College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

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May 30, 2000

UC biological control expert Kent Daane named assistant Cooperative Extension specialist on Berkeley campus

BERKELEY--Kent Daane, a leading researcher in biological control strategies for California crop pests, has been named assistant Cooperative Extension specialist in the Division of Insect Biology at the UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources.

For the past 10 years Daane has worked as a research specialist for the College's Division of Insect Biology and Center for Biological Control and has been stationed at the UC Kearney Agricultural Center, near Fresno. There, he has worked on insect pests and natural enemies in grape, almond, pistachio and stone fruit systems and managed the UC Biological Control Laboratory.

As a CE specialist with the College of Natural Resources, he will be based in Berkeley, where he will develop and extend research information on biological control of insect pests of agricultural crops and serve as codirector of the Center for Biological Control. He also will continue his research program in the Central Valley, maintaining the strong working relationship he has cultivated with growers, Cooperative Extension farm advisors and researchers at the Kearney Agricultural Center.

"I am very pleased to have the new post and look forward to working closely with faculty on the Berkeley campus," Daane says. "The combination of field work and research in the Central Valley and a base out of Berkeley will provide me the opportunity to conduct both basic and applied research. I believe this combination will strengthen my extension and research programs."

Daane's work focuses on harmful and beneficial insects for a variety of major crops. In one study, his team released parasitoids of navel orangeworm, the state's primary insect pest of almonds, and has conducted long-term evaluation and monitoring of the approach. His projects relating to biological control of grape pests have included importing, releasing and evaluating leafhopper egg parasitoids for control of variegated leafhopper; developing an augmentation (mass-release) program for the grape mealybug; and analyzing the effectiveness of augmentative releases of green lacewings for leafhopper suppression.

Daane also has led major programs to control pests of pistachios. With help from the industry, his team is studying a fungal pathogen that already has destroyed up to 30 percent of some Central Valley orchards and the role of hemipteran pests in the pathogenís transmission. They also are working to identify existing natural enemies of these pests in Central Valley orchards and to manipulate selected natural enemies through augmentative release or conservation programs. All of this work is made possible by the Kearney Agricultural Centerís insectary, which Daane has overseen for several years.

"Good, solid research, which combines basic and applied science, will always be the foundation for improved pest management systems," Daane says. "Having a good line of communication with the agricultural community has particularly helped direct my research program toward relevant issues and pest problems."

"Kent has an outstanding agricultural research program in the Central Valley," says Wayne Getz, professor and chair of the Collegeís Division of Insect Biology. "He has an excellent mix of peer-reviewed scientific and commodity-focused outreach articles. As codirector of the Center for Biological Control, he will strengthen our group not only in biological control research but also in insect ecology and agricultural outreach. He also has indicated his desire to supervise graduate students, which is not a traditional component of Cooperative Extension positions."

Working with Berkeley graduate students will be familiar to Daane: in 1988 he received his own doctorate in entomology from the College of Natural Resources, where he also conducted postdoctoral research on development of a monitoring program for black scale on olives. He received his bachelor's degree in zoology/ecology from UC Santa Barbara in 1979.

Daane can be contacted at (510) 643-4019 or by e-mail at daane@uckac.edu

Richard Malkin named interim dean of the College of Natural Resources

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Richard Malkin, professor and associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Natural Resources, has been appointed interim dean of the College, effective July 1, 2000, UC Berkeley Vice Provost Nicholas P. Jewell has announced. Malkin will serve a two-year post, succeeding Gordon Rausser, the Robert Gordon Sproul Distinguished Professor and dean of the College since fall 1994.

A professor in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, Malkin received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from Antioch College in 1962 and his doctorate in biochemistry from UC Berkeley in 1967. He returned to Berkeley in 1969 after conducting postdoctoral research in Sweden and became a faculty member in the College in 1979. He is an authority on the biophysical and biochemical aspects of photosynthesis, having published over 200 research papers in his field, and his research has been highly influential in advancing our scientific understanding of how light energy is converted into a biologically useful form. His work has involved extensive analysis of the structure and function of photosynthetic membranes in higher plants and in photosynthetic bacteria.

Malkin also is an extremely popular teacher, who in 1999 received the College's Distinguished Teaching Award. For more than 10 years he has been one of the instructors in Biology 1A, a large introductory biology course for Berkeley students majoring in one of the many biological science programs; he also has taught upper-level and graduate courses in plant biochemistry. For five years he has led the freshman seminar "Dean's Night Out."

Malkin served as the first chair of the Department of Plant Biology, from 1988 through 1992, and has served as associate dean for academic affairs in the College since July 1992. He was acting dean of the College from July through December 1994.

May 28, 2000

UC Berkeley entomologists release parasitic wasp June 7 to control insects destroying California's red gum eucalyptus

Berkeley -- California's troubled red gum eucalyptus trees, under attack for the last two years from a fast-spreading insect infestation, may get some relief on Wednesday (June 7) from a tiny Australian wasp discovered by Professor Donald Dahlsten, an entomologist in the College of Natural Resources. The wasp, to be released in small numbers in North Hollywood on June 7, may be able to control the infestation and begin to save the endangered trees.

Trees are under attack in 30 California counties from the redgum lerp psyllid, Glycaspis brimblecombei, a small, flying insect that feeds on plant juices. It has caused much concern in the state since it was first found in June 1998 in Los Angeles County. Collected on 16 different varieties of eucalyptus in California, the psyllid is causing the most trouble on redgum, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, a common ornamental species in the state. After infestation, trees rapidly lose their leaves and begin to produce a sticky honeydew that dirties cars, buildings and sidewalks. It is not known how often the trees can defoliate and still survive.

Dahlsten has shown that certain species of Psyllaephagus parasitic wasps that he collected last summer in Australia may be able to bring the psyllid population under control by laying eggs within the insect bodies and destroying them. The wasps have been under surveillance for the last year at UC Berkeley. This week, 100 females will be released to treat 20 trees in Valley Village Park in North Hollywood.

"We have low numbers of parasites right now and are trying to build up our numbers," said Dahlsten, a professor of environmental science, policy and management and biological control in the UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources. "We will be releasing all summer, and we hope that the parasitoids will spread as rapidly as the other parasitoids that we have released to control other species of psyllids in the past, making multiple releases unnecessary."

Dahlsten is credited with saving the state's foliage industry in 1991-93 from a disaster on a species of eucalyptus used in the flower trade. It would have cost California's eucalyptus growers millions of dollars to control the problem year after year had Dahlsten not discovered an insect cure.

Approved by the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), this week's release will be conducted by the Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation, the Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services and the Los Angeles Zoo. Additional funding was provided by the University of California's Integrated Pest Management Project and by cities and agencies in Orange, San Diego and Los Angeles counties.

Note: For further information, check Donald Dahlsten's web site. An earlier UC Berkeley news release with more detail on the lerp psyllid and the parasitic wasp is available on the web at UC Berkeley Public Affairs .

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UC biological control expert Kent Daane named assistant Cooperative Extension specialist on Berkeley campus
Richard Malkin named interim dean of the College of Natural Resources
UC Berkeley entomologists release parasitic wasp June 7 to control insects destroying California's red gum eucalyptus

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