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March 20, 2014

Mar 18, 2014 admin

A Message from Dean Helene Dillard: Hit the Ground Running

As many of you know, I have made it a priority to meet with faculty, staff, students, and stakeholders during these first few weeks as dean. I have had some very informative meetings with department chairs and directors of the centers and institutes, and I can’t begin to express how impressed I am with the research, teaching, and extension efforts that happen in our college every day! Your dedication and devotion are what make this college strong.

As I toured our college facilities, I observed some state-of-the-art laboratories, offices, classrooms, and field facilities, as well as some that need updating and renovation. All of these needs continue to be documented and presented to planners on campus.

Most recently, Associate Dean Jan Hopmans, Assistant Dean Tom Kaiser, Professor Leah Hibel, and Professor Aaron Smith were appointed to the UC Davis Laboratory and Office Advisory Committee. This committee will assess the current capacity and future needs for laboratories and offices necessary in support of faculty who will be hired to serve the growth associated with the 2020 Initiative. My hope is that the needs identified by this committee and the resulting actions taken by the university will result in some updates and renovations that are needed for our college.

My meetings with stakeholders have also been quite fascinating! Many of these individuals are UC Davis alums, and they are keenly aware of the value of the education they received here. All of them have a “favorite” faculty member in our college, thanks to the outstanding teaching you provide. A few of the stakeholders have offered advice to me on ways our research in agricultural, environmental, and human sciences can help their businesses and government agencies. I will be looking for ways to engage these thoughtful individuals with department chairs, faculty, staff, and students so that we can continue to address needs in California and the world.

The college is quite large, and I know I have only met a fraction of you. I plan to continue meeting faculty, staff, and students, so please feel free to call and schedule some time on my calendar.

Helene R. Dillard
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences





caro.jpgTim Caro: Carnivore Research Findings

Professor Tim Caro of the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology co-authored a study on carnivorous mammals that are themselves in danger of being eaten, and the research findings are making online media bite. Caro and Paul Haverkamp, a geographer who recently completed his Ph.D. at UC Davis, along with lead author Theodore Stankowich of California State University, Long Beach, found that nocturnal carnivores, such as skunks, tend to use noxious sprays to defend themselves, whereas daytime carnivores, including some mongoose species, typically reside in social groups and so can take concerted action against predators. Their study, "Ecological Drivers of Antipredator Defenses in Carnivores," will appear soon in the online edition of the journal Evolution. The researchers collected data on 181 species of carnivores, a group in which many species are small and under threat from both birds of prey and other carnivore species.

The findings have been blogged about and written up in the media, including Nature, Discover magazine, and ScienceDaily. According to Andy Fell’s UC Davis science blog, Egghead, “The project was a major information technology undertaking involving plotting the geographic range overlap of hundreds of mammal and bird species, but will have long-term benefits for ongoing studies.” See more at

Tim Caro


george.jpgMelvin George: W.R. Chapline Stewardship Award

Cooperative Extension specialist emeritus Melvin George received the W.R. Chapline Stewardship Award at the February meeting of the Society for Range Management (SRM), held in Florida. The award recognizes exceptional accomplishments and contributions in range management.

George, of the Department of Plant Sciences, was commended for significantly improving extension education programs and science-based technical advice to ranchers, public agencies, and industry associations during his 37-year career. He was noted for establishing education and outreach programs that evaluated scientific information relevant to targeted problems, contributed new scientific knowledge to environmental issues, extended information to engage the ranching constituency in problem solving, and supplied the tools and knowledge to implement solutions to environmental problems. 

During his career, George developed and implemented a water quality research and education short course for rangeland owners that helped more than a thousand ranchers develop and implement water quality plans on privately owned rangeland. The process was adopted by state and federal agencies as a model for voluntary clean water programs. This approach improved grazing management, protected water quality, and led to enhanced stewardship on expansive public/private rangelands and watersheds in the western United States.

Mel George


gubler.jpgDoug Gubler: IPM Lifetime Achievement Award

Doug Gubler, a Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Pathology, received the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Applied IPM Ecologists in recognition for contributions to integrated pest management and applied ecology in grapevine disease research. Gubler’s work in disease epidemiology and pathogen biology over the past 30 years has led to fewer fungicide applications used in California vineyards. Gubler was noted for work that has led to a reduction in fungicide use for Botrytis bunch rot by the process of leaf removal, a reduction in fungicide use for grapevine powdery mildew by use of the Gubler-Thomas Risk Assessment Model, for cultural control of grapevine canker diseases by use of double pruning, and for the etiology of the 3000-year-old disease known as black measles and the etiology of grapevine canker diseases.

Doug Gubler


hanson.jpgBrad Hanson: Weed Science Awards

Cooperative Extension weed specialist Brad Hanson of the Department of Plant Sciences recently received excellence awards from both the Weed Science Society of America and the California Weed Science Society.

Hanson was named Outstanding Early Career Weed Scientist by the Weed Science Society of America. The award is for scientists who have held their final academic degree no more than 10 years and have made a notable contribution to weed science, with potential for continued excellence. Hanson was honored in Vancouver, Canada, during the organization’s annual meeting.

Hanson also received the California Weed Science Society 2014 Award of Excellence at the society’s annual conference held in January in Monterey. He was noted for being at the forefront of many new discoveries within weed science and for research in herbicide resistance management.

Brad Hanson


Robert Norris: Western Society of Weed Science Fellow

Robert Norris, professor emeritus of plant sciences, was named a fellow of the Western Society of Weed Science at the society’s annual meeting this month in Colorado Springs.

Norris was noted for a lifetime of accomplishments in weed science. Norris joined the UC Davis faculty in 1967, and was one of the founding members of the UC Integrated Pest Management program. He has been a leading proponent of the zero tolerance philosophy of weed management, with research often focused on soil seedbanks and their impacts. In 2003, Norris was the lead author of a textbook on integrated pest management that is used for undergraduate teaching in the U.S.

Norris, who retired from UC Davis in 2002, remains active in the Western Society of Weed Science. He is also a competitive master’s swimmer and an avid gardener.

Robert Norris


james-sanchirico.jpgJames Sanchirico: 2014 Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award

Professor James Sanchirico of the Department of Environmental Science and Policy has been named a recipient of the 2014 Academic Senate Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award. The award honors faculty who serve the public by sharing their expertise through unpaid contributions to local, statewide, national, or international arenas. Winners will be honored at a ceremony this spring.

Sanchirico is a world renowned scholar who has dedicated a substantial amount of time and effort to improving the management of ocean and coastal policy. In 2009, he was invited to present his ideas on coastal and ocean planning to President Obama’s Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, and his advice contributed directly to the body of knowledge used to write the first ever U.S. National Ocean Policy. His most longstanding public service activity has been his membership on the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) science advisory board, to which Sanchirico brings his social science perspective and expertise on ocean and coastal policy. He has also been involved in advising other states on their management of coastal and ocean resources.

Jim Sanchirico


j. edward-taylor.jpgJ. Edward Taylor: 2014 Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award

Professor J. Edward Taylor of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics has been named a recipient of the 2014 Academic Senate Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award. The award honors faculty who serve the public by sharing their expertise through unpaid contributions to local, statewide, national, or international arenas. Winners will be honored at a ceremony this spring.

Taylor has used his expertise as a development economist to make a number of significant contributions to formulating policy in international migration, farm labor, and trade reforms, particularly concerning U.S. relations with Latin America. One of his biggest accomplishments has been founding PRECESAM, a network of 15 universities across Mexico that is the major center of research, training, and policy analysis on rural economic development in Mexico. Taylor also spearheaded a four-country study to prepare governments for the Central American Free Trade Area Agreement’s impacts in rural areas, both on agricultural production and on welfare in poor households. Taylor’s work on the economics of ecotourism in the Galápagos Islands has become the basic economic reference on the Galápagos. It has led to a number of presentations and collaborations with government officials, conservation agencies, and scientific groups in Ecuador.

Ed Taylor




meat.jpgAnimal Science Meat Lab Awards

UC Davis earned multiple honors at the 2014 California Association of Meat Processors (CAMP) annual convention and cured meat show, held in February at Chico State. In the collegiate division, UC Davis Meat Lab entries received three out of the top four honors from a total of 22 student entries. This year’s product category was “fresh pork apple sausage,” and after students formulated recipes and carried them through to final production, the products were evaluated by commercial meat processors.

The UC Davis team included Cindy Garcia, Esteban Aleman, Steven Elliott, and Miguel Guillen, with meat lab manager Caleb Sehnert serving as adviser. Garcia received Grand Champion for her Tempting Apple Sausage, which made the sixth consecutive year that UC Davis has had the Grand Champion entry. The group also won the Norm Eggen Championship Cup for the second year in a row, which is given to the highest achieving university in the competition. In the commercial division, Caleb Sehnert won Reserve Grand Champion for the UC Davis Meat Lab Cheddar Hot Link Sausage.

Dan Sehnert
Department of Animal Science
(530) 752-1256


CA&ES Executive Committee: Call for Nominations

Nominations for seven new members of the 2014–15 CA&ES Executive Committee are open until Friday, March 28.

  • There are four Academic Senate member vacancies: two in the agricultural sciences division and two in the environmental sciences division.
  • There are three Academic Federation vacancies: two in the agricultural sciences division and one in the human sciences division.

Faculty may nominate themselves, but all nomination forms require five supporting faculty signatures. Elected members serve a three-year term. For nomination forms, contact Brenda Nakamoto in the CA&ES Dean’s Office or your department chair.

Brenda Nakamoto
CA&ES Dean’s Office
(530) 752-1606


Staff Assembly Citations for Excellence: Call for Nominations

Nominations for Staff Assembly Citations for Excellence are due Friday, April 4. Guidelines are available for both the individual and team awards at These awards recognize the outstanding contributions of UC Davis staff and will be awarded at Staff Assembly's annual awards ceremony in May. Please direct questions to Citations for Excellence committee chair, Darolyn Striley.

Darolyn Striley
Staff Assembly


Arboretum Events

For more information, visit the arboretum website:

  • The Science and Art of Saving the Planet
    Wednesday, April 2, 4–6 p.m., Buehler Alumni Center.
    Bill Jordan, the person who coined the term "restoration ecology," will give a public talk. Registration is free at
  • "Rang Barsey," A Celebration of Colors
    Sunday, April 6, noon to 4 p.m., Gazebo.
    The Indian Graduate Student Association, in collaboration with the Indian Student Association, Arboretum Ambassadors, and Hindi-Urdu Program, present "Rang Barsey," a celebration of colors. Enjoy this celebration with colors, water, and lots of Indian food. For pricing and more info, visit
  • Walk with Warren
    Wednesday, April 9, noon to 1 p.m., Gazebo.
    Join Warren Roberts, superintendent emeritus of the arboretum, for a noon walk to discover seasonal color in the gardens and plant collections.




Science Communication Workshop: March 24, 2014

“From Science to Storytelling: Effective Communication for Policy Change” will be held Monday, March 24, from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Big Hanna Room of Asmundson Hall. The workshop will help teach academic researchers working on climate change and agriculture how to convey the results of scientific research to legislators and government. Using discussion, role play, expert advice from media consultants, and individual exercises, presenters will explore the challenges of translating scientific findings to policymakers and advocates, and will offer some tools for improving communications skills. Presenters are from California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN) and Resource Media. The free event is supported by a grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Contact Renata Brillinger at CalCAN to inquire about attending, listing your name, department, institution, and phone number.

Renata Brillinger


Fruit Ripening and Retail Handling Workshop: March 25–26, 2014

The UC Davis Postharvest Technology Center presents the annual Fruit Ripening and Retail Handling Workshop, to be held on campus March 25–26. The course will focus on how to increase profits by reducing losses at the receiving end, and delivering ready-to-eat, delicious fruits and vegetables to the consumer.

To learn more about this workshop, or to register, visit

Penny Stockdale
UC Davis Postharvest Technology Center


Economics of Managing Agricultural Pests and Diseases Conference: March 28–29, 2014

A conference to discuss the economics of agricultural pests and diseases will be held March 28–29 at the Silverado Vineyards Sensory Theater, Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. “Pests, Germs and Seeds: The Economics of Policies, Programs and Technologies for Managing Agricultural Pests and Diseases” is sponsored by the Giannini Foundation, the UC Agricultural Issues Center, the RMI Center for Wine Economics, and others.

Featured speakers include Pam Marrone, CEO and founder of Marrone Bio Innovations, speaking on “Trends and New Market Opportunities in Bio-pesticides” and Alan Olmstead, UC Davis professor emeritus of economics, speaking on “Science, Policy, and Animal Health in the United States: The Case of Texas Fever.”

Registration costs $160. For students and Giannini Foundation members, registration is $80. For more information, see

Jonathan Barker
Agricultural Issues Center


Arboretum Plant Sale: April 5, 2014

The UC Davis Arboretum hosts the first spring plant sale open to the general public on Saturday, April 5, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Arboretum Teaching Nursery on Garrod Drive. Drought-tolerant plants appropriate for our region will be available, including a large selection of California natives and Arboretum All-Stars. Arboretum members save 10 percent off their purchases, and anyone can join at the door. For more information, see

Katie Hetrick
UC Davis Arboretum
(530) 754-4134


Seed Central/Food Central Networking Event and Talk: April 10, 2014

Seed Central/Food Central hosts a monthly networking event and speech to bring together seed and food professionals, UC Davis faculty, scientists, and students. The April 10 event will begin with networking at 4:30 p.m. in the UC Davis Conference Center. The April speaker, Eric Mussen, is a Cooperative Extension apiculturist in the Department of Entomology. His talk begins at 6 p.m.

The event is free, but an RSVP is requested. More information is available at

Kathleen Bess
Department of Plant Sciences


banduh.jpgPicnic Day: April 12, 2014

Save the date for the 100th annual UC Davis Picnic Day, to be held Saturday, April 12. Student volunteers will help organize more than 200 events throughout the campus, including exhibits, shows, competitions, demonstrations, the always-popular parade, and others. Plant sciences will offer tastes of exotic fruit samples and a Plant Give-Away outside of the Plant and Environmental Sciences Building.

View additional information at


Sensory Evaluation of Olive Oil Certificate Course: May 9–10, 2014

Learn about olive oil quality from some of the world's foremost authorities on May 9–10 in the Sensory Building at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. This two-day course is for producers, buyers, importers, and anyone wanting to know more about assessing the quality of extra virgin olive oil.   The course will lead participants through the tasting of dozens of olive oils from around the world. Instructors will address the politics and science behind quality standards and grades, best practices for growing and processing, consumer attitudes toward olive oil, strategies for professional buyers to get better quality for the price, and best practices for consumers.

The course costs $550. For registration, see

Penny Stockdale
UC Davis Postharvest Technology Center


CA&ES Spring Faculty Meeting: May 29, 2014

Faculty, save the date for the annual spring CA&ES faculty meeting, to be held Thursday, May 29, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the AGR Room of the Buehler Alumni Center.

Brenda Nakamoto
CA&ES Dean’s Office


Postharvest Technology Short Course: June 16–27, 2014

The 36th annual Postharvest Technology of Horticultural Crops Short Course will meet June 16–27 at UC Davis. This course is a one-week intensive study (plus optional one-week field tour) of the biology and current technologies used for handling fruits, nuts, vegetables, and ornamentals in California. It is designed for research and extension workers, quality control personnel in the produce industry, and business, government, or academic professionals interested in current advances in the postharvest technology of horticultural crops.

The first week (Monday through Friday) is spent on intensive lectures and discussions, as well as hands-on laboratory sessions on campus. The optional second week is a field tour covering selected packinghouses, cooling and storage facilities, produce distribution centers, as well as field harvest, packing, and transportation facilities in California.

For more information, see

Penny Stockdale
UC Davis Postharvest Technology


Ag Innovation Entrepreneurship Academy June 24–26, 2014

The Ag Innovation Entrepreneurship Academy will be held on the UC Davis campus on June 24–26. The three-day program integrates lectures, exercises, and individual projects to help participants identify new business opportunities for their research. The academy is designed for upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty working in agriculture-related fields to support commercialization of clean ag technologies. Sessions are taught by venture capitalists, angel investors, entrepreneurs, and industry executives.

The academy is funded in part by a grant from the Economic Development Agency under the Sacramento Region Clean AgTech Innovation Center Development Project. For more information, see

Niki Peterson
Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship


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CA&ES Currents, the faculty/staff newsletter of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of California, Davis, is published monthly. Send news items to editor, [email protected]

Editor: Robin DeRieux
Writing: Robin DeRieux, Helene R. Dillard
Editorial review: Ann Filmer, Thomas Kaiser

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