CA&ES Currents Newsletter  icon newspaper

August 09, 2002

Jun 05, 2014 admin

A Message from Dean Neal Van Alfen: The Budget

In looking at budget figures, we need to retain a perspective regarding how the budget is being used. Comparing our Agricultural Experiment Station budget of 1998-99 to that of 2001-02 shows that our budget increased by 17.7 percent in that period. Almost all of the increase, however, was for faculty and staff salary increases. Since 1998-99, our salary base for faculty has increased 17.8 percent while that for staff has increased by 23.4 percent. Keep in mind that these salary base increases are largely market driven. During these same years, our total faculty numbers were constant while our staff numbers increased by about 12 percent. Even with the 12 percent increase in staff positions, however, we still have 22.6 percent fewer staff today than we did in 1990-91. And, we have 8 percent fewer AES-funded faculty positions in the same period. Ironically, our budget during the past four years of great prosperity in California did not put us in a position to recover the dramatic losses of the early 1990s. While we agree that the college should accept its fair share of state budget reductions in hard times, we should likewise enjoy our fair share of increases in the good times. Clearly, this has not been the case. Rapid technological change also puts pressure on our budget. The same technologies driving the revolution in human health care are vital to contemporary agricultural, food and environmental research -- and we need to build the facilities and new research infrastructure to support such endeavors. At the same time, we strive to maintain our environmental, animal husbandry and crop research facilities – and many of these are very old. Ultimately, the proposed budget cuts erode our research capabilities that help make California a better, safer, healthier place to live. This marks a trend that began a decade ago and that will put California at a disadvantage in competing with states and regions in the quality of life. Having the perspective of budget changes during the past decade helps us plan for how we will be taking the expected 10 percent cuts. Obviously, we are still suffering from the dramatic cuts of staff positions during the last budget crisis. We will do all we can to protect staff positions this time.

Neal K. Van Alfen
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
[email protected]

Back to top ^

Lee Fitzhugh Explains Rise in Mountain Lion Attacks
Lee Fitzhugh, wildlife management specialist in the wildlife, fish and conservation biology department, explained to the New Scientist how pumas or mountain lions determine their prey. "Humans are moving into the areas where pumas live,” said Fitzhugh, “but in such a way that the pumas aren't driven out. People in these areas like to encourage wildlife, and they may attract large populations of raccoons and deer, and deer are the puma's main source of food.” While humans don't feature highly on a big cat’s list of preferred prey, Fitzhugh noted, the new familiarity between the two species may change that. "There has been a huge increase in the opportunities pumas have to observe people."

More information is availableonline

Back to top ^

Jean VanderGheynst’s Biotech Project
Jean VanderGheynst, assistant professor in the biological and agricultural engineering department, is collaborating with a colleague from California State University, Sacramento, on a biotech project. She told the Sacramento Bee the research involves growing antibodies in tomatoes -- an early step toward making genetically engineered "edible vaccines" and medicines. VanderGheynst’s role is focused on developing the means of extracting the proteins once the tomatoes are ready for harvest.

Learn more

Back to top ^

Paul Gepts on Mexican Maize Madness
Paul Gepts, professor in the agronomy and range science department, discussed the controversy surrounding the transgenic DNA in wild Mexican maize on ABC Science Online. I n April this year, Nature took the unusual step of retracting their endorsement of a research paper which reported finding traces of transgenic DNA in wild Mexican maize. "It think it is a very controversial area right now and there is almost no middle ground when it comes to transgenic crops," Gepts said. "[the authors Quist and Chapela] have seen a very acrimonious reaction, more acrimonious than for other papers that should not have been published."

Read morehere

Back to top ^

New Chairs Dirk Van Vuren and Vito Polito
Dirk Van Vuren is the new chair of the wildlife, fish and conservation biology department, succeeding Deborah Elliott-Fisk. Van Vuren’s term runs through June 30, 2007. His research interests include population ecology and conservation biology. Vito Polito is the new chair of the pomology department, succeeding Ted DeJong. His term extends through June 30, 2007. Polito’s research has focused on the reproductive biology of Mediterranean-climate and tree crops such as almonds, pistachios, olives and walnuts.

Back to top ^

Diane Ullman Explores Aphids
Diane Ullman, professor in the entomology department, told the Capital Press that the citrus tristeza virus (CTV) is transmitted by aphids. “The most important discovery was that A. gossypii transmission caused infections in which the most abundant virus genotype was different from those found in the parent tree and graft transmission,” she said. Ullman noted that the data show that this particular virus transmission narrowed the virus diversity in the field and determined which genotypes were moved from field to field. “These findings are important to the citrus industry because they show that aphids can transmit CTV genotypes that are not detectable from the source tree and in doing so change the course of epidemics and cause different symptoms in the tree.”

Back to top ^

Anheuser-Busch Pledges $5 Million for New Lab
The Anheuser-Busch Foundation has pledged $5 million in matching funds to support construction of a new 16,000-square-foot food science laboratory building in the developing Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. "This generous pledge from the Anheuser-Busch Foundation is a cornerstone in the development of the Robert Mondavi Institute," said Neal Van Alfen, dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. "It will allow our campus to take its teaching and research programs in the food sciences to the next level of excellence and is especially meaningful because so many UC Davis alumni have gone on to join Anheuser-Busch." Anheuser-Busch’s gift challenges UC Davis to raise the additional funds needed to complete the Anheuser-Busch Brewing and Food Science Laboratory.

Read thefull article

Back to top ^

Biological Control Conference
The third annual California Conference on Biological Control will be held Aug. 15-16 at the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center. Topics include transgenic crops and their compatibility with biological control agents and other non-target organisms, invasion biology and lessons for biological control, biological control of invasive species in California, reduced risk pesticides and compatibility with biological control agents.

Conference website

Back to top ^

Media Training Workshops
Faculty and staff can attend full-day media sessions offered this upcoming school year by UC Davis Public Communications. These workshops will cover topics such as the benefits and risks of working with the news media; methods of print and broadcast journalists; what to do when a reporter calls; preparing for a successful interview; developing strategic media messages; general public speaking skills; public information on campus; handling crisis communications. Techniques are demonstrated through a series of exercises including critiqued on-camera interviews. Sessions run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and are held in the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center. Dates include: Oct. 17
Nov. 18
Dec. 12
Jan. 21
Feb. 18
March 19
April 3
May 20

Instructors include Paul Pfotenhauer, UC Davis News Service broadcast specialist, and Lisa Lapin, UC Davis News Service director. Enrollment is limited to eight participants per session.

Paul E. Pfotenhauer
Broadcast Specialist
UC Davis News Service
[email protected]
(530) 752-6397

Back to top ^

Subscribe to Plant Management Network
All UC Davis faculty, staff and students are eligible to subscribe to the Plant Management Network, a new online resource for plant science and agricultural information. CA&ES is a participating partner in the Plant Management Network, which offers a searchable database indexing thousands of Web-based pages from the networks of partner universities, companies and associations. The network also provides two peer-reviewed journals, Plant Health Progress and Crop Management. The Plant Management Network subject matter includes agronomy, entomology, soil science, forestry, ecology, urban forestry, plant pathology, crop science, horticulture, weed science, nematology, toxicology, plant protection, economics, diagnostics, environmental science, public policy and engineering.

Visit thePlant Management Network
Register online

Back to top ^

CA&ES Budget Forums
All CA&ES faculty and staff are invited to attend CA&ES budget forums. Neal Van Alfen, dean of CA&ES, and other members of the Dean's Office will answer questions and explain the budget process. Friday, Aug. 23, noon-1 p.m., 1065 Engineering II
Friday, Aug. 30, noon-1 p.m., 1065 Engineering II

Back to top ^

Arboretum Events
This is the time of year when many local gardens are looking a little faded and parched. Docent Taffy Bandman will discuss “Successful Gardening in the Valley Heat” during a guided tour of the UC Davis Arboretum Terrace Garden on Aug. 11. The tour will meet at 10 a.m. at the garden, next to Borders Books at the Davis Commons retail center, on First Street in Davis.

Arboretum calendar

Back to top ^

Potato Research
The California Potato Research Advisory Board welcomes research proposals. The forms for submission -- AES/CE March 84 -- are available from CA&ES department chairs and unit directors. Principal investigators can help avoid delays by ensuring that all marketing board proposals are forwarded to the UC Davis Office of the Vice Chancellor of Research with the requisite data sheets and a copy of the call for proposals. Deadline: Aug. 20

Kent J. Bradford
Department of Vegetable Crops
[email protected]
(530) 752-9098

Back to top ^


Visit CA&ES Currents online at

CA&ES Currents, the faculty/staff newsletter of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis, is distributed every other Friday. News deadline is noon Monday preceding Friday publication. Send inquiries to Ann Filmer, [email protected].

Issue Editor:
Clifton Parker
(530) 752-6556
[email protected]

Contributors: Donna Gutierrez, Thomas Kaiser, Susan Kancir, Rhoda McKnight, Neal Van Alfen, John Weston.

Some Web links cited in this newsletter may be inaccessible to off-campus sites. If you want to view the full stories on the Web from off campus, you will need to provide a username and password the first time you try to view a story: username: clips password: newz

To be added to or deleted from this electronic newsletter list, please write to [email protected].

The University of California does not discriminate in any of its policies, procedures or practices. The university is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.


Student News

Design It, Build It

Aug 21, 2015 Truscott donation allows landscape architecture students to dig in.

Student News - More Student News…
Research News

UC Davis Receives Unique, $1.5 Million Gift from Aggie Couple

Jul 07, 2016 Michael and Joelle Hurlston have pledged $1.5 million to endow a first-of-its-kind chair position.

Research News - More Research News…
Outreach News

Summer Internships

Jul 28, 2015 CA&ES students and Salinas Valley employers find common ground.

Outreach News - More Outreach News…