CA&ES Currents Newsletter  icon newspaper

October 8, 2015

Oct 08, 2015 samanning

09 helene dillardA Message from Dean Helene Dillard: Making connections

Our faculty are recruited from all over the world. To show them a sampling of what the Central Valley has to offer in terms of challenges and opportunities, our college — in partnership with ANR — organized a two-day bus tour last month before fall classes began. I had the pleasure of joining the tour, which included many of our new I&R, AES, and CE faculty members, as well as new UCCE county advisors, faculty experts who acted as tour guides, CA&ES associate deans, department chairs, and ANR leadership. The tour benefited from the expertise of all those on board.

On the first day, we visited the farm of Charley Mathews to learn how rice growers are working with faculty members Jim Hill, John Eadie, and others to increase productivity and provide habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. At the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, Professor Charlie Bamforth extolled advances in fermentation science. At Oroville Dam we were all reminded of the significant water resource challenges in California.

Day two we ventured south to visit the Cosumnes River Preserve, where emeritus professors Peter Moyle and Jim Quinn filled us in on some of the innovative research taking place in collaboration with the Nature Conservancy. We made stops at the Bronco Wine Company in Ceres and the Hilmar Cheese Company in Hilmar, where we saw how UC Davis research helps keep the wine and dairy industries on the cutting edge.

The tour showed new faculty some of the opportunities for research partnerships here in California, and provided people from different disciplines with a chance to get to know each other. From the animated conversations I observed, I imagine a few new collaborative projects have already begun.

We received good feedback on the bus tour, and plan to do it again in the near future with the newest crop of faculty recruits. Here are a few photos from the tour.

Helene R. Dillard, Dean
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences


Michael Parrella elected to top leadership of Entomology Society of America

Entomology professor and chair Michael Parrella is the president-elect of the Entomology Society of America (ESA). He will be inducted into the post at the organization’s annual meeting in November in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“The science represented by entomology and ESA have never been stronger,” Parrella said. “As a member of the governing board for six years, I supported an aggressive approach that followed the leadership of past presidents that has radically changed the society. I am honored to be able to continue this forward-looking stance to enhance the science of entomology, and the visibility and impact of the society at the national and international levels.”

Active in ESA since graduate school, Parrella served as the Pacific Branch ESA representative to ESA’s governing board from 2007 to 2013. He received an ESA Recognition Award in 1987, was selected a fellow in 2008, and won the ESA Distinguished Achievement Award in Horticultural Entomology in 2011. Parrella currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Environmental Horticulture and the International Journal of Pest Management. After serving as vice president, Parrella is scheduled to advance to president-elect, and then president.

To learn more, read a blog post by entomology writer Kathy Keatley Garvey.

Michael Parrella
Department of Entomology and Nematology
[email protected]

Strawberry breeder Steve Knapp to be honored

Steve Knapp, professor of plant sciences and director of the UC Davis Strawberry Breeding Program, has been selected to receive the 2015 College and Unit Division Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Nevada, Reno. The award will be presented to Knapp on October 22 during the Homecoming Gala at UNR, where Knapp earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Knapp, who grew up in southern Nevada, attended UNR for his undergraduate program, majoring in horticulture and plant sciences. A summer job with an alfalfa breeder there piqued his interest in plant breeding and led him to graduate school at UNR. He went on to earn a doctoral degree in agronomy and plant breeding from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

He served on the faculty at Oregon State University for 19 years and at the University of Georgia for five years. He then worked as a research director in the vegetable seed business in Woodland before he was named to head the Strawberry Breeding Program in February of this year.

Steve Knapp
Department of Plant Sciences
[email protected]

James Carey named recipient of teaching award from Entomological Society of America

Entomology professor James Carey has been selected as the 2015 recipient of the distinguished achievement in teaching award from the Entomological Society of America (ESA). Carey will be honored at ESA’s annual meeting in November in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Carey is being recognized for his teaching program that centers on the strategic use of digital technology. Over the last five years Carey has taught faculty, staff, and students how to create succinct videos and how to record seminars. He has taught instruction methods throughout the country and in Africa. His students cite Carey’s ability to motivate, encourage, and inspire.

“Just as changing weather patterns cannot be understood without a deeper understanding of the drivers of climate change, students need to know the big picture to understand the pixels,” Carey said. “Students learn the need to zoom in and zoom out so that they can consider the details in the context of larger conceptual and operational frameworks.”

Carey’s interest in the use of digital technology in academia started when he chaired the UC Academic Senate committee on research policy. He uses low-tech, low-cost, and easy-to-use video recording equipment. To learn more about Carey’s accomplishments and teaching philosophy, read a blog post by entomology writer Kathy Keatley Garvey.

James Carey
Department of Entomology and Nematology
[email protected]

Julie King Zech and Melissa Whaley honored with UC Davis Advising Awards

Julie King Zech
Two CA&ES academic advisors are among those honored with a 2015 UC Davis Advising Award.

Julie King Zech of the CA&ES Dean’s Office was awarded outstanding new advisor. Melissa Whaley of the Department of Environmental Science and Policy was awarded outstanding innovative advisor.

They were both acknowledged at an award ceremony that took place at the Academic Advising Fall Welcome last month.

Zech is one of the first individuals in the dean’s office that students interact with when seeking help. "From a student’s perspective, Julie is very approachable and always seems to have a smile on her face,” said student peer advisor Caitrin Vadnais. “Whenever I have any academic questions, I know I can count on her to help.”

Susan Ebeler, CA&ES associate dean for undergraduate academic programs, said of Zech: “In a very short period of time she has shown herself to be knowledgeable and a team player, she has made innovative contributions to our advising services, and most importantly she has excelled in providing positive, professional one-on-one advising services to all students who come to the dean’s office.”

Melissa Whaley
Whaley is the staff adviser in the environmental policy analysis and planning (EPAP) major, and is co-adviser for the environmental science and management (ESM) major. She is proactive with students who are struggling and contacts them directly to let them know that her door is open and she’s eager to help. One transfer student who was having difficulty making the adjustment to UC Davis shared with a faculty member how Whaley went “above and beyond” in providing emotional support, coupled with pragmatic advice on course selection.

“Melissa has also worked energetically to help connect students internally with faculty and externally with potential career contacts,” said environmental science and policy professor Michael Springborn in support of Whaley’s nomination. “She organizes a quarterly breakfast for EPAP students and faculty to interact in an informal setting. She also initiated an annual career night to bring in environmental professionals, including alumni, to speak to and network with students.”

Julie King Zech
CA&ES Dean’s Office
[email protected]

Melissa Whaley
Department of Environmental Science and Policy
[email protected]

Four CA&ES faculty members among 2015 highly cited researchers

Howard Cornell
Three professors in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy and one professor in the Department of Plant Pathology are included on the 2015 list of Thompson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers.
Susan Harrison

Professors Howard Cornell (emeritus), Susan Harrison, and Robert Hijmans are in the environment and ecology category. Professor Pamela Ronald is in the plant and animal science category. According to Thompson Reuters’ website, Highly Cited Researchers 2015 represents some of the world’s most influential scientific minds. About 3,000 researchers earned this distinction by writing the greatest number of reports officially designated by essential science indicators as highly cited papers — ranking among the top one percent most cited for their subject field and year of publication, earning them the mark of exceptional impact. See the website for additional information.

Robert Hijmans

Pamela Ronald
Howard Cornell
Department of Environmental Science and Policy

Susan Harrison
Department of Environmental Science and Policy
[email protected]

Robert Hijmans
Department of Environmental Science and Policy
[email protected]

Pamela Ronald
Department of Plant Pathology
[email protected]




Rustici Rangeland and Cattle Research Endowment proposals08 beef

The Russell L. Rustici Rangeland and Cattle Research Endowment has put forth a request for proposals (RFP) for University of California personnel to support problem-solving research that will benefit California range cattle producers and provide practical answers to critical issues and challenges facing the industry.

The goal of this program is to promote collaboration and strengthen the network among research faculty, Cooperative Extension specialists and advisors, and range cattle producers. Funding opportunities are available for collaborative research, workshops, conferences, and symposia. Three to four research proposals will be awarded with annual budgets not exceeding $60,000 per year.

The deadline for submission is Friday, October 16, 2015. See the full RFP here.

Randy Dahlgren
Department of Land, Air and Water Resources

Arboretum and Public Garden events

For more information, visit the arboretum website:

Folk Music Jam Session
Fridays, October 9, 23, and November 6, noon–1 p.m., Wyatt Deck

Folk musicians are invited to bring their acoustic instruments and play together informally over the lunch hour. All skill levels are welcome, and listeners are invited.

Public Plant Sales
Saturdays, October 10, 24, and November 14, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Arboretum Teaching Nursery

The UC Davis Arboretum Teaching Nursery opens its doors to the public for three plant sales this fall. The arboretum has a large assortment of regionally adapted, water thrifty, and beautiful plants that would help spruce up the yard. The nursery is located toward the west end of the arboretum on Garrod Drive. Arboretum members receive 10 percent off plant purchases. To learn more about plant sales at the Arboretum Teaching Nursery.

Walking in the Woods with Chemistry: Talk and Tour
Sunday, October 11, 1 p.m., Arboretum Gazebo (rain location: 146 Environmental Horticulture)

Join chemistry professor Dean Tantillo, plant biology professor Philipp Zeerbe, and chemistry Ph.D. candidate Nhu Nguyen for a talk and tour in the arboretum exploring plant chemistry mysteries. All ages are welcome. The event is free and parking is available nearby at no charge. A related exhibit at several locations throughout the arboretum runs October 11 through December 7.

Wednesday Walk with Warren
Wednesdays, October 14 and November 11, noon, Arboretum Gazebo

Join Warren Roberts, superintendent emeritus of the arboretum and renowned storyteller, for an engaging exploration of the UC Davis Arboretum’s west-end gardens. The event is free and one-hour parking is available along Garrod Drive near the gazebo.

Among the Oaks
Saturday, October 17, 11 a.m., Arboretum Gazebo

Explore a variety of oaks from throughout the world in the Peter J. Shields Oak Grove. The event is free and parking is available at no charge on the weekends along Garrod Drive near the gazebo.

Arboretum Makerspace Series
Saturday, October 17, 1 to 3 p.m., Arboretum Gazebo

Design innovative do-it-yourself projects by reusing everyday objects. All ages are welcome. The event is free and parking is available at no charge on the weekends along Garrod Drive near the gazebo.

Storytime through the Seasons: Under the Redwood Tree
Sunday, November 1, 1 to 3 p.m., Arboretum Wyatt Deck

Join the Arboretum Ambassadors for an outdoor reading program exploring the cultural and natural world of native Californians. Enjoy traditional stories, games, and arts. All ages are welcome. The event is free and parking is free on weekends.

Native American Uses of California Plants
Sunday, November 8, 2 p.m., UC Davis Welcome Center

Enjoy an engaging, family-friendly tour of the Native American Contemplative Garden and discover traditional uses for a variety of California plants. The event is free and parking is free on weekends.



Seed Central networking event: October 8, 2015

Seed Central hosts speakers and networking events that bring together seed and food professionals, UC Davis faculty, scientists, and students. The October 8 event will be held in the UC Davis Conference Center.

Networking runs from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., followed by featured speaker David Clifford, lead quantitative researcher with The Climate Corporation. His topic will be Joining the Dots from Data Science to Agronomic Insight. The Climate Corporation helps farmers protect and improve their farming operations with software products that use real-time and historical crop and weather data.

On October 22 in Salinas, the featured speaker at a joint Seed Central and Food Central forum is UC Davis food toxicologist Carl Winter. His topic will be Myth Busters — Pesticide Residue Edition. This event will be held in Steinbeck Hall at Hartnell College.

On November 12, Seed Central hosts Ian Korf, UC Davis associate professor of molecular and cellular biology. His topic will be From Bench to Keyboard and Back — Integrating Experimental Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics to Understand Intron-mediated Enhancement. The November meeting will also include an 11 a.m. seminar and panel discussion with speakers who will address linking research to emerging policy and regulation on new plant breeding techniques. An afternoon session will include speakers addressing intellectual property protection.

These events are free but an RSVP is requested. To register and learn more.

Kathleen Bess-Esparza
Department of Plant Sciences

CA&ES Fall Faculty Social: October 14, 2015

All college faculty members are invited to attend the CA&ES Fall Faculty Social on October 14, 2015 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Buehler Alumni Center, AGR Room. Wine, beer, and hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Please RSVP by October 7 to [email protected].

Carrie Cloud
CA&ES Dean’s Office
[email protected]

Grand opening of Horticulture Innovation Lab Demonstration Center: October 16, 2015

The Horticulture Innovation Lab is celebrating the opening of its new campus demonstration center on Friday, October 16, which is also World Food Day. The event begins at 2 p.m. with brief remarks and a ceremonial planting to officially open the center.

The outdoor center displays African and Asian vegetables, along with technologies that the Horticulture Innovation Lab team uses throughout the world to help smallholder farmers grow fruits and vegetables. The program is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development as part of Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

Brenda Dawson
Horticulture Innovation Lab
[email protected]

Restoring American leadership in the age of the long war: October 19, 2015

The California Agricultural Leadership Foundation will host a seminar — Fixing What’s Broke: Restoring American Leadership in the Age of the Long War — on October 19 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the UC Davis Conference Center.

The speaker is Rosa Brooks, a nationally known commentator on foreign policy, national security, politics, and the law. She is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. From 2005 to 2009 she wrote a weekly column for the Los Angeles Times, and currently writes a column on war, politics, and the military for Foreign Policy magazine.

The seminar is free and open to alumni, industry, friends, faculty, staff, and students. RSVP to [email protected] or call 831-585-1030. A reception follows the presentation.

Carrie Cloud
CA&ES Dean’s Office
[email protected]

Produce Safety — a Science-based Framework Workshop: November 3–5, 2015

The UC Davis Postharvest Technology Center is offering a workshop, November 3–5, on developing a scientific framework for produce microbial safety systems and preventive controls. The course is designed primarily for entering and junior-level produce safety professionals and others with an interest in produce safety education.

Course content will provide participants with a basis for decision making on topics common to industry guidance standards, as well as federal regulatory compliance. The curriculum is a blend of fundamental, applied, and practical information. The course includes formal lectures, group assessments, and break-out groups. The curriculum includes the scientific basis for audit standards and preparing for using audits and targeted microbiological testing to improve performance.

The course will be held in the ballroom at the UC Davis Conference Center. Enrollment is $750 and includes instruction, course material, a networking reception, and two lunches. For additional information and to enroll, visit the course website. Enrollment is requested by October 23, 2015.

Penny Stockdale
Postharvest Technology Center
[email protected]

Graduate student coffee with the dean: November 4, 2015

All graduate and Ph.D. students in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences are invited to join Dean Helene Dillard for coffee on November 4 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in MUII, Memorial Union.

The event will provide the opportunity for students to share their thoughts and ask questions about plans for the college. Please RSVP for this free gathering by October 28.

Carrie Cloud
CA&ES Dean’s Office
[email protected]

Identifying and mitigating unintended consequences of restoration activities: November 5, 2015

An inaugural “Do No Harm” conference will focus on identifying, preventing, and mitigating the spread of pests, plant pathogens, and diseases through restoration. It will be held at the UC Riverside Palm Desert Center on November 5 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

A primary objective of this conference is to identify the stumbling blocks to achieving ecologically and economically successful restoration of disturbed lands in California. The conference will bring together experts, practitioners, suppliers, and policymakers to develop best management practices. Others who may want to attend include landowners, conservation organizations, agencies and jurisdictions managing open space or rights-of-way, nurseries, seed collectors and distributors, consultants, researchers, and other practitioners of restoration. The event is being sponsored by UC Riverside, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, UC Davis, Dominican University of California, and the Center for Conservation Biology.

Registration is $45 ($25 for students). Continuing education units are available. The UC Riverside Palm Desert Center is located at 75080 Frank Sinatra Drive. To register and learn more.

Elise Gornish
Department of Plant Sciences
[email protected]

Travis Bean
UC Riverside Department of Botany and Plant Sciences
[email protected]

Introduction to Mead Making: November 13–14, 2015

The Honey and Pollination Center will hold a workshop, Beginner’s Introduction to Mead Making, November 13–14 at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.

Explore this fermented beverage — from its rich history to its recent rebirth in the United States. Participants will taste and learn the styles, ingredient selection, and steps to making good mead. This short course is coordinated with four of the leading mead makers in the United States, along with faculty and staff from the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology.

Registration is $575. To register and learn more.

Amina Harris
Honey and Pollination Center
[email protected]

UC Soil and Water Short Course: November 17, 2015

The UC Vegetable Research and Information Center will sponsor a UC Soil and Water Short Course on November 17 at the Buehler Alumni Center.

This short course will focus on the practical aspects of soil fertility in an era of escalating fertilizer costs and increasing government regulation of on-farm nutrient management. The topics covered will include getting the maximum value from soil and water testing, comparing fertilizer sources, irrigation effects on soil nutrient management, and 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. Presentations will address fertility management issues for both conventional and organic production. The content will be geared toward commercial-scale production, and will assume attendees have a working knowledge of basic soil science.

Growers, consultants, government agency personnel, and others involved in soil fertility management will find this course valuable. Attendance would be useful for anyone preparing to take the California Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) exam. This course is approved for six hours of CCA credit (3.0 nutrient management, 3.0 soil and water management.) This course is not appropriate for home gardeners.

Early registration is $160 and will rise to $180 on October 30. The registration fee includes lunch, light refreshments, and study materials. To learn more and to register.

Gale Pérez
Department of Plant Sciences
[email protected]

Measuring Fruit and Vegetable Flavor, Color and Texture: January 20, 2016

The UC Davis Postharvest Technology Center is holding a January 20 workshop on Methods of Measuring Fruit and Vegetable Flavor, Color, and Texture. This event, organized by UC Cooperative Extension fruit and vegetable products specialist Diane Barrett, will be held in the ARC Conference Center.

This course is designed for those working in the fresh produce and processed fruit and vegetable industries — growers, packinghouse operators, and retail and foodservice personnel, as well as individuals involved in quality control and research and development activities. The workshop features principles and applications of measuring produce color, flavor, and texture. Examples of fresh and processed fruit and vegetable color and texture measurement will be demonstrated.

Registration is $395 and includes course materials, lunch, and coffee breaks. There are also opportunities for exhibitors to showcase measuring devices and provide interactive demonstrations. To register and learn more.

Penny Stockdale
UC Davis Postharvest Technology Center
[email protected]

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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, .

Editor: John Stumbos
Writing: Helene Dillard, John Stumbos
Editorial review:  Robin DeRieux, Julie Fritz-Rubert, Thomas Kaiser, Christine Schmidt

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