Newton studies with Professor Jason Bond, associate dean, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and the Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
"Spiders placed in the infraorder Mygalomorphae (tarantulas, trapdoor spiders and their kin) are generally recognized as an ancient cosmopolitan lineage that has persisted for over 250 million years," Newton wrote in her abstract. "Mygalomorph life history traits that include limited dispersal abilities, habitat specialization, and site fidelity altogether make them ideal organisms for studying speciation pattern and process, phylogeography, and adaptation. Evolutionary studies of mygalomorphs at both shallow and deeper phylogenetic levels have been limited prior to the advent of next generation sequencing approaches, with the majority of such studies relying on morphological characters or limited targeted locus approaches for phylogenetic reconstruction. Thus, it is imperative to implement larger genomic-scale datasets for confident reconstruction of relationships."
Her dissertation focuses on species delimitation in two trapdoor spider groups, Antrodiaetus unicolor complex and Aptostichus icenoglei sister species complex, and evaluation of interspecific relationships within the genus Aptostichus. To address species boundaries in the A. unicolor species complex, she implemented genomic-scale data (that it, restriction-site associated DNA sequencing, RADseq) in conjunction with morphological, behavioral, and ecological data to evaluate cohesion species identity (Chapter I).
Similarly, assessing species boundaries in the Aptostichus icenoglei sibling species complex involved a target capture approach for subgenomic data (that is, ultraconserved elements, UCEs) and ecological data to evaluate genetic and ecological exchangeability, as per the cohesion species-based delimitation approach from a previous study (Chapter II).
Newton expects to receive her doctorate by the end of summer and "then I will be heading to the American Museum of Natural History where I will be working in Jessica Ware's lab as a postdoctoral fellow on systematics of broader Odonata as well as Anisoptera (dragonflies)."
First-Generation College Student. Born and raised in Eupora, Miss., Lacie is a first-generation college student. She received her bachelor of science degree in biological sciences from Millsaps College in 2016 and then enrolled in the graduate school program at Auburn University, Alabama, studying with Professor Bond. When he accepted the Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics in 2018, Lacie, along with other lab members, transferred to UC Davis.
What sparked her interest in spiders? “I actually used to be terrified of spiders,” Lacie acknowledged. “It wasn't until fall semester of my sophomore year when I took a zoology course that I began to appreciate not only the vast amount of diversity within spiders but also how amazing they are as a group, such as the tensile strength of spider silk being comparable to steel, spider venoms playing a role in potential medical applications, and a myriad of feeding strategies, etc..”
Her research on folding-door spiders or the Antrodiaetus unicolor species complex led to a journal article published in Molecular Ecology: “Integrative Species Delimitation Reveals Cryptic Diversity in the Southern Appalachian Antrodiaetus unicolor (Araneae: Antrodiaetidae) Species Complex.” UC Davis co-authors are Professor Bond, who is the Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics, and project scientist James Starrett of the Bond lab.
Newton is active in both the American Arachnological Society (AAS) and the Society of Systematic Biologists. She won a second-place award for her oral presentation on species delimitation at the 2019 AAS meeting, held at Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Va.
At UC Davis, Newton served as a teaching assistant for the “Introduction to Biology: Biodiversity and the Tree of Life” course. Her resume also includes:
- mentoring undergraduate students in the Mentoring Program, Equity in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Entrepreneurship (ESTEME) organization, a graduate student organization dedicated to improving equity and inclusion in STEM fields, entrepreneurship, and leadership positions.
- volunteering on the admissions committee for GOALS, the Girls' Outdoor Adventure in Leadership and Science, a summer science program for high school students to learn science hands-on while backpacking through the wilderness.
AAS Conference at UC Davis. Newton is looking forward to the AAS conference, set June 26-30, at UC Davis, and will be assisting at the Eight-Legged Encounters open house from 1 to 4 p.m., June 25 at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane. The event will officially kick off the AAS meeting.
A "powerhouse" of arachnologists will be participating, said Bond, who will be hosting the conference with Lisa Chamberland, postdoctoral research associate, Department of Entomology and Nematology, and Joel Ledford, assistant professor of teaching, Department of Plant Biology, College of Biological Sciences.
Professor Eileen Hebets of the School of Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, is co-hosting the open house as part of a U.S. National Science Foundation grant, “Eight-Legged Encounters” that she developed as an outreach project to connect arachnologists with communities, especially youth.
Some 20 exhibits and activities will be set up in the hallway of the Academic Surge Building, said Tabatha Yang, the Bohart Museum's education and outreach coordinator. “There will be everything--spider specimens, live arachnids, activities, artwork, etc.," Bond related.
Another highlight of the American Arachnological
Page will present her dissertation research that investigates the impacts of increasing honey bee abundance on plant-pollinator interactions and plant pollination. Her work suggests that honey bees reduce pollen and nectar availability in flowers, leading to competitive displacement of native bees.
"Competitive displacement of native bees may in turn decrease plant pollination because native bees are often more effective than native bees as pollinators," Page says. "My research suggests that such changes are already occurring for Camassia quamash (small camas) following honey bee introductions in the Sierra Nevada."
Page is scheduled to receive her doctorate in entomology in June 2022 and then begin a postdoctoral fellowship with assistant professor Scott McArt at Cornell University, where she will investigate patterns of interspecific pathogen transmission and how more sustainable beekeeping practices might mitigate the negative effects of competition. McArt recently delivered a seminar hosted by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology on "Pesticide Risk to Pollinators: What We Know and What We Need to Know Better."
Page holds a master's degree in entomology (2019) from UC Davis and a bachelor's degree in biology (2016), cum laude, from Scripps College, Claremont, Calif.
Highly recognized for her work, Page received a three-year $115,000 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, funded by the Department of Defense. She was one of 69 recipients out of more than 3600 applicants. She earlier won a campuswide 2016-17 Graduate Scholars Fellowship of $25,200; a Vansell Scholarship in both 2018 and 2019; and Davis Society Botanical grants in 2017, 2018 and 2019. A 2018 Duffey-Dingle Research Fellowship also helped fund her research (optimizing pollinator plant mixes to simultaneously support wild and managed bees).
Active in the Entomological Society of America and the Ecological Society of America, Page scored a second-place award for her project, "Optimizing Wildflower Plant Mixes to Support Wild and Managed Bees" in a 2021 student competition hosted by the Entomological Society of America. She also presented “Impacts of Honey Bee Introductions on the Pollination of a Sierra Wildflower" at the August 2020 meeting of the Ecological Society of America, and "Can Visitation and Pollen Transport Patterns Predict Plant Pollination?" at the April 2019 meeting of the Pacific Branch, Entomological Society of America.
A strong supporter of community outreach and STEM, Page has been active in the summer program, Girls Outdoor Adventure and Leadership (GOALS) since August 2017. The free program is targeted for teens underrepresented in STEM. Page has served as a program co-organizer, mentor and lecturer. Part of her work included helping organize the 2021 summer program, leading a lecture on introductory data analysis, and helping students with their community science project (identifying pollinators in urban gardens).
Page was also active in Center for Land-Based Learning, serving as a mentor in the Student and Landowner Education and Watershed Stewardship. She mentored high school students, engaging them in hands-on conservation science at Say Hay Farm in Yolo County, and teaching them about how wildflower plantings benefit bees.
In July 2019, Page collaborated with colleagues at Cornell and the University of Minnesota to present a workshop on the intersections of science and social justice, aiming to make science more open and accessible.
Page and postdoctoral researcher Charlie Casey Nicholson of Williams lab recently co-authored the cover story, A Meta-Analysis of Single Visit Pollination Effectiveness Comparing Honeybees and other Floral Visitors, in the American Journal of Botany
She will deliver her in-person seminar at 4:10 p.m. in Room 122 of Briggs Hall.
“Growers and pest control advisors in California suspect that European earwigs (Forficula auricularia) damage young citrus fruit,” she writes in her abstract. “However, very little is known about herbivory by earwigs on citrus fruit. Our work details characteristics of herbivory by earwigs on citrus fruit and the use of sticky and pesticide barriers to manage earwigs and other citrus pests.”
Kahl, awarded her doctorate in August, focused her research on understanding the role of European earwigs in California citrus; developing a whole systems approach to manage earwigs and other citrus pests; and feeding preferences of fort-tailed bush katydids and citrus thrips on California citrus.
Kahl is now an ecological pest management specialist at Community Alliance with Family Farmers, Davis. She leads projects and extension efforts on sustainable pest management tactics.
She received an ongoing grant in 2019 from the Citrus Research Board on “Characterizing Earwig Damage to Citrus Fruits, and Damage Prevention using Trunk Barrier Treatment.” She also received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, awarded in 2017, and a 2018-19 Keller Pathways Fellowship (for entrepreneurship) from the University of California.
Kahl holds a bachelor's degree in biology from Whitman College, Walla Walla, and a master's degree in entomology from the University of Maryland, College Park. She studied abroad in a six-month School for International Training program in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India in 2010. Her research topic: Village dairy production in Haryana and Orissa.
This is the department's first seminar of the fall series. Many of the seminars will be virtual, said nematologist Shahid Siddique, who is coordinating the seminars. For more information,contact him at email@example.com
(Due to website issues, no photos could be posted. See Bug Squad post for images)
Her topic is "How Does the Time of Eating Affecting Our Circadian Physiology?" Access this form for the Zoom link.
The abstract: "The integration of circadian and metabolic signals is essential for maintaining robust circadian rhythms and ensuring efficient metabolism and energy use. Using Drosophila as an animal model, we showed that clock-controlled feeding-fasting cycles is strongly correlated to daily protein O-GlcNAcylation rhythms, which may represent a key post-translational mechanism that regulates circadian physiology. Our results could shed light on the benefits of TRE (or intermittent fasting) and the extent to which modern human lifestyles contribute to the current epidemic of metabolic disorders."
The host is her major professor, Joanna Chiu, a molecular geneticist and physiologist, vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and a Chancellor's Fellow. Liu is currently working in the Chiu lab as a postdoctoral fellow.
For her thesis, Liu explored the interplay between circadian clock and metabolism in maintaining animal health using Drosophila melanogaster as a model. Specifically, she investigated the regulation of cellular protein O-GlcNAcylation by circadian clock and metabolic signals. O-GlcNAcylation is a nutrient senstive post-translational modification that can alter the structure and function of thousands of cellular proteins. She is fascinated by how circadian biology can be shaped by multiple factors through complex mechanisms. Her long-term goal is to understand how molecular pathways are coordinated temporally to maintain animal health and wellness.
Liu received her bachelor's degree in biological sciences in 2014 from Beijing Forestry University, China. She was a recipient of a CSC-UC Davis Joint Fellowship.
Coordinating the fall seminars is Cooperative Extension specialist and agricultural entomologist Ian Grettenberg, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. He may be reached at imgrettenberger@ucdavis for any technical issues.
Her topic: "Evaluating the Relative Importance of Mechanisms for Diverse Plant Use in Agroecosystem Herbivore Mitigation: an Example in California Strawberries."
"As pest management strategies shift away from agrochemical use, practitioners aim to implement more ecologically friendly practices," Bick writes in her abstract. "One such practice uses diverse crops placed in an agroecosystem to mitigate pest damage. There are many possible mechanisms which facilitate this phenomenon. Knowing a diverse plant's mechanism(s) allows for more efficient field implementation."
"This presentation will evaluate the mechanism of the economic benefit of planting alfalfa in a California strawberry monoculture. Using a novel CO2 based sampling method, spatially explicit samples were taken at three sites over two years. We found that alfalfa did not act, as previously identified, a trap crop, but rather its presence actually increased natural enemies. This work serves as a framework for evaluation of the mechanism for use of diverse plants in agricultural landscapes."
Bick, who has accepted a postdoctoral position at the University of Copenhagen, specializes in integrated pest management (IPM). She received her bachelor's degree in entomology in 2013 from Cornell University, and her master's degree in entomology in 2017 from UC Davis.
Bick served as an emergency medical technician from 2008 to 2017 and gained her pesticide applicator's license in 2013. She was singled out to receive the Student Certification Award at the Entomological Society of America (ESA) meeting in 2018. In 2014, she was named a Board-Certified Entomologist, a honor bestowed on her at the ESA meeting.
Bick helped anchor the UC Davis Linnaean Games Team that won the national championship at the ESA meeting in 2016, and the UC (UC Davis and UC Berkeley) Linnaean Games Team that won the national championship again in 2018. She is the former vice president of the UC Davis Entomology Graduate Student Association (EGSA).