Posts Tagged: Neal Williams
If you're interested in pollen and pollinators, you'll want to attend the UC Davis Department of Entomology seminar at 12:10 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 1 in 122 Briggs Hall.
That's when T’ai Roulston, research associate professor and curator, State Arboretum of Virginia, will speak on "Pollen as a Resource for Pollinators: What Governs Quality?"
Pollen is a bee's protein. Nectar is a bee's sugar or carbohydrate.
T'ai Roulston will be speaking specifically on pollen. "Lab work using the sweat bee Lasioglossum zephyrum has shown that protein concentration of pollen may dramatically influence offspring size," he says.
"T'ai's work on native bees and insect-plant interactions includes pollination biology, foraging ecology, nesting biology, life-history as well as some work on multi-trophic interactions," said host Neal Williams, assistant professor. (Williams is currently in Japan to present a lecture at the International Symposium on Pollinator Conservation, set Jan. 27-29 in Fukuoka.)
Roulston says on his website:
"My primary research area is plant-pollinator interactions, which I study through field and laboratory approaches." These include
1. Studies of pollen chemistry, particularly protein, to characterize the diversity of pollen nutrient rewards and their effects on pollinator host plant choice and larval development;
2. Specialization/Generalization in plant-pollinator interactions
Other research areas include endangered species conservation, habitat fragmentation, foraging behavior and nestmate recognition in social Hymenoptera, and the impact of exotic species on native organisms.
Coordinating the UC Davis Department of Entomology winter seminar series are assistant professors Louie Yang and Joanna Chiu.
If you can't make it to the the lecture, Professor James R. Carey plans to video-record it. It will be posted in about two weeks on UCTV.
Female sweat bee in the genus Lasioglossum, on a rock purslane. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
T'ai Roulston at State Arboretum of Virginia.
Pollination ecologist Neal Williams, assistant professor of entomology at UC Davis, will be one of the featured speakers at the International Symposium on Pollinator Conservation, to be held Jan. 27-29 in Fukuoka, Japan.
His talk will explore agricultural landscape change and the role of bee life history in predicting and understanding responses of bee communities. The conference, sponsored by the Japan Society of the Promotion of Science and themed "Conservation and Sustainable Use of Pollinators: Towards Global Assessments," will take place on the Hakozaki campus, Kyushu University.
Williams is the only invited speaker from California. (See his lab research)
“Bees provide a critical ecosystem service for humanity through their pollination of crops worldwide,” said Williams, who will speak on “Bee Life History and Resource Distributions Determine Population and Community Responses to Agricultural Landscape Change.”
“There is increasing recognition of the contributions of wild species to crop pollination and their role in sustainable pollination into the future. The persistence of wild bee species depends on the availability of essential nesting sites and forage resources within the landscape. Agriculture management can profoundly change the abundance and distribution of these resources over time and space."
“Because bee species differ in specific nesting and forage requirements, there is the potential for land transformation to filter wild bee communities based on such ecological traits,” Williams said. “I will present two separate studies from central California exploring the role nesting and forage resources in determining bee responses to agricultural intensification. The first study explores the effects of bee life history traits and resource distributions on observed changes in bee communities between semi-natural and farmland components of an agricultural landscape.
“I will use a combination of empirical data sampled over multiple landscapes and spatial modeling of bee communities to reveal the relative importance of forage and nesting resources to bee responses. The second study focuses on the bumble bee Bombus vosnesenskii. I will use empirical data on bumble bee colony performance and a spatially-explicit model of floral abundance to quantify the importance the forage-resource landscape in determining worker and queen production.”
Williams pointed out that “the abundance of forage strongly affected worker production; however, it was most sensitive to early season resources. Spatio-temporal variation in the resource landscape across the season reduced the overall effect of the forage landscape on queen production. Nonetheless consistent forage resources are key to the persistence of bumble bee populations in this region.”
UC Davis pollination ecologist Neal Williams is one of the featured speakers at an international symposium. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
If you're interested in native bees, you'll want to read the newly published University of California research article, "Tiny Saviors in Our Backyard."
Native pollinator specialists Robbin Thorp and Neal Williams of the UC Davis Department of Entomology are featured in the article as is conservation biologist Claire Kremen of UC Berkeley.
Author Erik Vance describes Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology, as "the patriarch of a rag-tag group of scientists who have pioneered research on non-honey bees that just may hold a solution to the world’s pollination problems."
Williams' work with conservation biologist Claire Kremen of UC Berkeley involves monitoirng which native bees are effective on Yolo County farms.
It's great to see so much attention on native bees.
As Vance says, "Honey bees get most of the buzz, but some native bees are better at spreading pollen. They may hold the solution to world pollination problems that affect important crops."
Honey bees are often considered "native" bees but they are not. English explorers brought them to America beginning in the 1620s.
The Xerces Society of Invertebrate Conservation, based in Portland, Ore. (and celebrating 40 years of conservation this year), is rightfully pleased with the UC scientists' work.
“The work out at the UC is some of the best work in the country right now,” Mace Vaughan, who oversees national pollinator work for Xerces, told Vance. “They are actually demonstrating the benefits.”
Metallic green sweat bee (Agapostemon texanus) on coneflower. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Writing for the Nature journal, Sharon Levy recently examined pollination studies that focus on the importance of pollinators and the plants they frequent.
Levy mentioned the work of conservation biologist Claire Kremen of UC Berkeley; Rachael Winfree, a pollination biologist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J.; and native pollinator specialist Neal Williams of UC Davis.
Williams led one of the studies that found that "most native bees are far less picky than was imagined," Levy wrote. The study showed that "bees collect pollen from both alien and native plants in proportion to a plant's abundance in the landscape," she related. "In highly disturbed habitats, bees make greater use of alien plants--not because the bees prefer them, but simply because introduced plants are far more common where people have transformed the landscape."
Last year Williams received a three-year federally funded research grant aimed at improving pollinator habitat plantings in nationwide agricultural settings. Williams said at the time:
“Recent declines in honey bee populations and the threat of losses in pollination service to economically important crops has raised awareness of the importance of restoring and conserving native bee diversity and abundance. We will be developing simplified assessment tools that will allow land stewards to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of future habitat restorations."
In 2000, the economic value of insect-pollinated crops in the United States was estimated at $18.9 billion.
Kremen, Winfree, Williams and Mace Vaughan, pollinator program director of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, were among the specialists sharing their expertise at the 59th annual Entomological Society of America's meeting, held Nov. 13-16 in the Reno-Sparks Convention Center.
At one of the ESA seminars, Winfrey said that about 75 percent of the nation's crops require pollination, and that there are 20,000 species of native bees.
Kremen pointed out that "35 percent of the food we eat is pollinated by bees."
Vaughan, in emphazing the need to protect the pollinators, announced the Xerces Society's newest publication, Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting North America's Bees and Butterflies.
To attract native pollinators, the Xerces Society says that we need to:
--Ensure pollination in our gardens, orchards or farms.
--Identify the flower-visiting insects of our region.
--Provide host plants and nesting sites for bees and butterflies.
--Create a landscape that is beautiful, diverse and pollinator friendly.
Good advice. We all have a role to fulfill in attracting and protecting the pollinators.
Assistant professor Neal Williams and Kimiora Ward, research associate from the Williams lab, collect bees. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Neal Williams (right) and colleague Rufus Isaacs confer at the Entomological Society of America meeting Wednesday, Nov. 16 in Reno. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
All over the UC Davis campus, departments are gearing up for fall seminars.
At the UC Davis Department of Entomology, native pollinator specialist Neal Williams (top photo) and community ecologist Louie Yang (lower photo) have booked a lineup of speakers ranging from a malaria expert to an expert on wildlife ecology.The seminars will take place from 12:10 p.m. to 1 p.m. every Wednesday, beginning Sept. 29, in 122 Briggs Hall. The only exception: No seminar during Thanksgiving week. Then "T" is for turkey!
Some of the lectures will be webcast; that information will be posted in advance on the UC Davis Department of Entomology website.
First to the podium is noted malaria expert Shirley Luckhart.
The complete list:
Sept. 29: Shirley Luckhart, associate professor, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, who will discuss “Systems Biology of Complex Regulatory Signaling in Malaria Host-Parasite Interactions.” Host: Professor Ed Lewis.
Oct. 6: Yao Hua Law, doctoral candidate who studies with major professor Jay Rosenheim. His topic: "My Neighbors Drive Me Cannibalistic: Mechanisms of Density-Dependent Cannibalistic Behavior and its Effects on Population Dynamics." Host: Professor Jay Rosenheim.
Oct. 13: Shalene Jha, UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management (working with Claire Kremen), UC Berkeley. Her topic: "Movement in the Matrix: Population Genetics and Ecosystem Services Across Human-Dominated Landscapes." Host: Assistant Professor Neal Williams.
Oct. 20: Anandasankar "Anand" Ray, principal investigator, molecular basis of insect olfaction, UC Riverside. His topic: "Expanding the Olfactory Code for Behavior Modification in Insects." Host: Professor Walter Leal.
Oct. 27: Murray Isman, dean and professor, Applied Biology (Entomology/Toxicology), University of British Columbia. His topic: "Aromatherapy for Pest Management? Pesticides Based on Plant Essential Oils for Agriculture, Industry and as Consumer Products." Host: Professor and Department Chair Michael Parrella
Nov. 3: John Stark, professor, Ecotoxicology Program, director, WSU Puyallup R&E Center, Washington State University. His topic: "Pollutant Soup: Effects of Toxic Mixtures on Fish and their Food.” Host: Professor and Department Chair Michael Parrella.
Nov. 10: Hugh Dingle, emeritus professor, insect behavior, UC Davis. His topic: "And the Beak Shall Inherit: Contemporary Local and Reverse Evolution in Morphology and Life History in American and Australian Soapberry Bugs." Host: Professor Sharon Lawler
Nov. 17: Elizabeth Crone, associate professor of quantitative wildlife ecology, Department of Ecosystem and Conservation Sciences, College of Forestry and Conservation, University of Montana, Missoula. Topic: "How Can Theoretical Ecology Guide Management of Plant and Insect Populations?" Host: Assistant Professor Neal Williams.
Nov. 24: None scheduled; this is Thanksgiving week.
Dec. 1: Erin Wilson, postdoctoral scholar, Louie Yang lab. Tentative Title: "Shifts in Life History Influence Invasion Outcomes.” Host: Assistant Professor Louie Yang