The hybrid meeting (both in-person and virtual) took place Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in Denver.
Several of the UC Davis highlights, as previously featured on the Department of Entomology and Nematology website:
- UC Davis distinguished professor Frank Zalom, integrated pest management (IPM) specialist and a past president of ESA, was celebrated as an Honorary Member of the ESA, an honor bestowed for his “long-term dedication and extraordinary contributions." (See more here.)
- UC Davis doctoral alumnus Kelli Hoover, a Pennsylvania State University professor internationally known for her research on invasive species, including the Asian longhorned beetle, gypsy moth and spotted lanternfly, was honored as a newly elected Fellow of ESA for her excellence in research. (See more here.)
- Danielle Rutkowski, doctoral candidate in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, won a President's Prize in a graduate student competition for her presentation on "Fungicide Impacts on Bumble Bees are Mediated via Effects on Bee-Associated Fungi" in the category, Plant-Insect Ecosystems: Ecology 3." She studies with community ecologist Rachel Vannette, associate professor, and is also advised by community ecologist and professor Rick Karban. (See more here.)
- Maureen Page, with the lab of pollinator ecologist Neal Williams, professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, won the second-place award in a graduate student competition for her presentation on "Optimizing Pollinator-Friendly Plant Mixes to Simultaneously Support Wild and Managed Bees." She competed in the category, Plant-Insect Ecosystems: Pollinators. (See more here.)
- Kyle Lewald, with the College of Biological Sciences and the Integrated Genomics and Genetics Graduate Group, but a member of the lab of molecular geneticist and physiologist Joanna Chiu, professor and vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, won second-place in a graduate student competition for his presentation on "Assembly of Highly Continguous Diploid Genome for the Agricultural Pest, Tuta absoluta." (See more here.)
At the ESA's annual meetings, students are offered the opportunity to present their research and win prizes. There are several components to the competition: 10-minute papers (oral), posters, and infographics. First-place winners receive a one-year free membership in ESA, a $75 cash prize, and a certificate. Second-winners score a one-year free membership in ESA and a certificate.
"Each year approximately 3,500 entomologists and other scientists gather to exchange scientific information," ESA says on hits website. "A program of symposia, conferences, submitted papers, and continuing education seminars provides attendees the opportunity to hear and present research results. The meeting also provides a chance to interact informally with peers and prospective employers."
ESA, founded in 1889 and headquartered in Annapolis, Md.,, is the world's largest organization serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and others in related disciplines. Its 7000 members are in educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government. Michelle Smith of Corteva Agriscience served as the 2021 president. The newly elected president is Jessica Ware, assistant curator of Invertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History.
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.
The title of her seminar is "Mechanisms of Resistance in Poplar Against the Asian Longhorned Beetle and its Gut Symbionts."
Hoover received her doctorate in entomology from UC Davis in 1997.
"Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), Anoplophora glabripennis, is a polyphagous, tree-killing wood borer, reported to attack a broad range of deciduous tree species, including poplar," she writes in her abstract. "Yet in the invasive range of North America and Europe, poplars are usually avoided even when they are abundant. Populus species produce salicinoids (phenolic glycosides) that have properties known to reduce feeding and cause gut lesions in foliage-feeding herbivores such as gypsy moth."
"We hypothesized that these compounds may confer resistance to ALB and help explain the feeding and attack patterns in the field in both the native and introduced range of ALB. Concentrations of salicinoids normally found in bark deterred adult feeding, but low doses of salicinoids did not inhibit feeding and resulted in dramatic effects on beetle fitness. Diversity of gut fungal and microbial symbionts and abundance of the key gut fungal symbiont were affected as well."
"In Southern China, the beetle did not exhibit a feeding preference between willow and maple, but like the invasive populations in the U.S. and Europe, beetles would not feed on and seldom attack poplar, yet in Northern China poplar plantations are often heavily attacked by ALB," Hoover related. "ALB-host interactions appear to be complex and it is possible that there are differences in geographic populations of ALB in tolerance to salicinoids. These studies will be repeated this summer in Northern China and Inner Mongolia. Understanding the mechanistic differences between geographic populations of ALB will contribute to developing control measures for this destructive wood-borer."
The department's winter-quarter seminars, coordinated by assistant professor Christian Nansen, take place every Wednesday through March 15. All are held from 4:10 to 5 p.m. in 122 Briggs Hall. See seminar schedule.
Bonning is one of only 10 Fellows elected this year in the 6500-member ESA “for outstanding contributions to entomology in one or more of the following: research, teaching, extension, or administration.”
The 10 will be honored at ESA’s annual meeting set Nov. 10-13 in Austin, Texas. Other 2013 Fellows with UC connections are Jocelyn Millar, entomology professor at UC Riverside, and Jeffery G. Scott of Cornell University, who received his doctorate in entomology and toxicology from UC Riverside.
“Bryony is a star in our department,” said distinguished professor Bruce Hammock of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. Hammock was elected an ESA Fellow in 2010.
“Bryony and I worked together at the NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) Institute of Virology and Environmental Microbiology at Oxford and she came back to UC Davis with me as a postdoc,” Hammock said.
“Bryony did amazing work on recombinant baculovirus insecticides working with Susumu Maeda, Sean Duffy and myself,” Hammock said. “She and Kelli Hoover, now a professor at Pennsylvania State University, were partners in my lab.”
Another UC Davis connection: Bonning married Jeff Beetham, a Ph.D. student in the Hammock lab and now a professor at Iowa State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine.
Bonning joined the faculty of ISU in 1994. She oversees fundamental and applied research on insect physiology and insect pathology with the goal of developing novel, environmentally benign alternatives to chemical insecticides for insect pest management. Her research has included the study of insect hormones and enzymes and insecticidal toxins derived from Bacillus thuringiensis, insect small RNA, the genetic optimization of insect viruses for pest management, insect virus discovery, and the use of viral proteins for development of insect resistant transgenic plants. Recent research has included modification of Bt toxins to target hemipteran pests which typically have low susceptibility to native Bt toxins, and the use of the coat protein of an aphid-vectored plant virus for delivery of insect specific neurotoxins to their target site within the aphid hemocoel.
Bonning is the founding director of the Center for Arthropod Management Technologies (CAMTech), a research center supported by the National Science Foundation, industry, and universities. CAMTech engages scientists at ISU and its sister institution, the University of Kentucky, in collaborative efforts with the world’s largest agricultural and insect pest control companies to better align research conducted within academe with the need of industry for practical pest management solutions. Bonning met the co-director at the University of Kentucky site, Dr. S. Reddy Palli, through a collaborative project while at Davis.
Bonning has mentored more than 30 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers and teaches insect pathology and molecular entomology at the graduate level. Over the course of her career, she has authored or co-authored more than 110 scientific papers, reviews, and book chapters, and holds five patents. Her work has been funded by diverse research agencies, including the National Science Foundation and USDA. She has served as associate editor for the Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, as council trustee and chair of the Virus Division and program chair for the Society for Invertebrate Pathology, and on the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, Baculovirus Study Group and Dicistrovirus and Iflavirus Study Group. Her accomplishments were recognized by the Iowa Technology Association through the Iowa Women of Innovation Award for Research Innovation and Leadership. She is a fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Bonning received her bachelor's degree in zoology from the University of Durham, UK, in 1985, with specialization in entomology and neurobiology, and her doctorate in applied entomology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London, UK in 1989.
While enrolled in college in the UK, she did field work on the detection and monitoring of insecticide resistance mechanisms in mosquitoes with the Anti-Malaria Campaign in Colombo, Sri Lanka; she was funded by the Overseas Development Administration. Bonning also did regional monitoring and field trials for biological or chemical control of arthropod and nematode pests in Derbyshire, UK, with the Department of Entomology, Ministry of Agriculture, Fishers and Food,Agricultural Development and Advisory Service.
After receiving her doctorate from the University of London, Bonning worked from 1989 to 1990 as a higher scientific officer with the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Institute of Virology and Environmental Microbiology, Oxford, in Robert Possee’s lab, where she met Hammock during his sabbatical. She then moved to California to join the Hammock lab as a postdoctoral researcher.
On her last visit to UC Davis, on April 18, 2012, Bonning delivered an entomology seminar on "Novel Toxin Delivery Strategies for Management of Pestiferous Aphids.”
At the time Hammock said. "She is one of our most productive alumni in continuing her work on insect developmental biology and green pesticides based on insect viruses and expanded this dramatically into exciting new areas. She is advancing fundamental virology while applying this knowledge in production agriculture in both insect control and in blocking transmission of plant diseases by insects. She clearly is the leader in insect control with recombinant viruses.”