Entomology

Jun 14, 2013 Debra Cheung

Mission

The Department of Entomology has a two-pronged mission: 1) to integratively use applied and basic entomology to solve problems relevant to current and future issues in agriculture, environment, science, and society, and 2) to contribute to the intellectual advancement of the fundamental sciences germane to the discipline of entomology through the use of arthropods as model organisms for biological research.

Faculty

(9/99) 3.8 I&R, 14.8 OR, 2.1 CE; (7/00) 4.75 I&R, 16.85 OR, 2.1 CE; 6 > 65 in six years.

 

Major Programmatic Thrusts of the Department

  • Insect systematics and evolution. This program is anchored by the Bohart Museum of Entomology and will be enhanced by the addition of two new faculty (one of which is the holder of our new Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics). The department is also the administrative home for the intercampus Center for Biosystematics.
  • Insect behavior and ecology. A cadre of faculty focus their research at the whole organism level with emphasis on insect demography, terrestrial and aquatic ecology, and behavior, and actively participate in the corresponding graduate groups on campus.
  • Applied entomology. Agricultural and medical entomology constitute a historical and present-day strength of the department. We are the home department for the graduate group in Plant Protection and Pest Management. Two divisional and one intercampus programs, UC-IPM, UC-Mosquito Research, and the Center for Vector-Borne Disease Research, respectively, are administered by department faculty.
  • Insect molecular science. Research in the department brings together insect molecular science, physiology, and toxicology into an integrative, collaborative approach. This cluster includes an unusually large number of high profile and well-funded programs supported by national agencies such as NIH, NSF, USDA, DOE, as well as by the state and industry.

We see no changes in these current thrusts but would like to obtain approval to recruit for a molecular biologist (to replace recent death in the department) and retain faculty positions where retirements occur so that existing programs strengths can be maintained.

Program Impact/Ranking

The department is currently one of the largest and most renowned entomology programs in the nation. We ranked third in the most recent Gourman Report when compared with more than 50 other departments. Numerous faculty have received national/international awards, the most notable is the recent (4/99) election of Dr. Bruce Hammock to the National Academy of Sciences.

Extramural Grants and Gifts

(Expenditures 98-99) $3,750,000 grants; $510,000 gifts. Funding sources include (but are not limited to) NIH, NSF, USDA, BARD, CDFA, CalEPA, CalDPR, numerous commodity and industry sources.

Teaching Programs of the Department

The department's teaching program includes:
  1. Developing and offering high-quality undergraduate and graduate courses for our major.
  2. Development of undergraduate courses with applicability to both our students and those in the college and across the campus.
  3. Encourage individuals to teach courses outside the department, especially those related to core undergraduate education on the campus (e.g., biological sciences).

The department currently houses 15 undergraduate majors, 30 entomology graduate program and 25 graduate group students.

Outreach/Extension Roles

With only 2.1 FTE in CE, the department has among the lowest CE/OR ratios in the college. We have initiated greater contact with county farm advisors and extensions specialists through an annual meeting and a policy for courtesy appointments has recently been formalized. We hope to add a 50 percent CE FTE in the area of mosquito biology/medical entomology where we currently have 5 OR/I&R FTE and no formal CE activity.

Positions Needed to Improve Research, Teaching and Extension Goals

  1. A 50 percent CE FTE in mosquito biology/medical entomology (discussed above) would dramatically enhance our expanding programmatic efforts in this area.
  2. A position in the area of insect molecular science (position vacant due to a recent death) would fill an important void in this critical area for the department.

Priorities (No Growth Scenario)

Unless we can obtain a 50 percent CE FTE to complement the 50 percent academic administrator FTE allocated by DANR for the director of the UC Mosquito Research Program, (position will be vacated 12/99 due to retirement) we will likely lose this position and the entire program will be transferred to another UC Campus. Two other known retirements will occur within the next five years. One FTE could be replaced with the Insect Molecular Science position (addressed above) and the second FTE (located at Kearney Ag Center) should ideally be refilled by someone working on pests of tree fruits.

Priorities (10 Percent Growth Scenario)

One FTE in the area of molecular biology to be linked to the genomics initiative.

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