Zemenick, who began work July 1, first traveled to Sagehen while in graduate school and conducted dissertation research there on how plant visitors shape floral microbial communities.
What sparked Ash's interest in entomology? "I first became interested in entomology as an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan. I learned how important insects are in agroecosystems, and how their intricate, overlapping interactions can have strong impacts on sustainable management and crop production."
As a youngster, "I was kind of afraid of bugs--at least when they were in the house--but once I started learning about them I was so fascinated. This was solidified when I took Bug Boot Camp (the Insect Taxonomy and Field Ecology" course taught at the Sagehen Field Station by ant specialist Phil Ward, professor of entomology, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology) where I fell in love with parasitoid wasps."
Zemenick, a native of Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich., received a doctorate in ecology from UC Davis in September 2017, studying with Jay Rosenheim, distinguished professor of entomology, and with assistant professor Rachel Vannette, a Hellman fellow.
And now, in a near full-circle move, Zemenick is back home.
The Sagehen Field Station, headquartered in Truckee on a 9000-acre site on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, has focused on research and teaching since 1951. It serves as the hub of a broader network of research areas known as the Central Sierra Field Research Stations, comprised of not only the Sagehen Creek Field Station, but Central Sierra Snow Laboratory, Onion Creek Experimental Watershed, Chickering American River Reserve, and North Fork Association Lands, according to the website.
The surrounding watershed is also available to researchers and classes through an agreement with the Forest Service and includes extensive stands of yellow pine, mixed conifer, and red fir forests, as well as sagebrush fields, scattered mountain meadows, and fens (marshland).
More than 80 graduate students--including Zemenick--have worked on their projects at Sagehen, completing their degrees on such topics as behavioral studies of dark-eyed juncos, stream runoff modeling, bees/butterflies in mountain montane meadows, and GIS as a tool for reserve master planning.
In addition to managing the Sagehen Creek Field Station, Zemenick will coordinate requests to work at Chickering American River Reserve as well as North Fork Association Lands. As Chickering and the North Fork lands are privately owned, user visits are negotiated with the private land partners.
Zemenick returns to California after serving as a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow in the Weber lab at Michigan State University. "I studied how plant-mite interactions directly and indirectly influence leaf microbial communities and subsequent invasibility by pathogens."
"I co-created, built and directed Project Biodiversify, an online repository of teaching tools to promote diversity, inclusion and belonging in STEM classrooms," said Zemenick. The federally funded Michigan State University project "includes how biological research applies to current societal problems and highlighted what it is like to be a biologist. The materials are comprised of examples provided by biologists that self-identify as being part of underrepresented group(s) in STEM (e.g. in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sex, sexuality, income, nationality, immigrant status, cognitive and physical ability, etc.)." The project was recently awarded a University Level Excellence in Diversity Award for work promoting diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in biology education.
Zemenick will continue pursuing ecology and environmental science involving plants, insects, microbes, ecological networks, natural history, and discipline-based education research. Leisure time includes such interests as naturalizing, backpacking, climbing and biking. "I hiked the Nüümü Poyo (John Muir) Trail in 2009 and love the mountains," the ecologist related.
(Editor's Note: Science writer Kathleen Wong of the UC Natural Reserve System contributed to this story.)
Grettenberger, who fills the vacated position of Larry Godfrey (1956-2007), received his bachelor of science degree in biology, with an ecology, evolution and organismal emphasis (honors Program) in 2009 from Western Washington University, Bellingham, Wash., and his doctorate in entomology in 2015 from Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pa. He served as a postdoctoral researcher in the Godfrey lab and later, the Frank Zalom lab, before accepting his current appointment of assistant Cooperative Extension specialist.
Grettenberger's fields of expertise include field and vegetable crops; integrated pest management; applied insect ecology, and biological control of pests.
He targets a wide variety of pests, including western spotted and striped cucumber, beetles, armyworms, bagrada bugs, alfalfa weevils, aphids, and thrips.
Among his current grants:
- Protection of rice from invertebrate pests
- Management of key cotton arthropod pests with insecticides and acaricides, a proactive approach to prepare for the invasion of the tomato leafminer (Tuta absoluta) into California
- Detection, biology and control of the exotic Swede midge (Contarinia nasturtii) for California cole crops
- Management of the western spotted and striped cucumber beetle in melon production
- Biological control of the bagrada bug
- Insecticide resistant alfalfa weevils in the western United States:Quantifying the scope of resistance and implementing a plan to manage the threat
- Insecticide resistance monitoring and evaluation of efficacy of current chemical tactics for managing aphids and thrips in lettuce
How did you get interested in entomology? Can you recall an occasion that sparked your interest?
I had biologist parents, and was drawn into entomology at a pretty young age. I spent plenty of time looking in flowers and turning over logs looking for insects. Once I started thinking about going to graduate school for entomology, I decided to focus on the intersection of agricultural entomology and insect ecology. I wanted to work on applied issues in entomology.
How would you describe yourself?
I like tackling problems, which has worked out well with my work in applied entomology and extension. I can be intensely focused and immensely distracted, which I would say has its pluses and minuses.
What do you like best about your work?
I love working in applied entomology and that I get to use research to better understand pests and work to develop IPM tools. The breadth of crops I cover is both a bit overwhelming but immensely exciting because of the diversity in pest issues, types of tactics that are applicable, and interesting ecological/biological questions among the various crop pests. I also get to work with great people, both within my lab and with all of the various collaborators/cooperators. I have met and worked with a lot of fantastic people this first year, and I also think my lab is off to a great start.
Where were you born and where did you spend your childhood?
I was born in Portland, Ore., but I primarily grew up in Olympia, Wash. As you might imagine, I grew up with lots of rain, but in a beautiful area.
What are your research plans/goals here at UC Davis? What drew you to UC Davis?
Thus far, I have been focused on projects in crops where there has historically seen solid research by UC Davis (such as rice and cotton) and have been developing new projects and collaborations. For better or worse, IPM is never static, so my research will be continually evolving to address pest management needs and has already been shifting this first year. Because I have an extension appointment, stakeholder needs have driven much of my work and this will continue to be a theme.
I was drawn to Davis by the many opportunities it would afford working in agricultural entomology. The department has a great reputation academically and the people in it are great as well. I also would have (and have had) the opportunity to connect with many other great researchers in the UC system, both campus- and county-based. There are many crops and pests to work on. We are quite literally surrounded by crops I work in, including alfalfa, rice, and tomatoes. I even found some alfalfa weevil on my run last weekend.
What do you like to do in your leisure time?
My primary hobby is running, ideally on trails and long distances. I can deal with the nearly zero elevation gain in our area, but I like to get out to where there are some hills. I also like to be outdoors in general and spending time with my family (wife/dog/cat; dog will go on adventure runs with us, cat only gets the backyard).
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I don't like all foods, but I will try basically anything just to see what it tastes like. I think some people are also surprised by the amount of food I can eat at one time.
The open houses, scheduled primarily on the third Saturdays (except for the campuswide Biodiversity Museum Day), will take place in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane. They are free, family friendly and open to the public.
All ages are welcome, said Bohart director Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, and Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator.
Saturday, Sept. 21, 1 to 4 p.m.
Theme: "Gobble, Gobble, Munch, Munch, Crunch: Entomophagy" (eating insects)
Saturday, Oct. 19, 1 to 4 p.m.
Theme: "Parasitoid Palooza!"
Saturday, Nov. 16, 1 to 4 p.m.
Theme: "Arthropod Husbandry: Raising Insects for Research and Fun"
Saturday, Jan. 18, 1 to 4 p.m.
Theme: "Time Flies When You are Studying Insects: Cutting Edge Student Research"
Saturday, Feb. 15:
Ninth Annual Biodiversity Museum Day
The Bohart is part of the annual campuswide Biodiversity Museum Day, spotlighting museums and collections. This free, educational event offers visitors the opportunity 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."
Saturday, March 21, 1 to 4 p.m.
Theme: "Busy Bees and Their Microbial Friends"
Saturday, April 18
106th Annual UC Davis Picnic Day
Picnic Day begins with the parade opening ceremony at 9:30 a.m., and the parade begins at 10 am. Most events hosted by Picnic Day run from 10 am to 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. All events hosted by Picnic Day start after 9 a.m. and end before 5 p.m.
Saturday, May 16, 1 to 4 p.m.
Theme: "Farmers' Foes and Friends"
Saturday, June 2020 (date and time to be announced)
Theme: "The Eight-Legged Wonders, with the American Arachnological Society"
The Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens. It is also the home of the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity. Noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007) founded the museum. It maintains a live "petting zoo," featuring Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks or stick insects, tarantulas, and praying mantids. The museum's gift shop, open year around, includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
Director of the museum is Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis. The staff includes Steve Heydon, senior museum scientist; Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator; and Jeff Smith, who curates the Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) section.
The museum is open to the public Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m., except on holidays. More information on the Bohart Museum is available on the website at http://bohart.ucdavis.edu or by contacting (530) 752-0493 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
No? Ever watched scientists prepare a bobcat specimen for display? Or taken a selfie with a red-tailed hawk? Or petted a stick insect or a pine cone? How about kombucha tea--ever tasted it?
You can do that and more at the eighth annual UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day, set from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 16. The free, family friendly event will feature 13 museums or collections. All are within walking distance except for the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road and the Raptor Center on Old Davis Road. The hours vary from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from noon to 4 p.m.
The science-based event, exploring the diversity of life, drew more than 4000 visitors to the campus last year, according to Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum of Entomology.
New this year is the Marine Invertebrate Collection in the Sciences Laboratory Building, off Kleiber Hall Drive. “Visitors can expect to see specimens collected from Oahu and Baja California, and live corals,” said spokesperson Ivani Li. “There will be a touch tank. At some point there will be a brief presentation about squids where we will be showing off our Humboldt Squid or jumbo squid.”
The UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day, always held the Saturday of Presidents' Day weekend, 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.” Parking is also free. Maps are available on the Biodiversity Museum Day website at http://biodiversitymuseumday.ucdavis.edu/.
These seven collections will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.:
- Arboretum and Public Garden, Good Life Garden, next to the Robert Mondavi Institute, 392 Old Davis Road, on campus
- Bohart Museum of Entomology, Room 1124 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, Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane
- Paleontology Collection, Earth and Physical Sciences Building, 434 LaRue Road
- 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
The following will be open from noon to 4 p.m.:
- Anthropology Museum, 328 Young Hall and grounds
- Botanical Conservatory, Greenhouses along Kleiber Hall Drive
- 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 participating museums and collections have active education and outreach programs, Yang said, but the collections are not always accessible to the public. Maps, signs and guides will be available at all the collections, and also online at http://biodiversitymuseumday.edu, and on social media, including Facebook and Twitter, @BioDivDay.
Capsule information on each:
Arboretum and Public Garden
The Arboretum and Public Garden will present “investigation stations” from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Good Life Garden, next to the Robert Mondavi Institute, 392 Old Davis Road, on campus. Visitors will learn about the importance of bees, hummingbirds and moths as pollinators. They can play fun games, and color and craft their own pollinator pets.
Bohart Museum of Entomology
The Bohart Museum of Entomology, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, will be open from 9 a.m. to noon, The Bohart is the home of a world-class collection of nearly 8 million insect specimens. Insect scientists will meet with the public to help them explore insects and spiders (arachnids). Highlights will include the 500,000-specimen butterfly/moth collection, curated by entomologist Jeff Smith. The Bohart maintains a live “petting zoo,” comprised of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas.
California Raptor Center
The California Raptor Center, located at 1340 Equine Lane, Davis, just off Old Davis Road, will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visitors will see a living collection of non-releasable raptors, including hawks, owls and a golden eagle. The center's educational ambassador birds will be out "on the fist", so visitors can get a close look and talk to the volunteers about the birds of prey that live in this area.
Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology
The Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, located in Room 1394 of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane (off LaRue Road) will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. “We're planning an action packed morning with displays highlighting carnivores, bats, reptiles and fish,” said director Andrew Engilis Jr. “There will be specimen preparation demos (bobcat and raptors) as well as a kid crafts table.”
The Paleontology Collection, located in the Earth and Physical Sciences Building, 434 LaRue Road, will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visitors can view fossil specimens dating from as old as 550 million years ago to more recent animal skeletons. Paleontology graduate students in invertebrate and vertebrate paleontology will answer questions and provide interesting factoids.
Phaff Yeast Culture Collection and Viticulture and Enology Culture Collection
These collections will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Robert Mondavi Institute,392 Old Davis Road, on campus. Visitors can learn about the importance of microbes in research, biotechnology, and food and beverages, and about the proud history of two of the world's prominent microbe collections.
- Tour the UC Davis teaching winery and brewery
- See and smell dozens of yeast species
- Use microscopes to look at yeast cultures
- Learn how yeasts and bacteria are important for making fermented foods and beverages
- Taste vegemite, marmite, and kombucha tea
- Hear how to make clothes from yeast and bacteria
- Hear about cutting edge research using these microbe collections and
- Listen to yeast jokes
The Department of Anthropology Museum, located in 328 Young Hall, will be open from noon to 4 p.m. The Anthropology Museum curates collections of archaeological, ethnographic, biological and archival materials. Visitors will:
- See how different peoples around the world incorporate biodiversity into personal adornment
- Learn about how the native peoples of the Central Valley made use of the area's biodiversity
- Find out what our hominin ancestors looked like
- Explore the anatomical diversity of our primate relatives
- Learn to throw a spear with an atlatl or use a Peruvian sling shot to hit your target
- Learn how to make stone tools by flintknapping
- Explore how archaeologists identify the various animals people used for food, tools, and clothing
The Botanical Conservatory
The greenhouses in the Botanical Conservatory on Kleiber Hall Drive will be open from noon to 4 p.m. Visitors can expect to see carnivorous plants; a chocolate tree loaded with fruit; succulents and other desert plants including the Madagascan spine forest plants that lemurs climb on; the giant leaves of the Titan arum plant, and Mimosa pudica aka sensitive plant whose leaves fold up when touched, said collections manager Ernesto Sandoval. “And, weather permitting, we'll encourage visitors to stroll the paths of the Biological Orchard and Gardens--an outdoor extension of Botanical Conservatory's role in undergraduate education at UC Davis.”
Center for Plant Diversity Herbarium
The Center for Plant Diversity Herbarium, located in Room 1026 of the Sciences Laboratory Building, central campus (off Kleiber Hall Drive), will be open from noon to 4 p.m.. Curator Ellen Dean said visitors can tour the collection area, see plant pressing and mounting demonstrations, “pet our plant zoo” (a table showcasing the diversity of plants, including mosses, pine cones, ferns and flowering plants); look and plants under a microscope, and view oak exhibit. The children's activity? Making herbarium specimens.
Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven
Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee demonstration garden located next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, Bee Biology Road, will be open from noon to 4 p.m. "At the Honey Bee Haven, visitors can learn about bees and see the plants they use," said manager Christine Casey. "We'll have tips for identifying bees in gardens, and our catch and release bee vacuums will be available so folks can safely catch and observe bees up close. We'll also be doing an almond tasting event to coincide with the start of California's most economically important crop pollination season." A six-foot long sculpture of a worker bee by artist Donna Billick of Davis anchors the haven, which was planted in the fall of 2009.
The nematode collection will open from noon to 4 p.m. in the Science Laboratory Building, (off Kleiber Hall Drive. It will feature both live and slide-mounted nematodes, as well as jars of larger parasites. Nematodes, also called worms, are described as “elongated cylindrical worms parasitic in animals or plants or free-living in soil or water. They exist in almost every known environment.”
Marine Invertebrate Collection
The Marine Invertebrate Collection will open from noon to 4 p.m. in the Science Laboratory Building, off Kleiber Hall Drive. Visitors can view specimens collected from Oahu and Baja California, and live corals. There also will be a touch tank and Humboldt squid presentation.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus, is hosting a "Moth Night" from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, July 21. Free and open to the public, this is a "family friendly event all about moths," according to Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum and Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. Events will take place both inside and outside the insect museum.
The Bohart Museum Moth Night is being held in conjunction with National Moth Week, July 21-29, which celebrates the beauty, life cycles and habitats of moths. The UC Davis event is one of only two public events scheduled in California during the week; the other is in San Mateo County on July 28.
Bohart scientists will be on hand to discuss moths and answer questions. They include three Bohart associates: entomologist Jeff Smith of Rocklin, curator of the the moth and butterfly specimens; and "Moth Man" John DeBenedictis and naturalist and photographer Greg Kareofelas, both of Davis, who will staff the light traps/blacklighting displays. The best time to see the moths in the light traps is later in the evening, closer to 10.
"We will focus on colorful moths of the night--night rainbows if you will and the biodiversity of tropical moths," Yang said. A family craft activity is planned. Last year the family craft activity featured making moth-shaped window ornaments resembling stained glass.
Free refreshments--cookies and hot chocolate--will be served. Common Grounds, a Davis coffee shop. will be providing the large containers of hot water for the event.
Last year more than 15 species landed on the blacklighting display. The first moth to arrive was the alfalfa looper moth, Trichopusia ni. The most striking: the grape leaffolder, Desmia funeralis.
Some facts about moths, from the National Moth Week website:
- Moths are among the most diverse and successful organisms on earth.
- Scientists estimate there are 150,000 to more than 500,000 moth species.
- Their colors and patterns are either dazzling or so cryptic that they define camouflage. Shapes and sizes span the gamut from as small as a pinhead to as large as an adult's hand.
- Most moths are nocturnal, and need to be sought at night to be seen--others fly like butterflies during the day.
- Finding moths can be as simple as leaving a porch light on and checking it after dark. Serious moth aficionados use special lights and baits to attract them.
The Bohart Museum houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens. It is also the home of the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity. Noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007) founded the museum. It maintains a live "petting zoo," featuring Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks, tarantulas, and praying mantids. The museum's gift shop, open year around, includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
The Bohart Museum's regular hours are from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. It is closed to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and on major holidays. Admission is free.