- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
James R. Carey, UC Davis distinguished professor of entomology, will speak Thursday, May 9 at the Walter A. Buehler Alumni Center on “What Can Insect Studies Tell Us about Longevity and Aging? Lots!”
His talk, hosted by the UC Davis Emeriti Association, begins at 11:30. The Alumni Center is located at 530 Alumni Lane. Among the topics he will cover:
- Are there lifespan limits?
- Evolution of lifespan extremes
- Male-female longevity differences
- Evolutionary demography of humans as informed by insect studies
- Three raging controversies in the demography of aging and lifespan in humans
Jeanne Calment of France (1875-1997), who died at age 122 (and 164 days), holds the record of the longest confirmed human lifespan.
An internationally recognized leader and distinguished scholar in insect demography and invasion biology, spanning three decades, Carey also researches health demography, biology of aging, and lifespan theory. He is the author of a landmark study published in the journal Science in 1992 that showed mortality of Mediterranean fruit flies (medflies) slows at older ages. Scientists last year confirmed that this also occurs in humans, citing the study of 105-year-old Italian women.
Carey, who joined the UC Davis Department of Entomology (now Entomology and Nematology) in 1980, directed an 11-university, $10 million, 10-year study on biodemography of aging from 2003-2013. He is also known for discovering Carey's Equality or the death distribution in a life table population equals its age structure. He teaches a popular longevity course that draws 250 to 300 students year, and recently authored a book on biodemography, to be published by Princeton University next year.
Carey drew a large crowd for his Science Café presentation Oct.10 on "Are There Upper Limits to Human Lifespan?” in the G St. Wunderbar, Davis.
The talk is open to the public. Those who want to have lunch must make reservations by Monday, May 6 to the UC Davis Emeriti Association at (530) 752-5182 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
The two emeriti professors from the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology were among five honored at the event. Also honored were Dickson recipients/emeriti professor Daniel Anderson of the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources; Martha Macri of the Department of Linguistics; and Peter Schiffman, Department of Geology. (See web page.)
UC Davis Chancellor Linda P. B. Katehi, Provost Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph Hexter, and emcee Bill Rains, past president of the UC Davis Emeriti Association, praised them for their work.
Thorp was singled out for the distinguished emeritus award for his outstanding scholarly work and service accomplished since his retirement in 1994. "Dr. Robbin Thorp should be the first scientist to be cloned," said emcee Rains, quoting James Cane of the USDA-ARS Pollinating Insect Research Unit, Utah State University, Logan.
Thorp, who joined the UC Davis entomology faculty in 1964 and achieved emeritus status in 1994, is a state, national and global authority on pollination ecology, ecology and systematics of honey bees, bumble bees, vernal pool bees, conservation of bees, contribution of native bees to crop pollination, and bees of urban gardens and agricultural landscapes.
Since his retirement, he has compiled an exemplary record for his research, teaching, publications, presentations, and advisement services, sharing his expertise with local, statewide, national and international audiences. In his retirement, he has published 68 papers and is the first author on 15 publications. He received several prestigious awards: the 2013 outstanding team award, with several colleagues, from the Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society of America, and the 2010-2011 Edward A. Dickson Emeriti Professorship, UC Davis. Thorp is the North American regional co-chair for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Bumblebee Specialist group. He is a member of 10 professional societies, including the International Society of Hymenopterists.
Thorp maintains his office and research headquarters in the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on the UC Davis campus. Among his latest publications: he co-authored two books published in 2014: Bumble Bees of North America: An Identification Guide (Princeton University Press) and California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists (Heyday). Of the 20,000 bee species identified worldwide, some 4000 are found in the United States, and 1600 in California.
Thorp spends much of his time in the Bohart Museum of Entomology, which houses collections critical to his bee identification work. He identifies species and regularly volunteers at the open houses and other event.
Thorp is an integral part of The Bee Course, an annual 10-day workshop sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History and held at the Southwestern Field Station near Portal, Ariz. He has taught there since 2002 (the instructors are all volunteers), and even though he is 81 years young, he plans to continue teaching there. (See more on the departmental web page.)
Hugh Dingle. an international authority on animal migration, received a Dickson award to help fund his research on monarch butterflies, “Monarchs in the Pacific: Is Contemporary Evolution Occurring on Isolated Islands?” Monarch butterflies established just 200 years ago in remote Pacific islands are undergoing contemporary evolution through differences in their wing span and other changes, he believes.
Dingle, author of two editions of “Migration: The Biology of Life on the Move,” said his previous studies reveal that migrant and resident monarchs exhibit different wing shapes. He will be working with community ecologist Louie Yang and molecular geneticist Joanna Chiu, assistant professors in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, to examine the ecology and physiology of monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) in three islands where contemporary evolution might be expected. The islands are Oahu (Hawaii), Guam (Marianas) and Weno (Chuuk or Truk).
“This is the necessary first step in a long-term analysis of the evolutionary ecology and physiology of monarch butterflies on remote Pacific islands,” said Dingle, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Animal Behavior Society.
Dingle said the monarch, widely distributed “for eons” in the New World, is fairly new to the Pacific islands and to Australia. “In addition to North America, the monarch occurs as a resident throughout the Caribbean and Central and northern South America—and probably as a migrant farther south. One of the more intriguing aspects of its distribution is that beginning in the early part of the 19th century, it spread throughout the Pacific all the way to Australia, where there are now well-established migratory and non-migratory populations.”
Dingle speculates that the monarchs arrived in the Pacific islands with their host plant, milkweed, which was valued at the time for its medicinal properties. Some of the islands are extremely isolated, he said.
An analysis of a monarch population in Hawaii shows that resident monarchs have shorter, broader wings than the long-distance migrants. The Hawaii butterfly wings were shorter than the eastern U.S. long-distance migrants, but “not so short-winged as the residents in the Caribbean or Costa Rica, which have been present in those locations for eons, rather than the 200 years for Hawaii.”
“If there are indeed wing shape changes associated with evolution in isolation, are there other changes that may have occurred under selection and local adaptation for residency?” Dingle wonders. “Are there other changes that may have occurred under selection and local adaptation for residency? Examples of such traits might be changes in flight muscle physiology, changes in photoperiodic diapause response, changes in the characteristics of orientation ability and its relation to antennal circadian rhythms, or changes in the reproductive capacity or tactics (re-colonization of ‘empty' habitats is no longer part of the life cycle).
Dingle published the second edition of “Migration: The Biology of Life on the Move” (Oxford University Press) in November 2014. It is the sequel to the widely acclaimed first edition, published in 1996. National Geographic featured Dingle in its cover story on “Great Migrations” in November 2010. LiveScience interviewed him for its November 2010 piece on “Why Do Animals Migrate?” (See more on the departmental web page.)
Preceding the ceremony, Chancellor Katehi presented a progress report on UC Davis, which is ranked No. 9 in the nation's top 10 public universities in rankings released last fall by by U.S. News & World Report. This is the fifth consecutive year that UC Davis has been ranked in the top 10 U.S. public universities.
The UC Davis community includes more than 34,000 students, some 4,100 faculty and other academia, and 17,400 staff. The incoming fall class drew nearly 80,000 applicants, she said.
The UC Davis annual research budget totals more than $750 million. Among the other statistics: UC Davis ranks No. 1 in the world for teaching and research in the area of agriculture and forestry, according to QS World University Rankings.
Katehi said that UC Davis is planning now for the next 30 years, not the next five. "What kind of university will make us proud?" she asked. "What we do today will define us in 30 years."
"Where are we going to be in 30 years?" she asked. "We need to draw a path to get there. We need to know where we're going to be so we can get there."
She thanked the UC Davis Retiree Association for its continuing support. The association was established in 1989 to provide retired academics of UC Davis/UC Davis Health System or other UC campuses living in the Davis/Sacramento area with opportunities for continuing interest in and support for the excellence of UC Davis, according to Sue Barnes, director of the Retiree Center.