CA&ES Currents Newsletter  icon newspaper

January 26, 2012

May 20, 2014 admin


Message from the Dean








A Message from Dean Neal Van Alfen: Fulfilling the Mission of a Public University during an Era of Reduced Public Funding

The challenges that our university has been facing during the past few years have stimulated discussion about the role of a public university. The inability of the state to fund higher education to the extent it has in the past has evoked fundamental questions regarding the importance of the various functions of the university within the broad community that we serve.

The land-grant university as envisioned by its early advocates was a bold concept for a university. It was to serve its community through the education of the common person, and thereby provide avenues of upward mobility. Later responsibilities included a research mission to foster economic prosperity (Agricultural Experiment Station) and a formal system for community outreach and engagement (Cooperative Extension).

Much of the discussion regarding adaptation of the university to reduced public support has focused on our educational mission, but we must also find ways to continue to meet our research and outreach missions with reduced public funding.

Given the importance of the Agricultural Experiment Station (AES), my office has been leading a series of discussions during the past 18 months regarding how we can focus our AES resources. We want to make the case that these research resources are as important to the communities we serve, if not more so, than they are to UC Davis. In the next few months we will be developing a communications strategy for the Agricultural Experiment Station that will demonstrate how valuable the AES has been for the economic development of California, and how important the AES is in ensuring that our environment and communities remain healthy.

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
[email protected] 


American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellows

Three CA&ES professors are among the 539 new fellows elected this year to the American Association for the Advancement of Science for their efforts to advance science or its applications. They are:

  • Louise Jackson, a professor and Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources
  • David Mackill, an associate geneticist in the Department of Plant Sciences
  • Chancellor Emeritus Larry Vanderhoef, who is now a professor emeritus in the CA&ES Department of Plant Sciences and the Department of Plant Biology in the College of Biological Sciences.

Three additional UC Davis faculty from other colleges were also named AAAS fellows this year, including Alan Balch, a distinguished professor in the Department of Chemistry, professor Peter Beal, also of the Department of Chemistry, and Maureen Stanton, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and a professor in the Department of Evolution and Ecology.

Founded in 1848, the AAAS is the world's largest general scientific society. All six new AAAS fellows from UC Davis will be recognized during a forum at the annual meeting of the AAAS in Vancouver, British Columbia, in February. 


Louise Jackson: AAAS Fellow


Louise Jackson, a professor and Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, was named an AAAS fellow in the section on Agriculture, Food, and Renewable Resources. Jackson studies plant-soil relationships and the effects of changes in vegetation, land use, and climate on environmental quality. She works with farmers and ranchers to improve the sustainability of California ecosystems. Her focus is on the use and conservation of biodiversity in agricultural landscapes for nutrient cycling, soil quality, organic agriculture, grassland restoration, and climate change adaptation.

Louise Jackson
(530) 754-9116
[email protected]

David Mackill: AAAS Fellow


David Mackill, an associate geneticist in the Department of Plant Sciences, was named an AAAS fellow in the section on Agriculture, Food, and Renewable Resources. Mackill is an international expert on rice genetics and breeding. He has conducted research on the genetics of disease resistance and abiotic stress tolerance with the aim of developing more resistant rice varieties. He and colleagues identified and transferred a gene conferring tolerance to submergence into new, high-yielding rice varieties. This scientific advancement has critical significance for areas such as southern Asia where monsoonal rains routinely cause destructive floods.

David Mackill
(530) 752-4940
[email protected]

Larry N. Vanderhoef: AAAS Fellow


Chancellor Emeritus Larry N. Vanderhoef, who returned to teaching and research after serving 15 years as chancellor of UC Davis and 10 years as executive vice chancellor and provost, was named an AAAS fellow in the section on Biological Sciences. Plant biologist Vanderhoef is now a professor emeritus in both CA&ES and the College of Biological Sciences, where his interests are in plant growth and development. Vanderhoef is teaching a biology course for non-science majors, which he has taught at UC Davis and at National Taiwan University, and is continuing his work on the national and international level promoting interactions in the Middle East and Far East.

Larry Vanderhoef
[email protected]

Walter Leal: Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society


Chemical ecologist Walter Leal, a professor in the Department of Entomology, is a newly elected fellow of the Royal Entomological Society. The society plays a national and international role in disseminating information about insects and improving communication among entomologists. Fellows are nominated and selected for their significant contributions to insect science.

A pioneer in the field of insect communication, Leal focuses his research on how insects detect smells, communicate with their species, detect host and non-host plants, and detect prey.

Walter Leal
(530) 752-7755
[email protected]



Faculty Awards and Fellowships Link on CA&ES Homepage: Please Review

Our college has a new “Awards and Fellowships” link on the CA&ES homepage — — where faculty awards and honors such as memberships in national and international academies are listed. If there are information gaps in this new list, please let us know. We request that faculty help us keep the list accurate and up-to-date by sending additions or corrections to CA&ES communications director Ann Filmer.

Ann Filmer
CA&ES Dean’s Office
(530) 754-6788
[email protected] 

Call for Nominations: Pedro Ilic Awards

Nominations are open until January 31 for the 2012 Pedro Ilic Awards, which honor an outstanding farmer and an agricultural educator who are dedicated to small-scale farming. The awards are named for Fresno County farm advisor Pedro Ilic, whose untimely death in 1994 prompted the UC Small Farm Program to honor those who carry out his legacy of personal commitment to small-scale farming. Ilic was one of the original advisors when the UC Small Farm Program was established in 1979.

The awards will be presented at the California Small Farm Conference, March 4-6 in Valencia. The nomination form is available online at

Shermain Hardesty
UC Small Farm Program
(530) 752-0467
[email protected]

Animal Science Winter Seminar Series

The Department of Animal Science hosts a series of noon seminars to meet Mondays at 12:10 p.m. in 2154 Meyer Hall through March 19. Dates and topics for seminars include:

  • January 30: TBA   
  • February 6: Effect of Amino Acid Supply in Reduced CP Diets on the Performance of Lactating Sows
  • February 13: Developmental Syndromes in Chicken: Mapping and Candidate Gene studies
  • February 20: Holiday   
  • February 27: Animal Health and Welfare Planning in Dairy Cattle
  • March 5: Shaping the Future of California’s Cattle Industry
  • March 12: Effect of Introduced Trout on Alpine Lake Benthic Invertebrate Communities
  • March 19: The Use of Astroturf® as a Dustbathing Substrate for Laying Hens

Elizabeth Maga
Department of Animal Science
(530) 752-5930
[email protected] 

Entomology Winter Seminar Series

The Department of Entomology hosts a series of noon seminars to meet Wednesdays from 12:10 to 1 p.m. in 122 Briggs Hall through March 21. Dates and topics for seminars include:

  • January 25: Educating the Urban Public about Insect Pests and their Management
  • February 1: Pollen as a Resource for Pollinators: What Governs Quality?
  • February 8: Multimodal Communication in Jumping Spiders
  • February 15: Aedes japonicas: Tracking an Invasive Mosquito We Knew Very Little About
  • February 22: Tri-Trophic Plant-Insect Interactions in Solanaceous Plants
  • March 7: A Virus at the Helm: Infection with Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus Modifies Thrips Feeding Behavior
  • March 14: Ant-Microbe Interaction and Evolution
  • March 21: Pheromone Mating Disruption Systems for Management of Insects in Perennial Crops—New Successes with Old Problems

Louie Yang
Department of Entomology
(530) 754-3261
[email protected]

Plant Pathology Graduate Seminar Series

The Department of Plant Pathology hosts a series of graduate seminars to meet Mondays from 9–9:50 a.m. in 115 Hutchison Hall through March 19. Dates and topics for seminars include:

  • January 30: Factors Affecting Virulence to Pine in Fusarium circinatum
  • February 6: Host Recognition by Parasitic Plants
  • February 13: TBA        
  • February 20: Holiday   
  • February 27: Interactions between Bacteria and Fungi and the Plants on Which They Live
  • March 5: TBA
  • March 12: Factors Contributing to Abscisic Acid-mediated Predisposition to Disease Caused by Phytophthora capsici
  • March 19: TBA

Frances Gamez
Department of Plant Pathology
(530) 754-9506
[email protected]  

Arboretum Events

For more information, visit the arboretum website:

  • Folk Music Jam Session
    Fridays, February 3 and 17, noon to 1 p.m., Wyatt Deck.
    The arboretum's folk music jams are held outside on the Wyatt Deck next to the redwood grove. Campus and community folk musicians are invited to play together informally during this acoustic jam session. Listeners and musicians of all skill levels welcome.
  • Slide Show and Tour: Birds of Davis
    Saturday, February 4, 11 a.m., Arboretum Headquarters.
    This special event, co-sponsored by the Davis Senior Center, features a slide show lecture on birds of Davis, followed by a bird watching tour in the arboretum.
  • Walk With Warren
    Wednesday, February 8, Noon, Gazebo.
    Explore the gardens around Shields Grove with Warren Roberts, arboretum superintendent emeritus and storyteller extraordinaire.



Immunity Symposium Featuring 2011 Nobel Laureates: January 25, 2012

Two winners of the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine will join Professor Pamela Ronald of the Department of Plant Pathology and Luke O’Neill, a professor of biochemistry and immunology from Trinity College, Dublin, on Wednesday, January 25, for a symposium on the links between how rice plants, flies, and people fight off infections.

The symposium, “Evolution of Common Molecular Pathways Underlying Innate Immunity,” will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. in the UC Davis Conference Center. Registration is free, but preregistration is required at

Featured speakers will include Jules Hoffmann of the University of Strasbourg, France, and Bruce Beutler of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, who shared the 2011 Nobel Prize for their groundbreaking discoveries on how the immune system is triggered to fight invaders. (The third recipient, Ralph Steinmann of Rockefeller University, died shortly before the prize was announced.) “Their work has opened up new avenues for the development of prevention and therapy against infections, cancer, and inflammatory diseases,” wrote the Nobel committee, in announcing the prize.

The symposium is sponsored by the Murray B. Gardner Research Seminar Fund and the UC Davis Center for Comparative Medicine.

Anita Moore
Center for Comparative Medicine
(530) 752-1245
[email protected]

California Ag Summit: January 27, 2012

Approximately 300 growers, ranchers, and other individuals involved in the food and agriculture field are expected to participate in the January 27 California Ag Summit, to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Freeborn Hall. The summit is being coordinated by a coalition of agricultural organizations and businesses.

The event is designed to update producers, business and community leaders, and educators on global food trends, energy and social media issues, with the goal of preserving and enhancing the vitality of the California agricultural industry. Speakers from UC Davis will include agricultural economists Daniel Sumner, director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center, and Professor Emeritus Alex McCalla of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. They will speak during the 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. session, focused on global food trends.

Keynote speaker will be John Hofmeister, founder and chief executive of Citizens for Affordable Energy. Hofmeister is one of the world's leading experts on energy and climate. Also speaking will be representatives of Foster Farms, Lundberg Farms, IBM, Industrial College of the Armed Forces, and PG&E.

The summit schedule and registration are available online at

Net proceeds from the event will be donated to help support designated nonprofit agricultural education and agricultural leadership programs in California.

Judy Culbertson
California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom
(916) 561-5625
[email protected] 

Chocolate: February 4, 2012

On Saturday, February 4, the Robert Mondavi Institute sponsors an event on chocolate. The day begins at the Robert Mondavi Institute Sensory Building with a limited-seating chocolate demonstration class from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for fans of premium chocolate. Learn from chocolatier of the year 2011–2012, maître chocolatier chef Lionel Clement of Nuubia Chocolate. Lunch is included for class attendees. The morning session is currently sold out, but there is waitlist registration at

The afternoon session, from 1:30–5:30 p.m., will feature experts discussing the history, sustainability and health benefits of chocolate, including talks by Lou Grivetti, Carl Keen, Alexandra Sanders, and Rodney Snyder. The talks will be followed by a guided chocolate and wine tasting.

The morning demonstration class costs $50, or $40 for friends of the RMI. The afternoon session costs $55 for the public and members of industry, $45 for UC Davis affiliates and Friends of the RMI, and $20 for UC Davis students.

For more information, visit

Kim Bannister
Robert Mondavi Institute
(530) 752-5171
[email protected] 


Build a Bird, Bat, or Bee Box: February 5, 2012

The arboretum hosts a free workshop from 1–5 p.m. on February 5 to build homes for wild animals including birds, owls, bats, and bees. The homes will subsequently be installed around campus. Bring a hammer and something to kneel on, as participants will work on the ground.

The workshop will meet at the Arboretum Gazebo, or in case of rain, 146 Environmental Horticulture. Participants can reserve a project by e-mailing name and preferred project to [email protected]. All ages welcome—adults will need to supervise their children. For more information, visit

Diane Cary
UC Davis Arboretum
(530) 752-7822
[email protected] 

Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety Seminar: February 6, 2012

Shirley Gee, a senior research associate for the Bruce Hammock Lab in the Department of Entomology, will present “Advances in Immunoassays for Pesticide Detection” on February 6 from 4–5 p.m. at the Center for Health and the Environment, just off campus on Old Davis Road. The talk is part of the monthly seminar series for the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety.

Sandra Freeland
Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety
(530) 752-5253 

Seed Central Events: February 9, 2012

Seed Central, the seed industry cluster surrounding UC Davis, hosts a free afternoon of technical presentations from noon to 5 p.m. on Thursday, February 9, followed by a networking event bringing together seed professionals, UC Davis faculty, scientists and students, as well as anyone interested in Seed Central and the economic development of the region.

The afternoon sessions will be held at the Bowley Plant Sciences Center, and the evening networking event will meet at the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center.

For more information, visit To register, visit

Kathleen Bess
Department of Plant Sciences
(530) 754-2162
[email protected] 


Critically Endangered Species Conservation Symposium: February 10, 2012

The John Muir Institute of the Environment will host a free symposium on saving critically endangered species, to be held February 10 at the UC Davis Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center. The Conservation of Extremely Small Populations Symposium will include experts from multiple fields focusing on the special circumstances surrounding the conservation of species on the brink of extinction. Speaker topics include: reintroductions and translocations, law and policy, economics, conservation genetics, captive breeding, management, population dynamics, and evolutionary considerations.

Feel free to attend the whole day or come and go as your schedule permits. The symposium is cosponsored by the John Muir Institute of the Environment, the Genomic Variation Lab, and the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Programmatic Initiative.

For more information, visit

Mariah Meek
Department of Animal Science
[email protected] 


Breeding with Molecular Markers: February 14–16, 2012

The UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center will host a short course on Breeding with Molecular Markers to be held February 14–16 at the UC Davis Conference Center. The course is designed for professional plant breeders who want to learn when and how molecular tools can be integrated in their breeding programs. It is also an opportunity for breeders who are already using these tools to expand their knowledge of new strategies and technologies.

To register and learn more, visit

Jeannette Martins
(530) 752-4984
[email protected]


UC Soil Fertility Short Course: February 22, 2012

A UC Soil Fertility Short Course will be held Wednesday, February 22, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center. Sponsored by the UC Vegetable Research and Information Center, the short course will focus on the practical aspects of soil fertility management in an era of escalating fertilizer costs and increasing government regulation of nutrient inputs for environmental water quality protection.

Topics include:

  • getting the maximum value from soil testing
  • interpretation of laboratory soil test results
  • comparing fertilizer sources
  • developing crop nutrient management plans
  • fertilizer management and environmental protection
  • Although the focus will be on nutrient management in annual cropping systems, much of the material presented will be relevant to perennial crops as well. The program is intended for growers, CCAs, PCAs, government agency personnel, and others involved in fertility management planning.

Registration, which includes lunch, refreshments and study materials, is $75 for students and UC personnel. For others, registration is $150 after January 21. More information is available on the VRIC website (

Gale Pérez
UC Vegetable Research and Information Center
(530) 752-1748
[email protected] 

Water 101: February 23–24, 2012

A short course on California water basics and water district board member governance will be held February 23–24 on campus, presented by the Water Education Foundation.

The course is open to anyone interested in learning more about the history of water and the management structure of water in California, as well as the water issues facing the state. The course will be especially beneficial to water resource industry staff, engineering and environmental firm personnel, legislators, legislative staff, advocates, stakeholders, environmentalists, public interest organizations, and water district directors.

Educational sessions will include discussions on:

  • California's natural water environment
  • California's water rights systems
  • Water demand and use
  • Current issues in California water management
  • The legal and institutional management framework

The cost is $150, which includes all educational materials, coffee breaks, lunch on February 23, and a graduation certificate upon completion of the day-and-a-half course. For registration and more information, visit

Water Education Foundation
(916) 444-6240

Groundwater and Watershed Hydrology Seminar: February 28–29, 2012

A two-day short course called “Introduction to Groundwater and Watershed Hydrology: Monitoring, Assessment and Protection” will be offered February 28–29 at the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center.

The short course is for technical staff, consultants, and technical and management personnel in private and public water supply companies, irrigation districts, water districts, local and state agencies, and in resource conservation districts. The course also serves as an excellent introduction to hydrogeology, water resources assessment and monitoring for watershed advisors, educators, lawyers, watershed group participants, and members of environmental and other stakeholder groups and citizens alliances.

The short course is co-sponsored by the UC Cooperative Extension Groundwater Hydrology Program. For registration and additional information, visit

Mary Megarry
Groundwater Resources Association of California
(916) 446-3626
[email protected] 

Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Field Day: March 2–3, 2012


CA&ES will hold its annual Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Field Day on Friday and Saturday, March 2–3. The field day is open to FFA and 4-H high school students from California and surrounding states. Approximately 3,000 high school students come to Davis to compete in various agriculturally based judging contests, ranging from livestock judging to agricultural computer applications.

UC Davis students from a variety of majors coordinate the contests. CA&ES faculty and staff volunteer as advisors. No experience is required to serve as a contest judge.

To volunteer, contact 2012 Field Day coordinator Sarah Warren, at [email protected] or (530) 752-4939.

Korie (Robinson) Stubblefield
CA&ES Dean’s Office
(530) 752-4369
[email protected] 


California Small Farm Conference: March 4–6, 2012

Cultivating the Next Generation, a California Small Farm Conference, will be held March 4–6 in Valencia, California. The California Small Farm Conference is the state's premier gathering of small farmers, agricultural students, farmers market managers and others involved in the small farm industry. The three-day educational conference includes speakers, workshops, and farm tours, as well as numerous networking opportunities.

For more information, visit

California Farm Conference
PO Box 73614
Davis, CA 95617
[email protected]  

Fruit Ripening and Retail Handling Workshop: March 27–28, 2012

The 18th annual Fruit Ripening and Retail Handling Workshop, sponsored by the UC Davis Postharvest Technology Center, will be held March 27–28 at the UC Davis Conference Center. The two-day workshop is organized by Carlos Crisosto, a Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences. The workshop is intended for shippers, fruit handlers (wholesale and retail), quality control personnel, and produce managers who are involved in handling and ripening fruits and fruit-vegetables.

Lectures, group discussions, and hands-on demonstrations form the workshop. Topics include how to increase profits by developing ripening protocols, evaluating arrival condition, proper retail handling strategies to protect fruits and fruit-vegetables, and delivering ready-to-eat quality produce to the consumer.

Registration is $750, which includes two days of lectures and labs, instructional materials, small group discussion, lunches, coffee breaks, and an evening networking reception. For more information, visit

Penny Stockdale
UC Davis Postharvest Technology Center
(530) 752-7672
[email protected] 

Energy Economics Seminar: March 29, 2012

Energy economist C–Y Cynthia Lin, professor of agricultural and resource economics, will speak on “Energy: Economics, Policy and Business Strategy” on Thursday, March 29, from 4–6 p.m. at BrightSource Energy in Oakland, followed by a reception. The talk is co-sponsored by CA&ES. Space is limited. Please RSVP by March 22 to Carrie Cloud, [email protected].

BrightSource Energy is located at 1999 Harrison Street, Suite 2150, in Oakland, California.

Carrie Cloud
CA&ES Dean’s Office
(530) 204-7500
[email protected] 

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Visit CA&ES Currents online at

CA&ES Currents, the faculty/staff newsletter of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of California, Davis, is published the second Thursday of each month.

News deadline is noon Monday preceding Thursday publication. Send news items to editor, [email protected].

Editor: Robin DeRieux
Writing: Robin DeRieux, Neal Van Alfen
Editorial review: Ann Filmer, Thomas Kaiser

To be added to or deleted from this electronic newsletter list, please send an e-mail 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

Helping hands

Apr 16, 2018 Student volunteers serve the community in Monterey County

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…