Posts Tagged: Entomological Society of America
The new UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology's graduate student is an incredible success story who hurdled the obstacles heaved in her path and lets nothing—absolutely nothing--block her education, enthusiasm, research or goals.
The first thing you notice is her unbridled enthusiasm, whether she's monitoring Virginia Creeper leafhoppers or parasitized leafhopper eggs in a UC Davis research vineyard, or sharing insect photos of everything from assassin bugs to praying mantids.
Preto, a former foster care youth, turned a disadvantaged childhood into a college diploma, and a college diploma into graduate school.
“I'm the first in my family to graduate from college and to attend graduate school,” said Preto, who calls Los Angeles “home.”
In June, UC Davis awarded her a bachelor's degree in viticulture and enology with an entomology minor in agricultural pest management. Now she's studying for her master's degree in entomology with major professor and integrated pest management specialist Frank Zalom, distinguished professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
“I first met Cindy in my Entomology 110 class, Arthropod Pest Management,” Zalom recalled. “She was usually the last student to leave the diagnostic labs each week, and one time she apologized to me for staying so long. She said that she had been out of school and working for a while so she wanted to get the most out of her classes.”
“She was a viticulture and enology major,” Zalom said. “We discussed having her do an undergrad research project on grapes, so she applied for and received a MURALS (Mentorship for Undergraduate Research in Agriculture, Letters and Science) scholarship which allowed her to conduct a project in my lab.”
Her project? The development of the invasive European grapevine moth. Preto conducted her research in the Contained Research Facility on campus with co-advisors Spencer Walse and Dave Bellamy of the USDA's Agricultural Research Service. Like Zalom, they praised her “excellent work ethic and enthusiasm.”
Preto has presented her research at the UC Davis Undergrad Research Conference and at the ESA's 2013 national meeting on “The Effects of Temperature on the Chronological Distribution of European Grapevine Moth's (Lobesia botrana) Life Stages from Egg Eclosion.” Next she'll present her undergraduate research at the ESA's 2014 meeting and is currently preparing a manuscript as a co-author for publication.
On Saturday, Sept. 27 Preto will represent the Zalom lab at the Bohart Museum of Entomology's open house on “How To Be an Entomologist” from 1 to 4 p.m. in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane.” She'll show visitors what leafhoppers and parasitized eggs look like.
“I am currently doing a biological survey of Virginia Creeper leafhopper in vineyards, looking at the population dynamics of all life stages, egg, nymphs, and adults,” Preto said.
The Virginia Creeper is one of three leafhoppers that she's studying in her population dynamics research. The others are the Western grape leafhopper and the Variegated leafhopper. They're all about the same size: 2 millimeters. In rearing eggs from nymphs to adults, she knows the distinguishing characteristics of each.
Zalom admires her enthusiasm, commitment and professionalism. “I was not seeking another grad student, but I couldn't help but accept Cindy into my lab when she decided that she would like to pursue a master's degree,” Zalom recalled. “Her project on leafhoppers associated with grapes fits her goals of working again in the grape industry when she completes her degree. Her enthusiasm for learning hasn't changed, and her research has been proceeding very well.”
Indeed it has. She's also drawing widespread attention as a scholar. She received a Peter J. Shields Scholarship in September 2011; a Wine Spectator scholarship in September 2012; the MURALS research scholarship in November 2012; a Syngenta Scholarship, June 2013; a Wine Spectator Scholarship in October 2013; and an Orange County Wine Society Scholarship in October 2013.
Preto also participates in the new UC Davis program, Guardian Professions Program or GPP, which is open to Masters/Ph.D students who are former foster care youth. And, she continues to participate in the Guardian Scholars Program or GSP, open to all UC Davis students who were cared for in foster homes. GSP students offer support for one another and also to current and former foster care youth in local high schools and community colleges by offering UC Davis campus tours, outreach, interactive activities, and speaking on panels to share their story in hopes of encouraging former foster care youth to seek higher education.
A world traveler, she has journeyed to all seven continents, all 50 states, and to 59 countries. "It can be inexpensive," she said. Along the way, she's taken scores of images of insects.
Preto takes a multi-disciplinary approach to not only her research but life in general, eager to know, learn and share. She figuratively skips to work, excitedly looking forward to new entomological finds. She's recorded and photographed not only leafhoppers, but assassin bugs, minute pirate bugs, stink bugs, lace bugs, mites, thrips, damselflies, dragonflies, moths, bees, wasps, spiders (jumping spiders and black widows), whiteflies and praying mantids.
When Preto is not out in the field monitoring insects, you'll usually find her reading about them or studying them in the lab—weekends included. “It's extremely fascinating,” she said.
Her career goal? To work for a vineyard in a pest and disease management position, preferably in an organic grape or sustainable vineyard. Another goal: to receive her Pest Control Adviser license.
“I love it,” she said.
UC Davis graduate student Cindy Preto is studying vineyard leafhoppers. (Photo by Liam Swords)
Cindy Preto, shown here in a UC Davis vineyard, is the first in her family to graduate from college. She's now a master's student, studying with Frank Zalom. (Photo by Liam Swords)
Sticky traps in the vineyard. (Photo by Cindy Preto)
Indeed. Those attending the Bohart Museum of Entomology's open house on Saturday, Feb. 2, will see them--and see them feeding.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology is one of six museums or educational centers on the UC Davis campus holding an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. This is the second annual campuswide Biodiversity Museum Day, aka "Super Science Saturday," as it's the day before the Super Bowl. The other five are the Botanical Conservatory, Center for Plant Diversity, the Geology Museum, the Anthropology Museum, and the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology. Maps will be available at each site. The event is free and open to the public.
Now, back to the bed bugs.
Danielle Wishon, an undergraduate student majoring in entomology, will be feeding her bed bug colony at 2 p.m. at the Bohart Museum, which is located in 1124 Academic Surge on Crocker Lane. Wishon is rearing a colony, now approaching 100 bed bugs, in a research lab in Briggs Hall.
"Aside from the fact that I find them visually adorable, I am interested in the current public panic over their current increase in population around the United States," said Wishon, who took control of the colony in October 2012. "The idea that several little animals will crawl up to you while you sleep and feed on your blood really disturbs most people, despite the fact that they do not transmit any disease."
Wishon, who studies with forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey and works in the Bohart Museum with director Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology, loves entomology. She's is a past president of the UC Davis Entomology Club and recipient of the department’s 2011 Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award.
"I think the general public would be very interested to see them feeding," Wishon said. "There is a lot of misinformation on the Internet about them, so it would also be a good opportunity for Q and A."
And speaking of Q and A, be sure to access the Entomological Society of America's bed bug resource page. You'll find information on "the menace in the mattress" (Cimex lectularlu) from all over the country, including right here at UC Davis. The UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program's Pest Note says:
"A single feeding may take up to 10 minutes, and feels like a pin prick, but because feeding usually occurs at night when people are asleep they are not aware they have been bitten until afterwards. However, saliva injected during the feeding can later produce large swellings on the skin that itch and may become irritated and infected when scratched. Swelling may not develop until a day or more after feeding, and some people do not show symptoms. Bed bugs currently are not considered to be disease carriers."
The arm of Danielle Wishon and her bedbugs, feeding.
Close-up of a bedbug in the process of ingesting a blood meal. (Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control for Prevention, image by Piotr Naskrecki)
Make that several years.
Zalom, who just completed a year as the vice president-elect of the 6000-member Entomological Society of America (ESA), was installed as vice president of the organization at its meeting last month in Knoxville, Tenn. and is in line for the presidency.
So, his ESA commitment totals four years: first as vice president-elect, then as the vice president, then as president, and finally, past president. Each is a one-year term.
ESA, founded in 1889 and now headquartered in Lanham, Md., a suburb of Washington, D.C., draws members from all over the world. They're primarily in educational institutions, health agencies, private industry and government.
Zalom will be the second UC Davis entomologist to serve as ESA president. The first was Donald McLean, who held the top ESA office in 1986. Now an emeritus professor, McLean chaired the UC Davis Department of Entomology from 1974 to 1979 and served as dean of the Division of Biological Sciences from 1979 to 1986.
As ESA's new VP, Frank Zalom is already assuming a myriad of duties. He participated in the 2012 Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP) conference held Dec. 8-10 in Washington, D.C.
ESA president Robert Wiedenmann, professor and head of the University of Arkansas Department of Entomology, and Zalom represented ESA at the meeting. The Council membership is comprised of presidents, presidents-elect and recent past presidents representing some 60 scientific federations and societies. The combined membership totals more than 1.4 million scientists and science educators.
Among the many speakers were Paula Apsell, senior executive producer of NOVA-TV, who led a discussion on “Building Pubic Appreciation for Science”; Ian Shipsey, physics professor at Purdue University, who spoke on “Higgs Boson: How It Imparts Mass”; Lori Garver of NASA, “Mars and Beyond—Exploring the Endless Frontiers”; and Millie Dresselhaus, professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Nanoscale Carbon Electron-Phonon Interaction.” Charles Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering, keynoted the awards banquet on Dec. 9.
The CSSP contingent also met for a breakfast on Capitol Hill, interacting with congressional leaders, including chiefs of staff and senators.
According to a CSSP brochure, “The Council regularly develops national policy coordination recommended by its committees on issues of importance to the scientific community.”
Among those issues are science and mathematics education; university-based research; federal research and education budget; responsible conduct of science; merit review of federally supported science; unimpeded exchange of scientific information; magnifying public science literary; research on teaching and learning; and directions for 21st century science.
Now the ESA governing board is gearing up for its 61st annual meeting, set Nov. 10-13, 2013 (initially set for Nov. 17-20) in Austin, Texas. Also on the governing board from UC Davis is Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the Department of Entomology, who represents the ESA's Pacific Branch.
Theme of the 61st annual meeting? “Science Impacting a Connected World.”
ESA vice president Frank Zalom (far right) of UC Davis with ESA president Robert Wiedenmann (far left) of the University of Arkansas, and Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). (Photo courtesy of ESA)
UC Davis entomology graduate student Kevin Rayne Cloonan not only won a coveted award for his research presentation at the 60th meeting of the Entomological Society of America in Knoxville, Tenn., but it may prove to be a boon to California almond growers.
Cloonan, who is studying for his master’s degree with chemical ecologist Walter Leal, professor of entomology, won a second-place award for his insect repellent research on the navel orangeworm (NOW), a major pest of California’s almond industry.
His talk was part of the 10-minute graduate student presentations.
Cloonan presented his paper on “Potential Oviposition Repellent for the Navel Orangeworm (Amyelois transitella) in Almond Orchards of Central California.” For his research, he tested 20 broad spectrum insect repellents as potential oviposition repellents. Bedoukian Research Inc. developed the repellents.
Cloonan's work involved electrophysiological recordings, laboratory behavioral assays, and a field behavioral assay. He first used electroantennogram (EAG) assays to identify which of those 20 repellents the female antennae could detect. Of the 20 repellents, three showed significant EAG responses, he said.
In testing the oviposition repellency under laboratory conditions with laboratory populations, he found that two of the three repellents showed significantly reduced oviposition; they were then tested with field populations in almond orchards in Arbuckle.
“One especially looks very promising,” said Cloonan, adding “I couldn’t have done this research without the support and help of Dr. Leal and everyone in the Leal lab.”
Cloonan has been asked to present a poster at the Almond Board of California conference, to be held Dec. 11-13 at the Sacramento Convention Center.
At the ESA meeting, Cloonan’s presentation was one of 14 vying for top honors in the Plant-Insect Ecosytems (P-IE) Section. The P-IE Section includes behavioral, ecological, and evolutionary relationships in natural landscapes, as well as integrated pest management (IPM) in agriculture, horticulture, forests, and lawn and garden. The section also deals with aspects of crop protection, host-plant response, plant pathology/vectors, pollination, biological control, microbial control, and others.
Cloonan, who plans to pursue his doctorate in entomology, is a graduate of the University of Idaho, with a bachelor's degree in entomology.
Almonds are big business in California and getting bigger.
The National Agricultural Statistics Service forecasts California’s 2012 almond crop at a record-breaking 2.10 billion meat pounds, valued at approximately $3 billion. Eighty-percent of the global supply of almonds is grown in California, and about 70 percent of California’s crop is marketed overseas.
Honey bees from all over the country are trucked to California to pollinate the state’s 780,000 acres of almonds, which begin blooming in mid-February, around Valentine's Day. Two bee colonies are required to pollinate each acre--and that's a lot of bees!
Navel orangeworms lay their eggs in almonds, pistachios and walnuts, with the resulting caterpillars (larvae) causing major damage. This is an adult on a pistachio. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The ESA Governing Board today announced the new fellows, who will be recognized Nov. 11, 2012 at the ESA’s annual meeting in Knoxville, Tenn.
Page, the vice provost and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, since July 2011, is a pioneer in the field of evolutionary genetics and the social behavior of honey bees.
Page did much of his research at UC Davis. He received his doctorate in entomology at UC Davis in 1980, learning from his major professor Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. (for whom the UC Davis bee research facility is named). He then joined The Ohio State University faculty before returning to UC Davis as a faculty member in 1989.
He chaired the UC Davis Department of Entomology from 1999 to 2004.
Page, who studies the evolution of complex social behavior in honey bees, from genes to societies, left UC Davis in 2004 to be the founding director of the new School of Life Sciences. Arizona State University, where he built a Social Insect Research Group that is now recognized worldwide.
Page was trained as an entomologist, evolutionary population geneticist, classical animal breeder, and mechanistic behaviorist, according to a news release issued by the ESA. "This training has defined his research approach of looking at the genetics and evolution of complex social behavior. He has taken a vertical approach to understanding the mechanisms of honey bee social foraging and how it evolves."
His work is contained in more than 225 research articles. Page has also co-edited three books and authored or co-authored two. Page is a highly cited ISI (Institute for Scientific Information) author in plant and animal science. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the German National Academy of Science, and the Brazilian Academy of Science. In 1995 he was awarded the Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize by the government of Germany.
Although Page resides in Arizona, his research bees are UC Davis-based residents. Bee breeder-geneticist Michael “Kim” Fondrk, who worked with Page at Ohio State University, UC Davis and ASU, manages the specialized genetic stock, which today includes 90 hives.
Of the 90 hives, about 70 have instrumentally inseminated queens as part of their pollen-hoarding breeding research program.
Back in 2006, Page told us: "Davis is still home to me. I raised my family there, my closest friends and colleagues are still in the entomology department there. I still feel very strong attachments.”
Former department chair Robert Washino remembers him fondly. He recently recalled that "Rob chose to return to UC Davis in 1989 to be with his former major professor (Harry H. Laidlaw Jr.). He later cared for him and his wife, Ruth, in their declining years. We all remember Rob’s scholarly side and his humanitarian side.”
Page joins three other UC-affiliated entomologists in the ESA Fellows Class of 2012: Joseph Morse, professor of entomology at UC Riverside; Henry H. Hagedorn, who received his doctorate in entomology from UC Davis in 1970; and R. Michael Roe, who trained at the UC Davis Department of Entomology from 1981 to 1984 as a National Institutes of Health fellow in cellular and molecular biology.
And interestingly enough, Page is following in the footsteps of Harry H. Laidlaw Jr., who himself was elected an ESA fellow in 1991.
With the addition of Page, the UC Davis Department of Entomology now has 16 fellows who are current or former faculty members. The first was Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007), for whom the Bohart Museum of Entomology is named. He received the honor in 1947. Fifteen others followed: Donald McLean, elected in 1990; Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. (1907-2003), 1991; John Edman, 1994; Robert Washino, 1996; Bruce Eldridge, 2001; William Reisen, 2003; Harry Kaya, 2007; Michael Parrella and Frank Zalom, 2008; Walter Leal, 2009; Bruce Hammock and Thomas Scott, 2010; James R. Carey and Diane Ullman, 2011, and now Robert E. Page Jr., 2012.
Bee breeder-geneticist Kim Fondrk of UC Davis manages the Robert Page specialized genetic stock. These bee hives were in a Dixon almond orchard. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)