Posts Tagged: Akif Eskalen
California oak woodlands are highly prized ecoregions where stately trees, many of them hundreds of years old, are cornerstones of a habitat for wildlife and native plants. Sadly, some of these ecosystems are seriously threatened by exotic pests and diseases, encroachment by less desirable vegetation, and wildfire.
Each year, UC Cooperative Extension hosts workshops to share scientific developments aimed at conserving these important habitats – and the economic value of ranching – on oak woodlands, which are found on the lower elevation slopes of the Sierra Nevada, the Coast Range and other foothill areas of California.
Typically, the workshops are held in person and draw moderate-sized audiences for presentations, questions and answers, and field trips. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's workshop was offered online in April with pre-recorded presentations available for viewing at the participants' convenience and a live question-and-answer session on Zoom.
The retooled event garnered 500 registrants, over 300 views of the YouTube videos and 140 participants in the live Q&A session. The presentations and Q&A session are still available online for future viewing as well.
“People from all walks of life participated, including those with professional and personal interest in oak woodlands,” said Yana Valachovic, UCCE forest advisor in Humboldt and Del Norte counties and a conference organizer.
Presentations at the 2020 conference included the following topics:
Encroachment by Douglas-fir
In Northern California, the biodiversity of oak woodlands is being threatened by Douglas-fir encroachment. The oaks' shade helps the young conifers get established with protection from harsh sun. In time, the fast-growing Douglas-fir trees pierce the oak canopies and begin to crowd out the areas' native understories, which are important for the diversity of birds, mammals and reptiles attracted to oaks.
As the Douglas-fir continue to grow and multiply, they threaten the very lives of the oak trees and the unique ecosystem they dominate.
To better understand the Douglas-fir encroachment, Valachovic established 10 research sites in Humboldt and Mendocino counties to gather information about the fate and the age of oaks. She and her research partners determined the ages of the oaks and firs, and counted the seedlings, saplings, snags and understory vegetation.
“With this research, we were able to demonstrate that even though the oak trees can be smaller in diameter they are much older than the Douglas-fir trees,” Valachovic said. “The encroachment process is happening quickly, and the oaks are falling out of the system.”
The shift appears to have been initiated in the mid-19th and early-20th centuries, coinciding with the Gold Rush and wildfire suppression.
With the data confirming Douglas-fir encroachment, Valachovic turned her attention to oak woodland restoration. At 14 sites in Humboldt and Trinity counties, her team studied the effects of Douglas-fir removal.
“Grasses and forbs under the oaks reestablished. Diameter growth on the oaks increased,” she said.
These research findings contributed directly to changes in policy that had previously limited land owners' ability to remove and sell conifers encroaching on oak woodland. The research also helped create new funding opportunities to support oak woodland restoration and conservation in Northern California.
Case study of oak woodland wildfire recovery
In July 2018, about two-thirds of the 5,289-acre UC Hopland Research and Extension Center was burned by the River Fire.
The transformation of the land, which had likely been without a large wildland fire for at least 100 years, was intense and stressful, said UC Cooperative Extension forest advisor Michael Jones. However, it also provided a unique opportunity for researchers to compare the impact of wildfire on the resiliency of vegetation on grazed and ungrazed oak woodland.
Jones established 35 one-fifth acre research plots at the research center and collected data two months following the fire and one year later. The research will continue in the future to better understand long-term impacts, but Jones was able to share revealing early results at the workshop.
Right after the fire, in severely burned areas areas, the future of the oaks looked ominous. Jones predicted 40% tree mortality.
“The oaks were exposed to persistent, intense heat. They were cooked,” he said. “But two months after the fire, we were already seeing basal sprouts. This was an amazing response by the trees. Oaks are pretty damn tough.”
A year after the fire, surveys showed that tree mortality in the burned areas was 25%, much less than Jones' early predictions. While some management for specific situations in severely burned areas may be necessary – such as removal of hazard trees, reducing fuels in defensible spaces or removal to control invasive species – the results of this work show the trees recover naturally.
“Esthetically, I know these systems aren't as pleasing as they were before, but ecologically, they are healthy and recovering,” he said. “In 100 years, it will look just as good as before the fire.”
Fire impacts in woodland areas previously grazed and not grazed
The fire on the research station also permitted Jones to compare the fire's differing impact on non-grazed and grazed oak woodland. At first, the grazed areas looked almost unscathed with minimal flame scorching on the bark, while an area where the pasture hadn't been grazed for 25 years had evidence of much higher severity fire.
“Grazing is a phenomenal way to help manage fuels,” Jones said. However, the grazed areas displayed ecological shortcomings a year later.
“In grazed pastures, the large mature trees were still alive, but there was no oak regeneration (basal sprouting or seedlings),” Jones said. “In the ungrazed area, a lot of biomass had been killed, but there's nearly 100% resprout of oak trees and we have an impressive amount of oak seedling recruitment.”
Jones said he isn't discouraging grazing.
“But it is important to protect sites from grazing, and especially wildlife browse, when a landowner or land managers' objectives are to regenerate or conserve oak woodlands,” Jones said.
New ambrosia beetle another threat to California oaks
Akif Eskalen, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Pathology at UC Davis, has identified a new insect-fungus team that causes oak borer wilt in Northern California Valley and Blue Oaks. It is an ambrosia beetle, commonly known as Mediterranean Oak Borer, which carries several fungi in its mouth. The beetle bores into the tree and introduces fungi to grow for food. The fungi spreads and disturbs the transportation of water and nutrients, causing wilt in the tree.
The oozing and staining lesions on the bark are similar to other oak fungal diseases, such as Sudden Oak Death. The beetle – native of Mediterranean basin countries in Africa, Asia and Europe – cannot fly far, so most likely is transported for long distances on infested firewood.
During the workshop, Eskalen suggested not moving firewood, removing heavily infested trees and chipping infested wood into 1-inch particles to reduce the spread of the ambrosia beetle and its fungal partner. He asked viewers to report any suspected oak tree infestations to the local agricultural commissioner, CDFA Diagnostic Laboratories, UC Cooperative Extension advisors or CALFIRE. Chemical options for sparing oaks from the ambrosia beetles' devastation are under investigation.
Threats to oaks and other native plants from root rotting Phytophthora
Restoration plantings have inadvertently introduced plant pathogens to native oak woodland ecosystems in California, said Ted Swiecki of Phytosphere Research, an organization that provides consulting services related to natural resource management, horticulture, urban forestry, and agriculture. The group of pathogens causing the damage are largely from the Phytophthora genus, first described in the 1860s. The name translates from Greek to “plant destroyer.”
Swiecki has observed when Phytophthora infested plants and soils are introduced to native habitats, the pathogens can attack various native plants, including toyon, madrone, manzanita and full-grown oaks. Once established, the pathogen can spread along drainages, by moving soil from one area to another and by hitchhiking on equipment, tires and hiking boots.
The pathogen can easily be overlooked at nurseries, which, by their nature, have conditions that favor Phytophthora development. Plants at nurseries are well watered, have high root density and are often placed on the ground where they can pick up pathogens.
He said the best approach to tackling Phytophthora is not using nursery stock for restoration or beautification of natural oak woodland. Direct seeding, using natural regeneration, or onsite propagation are safer ways to enhance vegetation in oak woodland.
“It's easier to prevent Phytophthora from being introduced in the first place and much cheaper and more effective than trying to eradicate it later,” Siewcki said.
Delk joins Development Services
Emily Delk joined the Development Services team in August as the director of Annual Giving and Donor Stewardship Programs.
She brings fundraising and event planning experience from a broad background of nonprofit organizations including the Crocker Art Museum, Sutter Health, and Fairytale Town. Earlier this year, Delk was selected as one of 10 development professionals to compete for cash and in-kind support through a public-speaking program called Fast Pitch, where she earned high praise and won top prizes.
She holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in communications from Chapman University in Orange.
Delk is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1346 and email@example.com.
Eskalen moves to UC Davis
Akif Eskalen, a UC Cooperative Extension specialist whose research focuses on plant pathology at UC Riverside, has accepted a new position at UC Davis. He will be filling the position of his late mentor, Doug Gubler. From now on, he will work on grapes, strawberries, caneberries, blueberries and other tree fruits.
“Akif has been instrumental in bringing new light to the understanding of such basic disease problems as citrus twig and shoot dieback, citrus botryosphaeria branch canker, citrus dry root rot and ‘Fukumoto' foamy bark (http://eskalenlab.ucr.edu/citrusdiseases.html),” wrote Ben Faber, UCCE advisor in Ventura County, in the Topics for Subtropics blog. “He has cleared up the mysteries surrounding avocado black streak, dothiorella branch canker and avocado stem and leaf blight. His studies have also covered oak diseases that are exacerbated by invasive pests (http://eskalenlab.ucr.edu/handouts/oakwoodlandsdiseasesmanagement.pdf).”
Eskalen and John Kabashima, UCCE advisor emeritus, recently received the Award of Arboricultural Research from the Western Chapter International Society of Arboriculture, recognizing their research on the polyphagous shot hole borer, a beetle that is causing severe fusarium dieback damage to avocado and landscape trees in Southern California (http://eskalenlab.ucr.edu/pshb.html).
Eskalen can be reached at 267 Hutchison Hall at UC Davis and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hoddle and Stouthamer elected ESA fellows
Mark Hoddle and Richard Stouthamer have been elected 2018 fellows of the Entomological Society of America, the largest organization in the world serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and individuals in related disciplines.
Hoddle and Stouthamer are among 10 new fellows elected by the Governing Board of the ESA, an honor that acknowledges outstanding contributions to entomology in research, teaching, extension and outreach, administration or the military.
Hoddle, a UC Cooperative Extension specialist and director of UC Riverside's Center for Invasive Species Research, is known for his work on the biological control of invasive arthropods that adversely affect agricultural, urban and wilderness areas.
Stouthamer, a UC Riverside professor of entomology, is known for his research on wolbachia, invasive species and insect-transmitted plant pathogens.
The fellows will be recognized during Entomology 2018, the Joint Annual Meeting of the Entomological Societies of America, Canada and British Columbia, Nov. 11-14, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Merenlender elected California Academy of Sciences fellow
Adina Merenlender has been elected a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences. She will be formally inducted on Oct. 9 during the Fellows Annual Meeting and Gathering in San Francisco. The Fellows of the California Academy of Sciences are a group of distinguished scientists, nominated and appointed in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the natural sciences. Fellows help extend the academy's positive impact on research, public engagement and education through individual and collaborative efforts with academy researchers and staff.
In a nominating letter, UC Berkeley biology professor Claire Kremen called Merenlender “an accomplished and impactful conservation biologist.”
Merenlender's work spans an array of topics, from genes to ecosystems and single species management to regional land use planning. Currently she is involved in three main research efforts:
- Land use planning to support biodiversity conservation and climate resilience in California oak woodlands
- Watershed restoration and sustainable watershed management in Mediterranean ecosystems
- Development of effective citizen science and amateur naturalist and steward training programs with lasting benefits for biodiversity conservation
According to the academy, the scientists elected as fellows have shown strong evidence of world-class impact, measured through publications, discoveries and awards. Merelender has published more than 80 papers in conservation biology, including co-writing the book “Corridor Ecology: the science and practice of linking landscapes for biodiversity conservation.” In 2016, Merenlender was recognized for her extension and outreach when she won the UC ANR Distinguished Service Award.
In its selection criteria for fellows, the academy notes that potential candidates are engaged in science communication efforts.
Merenlender is founder and director of the UC California Naturalist program. The program launched in 2012 with five partner institutions and has grown into a network of more than 37 partners. They have collectively offered more than 100 certification courses, training 1,864 naturalists who have contributed more than 100,000 volunteer hours, reaching 53,000 people.
Building on the success of the California Naturalist program, Merenlender is designing a Climate Stewards program to provide outreach, training and engagement with diverse audiences on climate change science and policy. The Climate Stewards advisory team has set the goal of launching the program in 2019.
“As an extension scientist, (Merenlender) is strongly attuned to the importance of conducting research with direct relevance to contemporary environmental challenges and to connecting research with conservation on the ground,” wrote UC Berkeley professor David Ackerly in a letter seconding Merenlender's nomination to be a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences. – Jeannette Warnert
UC communicators bring home gold, silver and bronze
Six communicators affiliated with UC Davis and UC ANR received a total of 10 awards for excellence from the international Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Life and Human Sciences (ACE).
They brought home five gold or first-place awards: three silver or second-place awards; and two bronze or third-place awards. “That was quite a haul!” commented an ACE member on Facebook.
Diane Nelson, communication specialist with the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, won two golds. One was for promotional writing, “Weighing Pig Personality,” (https://bit.ly/2KDdYmQ), featuring animal science professor Kristina Horback's pioneering research examining the role personality plays in the welfare and sustainable production of pigs. The second gold was for web writing, “The Last Stop: When There's Nowhere Colder to Go,” (https://bit.ly/2M6iOOR), spotlighting research by animal science professor Anne Todgham, who studies how climate change affects polar species. Both of Nelson's submissions drew perfect scores from the judges.
Kathy Keatley Garvey, communication specialist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, won gold for best newswriting, “Why These Youngsters Want to Become Entomologists” (https://bit.ly/2sYwhye), about children of California migratory workers touring the Bohart Museum of Entomology and then staging a press conference to interview director Lynn Kimsey, UC Davis professor of entomology. Judges awarded the news story a perfect score. Garvey also received a silver in the writing-for-the-web category for her Bug Squad blog post, “Once Upon a Monarch” (https://bit.ly/2BrePU5). She writes the blog, launched in 2008, every night, Monday through Friday, on the UC ANR website.
http://calag.ucanr.edu). California Agriculture is a quarterly peer-reviewed journal reporting research, reviews and news on California's agricultural, natural and human resources. First published in December 1946, it is one of the country's oldest, continuously published, land-grant university research publications.
David Slipher, director of marketing and communications for the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences, won gold for best picture story for his piece on “Pigeon Parenting” (https://bit.ly/2KCfCoN), focusing on research from the Rebecca Calisi Rodríguez lab. Calisi Rodríguez is an assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior.
Steve Elliot, communication coordinator for the Western Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Center, won two silvers and a bronze: a silver for his photo essay, “America's Arctic Agriculture: Growing Crops, Managing Pests and Monitoring Invasives in Alaska” (https://bit.ly/2OS2Vtc); silver for the diversity awards video category, “Gold Spotted Oak Borer: A Threat to California's Oaks” (https://youtu.be/In2e5atd3ZY); and a bronze for the Western IPM Center's monthly newsletter, “The Western Front” (https://bit.ly/2M5mL6s). The center, a USDA-funded program, aims to promote smart, safe and sustainable pest management to protect the people, environment and economy of the American West, encompassing 17 western states and territories.
Gregory Watry, science writer for the College of Biological Sciences, won a bronze award in the “Writing for Diverse Audiences” (https://bit.ly/2M4Nq3o) in a diversity awards category. The story described undergraduate research opportunities in Calisi Rodriguez's lab.
ACE is a worldwide association of communicators, educators and information technologists, offers professional development and networking for individuals who extend knowledge about agriculture, natural resources, and life and human sciences. The awards were presented Aug. 7 at the 2018 Ag Media Summit held in Scottsdale, Ariz., where ACE members joined forces with U.S. crop and livestock news media professionals. – Kathy Keatley Garvey
“At this point, we are accepting applications to attend because we're exceeding capacity of the facility,” said Sherry Cooper, director of Program Support Unit. “New registrations will not be confirmed until you receive an email or phone call confirming your registration, so please wait for confirmation before making travel plans.”
Among those registered are 145 UC Cooperative Extension advisors, 71 UCCE specialists, 26 academic coordinators and administrators, 20 Agricultural Experiment Station faculty members and nearly 350 administrative and programmatic staff.
The President's Advisory Commission will meet on Monday afternoon and PAC members have been invited to stay to hear California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross speak Monday evening, ANR leaders discuss “Charting a Sustainable Future for ANR,” and President Janet Napolitano speak on Tuesday.
The agriculture and natural resources industry leaders who serve on PAC will also join ANR members Tuesday morning to listen to keynote speaker Antwi Akom, UCSF and SFSU professor and founding director of Social Innovation and Urban Opportunity Lab (SOUL) and co-founder and CEO of Streetwyze. His talk is titled “Race, Space, Place and Waste: How Innovation, Education, and Inspiration Can Fearlessly Catalyze California Towards Becoming the World's Leader in Agriculture and Natural Resources Management.”
If you plan to tweet about the ANR Statewide Conference, the hashtag is #UCANRconf2018.
Given limited personnel and a short time since startup, IGIS has made significant contributions throughout ANR. There is a great need for the program within and beyond ANR, and IGIS personnel have shown impressive results in reaching out to the wider ANR community and external partners.
Here is a summary of the direction and next steps I provided to the IGIS Program Director:
- IGIS should focus on expanding capacity and reach with drones and prioritize investing in new technology.
- IGIS will work with the REC Directors to develop a call process to identify science leads who are interested in taking over full ownership of one or more of the flux towers.
- IGIS should discontinue its involvement with cataloguing dark data, but work with ANR Communication Services and Information Technology office (CSIT) to inform ANR academics that digitized documents are available in the ANR repository.
- Associate Vice President Powers and I will meet with Program Director Kelly to further discuss the proposal to re-characterize IGIS from a statewide program to a statewide academic service.
- IGIS will develop a business plan to continue to scale up services that are in demand by UC ANR academics and offer services in a way that decreases reliance on central funds.
- IGIS should update its website to clearly articulate to whom resources and services are available. When IGIS is not able to provide a service, to the degree possible, it should act as a clearing house and refer clients to other providers.
- IGIS should incorporate evaluation methods that focus on the effectiveness of workshops and services and the extent of IGIS' reach.
I look forward to working with IGIS as it pursues these and other opportunities that may arise.
Wang joins UCCE as vegetable and irrigation advisor
Zheng Wang joined UCCE on March 5, 2018, as an area vegetable production and irrigation advisor in Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced counties.
Prior to joining UCCE, Wang was a postdoctoral researcher at The Ohio State University-Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, where he had conducted cutting-edge and applied research and extension work on vegetable crop production since 2015. His federally funded and state-funded projects integrated minimal tillage, vegetable grafting and use of microbial biostimulants to optimize local and regional vegetable operations. From 2011 to 2014, Wang was a graduate research assistant at University of Kentucky. His research focused on the effects of production systems and tillage applications on vegetable drought tolerance and endophytic bacterial dynamics.
Wang earned a Ph.D. in crop science from University of Kentucky and an M.S. in agriculture from Western Kentucky University. Wang, who is fluent in Chinese, earned a B.S. in agronomy from Shenyang Agricultural University in China.
Wang is based in Modesto and can be reached at (209) 525-6822 and email@example.com.
Sosnoskie returns as UCCE agronomy and weed advisor
Lynn Sosnoskie joined UCCE on Feb. 26, 2018, as an area agronomy and weed management advisor in Merced and Madera counties.
Before returning to UC, Sosnoskie spent a year at Washington State University as an assistant research faculty member tasked with extending the reach of the WSU weed science team in the Columbia Basin. From 2012 to 2016, Sosnoskie was an associate project scientist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, working with UCCE specialist Brad Hanson to partner solutions-based research needs of growers with an increased understanding of the biological and environmental factors that impact weeds and weed control in California's specialty crops. From 2006 to 2011, she held a postdoctoral research professional position at University of Georgia, where she contributed to weed control research and outreach efforts in upland cotton and fresh market vegetables.
As a weed scientist, Sosnoskie is interested in the spread of herbicide-resistant weeds, the preservation of effective chemical control strategies through the judicious use of herbicides and the adoption of non-chemical control practices, automated weeders, the effects of drought on the composition of weed communities, perennial weed management, and improving our understanding of weed biology and ecology to maximize vegetation control. With respect to agronomy, Sosnoskie evaluates crop responses to temperature, as well as water availability and water quality, and the epidemiology and management of diseases like Fusarium Race 4 in cotton. She collaborates on a variety of crop issues such as soil salinity and fertility management.
Sosnoskie earned a Ph.D. in horticulture and crop science from The Ohio State University, a M.S. in crop and soil science from University of Delaware, and a B.S. in biology from Lebanon Valley College.
Zalom and Goodell receive international lifetime IPM awards
Peter Goodell, UCCE integrated pest management advisor emeritus, and Frank Zalom, professor and UCCE specialist in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at UC Davis, received lifetime achievement awards at the Ninth International IPM Symposium March 19 in Baltimore.
Zalom is a past president of the 7,000-member Entomological Society of America, co-founder of the International IPM symposia, and served as director of UC ANR's Statewide IPM Program for 16 years.
“Dr. Zalom continues to advance the science and implementation of IPM,” said Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. “His integrity, service and respect for all are legendary.”
Read more about Zalom's contributions at //ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=24248.
Read more about Goodell's career at //ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=24248.
Surls receives 2018 Bradford Rominger Ag Sustainability Leadership Award
Rachel Surls, UCCE sustainable food systems advisor for Los Angeles County, is this year's recipient of the Eric Bradford and Charlie Rominger Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award. Surls received the award from the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at the Celebrating Women in Agriculture event in Davis on April 3.
Surls has been committed to community gardens, school gardens, and urban agriculture since long before our cities took notice. For 30 years, she has worked at the UC Cooperative Extension Office in Los Angeles County, helping to bring city-grown food into the mainstream.
The Bradford Rominger award, given yearly, honors individuals who exhibit the leadership, work ethic and integrity epitomized by the late Eric Bradford, a livestock geneticist who gave 50 years of service to UC Davis, and the late Charlie Rominger, a fifth-generation Yolo County farmer and land preservationist.
“In her three-decade career with UCCE, Rachel has developed a strong program addressing some of our most critical issues in sustainable agriculture,” says Keith Nathaniel, the Los Angeles County Cooperative Extension director. “She does so with innovative strategies, working with all aspects of the LA community. After 30 years doing this work, she continues to be active in the community she serves.”
In Surls' career, gardening has been a tool to build science literacy for schoolchildren, to increase self-sufficiency for communities impacted by economic downturn, and to create small businesses for urban entrepreneurs. As the interest in and support for urban agriculture has grown, she has been in the heart of Los Angeles, ready to respond to the needs of the city's farmers and gardeners. – Aubrey Thompson
Linquist honored with Rice Research and Education Award
The Rice Technical Working Group presented Bruce Linquist, UCCE specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, and a team of rice researchers with the Distinguished Rice Research and Education Award Feb. 21 during their annual conference in Long Beach.
Linquist has been collaborating with rice researchers at the University of Arkansas, the USDA in Jonesborough, Ark., and Louisiana State University on advancing irrigation management practices to achieve sustainable intensification outcomes.
While rice has historically been grown in flooded fields, the researchers have been introducing aerobic periods during the growing season (also known as alternate wetting and drying). The practice has been shown to reduce CH4 emissions and water use. Read more about the rice project at http://news.plantsciences.ucdavis.edu/2018/03/27/bruce-linquist-distinguished-rice-research-and-education-award. – Ann Filmer
Parker re-elected to national water resources board
Doug Parker, director of the California Institute for Water Resources, has been re-elected by the delegates of the Universities Council on Water Resources to serve as a member of the Board of Directors. Parker, who is the past president of UCOWR, an association of universities and organizations leading in education, research and public service in water resources, will begin his next three-year term with the UCOWR Board meeting on June 28 at the joint 2018 UCOWR National Institutes for Water Resources Conference in Pittsburgh, Penn.
UCOWR strives to facilitate water-related education at all levels, promote meaningful research and technology transfer on contemporary and emerging water resources issues, compile and disseminate information on water problems and solutions, and promote informed decisions about water issues at all levels of society.