Backyard Orchard News
The two conferences will draw international scientists, Extension specialists, and agricultural industry professionals, among others.
Professor Ullman of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and a former associate dean for Undergraduate Academic Programs, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, is a key organizer, along with George Kennedy of the North Carolina State University Department of Entomology, Neil McRoberts of the UC Davis Department of Plant Pathology and Robert Kemerait of University of Georgia.
The first conference, to take place May 14-16, is “Enhancing Risk Index-Driven Decision Tools for Managing Insect-Transmitted Plant Pathogens,” sponsored by the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (USDA NIFA/AFRI). Ullman is co-principal investigator of the five-year, $3.75 million grant awarded in 2012 from the USDA AFRI/NIFA to develop and implement a national scientific and educational network to limit thrips-caused crop losses. This conference will convene experts in modelling, risk assessment, and innovative IPM technology in an intimate setting to discuss the latest breakthroughs in modelling insect vectored plant pathogen threats and mobile applications for risk assessment and management strategy assessment. Early bird registration and poster abstract submission ends March 15t and can be accessed at registration and poster abstract submission ends March 15 and can be accessed at http://ucanr.edu/sites/tospo/Registration/ and http://ucanr.edu/sites/tospo/Participate/ respectively.
The second conference is the Xth International Symposium on Thysanoptera and Tospoviruses, to be held May 16-20. "This meeting is the tenth in a series of international symposia that, over 30 years, have grown to be the dominant vehicle and venue for information exchange between scientists investigating problems related to thrips and tospoviruses around the world," Ullman said. "These symposia have been instrumental in extending knowledge and producing new solutions and innovations in thrips and tospovirus management worldwide, by providing a forum for sharing research findings and integrating fundamental and applied knowledge."
Thrips are tiny insects that pierce and suck fluids from hundreds of species of plants, including tomatoes, grapes, strawberries and soybeans. The pests cause billions of dollars in damage to U.S. agricultural crops as direct pests and in transmitting plant viruses in the genus Tospovirus, such as Tomato spotted wilt virus. “There are 23 additional approved and emerging tospovirus genotypes transmitted by at least 14 thrips species (Thysanoptera: Thripidae),” said Ullman, who has been researching thrips and tospoviruses since 1987.
The May 14-16 workshop will feature speakers and discussions focused on development and deployment of risk index-driven tools for the management of vector-borne diseases, including modelling, epidemiology, risk assessment and user interfaces. Researchers will discuss decision tools, risk assessment in managing insect vectors and pathogens in crops, and accomplishments, challenges and gaps. Early registration is underway. Scientists are invited to submit abstracts (see http://ucanr.edu/sites/tospo/Participate/)
The May 16-20 symposium will feature presentations of common interest to both insect and virus research areas during morning sessions and a poster session. It will also include specialized discussions, and contributed presentations in the afternoon and evening.
“This is a unique opportunity to convene leading international scientists, extension specialists, and individuals in the agricultural industry to share and discuss the latest findings in thrips and tospovirus biology, ecology and management,” said Ullman. Registration is now underway. Scientists who seek to participate are invited to submit poster and contributed talk abstracts, Ullman said. The deadline to submit abstracts is March 15 (http://ucanr.edu/sites/ISTT10/Participate/).
It's going to be a busy seven days--May 14-20--at the Asilomar Conference Center...
UC Davis entomologist Diane Ullman is a key organizer of the two conferences focusing on insect-vectored pathogens. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Visitors to the University of California, Davis campus can visit six museums at the fourth annual Biodiversity Museum Day.
It's a week after Super Bowl Sunday, and by then all talk about deflated footballs may have ended.
The UC Davis Biodiversity Museum Day will take place Sunday, Feb. 8 from 12 noon to 4 p.m., and will showcase the Bohart Museum of Entomology, Center for Plant Diversity, the Botanical Conservatory, the Paleontology Collection, the Anthropology Collection, and the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology.
“Each museum's impressive research/teaching collection documents the biodiversity of life in California and throughout the world, whether it be plants, fossils, human culture, insects or birds,” said co-coordinator Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator for the Bohart Museum.
All participating museums have active education and outreach programs, but the collections are not always accessible to the public. On Sunday, Feb. 8 they will be.
It's billed as a special day to go behind-the-scenes to learn how scientists conduct research; gain first-hand educational experience; and to see some of the curators' favorite pieces. Visitors are invited to explore displays, talk to scientists and students, and participate in fun activities.
There is no admission, and parking is free, too. Visitors are encouraged to stroll or bike around the UC Davis campus and see all six collections. All are located indoors. Maps, signs and guides will be available. Click to download map.
- Bohart Museum of Entomology, Room 1124 of Academic Surge, Crocker Lane (off LaRue Road)
- Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology, 1394 Academic Surge, Crocker Lane
- UC Davis Botanical Conservatory, Kleiber Hall Drive
- Center for Plant Diversity, Sciences Laboratory Building, off Kleiber Hall Drive, near Briggs Hall
- Anthropology Collections, Young Hall, off A Street
- Geology Collections, Earth and Physical Sciences Building, across from Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane
Biodiversity Museum Day's Facebook page provides more information. For further information, you can also contact co-coordinator Ernesto Sandoval at the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 752-0569.
A Madagascar hissing cockroach crawls on the arm of a visitor at the Bohart Museum of Entomology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Olivia Dally, a UC Davis grad who received her degree in wildlife fish and conservation biology in 2012, preparing specimens at the third annual Biodiversity Day. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The skull of an Asian elephant, displayed last year by the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Visitors enjoying the UC Davis Botanical Conservatory. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
And we have a winner!
Drum roll...Art Shapiro...
Shapiro, distinguished professor of evolution and ecology at the University of California, Davis, who sponsors the annual Beer-for-a-Butterfly Contest to collect scientific data, snagged the first cabbage white butterfly of the year at 12:30 p.m.. Monday, Jan. 26 in West Sacramento, Yolo County.
“The cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae) finally came out today (Jan. 26),” he said.
And, it's a boy!
Shapiro figured this would be the day. Sunshine filtered through the high clouds in the morning, so it was relatively warm when Shapiro set out at 11.15 a.m. for a mustard patch near the railroad tracks. In fact, he was so “sufficiently sure” that Monday would be the day that he took his net “and was prepared to sweep the vegetation with it to kick up any individuals that were sunbathing (“dorsal basking”) in the dilute sunlight in order to raise their body temperature to the level needed for flight.”
But that wasn't necessary. “The sun came out strongly at 12.11 and the butterfly, a male, took wing spontaneously 19 minutes later,“ he related. ““It was a very easy catch; I suspect he emerged this morning (Jan. 26) and that was his first flight.”
Shapiro has sponsored the contest since 1972 to determine when the cabbage white will first emerge in the three-county area of Sacramento, Yolo and Solano. It's all part of his 43-year study of climate and butterfly seasonality. “It is typically one of the first butterflies to emerge in late winter.”
Although the first flight of the cabbage white has been as late as Feb. 22, it is emerging earlier and earlier as the regional climate has warmed, said Shapiro. “There have been only two occasions in the 21stcentury in which it has come out this late: Jan 26, 2006 and Jan 31, 2011.
“It's obvious that a dry January doesn't guarantee an early emergence!” Shapiro said. ”The very wet December of 2014 laid the groundwork for tule fog this month, which we hadn't really seen since the drought began. The cold, foggy weather certainly played a role in delaying emergence.”
Ten minutes after collecting the cabbage white, a second species, the mourning cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) showed up. “It hibernates as an adult and is always an early flier, but this was its first record on the floor of the Sacramento Valley this year—it's been out about two weeks in the lower Coast Range,” Shapiro said.
Five minutes later, at 12.45, a third species showed up: a male fiery skipper (Hylephila phyleus) that landed momentarily literally at Shapiro's feet. It was the earliest he's ever recorded. “This is a much more significant record than the others,” he said, explaining that the fiery skipper “normally is first recorded around here in March or even April. Last year it set a new early record in the Valley—Feb. 21, in Rancho Cordova, Sacramento County.—the only February Valley record in our 43-year database. It was last seen in 2014 on Dec. 1, also in Rancho Cordova. However, there are two January records at the Suisun Marsh, Solano County: Jan. 3, 1996 and Jan. 28, 2000.
Of the fiery skipper, Shapiro noted: “The first was certainly a late carryover of the fall 1995 brood, which was still flying on Dec. 14. “ The species wasn't seen again until the start of the spring brood on March 31, 1996. The 2000 record is more ambiguous. The last Suisun sighting in 1999 was on Dec. 11 and the first spring sighting was very late, May 24, 2000.
“The last fall-brood sighting of the fiery skipper was on Nov. 9, 2014, making it exceedingly unlikely that this was a late individual from that brood,” Shapiro said.
In 2014, Shapiro netted the winning cabbage white butterfly at 12:20 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14 in West Sacramento, Yolo County. It ranked as "the fifth or sixth earliest since 1972.”
Shapiro has won the contest every year except three. Graduate student Adam Porter defeated him in 1983; and graduate students Sherri Graves and Rick VanBuskirk each won in the late 1990s.
The contest rules specify that it be an adult (no caterpillars or pupae and that it be captured outdoors. It must be live when delivered to the department office, 2320 Storer Hall, UC Davis.
Shapiro has monitored central California's butterfly populations for 43 years and posts information on his website.
Art Shapiro, distinguished professor of evolution and ecology at UC Davis, holds the first cabbage white butterfly of 2015. He collected it Jan. 26 in West Sacramento, Yolo County. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Butterflies draw smiles instead of scowls, pleasure instead of pain, glee instead of grief.
So, here's Part 1 of the good news. You still have a chance to win the Beer-for-a-Butterfly contest. No one has come forth in the three-county area of Sacramento, Yolo and Solano to deliver the first cabbage white butterfly of the new year to Art Shapiro, distinguished professor of evolution and ecology at the University of California, Davis. If you collect the first one of 2015 and you're the verified winner, you'll receive a pitcher of beer or its equivalent.
Shapiro, who usually wins his own Beer-for-a-Butterfly contest, hasn't found one either. Every day has amounted to a "No Fly Day" and a "No Beer Day."
Reports are surfacing that the cabbage whites (Pieris rapae) are flying in Santa Rosa, but unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), Santa Rosa is in Sonoma County, not in Sacramento, Yolo or Solano counties.
Shapiro has sponsored the annual contest since 1972. It's all part of his four-decade study of climate and butterfly seasonality. “It is typically one of the first butterflies to emerge in late winter. Since 1972, the first flight has varied from Jan. 1 to Feb. 22, averaging about Jan. 20." Shapiro says his long-term studies of butterfly life cycles and climate "are especially important to help us understand biological responses to climate change. The cabbage white is now emerging a week or so earlier on average than it did 30 years ago here."
Shapiro, who is in the field more than 200 days a year, knows where and when to look. In fact, he's been defeated only three times since 1972, and all by his graduate students. Adam Porter defeated him in 1983; and Sherri Graves and Rick VanBuskirk each won in the late 1990s.
In 2014, Shapiro netted the winning butterfly at 12:20 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14 in West Sacramento, Yolo County. It ranked as "the fifth or sixth earliest since 1972.
The contest rules include:
- It must be an adult (no caterpillars or pupae) and be captured outdoors.
- It must be brought in alive to the department office, 2320 Storer Hall, UC Davis, during work hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, with the full data (exact time, date and location of the capture) and your name, address, phone number and/or e-mail. The receptionist will certify that it is alive and refrigerate it. (If you collect it on a weekend or holiday, keep it in a refrigerator; do not freeze. A few days in the fridge will not harm it.)
- Shapiro is the sole judge.
Part 2 of the good news about butterflies: a mid-winter gathering of Northern California Lepidopterists and the Bohart Museum of Entomology will take place at an open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 31 in the Bohart Museum, located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building, Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus. Hosts are Bohart senior museum scientist-entomologist Steve Heydon and entomologists John De Benedictis and Jeff Smith.
Lepidopterists are researchers or hobbyists who specialize in the study of butterflies and moths in the order Lepitopdera.
All interested persons are encouraged to bring specimens, photos, PowerPoint presentations or slides from collecting trips and tales of collecting triumphs to share with others. Butterfly t-shirts and other entomological merchandise are available from the gift shop.
The museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, houses a global collection of nearly eight million specimens, and is also the home of the seventh largest insect collection in North America, and the California Insect Survey, a storehouse of the insect biodiversity. It was founded by noted entomologist Richard M. Bohart (1913-2007).
For more information on the mid-winter gathering of lepitopterists, contact Steve Heydon at (530) 752-0493 or email@example.com.
Meanwhile, The Great White Cabbage Butterfly Hunt is still underway. Can you find one before Art Shapiro does?
Ulysses butterfly (Papilio ulysses) collection in the Bohart Museum of Entomology. These are all males. The females have barely any blue on their wings. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
This is a Paris peacock butterfly (Papilio paris), part of the Bohart Museum of Entomology collection. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The Bohart Museum of Entomology houses nearly eight million specimens from all over the world. Here are some of the butterfly specimens. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Where, oh where, is that first bumble bee of the year?
It's about this time of the year when the queen black-tailed bumble bee, Bombus melanopygus, and the queen yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii, emerge.
One of our area readers asked if there's a chart or calendar indicating what time of year the various native bees emerge. One of the best sources is native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, distinguished emeritus professor of entomology at the University of California, Davis. (By the way, he's giving a public presentation on native bees at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 24 at Solano County's Rush Ranch Nature Center, Suisun City. All interested persons are invited; there's no admission.)
"Each species of bee has its own particular season," Thorp says. "Some start in late winter to early spring, others start late spring, early summer. Some don't fly until fall. Some bees, especially our social bees (honey bees, bumble bees and some sweat bees) fly most of the flowering year (January-February into October-November)."
"It's probably best to frame the bee calendar in context of the bloom of various plants," Thorp points out. "Manzanita is one of the first flowering shrubs and when they come in to bloom that is the time to look for queens of our two early bumble bee species, Bombus melanopygus and B. vosnesenskii. Some of our large digger bees like Habropoda and some Anthophora come on during that bloom. In the vernal pools, early flowering starts in late February and some of our solitary ground nesting mining bees, Andrena start about then. When the red bud comes into bloom about mid-March the Blue Orchard Bee (BOB), some other species of bumble bees, and some sweat bees come out. Leafcutting bees (Megachile) and some long-horned digger bees (Melissodes and Svastra) start their activity about mid-May. "
A great book to learn about native bees and the flowers they visit is the newly published California Bees and Blooms: A Guide for Gardeners and Naturalists (Heyday). It's co-authored by Gordon Frankie, Robbin Thorp, Rollin Coville and Barbara Ertter, all with UC Berkeley connections.
For example, if you look up manzanita (genus Arctostaphylos and family Ericaceae), in California Bees and Blooms, you'll see that there are more than 90 species and subspecies in California, and you'll learn which bees visit them. The authors provide a description of the plant, its origin and natural habitat, its range and use in urban California, its flowering season (late winter to early spring), the resources it provides for bees (pollen and nectar), bee ecology and behavior, and gardening tips.
The book is a treasure.
As are the bees!
A queen black-tailed bumble bee, Bombus melanopygus, foraging on pansies on Jan. 22, 2014. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Yellow-faced bumble bee, Bombus vosnesenskii, on rock purslane. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)