Posts Tagged: Michael Parrella
If the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, UC Davis Department of Entomology, seemed like a lonely place in 1994, 2004 and 2005, that's because four professors retired.
Now the bee biology program is gaining new strength. In 2009, the Department hired native pollinator specialist/assistant professor Neal Williams.
And this week Michael Parrella, chair of the the UC Davis Department of Entomology, announced another new addition to the faculty: Brian R. Johnson, a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley.
That's good news for the university, good news for the department, good news for bee research and good news for the bees.
Johnson, an assistant professor, has broad interests in evolution, ecology, behavior, genetics, and theoretical biology.
"The Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility has been the site of very innovative bee research over the years that have contributed to the facility's national and international reputation,” Parrella said. “We are excited about hiring Brian Johnson as the new apiculturist at UC Davis as Brian is committed to moving the science of apiculture forward as well as to conducting problem-solving research to help beekeepers, bee breeders and those stakeholders who rely on pollination services provide by honey bees.”
Johnson received his doctorate in 2004 from Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. in behavioral biology (thesis: “Organization of Work in the Honey Bee”). A native of Hartford, Conn., Johnson grew up primarily in San Jose but also lived in Omaha, Neb.
Johnson has studied bees for more than 12 years. But, as he said, "I still learn something unexpected and important with every new study. The colony is like a hugely complex puzzle, with many pieces fitting together in functionally cohesive ways. This brain-teaser aspect of figuring out how a honey bee colony works is I think what first attracted me to bee research.”
“In the past (prior to the 1980s) bees were more or less healthy, so little effort went into understanding their basic epidemiology,” Johnson said. “When tracheal mites, and then Varroa moved in, great effort went into controlling these pests, but still little effort went into basic bee epidemiology. Now with colony collapse disorder (CCD), the emphasis is finally transitioning from trying to put out fires--by which I mean control nasty pests of current concern--to both trying to put out fires and understand what causes them in the first place.”
“My hope is that Davis can be at the forefront of this endeavor to both control CCD,” Johnson said, “and to understand what factors underlie a healthy or unhealthy population of honey bees.”
Johnson has already settled into his lab at the Laidlaw facility and his office on the third floor of Briggs Hall.
Brian Johnson, who specializes in behavior, genetics and evolution of honey bees, has joined the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bee researcher Brian Johnson examines a frame of bees at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
It's indeed an honor--a sweet one.
Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, was recently inducted into the California Floriculture Hall of Fame at a ceremony in San Diego.
Mike Mellano Sr., of Mellano & Company, Oceanside, presented Parrella with the plaque. Mellano was himself inducted into the California Floriculture Hall of Fame in 1990.
"I've known Mike since he came to California in the early '80s," Mellano said. "He first began working with us on the leafminer and chrysanthemum project, and has been doing a lot of work for the growers."
"He is a world-class scientist and has done a lot for the industry," Mellano said, adding "My only regret is that we weren't able to get more funding for him."
The award, sponsored by the Kee Kitayama Research Foundation, was presented at the Society of American Florists’ Pests and Production Management Conference. The plaque reads: "In recognition of innovative and selfless contribution of enduring value to the Floriculutre and Ornamental Industry, the Kee Kitayama Research Foundation hereby inducts Dr. Michael P. Parrella into the California Floriculture Hall of Fame, February 25, 2011.”
Parrella, who holds a joint appointment in the Department of Plant Sciences, develops integrated pest management (IPM) strategies for ornamental crops, with an emphasis on biological control. He is widely known for his applied research that that includes floriculture crops, nursery and bedding plants and landscape plants in the urban environment. In 1985, he initiated what has become an annual conference on insect and disease management on ornamentals. The event is sponsored by the Society of American Florists.
The names of hall of fame inductees will be engraved on permanent plaques at the San Francisco Flower Market, the Los Angeles Flower Market and the San Diego International Floral Trade Center. (Michael Reid, an emeritus professor of plant sciences, UC Davis, will be inducted later this year.)
San Francisco...Los Angeles...San Diego...
Floriculture Hall of Fame
He was just elected a member of California Floriculture Hall of Fame for distinguished leadership and service to the floral industry.
In 2008 he was elected a fellow of the Entomological Society of America (ESA), an honor given to entomologists who have made outstanding contributions in entomological research, teaching, extension or administration. ESA annually singles out only 10 of its some 5700 members for the high honor.
Parrella, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology at the University of California, Davis, is scheduled to be inducted into the California Floriculture Hall of Fame in February 2010. Another UC Davis professor, Michael Reid of the Department of Plant Sciences, will also be inducted then.
Parrella, who holds a joint appointment with the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, develops integrated pest management strategies for ornamental crops, with an emphasis on biological control. In 1985, he initiated what has become an annual conference on insect and disease management on ornamentals. The event is sponsored by the Society of American Florists.Michael Reid, who has a partial appointment in Cooperative Extension, is an authority on postharvest physiology and handling of ornamental crops. He conducts research on the senescence of ornamental plants, particularly cut flowers and potted plants. His work covers the spectrum from studies of the biochemistry of senescence to application, in the field, of new methods in postharvest technology.
Their names will be engraved on permanent plaques at the San Francisco Flower Market, the Los Angeles Flower Market and the San Diego International Floral Trade Center.
Kudos--or a bouquet of flowers--to these two outstanding scientists!
Tower of Jewels
We're glad to see that three noted entomologists at the University of California, Davis, received distinguished awards in their fields at the 94th annual meeting of the Pacific Branch, Entomological Society of America (PBESA) on April 13 in Boise, Idaho.
Michael Parrella (top photo), professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, won the Distinguished Achievement Award in Horticultural Entomology. Frank Zalom (middle photo) professor of entomology, won the Excellence in Integrated Pest Management Award. Larry Godfrey, (bottom photo) Cooperative Extension specialist in entomology, received the Distinguished Achievement Award in Extension.
As regional award winners, Parrella, Zalom and Godfrey will now advance to the national ESA awards competition. The national meeting is set Dec. 12-15 in San Diego.You'll often see Michael Parrella working on administrative duties, making presentations or conducting research; you'll see Larry Godfrey chasing pests in the rice and cotton fields; and you'll see Frank Zalom working on scores of integrated pest management projects, from local to global. All three work closely with their graduate students, the next generation of entomologists.
Indeed, their accomplishments could fill multiple books.
You can read more about their accomplishments on the UC Davis Department of Entomology Web site.
Just a few of the comments they received:
“In his 30-year career, Dr. Parrella has developed an internationally recognized program focused on advancing integrated pest management and biological control for the floriculture and nursery industry,” said James Carey, professor of entomology at UC Davis and chair of the department’s awards committee.
“This industry, once dominated by chemical control strategies, now regularly uses the tenets of IPM, and many growers routinely use biological control,” said Carey, who nominated Parrella for the award. “His training of graduate students and postdoctoral scientists and the extraordinary effort to translate research into practice puts Dr. Parrella in a class by himself. He has accomplished this while shouldering an enormous administrative load.”
He focuses his program on the IPM of insect and mite pests of field crops and vegetable crops, particularly pests of cotton and rice. His work extends globally. “Given the diversity of agriculture in California, this is a vast undertaking and Dr. Godfrey has made significant contributions in approximately 15 different crops during his 19-year tenure in this position,” said Parrella, who nominated him for the award. “This incredible diversity of effort and accomplishment puts Dr. Godfrey in a class by himself..."
Godfrey works closely with the county-based UC Cooperative Extension advisors and pest control advisors, industry representatives, and growers. His expertise includes sucking insects (cotton aphids and silverleaf whiteflies) on San Joaquin Valley cotton and pests of rice, including the rice water weevil.Frank Zalom
IPM specialist Zalom is not only a professor of entomology but an Extension agronomist and an entomologist in the Agricultural Experiment Station. He's "one of the most influential scientists in the development and implementation of IPM policy and practices in the United States and the world, through his numerous and continuing contributions as a leader, director, and organizer,” said colleague Jocelyn Millar, an entomology professor at UC Riverside who nominated him for the award.
Zalom, who directed the statewide UC IPM Program for 16 years (among other responsibilities) is known for his “truly extraordinary record of achievement and service to IPM extending over several decades,” Millar said.
A tip of the insect net--or a three-insect net salute--to Michael Parrella, Frank Zalom and Larry Godfrey.
James R. Carey is used to dissent.
The entomology professor at the University of California, Davis, fervently believes that the Mediterranean fruit fly and light brown apple moth, two exotic and invasive pests, have long been established in California and cannot be eradicated.
Trying to eradicate them, he says, is like "throwing money down a rathole."
Check out the current (Jan. 8th) edition of Science Magazine and read the three-page NewsFocus piece headlined "From Medfly to Moth: Raising a Buzz of Dissent."
This is sure to garner a plethora of comments, concern and criticism. This is about as high-profile as it gets in the scientific community. And this is not the message that the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is trying to get across. (See CDFA's Web site on the light brown apple moth).
Carey, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, just completed a term as the chair of the UC Systemwide Academic Senate University Committee on Research Policy. He also directs a federally funded program on lifespan and aging; the program just received a $3.4 million grant renewal from the National Institute on Aging.
"James Carey is at it again," began writer Ingfei Chen of Santa Cruz. "In the early 1990s, as a scientific adviser in California's unpopular pesticide-spraying war against the Mediterranean fruit fly, the entomologist vocally charged that the state's program was fundamentally flawed. Bucking conventional wisdom, Carey claimed that the Medfly was already established, defying the eradication attempt."
Fast forward to February 2007 and the discovery in California (Bay Area) of a new invasive pest, the light brown apple moth, a native of Australia.
Aerial spraying of a pheromone resulted in a "red-hot-public ruckus, forcing the state to shift to a plan to release zillions of sterile moths...And once again, Carey has surfaced as a relentless voice of dissent," Chen wrote.
Carey insists it can't be eradicated, that it's here to stay and we ought to focus on pest management, not eradication.
What's next? Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology wants to organize a spring conference "to reexamine the invasive species-policy paradigm from to bottom," Chen wrote.
"The goal," she wrote, "is an open dialogue with major stakeholders," including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and CDFA.
Carey told us today that Parrella plans to meet with him and a group of other entomologists next week to discuss the proposed workshop.
"It would be nice to think we could sit down and discuss things," Parrella told Chen in the Science Magazine article. "It's not us versus them."
Light Brown Apple Moth