CA&ES Currents Newsletter  icon newspaper

March 01, 2002

Jun 03, 2014 admin

A Message from Dean Neal Van Alfen: Genomics

Recognizing the profound significance of genomic studies, a CA&ES faculty committee three years ago selected genomics as one of our top academic priorities. Genomics is the study of the structure and function of large groups of genes of plants, animals and microbes. Understanding these processes will allow us to better manage the actions of genes in growth, health, disease and behavior. Toward this goal, CA&ES has united with many scientists elsewhere on campus, including the Genome Center, to position UC Davis as an international leader in functional and comparative genomics. Our college is building on historic strengths and allocating new resources as we undertake this very ambitious initiative. Reflecting our tradition in the plant sciences, we have filled several new faculty positions in plant genomics and more are approved for recruitment. To expand our animal biology spectrum, we have released three new positions recently and hired a Cooperative Extension specialist in animal genomics. We also were able to expand physically with the new High Throughput Genomics facility and the soon-to-be-completed Plant Transformation facility. The planned Seed Biotechnology Center will serve as a focus for the efforts at UC Davis to use the knowledge gained from genomics to improve seed quality and value. Genomics will transform the agricultural and environmental sciences just as quantum physics altered the physical sciences in the early 20th century. Biotechnology has already revolutionized the pharmaceutical industry, and now offers our best hope for developing environmentally friendly food sources to keep pace with the world’s growing population. CA&ES is in a unique position to gather and analyze data and provide broad interpretations to help us better understand the genetic organization of life on earth. We will advance this tradition deep into the 21st century and into the field of genomics

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

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Emanuel Epstein and Kenneth Tanji Honored
The California Chapter of the American Society of Agronomy recently honored Emanuel Epstein and Kenneth Tanji, professors emeriti from the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, for their outstanding contributions to California agriculture. Epstein and Tanji received the awards Feb. 6 at the annual Plant and Soil Conference. Epstein’s research has contributed to the better understanding of plant nutrition and salt tolerance in California. Tanji is an internationally recognized soil and water chemist in irrigation and drainage.

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Mary Louise Flint Receives Lifetime Award
Mary Louise Flint, director of Integrated Pest Management education and publicity programs, received an award for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement in the field of integrated pest management. The Association of Applied Insect Ecologists (AAIE) presented Flint the award Feb. 4 at their annual meeting in Berkeley.

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Dean MacCannell Speaks at Utah Symposium
Professor Dean MacCannell, chair of the Landscape Architecture Program, will deliver the keynote presentation at the March 7 symposium Passion for Place: Art and Tourism in a Multicentered Society. The Brigham Young University Museum of Art in Provo, Utah, is sponsoring this symposium addressing dislocations in the visual arts. The event coincides with the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s traveling exhibition, The Lure of the West, on display through May 19 in Provo.

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John Miles and the Ergonomics of Field Picking
Professor John Miles, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, will speak at the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety seminar on March 1. The title of his presentation is “Approaches to Improving the Ergonomics of Agricultural Stoop-labor Jobs.” The seminar is held from 12:10 to 1 p.m. in the Foster Room in Meyer Hall. Miles' research focuses on the design of hardware and systems to improve the ergonomics related to work in agriculture and forestry.

Kathy Ponce
Assistant Manager
Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety
[email protected]
(530) 752-4050

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Richard Rominger to Lead Four-Campus Partnership
Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture and CA&ES alumnus Richard E. Rominger will spearhead a four-campus partnership to serve the needs of California's agriculture industry. Starting Feb. 1, Rominger has been working with UC Davis, UC Riverside, Cal Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo and California State University, Fresno, to address agricultural production issues in the state. Rominger served as California's secretary of agriculture during Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr.'s administration. From 1993 to 2001, he served as the deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He received a bachelor of science degree in plant science summa cum laude from CA&ES

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Ogawa Endowment Sweetens Fruit and Nut Research
The Joseph M. Ogawa Teaching and Research Endowment recently awarded four researchers $1,000 each to study fruit and nut production problems. Recipients included graduate students Tiesen Cao, Ryann Muir, and Matthew Escobar in the pomology department, and Hillary Mehl in the plant pathology department. The committee also awarded $500 to Cooperative Extension advisor Deborah Giraud. The Ogawa endowment typically awards $3,000 in funds each year. The market value of the endowment is about $79,000. Professor Jerry Uyemoto (USDA-ARS) of the plant pathology department, associate professor James Adaskaveg of UC Riverside's plant pathology department and stakeholders Al Gotelli of Stockton and Pete Yamamoto of Turlock served on the endowment committee that selected the award winners. The endowment honors the late professor Joe Ogawa, a UC Davis researcher for 37 years who died in 1996. Ogawa, an internationally known expert on plant diseases, took a deep interest in his students and guided 31 students through their M.S. and Ph.D. degree programs

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LAWR Holds Retreat
On April 10 the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources will hold an in-house retreat in Sacramento at the Viscaya, a midtown location for special events. Participants will include LAWR faculty, specialists and a select group of farm advisers. The retreat’s purpose is to share ideas and develop collaborative efforts to spotlight LAWR’s multidisciplinary environmental resources. Discussions will focus on nitrogen cycling in the environment and development of total maximum daily loads (TMDLs). These water quality issues reverberate throughout the entire environment. The Dean's Office, DANR regional director Bill Frost, and LAWR are supporting the retreat.

Sandra L. Filby
Department Manager
Department of Land, Air and Water Resources
[email protected]
(530) 752-2502

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Seeking Executive Committee Nominations
The Division of Agricultural Sciences is seeking representatives for the Academic Senate and Academic Federation. Elected members serve a three-year term. For copies of the election notice and nomination forms, contact Sharon Berg. Mail nominations to Hoy Carman, c/o CA&ES Dean's Office. Nominations are due March 22.

Sharon A. Berg
Administrative Specialist
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
[email protected]
(530) 752-3483

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Voice Your Viewpoint – Op-eds
Faculty members often like to share their knowledge on a broad range of public issues in the form of opinion articles. Newspapers and magazines routinely seek short, well-argued, highly readable op-eds written by individuals with academic credentials. Now there's help from the Dean's Office in polishing and publishing those op-eds. Clifton Parker, Dean's Office senior writer, works with op-ed authors to sharpen arguments, edit to an appropriate length and identify possible publications. Here are a few tips -- "take a stand, keep it short, use everyday language and think about structure." Contact Parker for editing assistance and a two-page tip sheet on writing op-eds

Clifton Parker
Senior Writer
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
[email protected]
(530) 752-2120

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Ducks and Rice Farmers Living Happily Together
While waterfowl and rice farmers are long-time rivals for wetlands, researchers say that what's good for ducks may also yield better rice farming. Researchers recently collected the first field data on the effect of waterfowl in flooded rice fields. The major findings were that the waterfowl had decreased weed growth by 50 percent and increased straw decomposition by 30 percent. The researchers conclude that wildlife and rice production can coexist to the mutual benefit of each other. Professors Chris van Kessel of the Department of Agronomy and Range Science, William Horwath of the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources and John Eadie of the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology were faculty researchers on the project.

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California's Marine Life Subject of New Book
The California Department of Fish and Game recently released “California's Living Marine Resources: A Status Report,” a 592-page reference guide to California’s coastal marine life. Known as "The Blue Book," this report explores the state's commercial and recreational fisheries and updates the reader on key marine life issues. Fisheries specialist Christopher Dewees, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology, served as one of four editors on the book. Other CA&ES faculty involved included professors Daniel Anderson, Joe Cech and Peter Moyle of the wildlife, fish and conservation biology department; professor Gary Cherr of the Bodega Marine Laboratory; Fred Conte, a Cooperative Extension aquaculture specialist in the animal science department; and Pete Klimley, an adjunct researcher in the wildlife, fish and conservation biology department. With contributions from 125 of the nation’s leading marine scientists, the state fish and game department published the report in collaboration with UC’s Sea Grant Extension Program.

Read itonline
Order ithere

Chris M. Dewees
Cooperative Extension Specialist
Deptartment of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology
[email protected]
(530) 752-1497

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CA&ES at Picnic Day
On April 20, UC Davis will hold its annual Picnic Day. This year’s Picnic Day will include educational, informational, experiential, fun-filled, exciting and eclectic activities, from parades and bands to a hospitality booth staffed by Dean Neal Van Alfen and members of the Dean’s Office. Stop by the college’s hospitality canopy at the corner of North Quad and West Quad, just west of Freeborn Hall. Pick up information on Picnic Day departmental displays and open house activities. Our staff and students are there to say hello and answer questions you may have about the college, its programs or majors. It’s the perfect opportunity to reconnect with faculty, alumni and friends of the college.

Sharon E. Lynch
Assistant Director for Relations
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
[email protected]
(530) 752-1602

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Fields of Play
On March 1-2, high school students will gather to participate in Future Farmers of America and 4-H judging competitions during the annual Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Field Day. Opening ceremonies for the CA&ES-sponsored event begin at 2 p.m. followed by afternoon sessions in which students match skills in the areas of parliamentary procedures and job interviews. Judging competitions begin Saturday at 7:30 a.m. in areas such as livestock, dairy, ornamental horticulture and computer applications. The winning students will receive trophies and ribbons during a 4 p.m. awards ceremony in Freeborn Hall.

Richard R. Engel
Director of Outreach
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
[email protected]
(530) 754-6249

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Walk this Way to Arboretum Events
On March 3, the UC Davis Arboretum will hold a tour titled “Meet the Plants Behind the Grocery Aisles.” Participants will be invited to meet the plants behind the products on grocery aisles. Docent Christy Dewees will lead the 2 p.m. tour, which will leave from arboretum headquarters on LaRue Road on the UC Davis campus. Free parking is available across the street from the headquarters building. On March 10, a tour of the “Great Garden Perennials” will start at 2 p.m. at the gazebo, off Garrod Drive at the west end of the arboretum. There is no charge for the tour and parking is free on weekends. On March 12, artist Daisy Mah will speak on the Land Park Rock Garden renovations. The talk, sponsored by the Friends of the Davis Arboretum, will take place at 7 p.m. in the Club Room at the Veterans Memorial Center, 203 E.14th St., Davis. There is no charge for the program. On March 13, join Superintendent Warren Roberts for a lunchtime stroll in the arboretum. Enjoy early spring in the garden, learn about the arboretum's collections and get a little exercise. Meet at noon at the gazebo, off Garrod Drive on the UC Davis campus.

VisitFoods for Health online

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Eating Wise Workshop
A “Foods for Health” seminar will be held March 26 at the Sierra Health Foundation Conference Facilities in Sacramento. This in-house workshop from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. provides an opportunity to discuss the biological, technological and socioeconomic aspects of foods. Participants from the UC Davis, USDA, WHNRC and DANR communities will talk about current research and outreach activities. The workshop complements the ongoing CA&ES-sponsored seminars on “Foods for Health”

VisitFoods for Health website

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Get the Lowdown on California’s Water Issues
The Water Education Foundation’s 19th Annual Executive Briefing, “Milestones and Challenges,” will be held March 14 at the Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza in Sacramento. Top state and federal policy-makers and leaders from the various water stakeholder communities will discuss a host of important and timely topics such as how California’s water management will affect the Salton Sea, an update on CALFED, the debate on arsenic in drinking water and the latest on groundwater management regulations. Registration is $175 for major contributors to the foundation, $200 for non-contributors.

VisitWater Education Foundation online

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RFP for Mushroom Nutrition Research
The Mushroom Council seeks proposals from researchers and institutions interested in the epidemiological data on mushrooms and disease risk. Letters of interest should not exceed three typewritten pages. A total of $90,000 will be awarded in grants by April 1. A final report is due December 31.

The Mushroom Council
[email protected]
(925) 556-5970

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RFP for Uruguayan Agricultural Research
The National Institute for Agricultural Research in Montevideo is offering a grant to a researcher or lecturer interested in conducting training workshops with Uruguayan colleagues on agricultural issues. Their particular interest is irrigation’s relationship to grain crops and biotechnology and plant breeding. Fluent Spanish is required. The grant length is three months.

For more information,click here

Carol Robles
Senior Program Officer
Western Hemisphere Council for International Exchange of Scholars
[email protected]
(202) 686-6238

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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.


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