Posts Tagged: Brian Johnson
It will be a gathering of beekeepers next week in California.
And it promises to be informative, educational and inspiring.
Assistant professor Brian Johnson and Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology will speak at the 2012 California State Beekeepers Association’s annual convention, set Nov. 12 through Nov. 15 in Cabazon. The meeting will take place in the Morongo Casino Resort and Spa.
Johnson will discuss “Completed and Ongoing Research at the Laidlaw Bee Research Facility” during the Nov. 15th session. He will be presenting information on two sets of experiments he and his associates conducted at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, headquartered on Bee Biology Road.
“First we collected data suggesting that high fructose corn syrup blends are not harmful to colonies and that they may even be preferable to sucrose solution in the context of commercial beekeeping,” Johnson said. “Second, we showed that rates of multiple and single viral infection are higher in commercial beekeepers than in queen breeders or small scale hobbyists. This suggests that management practices can strongly affect rates of pathogen infection and that future efforts should be directed to mitigating these effects.”
Mussen, who also serves as parliamentarian on the CSBA governing board, will speak on “Honey Bee Nutrition” on Tuesday, Nov. 13 and “Keeping Your Bees in the Hive” on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
“The nutrition talk basically is to provide the beekeepers with information on the complexity of nutrients that are found in both pollens and nectars of various blooming plants,” Mussen said. “The complexity of the macro- and micro-nutrients is what makes the pollens so valuable to a complete bee diet. The complexity also is the reason why we have not developed a man-made substitute that can adequately replace pollens in honey bee diets.”
“In the honey bee colony’s quest to obtain adequate nutrition, the foraging bees visit an acre equivalent of flower blooms that they seek out in the 50-square mile area over which the foragers can range,” Mussen said.
In his other talk, “Keeping Bees in the Hive,” Mussen will discuss how “not to allow honey bee colonies to swarm.” He also will tell why strong colonies require an abundant supply of good pollens and nectar all the active season. “And finally, I will mention ways in which bees can be confined to the hive for short periods of time to avoid pesticide exposure or for moving the hives to new locations.”
Following the board of directors’ meeting--time permitting--Mussen will deliver a talk on “Africanized Honey Bees,’ tracing the history of the bees to 1956 when entomologist/professor Wawick Kerr imported 26 queen honey bees into Brazil from South Africa. Warwick hoped to hybridize tropical (African) and temperate climate (European bees) to obtain high honey production and better disposition. However, a beekeeper inadvertently released some of the descendants into the Western Hemisphere and they are now established in southern California and moving into central California.
Some of the bees trucked from all over the country, including Arizona and Texas, to pollinate California's 800,000 acres of almonds are Africanized bees.
So, beekeepers will hear about research, malnutrition, pests, parasites, pesticides, diseases, migratory stress and other topics.
There's a lot troubling the bees--and the beekeepers--today.
Bee scientist Brian Johnson of the UC Davis Department of Entomology in front of an observation hive. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology spends much of his day talking about bees. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Those are some of the topics to be covered at the UC Davis Department of Entomology's fall noonhour seminars, to begin Wednesday, Oct. 17 and continue through Wednesday, Nov. 28 in Room 1022 of the Life Sciences Building.
All seminars will be held every Wednesday except for Nov. 14. No seminar will be held that day. That's during the Entomological Society of America's annual meeting, which will take place Nov. 11-14 in Knoxville, Tenn.
The good news is that if you cannot attend these seminars, not to worry. Professor James R. Carey is arranging the videotaping of the seminars. They will be be broadcast at a later date on UCTV. Meanwhile, if you missed any of the previous ones, most can be accessed on UCTV.
Oct. 17: Tim Linksvayer, assistant professor, University of Pennsylvania.
Title: "Colony-Level Social Insect Gene Regulatory Networks"
Host: Brian Johnson, assistant professor of entomology
Oct. 24: Micky Eubanks, professor, Texas A&M University
Title: "Community Ecology of a "Pest": Aphids Rule their World via Powerful Indirect Effects"
Host: Graduate student Billy Kimmel
Oct. 31: Sarjeet Gill, professor, UC Riverside
Title: "Bacterial Toxins in Disease Mosquito Vector Control"
Host: Bruce Hammock, distinguished professor of entomology
Nov. 7: Taro Ohkawa, postdoctoral researcher, UC Berkeley
Title: "Baculovirus Manipulation of the Host Actin Cytoskeleton: Roles in Entry and Egress"
Host: George Kamita from the Bruce Hammock lab
Nov. 14: No seminar this week (Entomological Society of America's annual meeting)
Nov. 28: James Mallet, professor, Harvard University
Title: "Hybridization, Mimicry and the Origin of Species in Heliconius
Host: Gregory Lanzaro, professor, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
The first speaker, evolutionary biologist Tim Linksvayer, will focus on superorganisms. Honey bees are considered superorganisms.
"Despite these conspicuous superorganismal properties and the inherent hierarchical organization of life in insect societies (i.e. colony-level, organismal-level), most previous studies of the evolutionary genetic and molecular basis of social insect traits use the same reductionist approaches that have been developed for solitary organisms, where an individual’s traits are only influenced by its own genome. More realistically, in social organisms, an individual’s traits are the property of the genomes of all social group members. I will discuss ongoing integrative research studying how social interactions in ants and honey bees affect the expression and evolution of individual- and group-level traits."
Honey bees are considered a superorganism. Here worker bees form a retinue around the queen. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Like to know more about honey bees make collective decisions?
Mark your calendar to attend a seminar this week at the University of California, Davis.
Brian Johnson, assistant professor at the UC Davis Department of Entomology, will speak on "Organization of Work in the Honey Bee" from 12:10 to 1 p.m., Friday, Feb. 17 in 6 Olson Hall. This is part of the Animal Behavior Graduate Group's winter seminar series.
The talk is open to all interested persons.
"I will be speaking on the role of self-organizing pattern formation mechanisms in biology using collective decision making in the honey bee as a case history," said Johnson, who joined the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty last year. He received his doctorate in 2004 from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. in behavioral biology. His UC Davis lab does research on integrative approaches to honey bee behavior, genetics, evolution, and health.
Johnson's major professor, noted bee expert Thomas Seeley of Cornell, delivered two presentations at UC Davis last month.
Seeley, author of Honeybee Democracy, says that honey bees "make decisions collectively--and democratically. Every year, faced with the life-or-death problems of choosing and traveling to a new home, honey bees stake everything on a process that includes collective fact-finding, vigorous debate, and consensus building."
Fortunately, Seeley's two UC Davis talks are available for (yes, free!) public viewing on UCTV. The first, presented Jan. 19, is titled Swarm Intelligence in Honey Bees. The second, given Jan. 20, is The Flight Guidance Mechanism of Honey Bee Swarms.
Also on UCTV, you can listen to Johnson's UC Davis talk last October on How Bees Use Teamwork to Make Honey.
All three were webcast by professor James R. Carey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology. Carey strongly believes that research seminars from all 10 UC campuses should be recorded and posted on UCTV. He led the drive to make that happen.
One thing's for certain: you'll never look at honey bees the same way again after accessing these three videos--or reading Seeley's book--or attending Johnson's lecture on Friday.
Brian Johnson in front of his bee observation hive. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Brian Johnson checks out a frame at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
James R. Carey, professor of entomology at the UC Davis Department of Entomology (the department co-sponsored the event), webcast the six talks presented by either current or retired UC Davis professors. The videos are now on UCTV; here's the link to the Honey! index page.
Did we say "free?" Free.
Carey is a firm believer that UC seminars ought to be shared with not only UC affiliates but with the general public. (Read about how and why he spearheaded the 10-campus project.)
Meanwhile, you can learn about bees from some of the country's best: two UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty and one emeritus. Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen discussed "The Wonder of Honey Bees" and later presented a talk about honey and honey tasting.
Assistant professor Brian Johnson--he researches the behavior, evolution, and genetics of honey bees--covered "Honey Bee Communication: How Bees Use Teamwork to Make Honey" and emeritus professor Norman Gary, a scientist, author and professional bee wrangler, convinced us why we should consider "Hobby Beekeeping in Urban Environments." After all, he's been keeping bees for 64 years!
Then Louis Grivetti, professor emeritus in the nutrition department, strode to the podium to tell us "Historical Uses of Honey as Food"--you won't believe all the things he said in his well-researched talk! Liz Applegate, nutrition professor and director of the Sport Nutrition Program," followed with "Sweet Success: Honey for Better Health and Performance."
By the end of the day, the crowd agreed with Mussen that “Honey bees are truly marvelous.” And with Johnson who pointed out: “Bees have small brains but can solve big problems."
A nice addition: a honey-tasting contest judged by the attendees. The winner? An oh-so-good clover honey from Sacramento Beekeeping Supplies. The honey (yes, it's available for sale at the 2110 X St. business), was produced by the Jones Bee Company, Salt Lake City. Second place went to Alan Pryor of Alameda; and third place, Diane Kriletich of Paloma, Calaveras County.
“It was a sweet day all in all,” said coordinator Clare Hasler-Lewis, executive director of RMI.
Indeed it was!
Future beekeeper Emily Fishback with her beekeeper-father Brian Fishback of Wilton, who provided the bee observation hives. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
UC Davis assistant professor Brian Johnson (left) answers a question from beekeeper Clay Ford of Vacaville. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Let it bee.
But the California State Beekeepers’ Association (CSBA) certainly won't.
Today they're enjoying tours and a president's reception. Then Tuesday through Thursday, it's all business. Or bees-ness.
Johnson who joined the UC Davis Department of Entomology last summer, will be introduced at the 9 a.m. session on Tuesday. He will speak at 11:15 a.m. on Wednesday: His topic “Plans for UC Davis Bee Research Program.” Johnson specializes in behavior, evolution, and genetics of honey bees, and apiculture. (See lab research)
A former UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management (ESPM) at UC Berkeley, Johnson earlier served as a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at UC San Diego and the University of Bristol, UK.
He holds a doctorate (2004) from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. in behavioral biology (thesis: “Organization of Work in the Honey Bee”).
Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen, a member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty since 1976, will speak on “The State of California Beekeeping” at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday. He also will discuss on “Swarm Prevention” at 8:45 a.m. on Wednesday.The veteran bee guy serves as a liaison between the academic world of apiculture and the real world of beekeeping and crop pollination.
Bee breeder-geneticist Susan Cobey, who shares a dual appointment with the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis and Washington State University (WSU), will discuss “How to Raise Queens” at 8 a.m. on Wednesday.
Cobey’s research focuses on identifying, selecting and enhancing honey bee stocks that show increasing levels of resistance to pests and diseases. Cobey developed the New World Carniolan stock, a dark, winter hardy race of honey bees, in the early 1980s by back-crossing stocks collected from throughout the United States and Canada to create a more pure strain. Stock imported from the German Carnica Association has recently been added to enhance this breeding program.
Cobey and entomology professor Steve Sheppard of WSU are importing honey bee germplasm to increase genetic diversity in the U.S. honey bee gene pool. In addition, with stock imported from the Republic of Georgia, they hope to re-establish the subspecies Apis mellifera caucasica, another dark race of bee that is not currently recognizable in the U.S.
The CSBA is headed by president Frank Pendell, Stonyford; vice president Bryan Ashurst, Westmorland; secretary-treasurer Carlen Jupe, Salida; and past president Roger Everett of Porterville.
The CSBA purpose is to "educate the public about the beneficial aspects of honey bees, advance research beneficial to beekeeping practices, provide a forum for cooperation among beekeepers, and to support the economic and political viability of the beekeeping industry.”
And that it does. It will be a busy week.
Newly emerged worker bee from the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis.
A newly emerged worker bee (front) and a drone (male). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)