Backyard Orchard News
It’s official. University of California, Davis scientists who manage campus biological collections have just received a five-year, $4 million grant to research the biodiversity of fungi, bacteria, plants, insects and vertebrates on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, a southeast Asian island threatened by the loss of biodiversity in its tropical forests.
The International Cooperative Biodiversity Group Program is funding the grant. This is a multi-agency program led by the National Institutes of Health with contributions from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation.
Principal investigator Daniel Potter, a plant systematist at the Agricultural Experiment Station and director of the UC Davis Herbarium, said “the alarming rate at which biodiversity is being lost in many tropical regions has resulted in an urgent need for such efforts.”
The grant, “Biodiversity Surveys in
The international team involved in the grant includes UC Davis, UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley and three
Biodiversity refers to all living things in a region and to their interactions of with each other and their surroundings.
The results are expected to aid human health, energy needs, and biodiversity conservation.
The project is sorely needed, said entomologist Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and chair of the Department of Entomology. “For biologists,
The Bohart houses some seven million specimens from throughout the world and is the seventh largest insect museum in
Potter described it as an extraordinary opportunity. "When the call for the International Cooperative Biodiversity Group grant proposals came out in the fall of 2007, several of us involved in management of the biological collections here at UC Davis thought this could be an extraordinary opportunity to initiate a project that would include study of organisms in the multiple taxonomic groups (fungi, bacteria, plants, insects, vertebrates) covered by our collections and to engage in international collaborative research with implications for human health, energy needs, and biodiversity conservation.”
Potter said that two other key participants in the project are his former student, Jeanine Pfeiffer, research director for social sciences at the Earthwatch Institute, and Elizabeth Widjaja, research botanist at Herbarium Bogoriense,
“Thanks to the excellent hard work of many colleagues at UC Davis, UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, and three Indonesian institutions, and with the wonderful guidance and assistance of the outstanding Interdisciplinary Research Support group in the Office of Research here at UC Davis, we were able to put together a strong proposal for an ambitious and exciting project," Potter said.
UC Davis is the lead institution from the
The project is organized into six associate programs: macro-organism surveys, led by Widjaja, microbial surveys, led by discovery of energy solutions, led by discovery of human health solutions, led by Len Bjeldanes, professor of toxicology, UC Berkeley; conservation research and vertebrate surveys, led by and conservation partnerships, training and ethics, led by Pfeiffer.
“We will also be forming partnerships with private companies aimed at the commercial development of natural products for pharmaceuticals and energy production,” Potter said. They have also lined up collaborators from several other leading research institutions, including the
Potter said the results of the project will make significant contributions to a broad range of issues, including
- knowledge of the patterns of biodiversity in southeast Asia
- identification and isolation of natural products with potential therapeutic value to treat globally important diseases and to address human energy neeeds
- knowledge of the patterns of biodiversity in southeast Asia
- identification and isolation of natural products with potential therapeutic value to treat globally important diseases and to address human energy needs
- development of effective biodiversity conservation strategies and proactive outreach and education programs to promote those strategies
- establishment of models for effective and equitable internatinal collaborative partnerships and ethical and sustainable international sharing of biogenetic resources
the Preclinical Development Group at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and
Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology
Part of the Indonesian team
Butterflies from southeast Asia
It's a sad photo.
The antenna of a honey bee pokes out of an abandoned hive. Victim of colony collapse disorder (CCD)? Perhaps.
Everytime I look at the bent antenna, I think of a plea for help. Help me! Help me! Please help me! This bee should have been nectaring flowers or gathering pollen.
This hive once belonged to entomologists Robert and Lynn Kimsey of UC Davis. She's the director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and chairs the Department of Entomology. He's the sole forensic entomologist in the department.
CCD was one of the topics at the eighth annual international conference of the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC), held Oct. 22-24 in Washington, D.C.
The participants--farmers, scientists, and environmental advocates--agreed that we need to find ways to increase public awareness of pollinators. Pollinator Partnership chair Robert Lang described the loss of pollinators as "a potential health crisis for the planet."
Scores of beekeepers have witnessed a crisis in an individual bee hive.
Like the one below.
(Like to help with the honey bee research at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at the University of California, Davis? Access this site.)
The "headgear" was actually a Giant New Guinea Walking Stick crawling up the face of Eric San Gregorio, an undergraduate student majoring in entomology at UC Davis.
The occasion: the Bohart Museum's "Happy Halloween" open house on Thursday, Oct. 23.
See, the Bohart Musuem at 1124 Academic Surge, UC Davis, not only houses seven million specimens (it's the seventh largest insect museum in North America) but it also showcases live critters--like Madagascar hissing cockroaches, giant spiders and walking sticks.
About the Giant New Guinea Walking Stick (Eurycantha calcarata): it's from the order Phasmatodea and is native to New Guinea. It can grow up to six inches long. It's covered in spines. The males have large spikes on their back femurs while females have a larger abdomen ending in an oviposter, or egg-laying organ.
The walking stick dines on bramble, rose and guava.
It does not dine on little children.
Janice Calvento, 7, of Sacramento loved the honey bees, the honey tasting, the bee observation hive and just about everything else at the open house.
She did not like the walking stick walking up Eric's face.
(Note: an article on the Bohart Museum open house, with photos, will appear in the next edition of the Bohart Museum Society newsletter)
Eric's New Headgear
I'd Rather Not Look At It, Thank You
Hover flies do know how to hover.
Like a helicopter with spinning blades, the hover fly lingers seemingly motionless in mid-air over a flower before zeroing down to feed on the nectar.
Sometimes they’re called flower flies. Sometimes syprhids. They’re from the family Syrphidae and mimic the black-and-yellow coloring of wasps or bees. The coloring protects them from predators. Leave me alone! Let me bee!
Last Sunday our rock purslane (Calandrinia grandiflora) attracted its share of honey bees and hover flies.
In fact, so popular was the rock purslane (which we purchased from Ray and Maria Lopez of El Rancho Nursery and Landscaping,
Instead I focused my macro lens, shot away, and then, for fun, altered the image in Photoshop with “poster edges.”
For a brief period, the hover fly became my poster child.
There they sat, a row of jack o'lanterns ready for a light.
Undergraduate students at the University of California, Davis, created them for the "Happy Halloween" open house, held Oct. 23 at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, 1124 Academic Surge, UC Davis.
All that the oranges globes needed: someone with a match.
Outreach education program coordinator Brian Turner obliged, lighting the three jack o'lanterns: a butterfly, a dragonfly and a bee. (Me thinks the honey-bee jack o'lantern was really a jill o'lantern.)
Honey bees--the queen bee, workers and drones--drew eager interest at the open house. Visitors admired a honey bee observation hive, learned about bees, and tasted honey. Even royal jelly. So, what does royal jelly taste like, this food of queen bees? It tastes like you want another taste of clover honey. Quick.
Visitors also checked out the Madagascar hissing cockroaches, giant New Guinea walking sticks and assorted spiders as they sampled chicken wings, shrimp, fruit and cookies.
The museum, named for prominent entomologist Richard Bohart (1913-2007), was founded in 1946. Directed by Lynn Kimsey (who also serves as chair of the Department of Entomology), the museum is known for having the seventh largest insect collection in North America. It houses some seven million insect specimens.
And now, three jack o'lanterns.
Something buggy here
Bee a Pumpkin