
- K. Ullmann and N. Williams. 2010. Bringing native bees and forbs back to agricultural landscapes. Native Grasslands Journal. Summer 2010
- K. Ullmann, M. Vaughan, C. Kremen, T. Shih, and M. Shepherd. 2010. California Pollinator Project: Citizen Scientist Pollinator Monitoring Guide. Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Portland, OR pp 40
Graduate student Katharina Ullmann of the Neal Williams lab is the host.
“Many recent studies have shown that enhancing floral resources in intensive agricultural landscapes promotes species richness of flower-visitor communities, but to date, it is not known whether such effects are transient, merely concentrating individuals from across the larger landscape at flower-rich patches,” M'Gonigle says in his abstract. “Long-term data series and use of occupancy models are particularly helpful in determining whether these richness patterns actually reflect true increases in occupancy, or not. Further, such models can also determine whether enhanced occupancy results from decreased extinction rates, increased colonization rates, or both, providing information that is useful for conservation planning. “
“To date, these models have not been applied to the study of pollinators and their response to restoration. Here we present the results from a long-term study chronicling how restoration and subsequent maturation of native plant hedgerows affects occupancy, persistence and colonization of bees and syrphid flies in the Central Valley of California. Using a hierarchical occupancy model, we show that restoration via the introduction of perennial flowering native shrubs promotes the between-season persistence, but not colonization, of both bees and syrphid flies. This increased occupancy has the long-term effect of leading to the assembly of more diverse communities. We also find that, for native bees, hedgerow restoration has a greater impact on floral resource specialists than generalists."
M'Gonigle received his bachelor of science degree in mathematics (honors with distinction) from the University of Victoria in 2005; his master's degree in zoology from the University of British Columbia in 2006, and his doctorate in zoology from the University of British Columbia in 2011.
The recipient of numerous awards, he won the Dan David Prize ($15,000 prize for doctoral work) in 2011 and was named the top teaching assistant in his department (based on student course evaluations encompassing 70 teaching assistants) in both 2008 and 2011. Considered an outstanding speaker, he won “best talk” awards from several scientific organizations.
His most recent publications include:
Frishkoff, L.O., Karp, D.S., M'Gonigle, L.K., Mendenhall, C.D., Zook, J., Kremen, C., Hadley, E.A., and Daily, G.C. Land Use Transforms the Tree of Life. In prep.
M'Gonigle, L.K., Ponisio, L.C., and Kremen, C. Habitat restoration promotes pollinator persistence in intensively managed agriculture. In prep.
Ball-Damerow, J.E., M'Gonigle, L.K., Resh, V.H. Landscape, climate, and habitat factors influencing assemblages of dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata) in California and Nevada. Submitted.
Ball-Damerow, J.E., M'Gonigle, L.K., Resh, V.H. Changes in occurrence, richness, and biological traits of dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata) in California and Nevada over the past century. Submitted.
M'Gonigle's seminar is scheduled to be video-recorded for later posting on UCTV.
(Editor's Note: See remainder of Spring Quarter Seminars, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology)