The special forum, set from noon to 1 p.m. in Room 194 of Young Hall, is a new addition to Biodiversity Museum Day, a 9 a.m.-to 4 p.m. event showcasing 13 museums or collections. The event is free and family friendly.
The slate of speakers:
- Art Shapiro, distinguished professor of evolution and ecology, will discuss “Are Our Butterflies in Trouble?” (“Yes, they mostly are in trouble,” he says. He will discuss “How do we know and why?”)
- Gabrielle Nevitt, professor of animal behavior (on leave), will speak on “How Do Sub-Antarctic Seabirds Find their Food in the Vast Ocean?” (“They follow their nose," she says, "and sometimes it gets them into trouble.”)
- Melanie Truan, research ecologist, UC Davis Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, will cover “Biodiversity Studies at the UC Davis Wildlife Museum.” Biodiversity studies, she says, “can tell us a lot about the world and how it is functioning. This is especially important today where the influence of Homo sapiens is having profound impacts on the planet and its inhabitants.” She will touch on some of the ways that the UC Davis Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology incorporates biodiversity into its research.
Prominent lepidopterist Art Shapiro, in his 49th year of service to UC Davis, joined the UC Davis faculty in 1971, first working in the former Department of Zoology. He has been monitoring California butterfly faunas since 1972. (See his website.) Shapiro is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the California Academy of Sciences, the Royal Entomological Society (U.K.) and the Explorers Club. Shapiro has authored some 300 scientific publications and the book, Field Guide to Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento Valley Regions. He has mentored 17 doctoral students and a similar number of master's students. Shapiro received his bachelor of arts degree in biology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1966 and his doctorate in entomology from Cornell in 1970.
Gabrielle Nevitt, a 25-year member of the UC Davis faculty, is a leader in the field of chemical ecology. She is known for her pioneering work in the sub-Antarctic that established a climate regulator, dimethyl sulphide, as a keystone foraging cue in marine ecosystems.
Her research frequently appears in leading scientific journals, including Science, Nature, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and has been featured in many documentaries, including David Attenborough's “Life of Birds.” She is spotlighted in a popular Audubon piece, "Birds Can Smell, and One Scientist is Leading the Charge to Prove It."
Nevitt has served as a contributing lecturer in the International Course on Sensory Ecology at Lund University in Sweden since 2008 and was the first woman ever to chair the Scientific Advisory Board for the Max Planck Institute of Ornithology in Germany.
A graduate of Stanford University, Nevitt received her doctorate in zoology from the University of Washington, and served as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University. She has mentored some 60 undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral scholars in her lab, as well as serving in advisory roles to graduate students at other institutions.
Melanie Truan, 16 years in her current position, received her doctorate in ecology in 2004 from UC Davis, studying the plants and animals of Putah Creek and laying the groundwork for a long-term research program that continues today. She is particularly interested in the art of eco-investigation, “a sort of detective work that employs in-depth observation and species monitoring to infer the structure and function of ecosystems, the results of which can be used to devise habitat reconciliation strategies and management objectives.” She holds a bachelor's degree in biology/environmental studies (1996) from UC Santa Cruz.
Truan says she is a self-professed "biophiliac" (E. O. Wilson 1984), bearing a strong urge to affiliate with other forms of life.
UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day
The ninth annual UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day, an annual science-based event, is billed as a “free, educational event for the community where visitors get to meet and talk with UC Davis scientists from undergraduate students to staff to emeritus professors and see amazing objects and organisms from the world around us,” according to Biodiversity Museum Day coordinator Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum of Entomology. Last year's event drew more than 4000 visitors. The event is always held the Saturday of Presidents' Day weekend.
The schedule is online at http://biodiversitymuseumday.ucdavis.edu/schedule.html.
Participating museums or collections and the hours they will be open:
- The Botanical Conservatory, the Greenhouses along Kleiber Hall Drive, will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The following five will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.:
- Arboretum and Public Garden, Shields Oak Grove, alongside the Vet School, Garrod Drive on campus
- Bohart Museum of Entomology, Room 1124 and Main Hall of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane
- California Raptor Center, 340 Equine Lane, off Old Davis Road
- Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, Room 1394 and Mail Hall, Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane
- Paleontology Collection, Earth and Physical Sciences Building, 434 LaRue Road
Two collections will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.:
- Phaff Yeast Culture Collection, Robert Mondavi Institute of Wine and Food Science, 392 Old Davis Road, on campus
- Viticulture and Enology Culture Collection, Robert Mondavi Institute of Wine and Food Science, 392 Old Davis Road, on campus
These four will be open from noon to 4 p.m.:
- Anthropology Museum, 328 Young Hall and grounds
- Center for Plant Diversity, Sciences Laboratory Building, off Kleiber Hall Drive
- Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, Bee Biology Road, off Hopkins Road (take West Hutchison Drive to Hopkins)
- Nematode Collection, Sciences Laboratory Building, off Kleiber Hall Drive
- Marine Invertebrate Collection, Sciences Laboratory Building, off Kleiber Hall Drive
All 13 sites are within walking distance except for the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road and the Raptor Center on Old Davis Road. Further information, including a campus map, is available on the UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day website.
Those are a few of the activities or calendar items newly announced by the Bohart Museum of Entomology.
Moth Night. The Bohart will celebrate National Moth Night: Exploring Night Time Nature on Saturday, Aug. 3, instead of in July. The event, free and family friendly, will take place from 8 to 11 p.m. Visitors can view the Bohart's world-class collection of moths, make a craft, and search for moths outside with experts. Scientists will set up a blacklight to draw night-flying insects. The set-up includes a white sheet that's illuminated by a generator-powered ultraviolet (UV) light.
Last year Bohart associate and "Moth Man" John De Benedictis listed the species, by family, sighted at Moth Night. Among them
- NOCTUIDAE: Spodoptera exigua (Beet Armyworm Moth), Proxenus sp. (probably P. mindara)
- GEOMETRIDAE: Prochoerodestruxaliata
- PYRALIDAE: Ehestiodesgilvescentella
- TORTRICIDAE: Cydia latiferreana (Filbertworm Moth), Grapholita prunivora (Lesser Appleworm Moth)
- GELECHIIDAE: Leucogniella sp. (probably L. distincta)
- TINEDAE: Oinophila v-flava
- ACROLOPHIDAE: Amydria sp. (cannot tell genus or species without dissecting. Likely Pseudopsalta confusella.)
Lepidopterists' Society Meeting. The Bohart Museum will be closed to the public July 8-12 to accommodate the 68th annual meeting of the Lepidopterists' Society. The Bohart Museum, to host the conference, maintains the seventh largest insect collection in North America with more than eight million specimens. It is also the home of the California Insect Survey.
New Summer Hours. The Bohart Museum will be closed in the mornings to walk-in visitors due to scheduled tours and outreach events, announced Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. The insect museum will be open to visitors from 1 to 5 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays "and we are offering a scavenger hunt."
Wednesday Walk-Ins. "On Wednesdays, starting July 3 at 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., we will have casual 30-minute tours for walk-in visitors," Yang said. "No reservations are required. All of these events are free to the public, but donations are suggested."
Directed by Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis professor of entomology, the insect museum is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane. The Bohart also houses a gift shop and a live "petting zoo," comprised of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas.
The event, free and open to the public, begins at 10 a.m. on the Wyatt Deck. It is billed as an event to “explore the amazing diversity of butterflies and moths both near and far.” All ages are invited.
Butterflies they spot may include monarchs, gulf fritillaries, and pipevine swallowtails, as well as skippers and cabbage whites. Hernandez will also display his own collections of butterflies.
Hernandez, who received a bachelor of science degree in entomology from UC Davis in 2014, currently works for the Steve Seybold lab as a research/field assistant. He hopes to attend graduate school and receive his doctorate in entomology.
Hernandez worked for the Sharon Lawler lab for four years, both as a student and as a post-graduation junior specialist. A volunteer at the Bohart Museum of Entomology and the UC Davis Arboretum, he recently participated on a Bohart Museum insect collecting trip with entomologist/Bohart associate Fran Keller. “It was an amazing experience,” he said.
Hernandez has collected and curated insects for 19 years. “I have a passion for Lepitoptera and would like to use it as a target group for research in graduate school,” he said. “The species of butterfly that interests me the most is the blue morpho. The family of moths that interests me the most and the one I would like to study is Sphingidae.”
"I've been interested in insects ever since I was small," Hernandez said. "It was their unique life histories and morphologies that really propelled my passion for insects and entomology. What draws me to butterflies is the plethora of different colors and patterns that they display on their wings, as well as their life cycle.”
Hernandez presented a well-attended talk and tour on butterflies and moths at the Arboretum last September. Elaine Fingerett, the Arboretum's academic coordinator, chronicled the event in photos.
For more information, contact the Arboretum at (530) 752-4880 or by email, email@example.com.
The book, published by Oxford University Press, will be available for purchase that night or attendees may bring their own copy for signing.
The event is co-sponsored by Jay Rosenheim, professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and by the department. Epstein is a longtime research associate and friend of Rosenheim's.
Epstein is a senior insect biosystematist for the order Lepitopdera (butterflies, moths) with the Plant Pest Diagnostics Branch, California Department of Food and Agriculture. He is a research associate for the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Smithsonian Institution.
Harrison G. Dyar Jr. (1866-1929) was a Smithsonian entomologist of the early 20th century. He was a taxonomist who published extensively on moths and butterflies (Lepidoptera), mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae), and sawflies (Hymenoptera: Symphyta). As a teenager, he studied insects, particularly moths. He received his bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1889 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his master's degree in biology from Columbia University in 1894. His doctoral dissertation (1895) dealt with airborne bacteria in New York City.
"On September 26, 1924, the ground collapsed beneath a truck in a back alley in Washington, D.C., revealing a mysterious underground labyrinth. In spite of wild speculations, the tunnel was not the work of German spies, but rather an aging, eccentric Smithsonian scientist named Harrison Gray Dyar, Jr. While Dyar's covert tunneling habits may seem far-fetched, they were merely one of many oddities in Dyar's unbelievable life.
"For the first time, insect biosystematist Marc E. Epstein presents a complete account of Dyar's life story. Dyar, one of the most influential biologists of the twentieth century, focused his entomological career on building natural classifications of various groups of insects. His revolutionary approach to taxonomy, which examined both larval and adult stages of insects, brought about major changes in the scientific community's understanding of natural relationships and insect systematics. He was also the father of what came to be known as Dyar's Law, a pragmatic method to standardize information on insect larval stages as they grow. Over the course of his illustrious career at the U.S. National Museum, Smithsonian Institution from 1897-1929, Dyar named over 3,000 species, established the List of North American Lepidoptera, an unrivaled catalog of moths and butterflies, and built one of the nation's premier lepidoptera and mosquito collections.
"However, Dyar's scientific accomplishments are a mere component of this remarkable biography. Epstein offers an account of Dyar's complicated personal life, from his feuds with fellow entomologists to the scandalous revelation that he was married to two wives at the same time. Epstein also chronicles Dyar's exploration of the Baha'i faith, his extensive travels, his innumerable works of unpublished fiction, and the loss of his wealth from bad investments. Comprehensive and engaging, Moths, Myths, and Mosquitoes will delight entomologists and historians alike, as well as anyone interested in exploring the zany life of one of America's virtually unknown scientific geniuses."
Epstein researches and writes on evolution and classification of moths and their biodiversity, and develops identification tools for moths that threaten agriculture. He served with NMNH's Department of Entomology (1988-2003), co-founding the department's Archives and Illustration Archives.
Epstein's research on caterpillars, including images and videos, is featured in the NMNH exhibit "More than Meets the Eye." He was a guest on NPR's "Fresh Air" about his work on the book "Night Visions: the Secret Design of Moths." Epstein's published work includes a Smithsonian monograph on limacodid moths and the article "Digging for Dyar: the Man Behind the Myth" with Pamela M. Henson.
Epstein received his master's degree (1982) and doctorate (1988) from the University of Minnesota.
For more information on the April 28th event, contact Jay Rosenheim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DAVIS--Beer for a butterfly.
If you collect the first live cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae) of 2016 within the three-county area of Yolo, Sacramento or Solano and it's verified as the winner, you can win a pitcher of beer or its equivalent from the sponsor, UC Davis professor Art Shapiro.
Shapiro, distinguished professor in the UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology, is sponsoring his annual “Beer for a Butterfly” contest to draw attention to Pieris rapae and its first flight.
The contest, launched in 1972, is all part of Shapiro's four-decade study of climate and butterfly seasonality that he began in 1971. “It is typically one of the first butterflies to emerge in late winter. Since 1972, the first flight has varied from Jan. 1 to Feb. 22, averaging about Jan. 20.”
Shapiro, who is in the field more than 200 days a year, usually wins his own contest because he knows where to look, won the 2015 contest by netting a cabbage white at 12:30 p.m.. Monday, Jan. 26 in West Sacramento, Yolo County. The site: a mustard patch near the railroad tracks.
“It was a very easy catch; I suspect he emerged that morning and that was his first flight.”
Has he seen any lately? “It was flying as of Dec. 22,” he said.
Although the first flight of the cabbage white has been as late as Feb. 22, it is emerging earlier and earlier as the regional climate has warmed, Shapiro said. “There have been only two occasions in the 21st century in which it has come out this late: Jan 26, 2006 and Jan 31, 2011.”
"I do long-term studies of butterfly life cycles and climate," he said. "Such studies are especially important to help us understand biological responses to climate change. The cabbage white is now emerging a week or so earlier on average than it did 30 years ago here."
The professor, fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Royal Entomological Society and the California Academy of Sciences, said the cabbage white butterfly inhabits vacant lots, fields and gardens where its host plants, weedy mustards, grow.
The white butterfly, with black dots on the upperside (which may be faint or not visible in the early season), inhabits vacant lots, fields and gardens where its host plants, weedy mustards, grow.
The male is white. The female is often slightly buffy; the "underside of the hindwing and apex of the forewing may be distinctly yellow and normally have a gray cast,” Shapiro says. “The black dots and apical spot on the upperside tend to be faint or even to disappear really early in the season.”
The contest rules include:
- It must be an adult (no caterpillars or pupae) and be captured outdoors.
- It must be brought in alive to the department office, 2320 Storer Hall, UC Davis, during work hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, with the full data (exact time, date and location of the capture) and your name, address, phone number and/or e-mail. The receptionist will certify that it is alive and refrigerate it. (If you collect it on a weekend or holiday, keep it in a refrigerator; do not freeze. A few days in the fridge will not harm it.
- Shapiro is the sole judge.
Shapiro has been defeated only three times since 1972. And all were his graduate students. Adam Porter defeated him in 1983; and Sherri Graves and Rick VanBuskirk each won in the late 1990s.
Shapiro maintains a website on butterflies at http://butterfly.ucdavis.edu/, where he records the population trends he monitors in Central California. He and artist Tim Manolis co-authored A Field Guide to Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento Valley Regions, published in 2007 by the University of California Press.