January 05, 2006
Message from the Dean
In The News
A committee led by Professor Susan Harrison, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, has been charged to develop a new academic/strategic plan for our college. The effectiveness of such planning efforts is directly related to the degree that they reflect the aspirations and collective wisdom of our faculty.
In any planning effort we must consider the environment in which we operate as a college, both internally and externally, and be sure that we meet the expectations that come with the resources that the college has been provided. Professor Harrison’s committee has been given total access to our college’s budget and other information that it feels is important to meet its planning objectives.
To assure its success, the committee must also receive input from the faculty during the planning process. To this end, the minutes of the committee meetings are being made available to the faculty and other members of our college community.
This issue of CA&ES Currents includes a link to the minutes of the first two meetings of this committee, and future issues of Currents will provide links to minutes of the committee meetings. Please feel free to contact the committee regarding any of the issues that it discusses.
As always, I value your feedback. If you have questions or comments, please e-mail me.
Neal K. Van Alfen
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Members of the Academic and Strategic Planning Committee (ASPC):
Susan Harrison, chair, Environmental Science and Policy
Charles Bamforth, Food Science and Technology
Ted Bradshaw, Human and Community Development
Pat Conners, Environmental Science and Policy
Douglas Cook, Plant Pathology
Kathryn Dewey, Nutrition
John Eadie, Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology
Thomas Harter, Land, Air and Water Resources
Bruce Hartsough, Biological and Agricultural Engineering
Elizabeth Mitcham, Plant Sciences
Anita Oberbauer, Animal Science
Vito Polito, Plant Sciences
Daniel Sumner, Agricultural and Resource Economics
Gang Sun, Textiles and Clothing
Ron Tjeerdema, Environmental Toxicology
Diane Ullman, Entomology
Minutes for the first two ASPC meetings can be found at:
Mark Van Horn, director of the Student Farm, recently received the International Agricultural Development Appreciation Award from students in that major. The award honors individuals who contribute both to students' individual achievement and to the development of excellence in international agricultural development education.
Mark Van Horn
Bob Washino, emeritus professor of entomology, has received the international Harry Hoogstraal Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Medical Entomology. Washino, a global authority on the ecology of mosquitoes and mosquito control agents, received the prestigious medal from the American Committee of Medical Entomology in December.
Washino is considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on the spread and control of mosquito-borne diseases. Thomas Scott, professor and director of the UC Davis Mosquito Research Laboratory, said that “Bob’s work on mosquito blood feeding patterns is among the best ever done on that subject.” Washino has been retired for 13 years, but was called back to service in November to chair the Department of Entomology for a year.
Studies by geologist Jeff Mount and fisheries biologist Peter Moyle were the basis of a lengthy, front-page feature in the San Francisco Chronicle on the future of the Delta. “The recent population collapse of native fish in the delta . . . has prompted a number of scientists to call for a radical re-engineering of the region as the best way to revive its flagging ecosystems,” according to the article.
Peter Moyle, a professor in wildlife, fish and conservation biology, noted that, “The delta isn’t going to stay the way it is. We can either let the levees collapse randomly or be proactive about it. If it was done the right way, you could create some of the tidal and flow conditions that would increase biological productivity.”
The article notes that “the delta and the San Francisco Bay constitute the West Coast’s most significant estuary, and . . . the delta is in ecological freefall.”
The San Francisco Chronicle
Up to 1 million animals are killed on U.S. roads every day and 275,000 animal-related crashes occur each year in the U.S. Many scientists, wildlife officials, and agencies are concerned with protection of both people and wildlife. A new discipline called “road ecology” addresses issues that minimize road impacts on animals
Alison Berry, a plant sciences professor, is director of the UC Davis Road Ecology Center. She notes that, “The first step is understanding where the wildlife passages and corridors are. Then you can go on to [develop] structural barriers, various kinds of underpasses or culverts, and wildlife crossing structures.”
The Christian Science Monitor
Commenting on the Japanese government’s lifting of a ban on U.S. beef, Dan Sumner, an agricultural and resource economics professor with the Agricultural Issues Center, says, “It may take them a little while to get that market back, but I expect it to come back fairly rapidly.”
The Stockton Record
Brant Allen, a researcher in environmental science and policy and with the UC Davis Taimen Conservation Project, says that the fresh-water taimen are “really magnificent fish” that can be thought of as “the world’s largest trout.” Allen is working with students at Willett Elementary School in Davis to track and save this endangered fish, which is found in the Uur River in Mongolia.
The Davis Enterprise
The California attorney general and several environmental groups are working to warn consumers of the presence of acrylamide, a known carcinogen, in French fries and potato chips. Some food scientists are more pragmatic and suggest that few ill effects result from eating the chemical, and that there is not enough data to justify a consumer warning.
Carl Winter, director of the FoodSafe Program, notes, “It’s the levels of exposure that determine the risks. If we eat foods in moderation, we can have very healthy diets.”
The Los Angeles Times
The Bohart Museum of Entomology, with its 7 million specimens, was featured recently in The Sacramento Bee. The museum has one of the largest collections of arthropods in North America. Museum director Lynn Kimsey, an entomologist, was featured in the article, and discussed the roles of the museum, including research, teaching, and educational outreach. School groups and the public can tour the museum by appointment.
The Ergonomics Report Online published a flattering article, “A Toast to Ergonomics!: Relieving the Pain of Wine Production,” on the successes of the UC Davis agricultural ergonomics program in the wine industry. Featured in the article is the work of Fadi Fathallah, Andrew Kato, John Miles, and Jim Meyers.
Grape growing and winemaking pose many ergonomic stresses and injuries to workers. The Agricultural Ergonomics Research Center, housed in biological and agricultural engineering, has the mission of understanding and applying ergonomic approaches to development and evaluation of equipment designs and work practices that prevent musculoskeletal disorders in agricultural work.
The report can be viewed online or copies can be requested from the researchers listed.
The Ergonomics Report Online
The Joseph M. Ogawa Research and Teaching Endowment Committee in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is accepting proposals from undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers for research projects addressing production problems of temperate zone tree fruit and nut crops.
In addition, proposals for educational programs, i.e. course development, extension activities, and field short courses benefiting UC students, the fields of plant pathology and pomology, and the California fruit and nut industries are requested. Proposals may be submitted by students, staff, or faculty.
Awards must be expended in support of undergraduates, graduate students, postgraduate researchers, and faculty/staff within the UC system. Up to four $1,000 awards are available in 2006. Applications should include a letter of application, a research proposal (less than 1,500 words), and a letter of support from a UC faculty member or department chair. The application deadline is February 15, 2006. Please address applications to The Ogawa Endowment Committee, c/o Donna Gutierrez, Dean’s Office, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of California, Davis, CA 95616-8571.
A nanoscience steering committee was formed on campus several months ago to plan and implement procedures to increase our effectiveness in competing for large-scale grants and for making better use of our campus research resources. The steering committee needs to gather information regarding campus research activities and existing facilities and expertise that could favorably impact our collective nanoscience efforts.
A survey has been developed to learn about research efforts on campus that are related to nanotechnology. The information from the survey will be used to help build a stronger research presence for UC Davis in nanotechnology. Relevant faculty and researchers are invited to complete the survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=135811189824.
Vice Chancellor for Research
Bill Bennett, research scientist at the Bodega Marine Laboratory, will present a talk next month on the status of threatened Delta smelt fish and suggestions for improved management. His talk, "Is Delta Smelt a Canary?," will be Wednesday, January 11, noon to 1 p.m., in Hart Hall, Room 3201.
Bennett has worked with state and federal agencies on the ecology of fishes in the San Francisco Estuary and near-shore marine environment for more than a decade, and is a leading authority on the ecology of the Delta smelt. The presentation is sponsored by the John Muir Institute of the Environment.
Bodega Marine Laboratory
Join Arboretum Superintendent Warren Roberts for a lunchtime stroll in the arboretum on Wednesday, January 11. Enjoy the brisk winter weather, learn about the arboretum’s collections, and get a little exercise. Meet at noon at the gazebo, off Garrod Drive on campus.
UC Davis Arboretum
Julia Faucett, professor of community health systems at the University of California, San Francisco, will speak on “Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Injury in Agricultural Populations.” The seminar will be held Monday, January 9, 4 to 5 p.m. in Hart Hall, Room 3201.
The seminar is sponsored by the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety, the Masters of Public Health Program, the Small Farm Center, and the Center for Environmental Health Sciences.
Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety
The promises and pitfalls of free trade for California agriculture will be the focus of a conference examining the impact of the 12-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The conference, sponsored by the Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics, will be held at the Sacramento Hilton on January 13 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Keynote speakers will be Jason Hafemeister of the U.S. Trade Representative's Office, speaking on what agriculture can expect to develop from the World Trade Organization's 2001 Fourth Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, and Sacramento Bee political columnist Dan Walters, discussing California in the 21st Century.
Panelists include faculty members from UC Davis and UC Berkeley. Speakers from UC Davis will be Philip Martin, Robert Feenstra, Roberta Cook, Colin Carter, and Edward Taylor. A complete conference agenda is available online at http://giannini.ucop.edu/NAFTA_Agenda.htm.
Agricultural and Resource Economics
Franklin Orr Jr., director of the Global Climate and Energy Project at Stanford University, will speak on "Energy, Carbon Dioxide, and Global Change: Technology Research for a Greenhouse World" on Friday, January 13. His talk will begin at 3 p.m. in Room MU II, Memorial Union.
Orr is the Keleen and Carlton Beal Professor of Petroleum Engineering at Stanford University, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. His research addresses how oil and natural gas can be recovered from rocks, and the potential for storing carbon dioxide underground. The Global Climate Change and Energy Project conducts fundamental research on developing energy systems while reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
Margarita Camarena, senior artist in the CA&ES Dean’s Office, will present “…More Than a Thousand Words” as part of the CA&ES Communications Series on Wednesday, February 1, 2006, 10 to 11 a.m., in Mrak Hall, Room 203.
This workshop will cover the use of photographs for print publications and the Web. Topics include print vs. digital photos, composition, cropping, scanning, photo credits, authorizations, and cataloging. There is no cost for CA&ES personnel to attend, but pre-registration is requested.
Rhoda McKnight, director of communications for the CA&ES Dean’s Office, will present “Writing Right!” as part of the CA&ES Communications Series on Wednesday, January 18, 2006, 10 to 11 a.m., in Mrak Hall, Room 203.
If you write for newsletters, brochures, Web sites, or other college publications, this session should help you. The course will cover campus editorial guidelines, other campus resources, and suggested stylebooks and Web sites that help answer those obscure writing questions we all face from time to time. There is no cost for CA&ES personnel to attend, but pre-registration is requested.
The Plant Genomics Program (http://indica.ucdavis.edu/PGP/) is holding a symposium in honor of the late professor Charlie Rick on March 15–16, 2006, titled "Genomics for Agriculture." The keynote speaker is Christopher Somerville, professor at Carnegie Institution of Washington and the Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University.
The symposium is free for all UC Davis attendees, but registration ensures a seat. Registration also counts as your lunch ticket on March 16. Program and registration information are at: http://indica.ucdavis.edu/PGP/index.php?nav=events&link=rick.
Plant Genomics Program
The Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science is sponsoring an international conference, Terroir 2006, in March. The conference is for researchers, grape growers, and winemakers who have an interest in terroir, the influence of the natural environment on the growing of grapes and the production of wine.
The conference includes presentations from internationally recognized scholars and producers, and pre- and post-conference field trips. For a full program schedule, visit the Terroir page, http://terroir.ucdavis.edu/index.html, at the RMI Web site.
CA&ES Dean’s Office