Posts Tagged: Fran Keller
When you hear those two words, you think of four Liverpool musicians named John, Paul, George and Ringo.
Not so at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.
Say "beetles" and that means insects. Lots of insects.
When Michael Caterino, the museum's curator of entomology, speaks Wednesday, Feb. 18 at UC Davis, he'll be talking about patterns of diversity in Southern California beetles.
And their names are not John, Paul, George and Ringo.
Caterino's talk, sponsored by the UC Davis Department of Entomology, begins at noon in 122 Briggs Hall. UC Davis entomology doctoral candidate Fran Keller, who specialies in beetles (Coleoptera), will introduce him.
"I first met Mike on the top of the Caliente Range in the Carizzo Plain National Monument down south," Keller said. "I was taking Entomology 107 and we were on a field trip. It was hot and nobody was around, but Mike and another gentleman were up on the ridge collecting butterflies. We chatted and he helped catch some butterflies for my collection, willing to share."
"However, I think that as a Coleopterist, had I been collecting beetles, he might not have been so willing to give up his recently collected beetles," Keller quipped.
You can see many of her beetle photos on her Web site).
Caterino, trained at UC Berkeley and the Natural History Museum in London, joined the museum staff in 2001. His primary research specialty is the taxonomy and evolution of an obscure, but diverse family of beetles called Histeridae.
He recently initiated the California Beetle Project; he is surveying some 10,000 species of beetles in the state.
Oh, and those butterflies Caterino was collecting on the Caliente Range? Probably swallowtail butterflies. His research interests include not only beetles and Jerusalem crickets (potato bugs), but the swallowtails.
Dining on herbs
Some folks wear their heart on their sleeve.
Others wear a dragonfly on their chest.
As part of its public outreach education program and to showcase the world of insects, the Bohart Museum of Entomology at the
The t-shirt, designed by entomology doctoral candidate Fran Keller, features the white-belted ringtail, also known as a gomphid dragonfly, from the family Gomphidae.
UC Davis undergraduate student William Yuen, a part-time employee at the Bohart, traced the insect from a photo taken by
The dragonfly also appears on the Bohart’s “California Dragonfly Poster,” the work of Keller and Kareofelas.
“William is an excellent artist, a brilliant student, a hard worker and has worked in the museum for two years,” said Keller. “I wanted to immortalize him and his talent and for his contributions to the museum.”
“This drawing is so precise you could identify this dragonfly by its wing venation,” Keller said. The insect order (Odonata), family, species name and common name appear beneath the wing.
Keller said more than 5000 species of dragonflies exist worldwide. “Dragonflies don’t harm people; they don’t bite or sting,” she said.
What else about dragonflies?
- Female dragonflies lay their eggs in or near water.
- They beat their wings about 30 beats per second (bps), compared to a honey bee’s 300 bps
- In both their larval and adult stages, dragonflies eat mosquitoes. The larvae eat mosquito nymphs and other insects. As adults, they grab mosquitoes and other insects in mid-air.
Proceeds will benefit the Bohart’s insect outreach education program. The museum, directed by entomologist Lynn Kimsey, chair of the Department of Entomology, is home to more than seven million specimens.
For more information, see http://bohart.ucdavis.edu/ or contact the museum at (530) 752-0493.
William Yuen wearing dragonfly t-shirt
White-belted ringtail dragonfly
Sympetrum by Fran Keller
Okay, be honest.
If you were attending class at 7:30 a.m., could you get excited about flies? No? How about the gender differences? Still no?
You would if Mary Frances “Fran” Keller were there teaching you.
You won’t find anyone more enthusiastic about entomology than Fran Keller.
A doctoral candidate in entomology, she recently received an outstanding teaching award at UC Davis.
She's amazing. Take it from pre-med student Shawn Purnell, one of Keller’s students.
“My perception and expectations of teacher assistants were forever raised when I met Fran,” he said.
“Truthfully, the very first time I had lab, I thought Fran was a little crazy. I had never before seen anyone become so enthralled in explaining the differences between male and female flies, especially at in the morning. I thought to myself, why would I ever be interested in this and how is this knowledge ever going to benefit me? To my surprise, by the very next lab I found myself blissfully explaining the conditions of Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium to my lab partner. Fran’s passion toward her students and enthusiasm for not only zoology, but also all aspects of academia, created an irresistible learning environment.”
If it creeps or crawls or flies or jumps, Fran wants to know about it. She's especially partial to tenebrionids or darkling beetles (see her Web site). She’s also an accomplished artist, illustrator and nature photographer. And a wife and mother of two.
Her four years as the teaching assistant (TA) in an insect physiology class taught by Charles Judson, emeritus professor of entomology and professors Bruce Hammock and Walter Leal, led to the teaching honor. The trio nominated her for the award, which Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef presented to her at a May ceremony on the UC Davis campus.
How does she do it? Excel at teaching? Fran gets to know her students individually and then focuses on their interests. “She showed me countless examples of how the subject (biological sciences) applied to medicine," Shawn Purnell said. "I especially remember her telling a story about how a graduate student willingly ate a tapeworm to further her research, and what the doctors had to do in order to remove it.”
"It's reassuring to know that out of a maze of 30,000 students and faculty at Davis," he said, "that there are people like Fran who really care."
Said Fran: “Not all students learn in the same way. There are global, linear and kinesthetic learners. I believe that illuminating a student’s learning style opens the door for thinking critically.”
"My very best teachers would not accept less than what they knew I was capable of doing. They understood my potential and treated me as an individual in a sea of many.”
Fran, scheduled to receive her doctorate next June, studies with major advisor Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and chair of the Department of Entomology.
The doctoral candidate is based at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, where she also designs museum posters, such as the Butterflies of Central California, Dragonflies of California, California State Insect (California Dogface Butterfly) and Pacific Invasive Ants. Currently she's coordinating a sale of gift items listed on the Bohart Web site. Proceeds benefit the museum's outreach program.
What’s she been up to lately? I hope you're sitting down!
This fall she will be TA’ing Entomology 100 with her major professor Lynn Kimsey, who describes her as "one of my most gifted students ever."
She's an invited speaker for the first California Desert Research Symposium (CDRS), set Nov. 8 at the University of the
Fran is also organizing the Coleoptera symposium at the Entomological Society of America annual meeting set Nov. 16-19 in R
And for all you dragonfly enthusiasts out there, she's designing a new dragonfly t-shirt for the museum gift shop.
And about those flies she so eagerly discusses at 7:30 in the morning? How much time do you have?
Fran Keller and daughter Rachael