Posts Tagged: Mae Culumber
A delegation of 12 UC ANR staff, academics, volunteers and stakeholders visited state legislators in Sacramento on April 19 for UC ANR Advocacy Day to share how UC ANR's work delivers local, place-based education, outreach and programming to serve communities throughout the state.
Anne Megaro, government and community relations director, and Christina Harrington, student assistant, UC Master Gardener and graduate of the UC California Naturalist Program, organized meetings with Assembly Member Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, Senator John Laird, Assembly Member Devon Mathis, and staff members in many legislative offices.
The delegation thanked them for investing in ongoing funding in last year's state budget and shared their stories of serving community members, farmers, ranchers, youth and natural resource managers in their regions.
Vice President Glenda Humiston and Mark Bell, Vice Provost of Strategic Initiatives and Statewide Programs, led two teams, which included Sarah-Mae Nelson, UC Climate Stewards initiative academic coordinator; Kamal Khaira, director of CalFresh Healthy Living, UC; UCCE advisors Igor Lacan, Mae Culumber and Dorina Espinoza; 4-H Youth State Ambassadors Megna Nayar and Sara Tibbets; and Clio Tarazi, UC Master Gardener volunteer.
The teams urged legislators to support several key budget requests as part of Governor Newsom's proposed FY 2022-23 state budget. These budget commitments would support UC's much-needed capital projects at Research and Extension Centers and Elkus Ranch to expand capacity for research and programming, as well as investments for UC climate action and resiliency projects that will advance climate research and workforce development programs for students and community members.
The UC ANR representatives invited the legislators to visit for tours and events to see UC ANR at work in their districts firsthand.
Two UC Cooperative Extension scientists have been selected as Presidential Chairs for Tree Nuts at University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Giulia Marino, UCCE specialist, will be the Presidential Chair for Tree Nut Genetics and Mae Culumber, UCCE nut crops advisor, will be the Presidential Chair for Tree Nut Soil Science and Plant Water Relations, announced Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources.
The endowed chairs will give the two scientists a dedicated source of funding for five years for their ongoing agricultural research. UC Agriculture and Natural Resources established the two $1 million endowments in 2015. Half of the funds for the endowed chairs was donated by the California Pistachio Research Board and the other half was provided by UC Office of the President.
“The California Pistachio Research Board appreciated the opportunity to create these Presidential Chairs with the dedicated flexible funding it provides the scientists,” said Bob Klein, manager of the California Pistachio Research Board. “Mae and Giulia have stellar research records, have a history of research on California pistachios, and deserved both consideration and the award of these Chairs. The Board was pleased with the previous incumbents and is now looking forward to working with both Giulia and Mae in their programs on Genetics and Soil Science/Water Relations.”
“The funding from the presidential chair of tree nuts genetics will allow me to evaluate the horticultural and physiological performance of some promising new scion-rootstock options stemming from the UC pistachio breeding program developed by Craig Kallsen, UCCE farm advisor for Kern County, and Dan Parfitt, UC Davis professor emeritus,” Marino said.
“The program has the objectives of increasing the genetic diversity of the scion and rootstock cultivars used by the pistachio industry to improve grower returns and reduce its susceptibility to climate change,” Marino continued. “Rootstock projects include novel rootstocks more tolerant of boron in irrigation water, dwarfing rootstocks for higher early yields and more efficient use of pruning and harvest inputs. Scion objectives include novel scions for higher yield and trees less sensitive to inadequate winter chilling.”
One of her current research lines focuses on the characterization of low vigor cultivars and/or rootstocks to increase orchard planting density and reduce management costs in olive, pistachio and almond. She develops protocols for irrigation management based on genotype-specific physiological responses to water stress. Marino also studies the impact of saline sodic soil conditions on pistachio physiology and of low winter chill on cherry and pistachio tree and fruit physiology.
Marino earned a doctoral degree in fruit and forestry tree systems and master's and bachelor's degrees in agricultural science, all from the University of Palermo in Italy.
“As Presidential Chair, I will utilize these generous funds from the Pistachio Research Board to augment my collaborative outreach extension and applied research efforts to understand
and develop solutions to soil and water quality problems faced by pistachio growers and other nut crop producers across the San Joaquin Valley,” Culumber said.
She is collaborating on a CDFA Fertilizer Research and Education Program project that provides irrigation and nitrogen management training for certified crop advisors and growers to adopt practices that conserve water and protect water quality. She is also studying how to improve estimates of crop evapotranspiration and forecasting for major California crops for more precise irrigation. Culumber is leading research on the effects of whole orchard recycling on air quality and climate resilience, soil health, tree growth and productivity in second-generation orchards.
Culumber earned a Ph.D. in soil science and agroecology and a master's in plant science and molecular ecology, both from Utah State University, and a bachelor's in biology from University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Bruce D. Lampinen, UC Cooperative Extension integrated orchard management, walnut and almond specialist in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, received the first Presidential Chair for Tree Nut Soil Science and Plant Water Relations. Craig Kallsen, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor in Kern County who specializes in fruit and nut crops, received the Presidential Chair for Tree Nut Genetics.
Bunn named vice provost of research and extension
David Bunn joined UC ANR as Vice Provost of Research and Extension on Aug. 16. He will oversee the Research and Extension Center System and county-based UC Cooperative Extension.
Bunn served as director of the California Department of Conservation, managing a staff of more than 600 scientists and professionals to promote the judicious use and conservation of energy, land and mineral resources. Previously, he served as deputy director of the California Department of Fish and Game and as a natural resources policy consultant for the California State Senate and Assembly.
For the last 18 months, Bunn directed the development of the UC Davis Graduate Program of Environmental Policy and Management, a unique professional program designed to train the next generation of environmental leaders and natural resources managers.
Bunn also served in previous positions at UC Davis, including associate director of the International Programs Office (now Global Engagement) in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. As an international project manager at the One Health Institute in the School of Veterinary Medicine, he managed research, training and capacity-building activities in East and West Africa and in Nepal over a nine-year period.
"I am thrilled to be appointed Vice Provost for Research and Extension," Bunn said. "I am passionate about translating science to action and the critical role of extension for improving the lives of people in urban and rural communities.”
"I look forward to working with all of the terrific researchers and educators in UC Cooperative Extension and throughout the UC System, and with the many external collaborators. In particular, I am eager to support the County and REC Directors in their important work," he added.
Bunn earned a Ph.D. in ecology, an M.S. in international agricultural development, and a B.S. in wildlife biology, all from UC Davis.
Bunn is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1369 and email@example.com.
ASHS honors Culumber with Early Career award
Mae Culumber, UC Cooperative Extension nut crops advisor for Fresno and Kings counties, was chosen by the American Society of Horticultural Science to receive its 2021 ASHS Early Career Extension and Outreach Award.
Culumber, who joined UC ANR in 2016, is the first to receive this ASHS award. Established in 2020, the ASHS Professional Early Career Award recognizes ASHS members for outstanding contributions to horticultural science through their professional activities within 7 years of completing their final degrees (BS, MS, PhD, etc.) prior to their employment.
“Despite being an Assistant Advisor, Dr. Culumber has led University of California professors, specialists, advisors, and USDA researchers in large-scale research projects as PI or Co-PI,” Luke Milliron, UC Cooperative Extension orchard systems advisor for Butte, Glenn and Tehama counties, wrote in his nomination letter. “Her leadership on studying the soil physical, biochemical, and greenhouse impacts of almond whole orchard recycling is a prerequisite to orchardists receiving cap and trade carbon credits for recycling their orchards, a sustainable alternative to removing and burning the trees at the end of the orchard's life. She also serves as Co-PI on studies of pistachio tree training techniques that increase yield, and variable rate irrigation in almond that enhances productivity, while preserving water and nutrient resources. Dr. Culumber's early research program is already delivering contributions to horticultural science with the potential to enhance orchard productivity and resource use efficiency across hundreds of thousands of acres.”
Since 2017, Culumber, who works with almonds, pistachios and walnuts, has published nine articles in peer-reviewed publications and helped secure over $1.25 million in grant and funding support. Her work as an advisor also earned her UC ANR's “Outstanding New Academic Distinguished Service Award” for 2019-2020.
She and other career award recipients received their awards at a ceremony on Aug. 6 at the 118thASHS Annual Conference in Denver.
Perring wins ESA award for IPM excellence
Thomas Perring, a professor in the Department of Entomology at UC Riverside, will receive the Entomological Society of America's 2021 Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management.
This award recognizes outstanding contributions that have a direct relation to integrated pest management (IPM).
Perring's research has developed management options for growers of 20 cropping systems involving 17 pests and five pathosystems. His lab has provided information on three predatory insects, four predatory mites, 12 parasitoids, and two entomopathogenic fungi in support of biological control. This research has resulted in 154 reviewed articles and chapters and five edited books.
His work includes creating a multistate partnership to develop IPM strategies for the stink bug, Bagrada hilaris; spearheading a classical biological control program against the mealybug, Maconellicoccus hirsutus and describing a new parasitoid, Anagyrus callidus (Triapitsyn, Andreason and Perring); conducting studies that launched a worldwide investigation into whether Bemisia tabaci consists of biotypes or species (currently at least 40 species are recognized); and implementing biocontrol of date mite and mating disruption of carob moth in dates.
Perring will receive the award during Entomology 2021, ESA's Annual Meeting, taking place in-person and online, Oct. 31 – Nov. 3, in Denver.
UC VP Glenda Humiston, 4-H member Melina Granados of Riverside County and UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland gave the UC regents a presentation about UC ANR's community outreach and impact. The Public Engagement & Development Committee meeting was held at the UCSF–Mission Bay Conference Center on Jan. 24, 2018, in San Francisco.
Opening the discussion, Humiston gave an overview of ANR, explaining that for 150 years ANR has been bringing the power of UC directly to the people in all California counties. Melina, who was born in Mexico, talked about her role as president of the Eastside Eagles 4-H club and what she has learned. Leland described joint projects between UC Merced and ANR in climate adaptation, nutrition and drone technology research.
Watch the 25-minute recording of the UC ANR presentation to the regents below, or visit https://youtu.be/ptFS8HwlsjE.
Artificial intelligence, or AI, can improve precision agriculture by using sensed environmental data to “learn” and continually adapt, VP Glenda Humiston told the Little Hoover Commission at a hearing in Sacramento on Jan. 25.
The Little Hoover Commission is reviewing the impacts of artificial intelligence. While there is no singular definition, artificial intelligence encompasses a broad range of technologies that seek to approximate some aspect of human intelligence or behavior.
Throughout its study, the commission will consider the potential policy role of California state government in areas such as regulation, workforce development and retraining.
Humiston was asked to give a statement on the impacts of artificial intelligence in the agricultural sector.
“California's working landscapes face some critical challenges; among those are drought, climate change, air quality, soil health, pests, pathogens and invasive species,” she said. “Additionally, rural/urban conflicts and urban sprawl continue to reduce available farm land and make viability of food production more difficult.
“Of importance to today's hearing, California's labor-intensive crops are facing increasing difficulty accessing necessary labor – both skilled and unskilled. This situation has led growers and universities to seek solutions through mechanization, automation and other new technologies.”
She sees opportunities in precision agriculture for growers and ranchers to more precisely manage their operations by using site- and crop-specific data gathered by new technologies.
“Artificial intelligence improves this further by using the sensed environmental data to ‘learn' and continually adapt to ever-changing conditions as it receives data that strengthens the computer's ‘intelligence,'” she said.
Humiston also outlined some of the challenges to harnessing the power of AI for agriculture.
“Artificial intelligence is extremely difficult in agriculture because of the huge amount of variability in environmental conditions across a single field,” she said. “This requires many sensors, complex algorithms, and large real-time data processing – all integrated and working together to inform decisions and actions.”
In a 2014 Pew Research Center survey, the vast majority of the 1,896 experts anticipated that robotics and artificial intelligence will “permeate wide segments of daily life by 2025.” The commission's artificial intelligence project will investigate the shape and speed of these changes in California and in society.
Through its public process, the commission intends to study the key challenges of artificial intelligence in California, its economic implications and how it can be used to solve societal ills. The commission will review issues such as justice, equity, safety and privacy. The project will consider recent studies on workforce impacts, which could include both job creation and job displacement. Possible mitigations and worker protections will be discussed as will examples of efforts to plan and prepare for innovations and labor transformations.
To read Humiston's full testimony to the Little Hoover Commission, visit http://www.lhc.ca.gov/sites/lhc.ca.gov/files/CurrentStudies/ArtificialIntelligence/WrittenTestimony/HumistonJan2018.pdf.