The fall social, billed as "a place to unwind and indulge," featured a light buffet and beverages.
Professor Chui, a molecular geneticist-physiologist and the outgoing vice chair, is serving a five-year term as chair, effective July 1, 2023. She succeeds nematologist and professor Steve Nadler, who had chaired the department since Jan. 1, 2016.
Chiu thanked Nadler for his exceptional service. "Steve has been an exceptional leader for our department through some very challenging times. He has been fair-minded, compassionate, and has led the department with poise and a clear vision. He has been a great mentor for me personally, and I am positive that the many lessons I have learned from him will come in very handy as I serve as chair. I am very grateful for all the support from the faculty, staff, and students in the department, and most of all, to faculty colleagues who have been stepping up to serve on key positions in department and graduate group committees during this transition. I cannot thank them enough."
Said Nadler: "I'm very pleased that we have a new group of leaders guiding the department as we move forward. I'm confident that Joanna (Chui), Rachel (Vannette) and Louie (Yang) will respond to whatever challenges are ahead."
The department is ranked as one of the top entomology departments in the United States. In November 2007, the Chronicle of Higher Education ranked it No. 1 in the country. (See news story)
Chiu joined the Department of Entomology and Nematology in 2010 as an assistant professor, and advanced to associate professor and vice chair in 2016, and to professor and vice chair in 2021. She was named one of 10 UC Davis Chancellor's Fellows in 2019, a five-year honor awarded to associate professors who excel in research and teaching. The UC Davis Academic Senate honored her with a Distinguished Teaching Award, Graduate/Professional category, in 2022. She most recently received the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research.
Chiu co-founded and co-directs (with professors Jay Rosenheim and Louie Yang) the campuswide Research Scholars Program in Insect Biology, launched in 2011 to provide undergraduates with a closely mentored research experience in biology. The program's goal is to provide academically strong and highly motivated undergraduates with a multi-year research experience that cultivates skills that will prepare them for a career in biological research.
Nadler began his five-year term as chair on Jan. 1, 2016, succeeding Michael Parrella, who accepted a position as the dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Idaho, effective Feb. 1, 2016.
Nadler joined the UC Davis faculty in 1996 as an associate professor and associate nematologist, advancing to professor in 2001. He was named chair of the Department of Nematology in May 2005 and held that leadership position until June 2011. Active in the American Society of Parasitologists, Nadler served as the organization's president from 2007 to 2008. (See news story)
The two departments merged in 2011, but the department was not officially renamed the Department of Entomology and Nematology, until May 28, 2013. The department today has some 25 faculty.
The UC Davis Department of Entomology began as an offshoot of the Department of Entomology and Parasitology at UC Berkeley and the two were closely entwined for more than 50 years before the UC Davis Department of Entomology became autonomous on July 1, 1963.
UC Davis offered a two-year non-degree program in entomology, beginning in 1913. The first degree in entomology provided at UC Davis was in 1923-24 at which time Stanley B. Freeborn (for whom Freeborn Hall is named) was transferred from UC Berkeley to UC Davis to head the program.
The celebration of life will take place from 4 to 6 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 28 in the Putah Creek Lodge, UC Davis campus. The deadline for reservations is Aug. 1. RSVP here: https://ericmussencelebrationofli.rsvpify.com.
“Eric was a giant in the field of apiculture,” said Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. “The impact of his work stretched far beyond California.”
The event will include speakers, a PowerPoint of images showcasing his life, a memory table, songs by the Davis doo wop chorus he belonged to, and light refreshments. The crowd, expected to fill thePutah Creek Lodge, will include family and friends; UC Davis faculty, staff and students; bee and almond industry colleagues; and his musician friends. For those unable to attend, the event will include a webinar (register here) produced by UC Davis distinguished professor Walter Leal of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, a former chair of the Department of Entomology. It also will be on YouTube.
Dr. Mussen, known to all as “Eric,” joined the UC Davis entomology department in 1976. Although he retired in 2014, he continued his many activities until a few weeks prior to his death. For nearly four decades, he drew praise as “the honey bee guru,” “the pulse of the bee industry" and as "the go-to person" when consumers, scientists, researchers, students, and the news media sought answers about honey bees.
Colleagues described Eric as the “premier authority on bees and pollination in California, and one of the top beekeeping authorities nationwide,” “a treasure to the beekeeping industry," and "a walking encyclopedia when it comes to honey bees."
When Eric was nominated (and received) the 2013-14 Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Extension from the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), MacArthur Genus Awardee Professor Marla Spivak, Distinguished McKnight University Professor Apiculture/Social Insects at the University of Minnesota, wrote: "Without question, Eric is the No. 1 Extension person dealing with honey bees in the nation, if not the world. Research colleagues, beekeepers and the public are all very lucky to have him.” (See tribute on UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology website.)
In his leisure time, Eric sang doo wop for more than a decade with a performance class taught by Frank Fox of Davis. "The class taught was always a performance class and culminated in a concert--the Davis Arts Center Doowop Ensemble was what I called it," Fox said. "Eric sang bass but often did leads as well." Among Eric's favorites: "The Duke of Earl," "Blue Moon, "All I Have to Do is Dream" and "I Understand Just How You Feel."
The display will include:
- What's in the jar?
- Celery infected with root-knot nematodes
- Tree swallow infected with Diplotriaena
- White-tailed deer eye infected with a Thelazia species
- Peach root infected with root-knot nematodes
- Mormon crickets infected with Gordius robustus
- Lettuce infected with root-knot nematodes
- Garlic damaged by Ditylenchus dipsaci
- Horse stomach infected with three parasites: Parascaris (roundworms), tapeworms, and botfly larvae.
- Grape roots infected with root-knot nematodes
- Sweet potato infected with root-knot nematodes
- Sugar beet infected with cyst nematodes
- Peach root infected with cyst nematodes
- Sugar beet infected with root-knot nematodes
- Ascaris lumbricoides (roundworm)
- Minke whale infected infected with ascaridoid nematodes
- Heartworm of dog
The event is set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the UC Davis Conference Center, 555 Alumni Lane. Admission and parking are free, but visitors must adhere to the COVID-19 Campus Ready guidelines. Masks will be required in accordance with campus policies, organizers said. Visitors can also sign up at the Conference Center for limited tours. Several museums or collections will be offering tours. (See news story)
"Plant-parasitic nematodes are destructive pests causing losses of billions of dollars annually," Siddique says on his website. "Economic, health, and environmental considerations make natural host plant resistance a preferred strategy for nematode control, but there are limitations to this approach. In many cases, the resistance conferred by resistance genes is partial, and some of the nematodes are able to survive. Similarly, nematode resistance genes are often effective against only one or a few species, whereas plants are exposed to several pathogens in the field. Another concern is the emergence of pathotypes that can overcome resistance. In view of all these limitations, it is important to identify additional mechanisms and tools that can be used to develop novel and sustainable approaches to the management of nematodes."
"Research in the Siddique lab focuses on basic as well as applied aspects of interaction between parasitic nematodes and their host plants," Siddique points out on his website. "The long-term object of our research is not only to enhance our understanding of molecular aspects of plant–nematode interaction but also to use this knowledge to provide new resources for reducing the impact of nematodes on crop plants in California."
Coomer, a second-year doctorate student, recently won a worldwide competition competition sponsored by the International Federation of Nematology Societies (IFNS) for her three-minute thesis on root-knot nematodes. She delivered her video presentation virtually on “Trade-Offs Between Virulence and Breaking Resistance in Root-Knot Nematodes.” She will be awarded a busary and plaque at the 7th International Congress of Nematology (ICN), set May 1-6 in Antibes, France.
Coomer earlier was selected one of the nine finalists in the 22-participant competition, vying against eight other graduate students from the University of Idaho, Moscow; and universities in England, Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Kenya, Belgium and South Africa.
The UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day is traditionally held on the Saturday of Presidents' Day weekend. However, last year's event was virtual, and this year's event is centrally located in an exposition. For more information, access the UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day website and/or connect with Instagram,Twitter, and Facebook.
As of Feb. 11, the videos posted on this site for free, public viewing include:
- "All About Nematodes," an 11-minute YouTube video by Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology." He explains what they are and discusses the diversity and research involved. See https://youtu.be/3fhv-P_O8I8.
- "Virtual Tour of the Bohart's Lepidoptera Collection," a 13-minute Aggie Video by Diane Ullman, professor and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. She describes the natural history and ecology of several colorful and toxic species in the Bohart Museum of Entomology. See https://bit.ly/2LHYFzL
- "Insect Collection, Preservation and Identification," a 15-minute Aggie Video by Steve Heydon, senior museum scientist, Bohart Museum of Entomology. Heydon, the curator and collections manager of the Bohart Museum, gives an overview of how the museum collects, preserves and identifies some of its nearly 8 million specimens. See https://bit.ly/375eXdC
- "Common Millipedes of the Sacramento-San Francisco Region," a 23-minute YouTube video by Xavier Zahnle, a doctoral student in the lab of Professor Jason Bond lab, the Schlinger Chair in Systematics. Zahnle reviews the major groups of millipedes that are commonly found in the region, the diversity, and what makes them unique. See https://youtu.be/ZMAzm3A95VE
- "Demonstration of Insect Preparation: Butterflies and Moths," a 9-minute Aggie Video featuring Jeff Smith, curator of the Lepidoptera collection at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. He describes how to pin and spread moths and butterflies. This technique is the most common method that museums and researchers use to display adult Lepidopterans, allowing scientists to identify and study this diverse group of insects. See https://video.ucdavis.edu/media/0_9nymgt3c
- "All About Arachnids," a 24-minute YouTube video by Lacie Newton, a doctoral student in the lab of Professor Jason Bond lab, the Schlinger Chair in Systematics. She talks about the diversity of arachnids (spiders, scorpions, ticks, mites etc.) and their unique characteristics. https://youtu.be/FM_ANqARkI0
Other topics range from the Phaff Yeast Collection, California Raptor Center and the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology to the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden. More videos, including one on the diversity of bees by Chris Casey, manager of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's bee garden, the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, are being loaded throughout the month of February. To access all of the pre-recorded videos and activities, click here. To access the schedule of live talks and demonstrations, click here.
About the UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Month
The 10th annual UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Month program is all virtual this year via webinars and pre-recorded presentations. All take place throughout the month of February. The science-based event traditionally occurs on only one day--the Saturday of Presidents' Weekend, when families and friends gather on campus to learn first-hand about the UC Davis museums and collections.
This year's biodiversity event focuses on 12 museums or collections:
- Anthropology Museum
- Arboretum and Public Garden
- Bohart Museum of Entomology
- Botanical Conservatory
- California Raptor Center
- Center for Plant Diversity
- Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven
- Nematode Collection
- Marine Invertebrate Collection
- Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology
- Paleontology Collection
- Phaff Yeast Culture Collection
One of the activities listed in the pre-recorded talks and activities is a 10-page coloring book on plant-insect interactions. It's the work of Molly Barber, Fernanda Guizar, Collin Gross and Jasen Liu of the Santiago Ramirez lab, UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology. Ramirez is a global authority on orchid bees. Download the PDF of the coloring book here.
To help support the Biodiversity Museum event, contributions are being accepted through a month-long crowdfunding campaign program at https://crowdfund.ucdavis.edu/project/24310.
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.