UC Davis entomologists honored

Three noted entomologists at the University of California, Davis, received distinguished awards in their fields on April 13 at the 94th annual meeting of the Pacific Branch, Entomological Society of America (PBESA) in Boise, Idaho.

Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, won the Distinguished Achievement Award in Horticultural Entomology. Frank Zalom, professor of entomology, won the Excellence in Integrated Pest Management Award. Larry Godfrey, Cooperative Extension specialist in entomology, received the Distinguished Achievement Award in Extension.

This year marked one of the most celebrated years of professional recognition for UC Davis faculty at a PBESA meeting. Earlier at the PBESA meeting, held April 11-14, a fourth faculty member, chemical ecologist Walter Leal received the prestigious C. W. Woodworth Award.

As regional award winners, Parrella, Zalom and Godfrey will now advance to the national ESA awards competition. The national meeting is set Dec. 12-15 in San Diego.

“In his 30-year career, Dr. Parrella has developed an internationally recognized program focused on advancing integrated pest management and biological control for the floriculture and nursery industry,” said James Carey, professor of entomology at UC Davis and chair of the department’s awards committee.

“This industry, once dominated by chemical control strategies, now regularly uses the tenets of integrated pest management (IPM), and many growers routinely use biological control,” said Carey, who nominated Parrella for the award. “His training of graduate students and postdoctoral scientists and the extraordinary effort to translate research into practice puts Dr. Parrella in a class by himself. He has accomplished this while shouldering an enormous administrative load.”

Parrella, in his second term as chair of the Department of Entomology, just finished a 10-year term as an associate dean in the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Godfrey holds a 70 percent Cooperative Extension and 30 percent organized research appointment. He focuses his program on the integrated pest management of insect and mite pests of field crops and vegetable crops, particularly pests of cotton and rice. His work extends globally.

“Given the diversity of agriculture in California, this is a vast undertaking and Dr. Godfrey has made significant contributions in approximately 15 different crops during his 19-year tenure in this position,” said Parrella, who nominated him for the award. “This incredible diversity of effort and accomplishment puts Dr. Godfrey in a class by himself when contrasted with most other Extension specialists. In addition to the indicated responsibilities, the plethora of calls from urban clientele, that is, homeowners, gardeners, etc., can be very time-consuming and demanding. Dr. Godfrey is a key contact on the campus/department for these stakeholder-related opportunities.”

Godfrey works closely with the county-based UC Cooperative Extension advisors and pest control advisors, industry representatives, and growers. His extension and research program includes sucking insects (cotton aphids and silverleaf whiteflies) on San Joaquin Valley cotton and pests of rice, including the rice water weevil.

Frank Zalom, professor of entomology, Extension agronomist and an entomologist in the Agricultural Experiment Station, “is one of the most influential scientists in the development and implementation of IPM policy and practices in the United States and the world, through his numerous and continuing contributions as a leader, director, and organizer,” said colleague Jocelyn Millar, an entomology professor at UC Riverside who nominated him for the award.

Millar applauded Zalom for “truly extraordinary record of achievement and service to IPM extending over several decades.”

In nearly three decades with the UC Davis Department of Entomology, Zalom has published almost 300 refereed papers and book chapters, and more than 300 technical and extension articles. These articles span a wide range of topics related to IPM, including introduction and management of newer, soft insecticides, development of economic thresholds and sampling methods, management of invasive species, biological control, insect population dynamics, and determination of host feeding and oviposition preferences of pests.

Zalom’s expertise in research and extension includes crops as diverse as strawberries, tomatoes, cotton, lettuce and other vegetable crops, grapes, almonds, olives, and tree fruits.

Zalom directed the statewide UC IPM Program for 16 years and before that, served as associate director for two years. During his tenure, Zalom transitioned the program from a paper-based source of publications and information to its current combination of both hard copy publications and universally accessible Web-based information.

“The position and influence of the UC IPM and its publications and resources that are used by growers, IPM professionals, regulatory personnel, and homeowners worldwide, cannot be underestimated,” Millar said, “and this is in large part due to Dr. Zalom’s excellent stewardship of the program through rapidly changing times.”

While director of the program, Zalom also obtained the USDA grant that provided the first funding base for the new UC Exotic Pests and Diseases Research Program, and another multimillion dollar USDA grant (with Rick Melnicoe and Tom Holtzer) to fund the Western Pest Management Center.

Internationally, Zalom has been heavily involved in both research and leadership in IPM activities.

The Pacific Branch of ESA encompasses 11 U.S. states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming); several U.S. territories, including American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands; and parts of Canada and Mexico.

TAGS: Legislative
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