ESSIG Brunch Seminar Series

The Entomology Students Organization and the ESSIG Museum of Entomology co-host a weekly seminar series, known as ESSIG brunch. Essig Brunch attracts attendance from graduate students, faculty, post-docs, undergraduates, and staff from multiple departments on campus including our home department (ESPM), Integrative Biology, and Plant and Microbial Biology. The talks are diverse in nature, but all focus on the connecting theme of insect and arachnid science. Essig Brunch routinely hosts guest speakers from neighboring institutions such as Stanford, UC Davis, and UC San Francisco. ESO students often give their finishing talks at Essig Brunch, while faculty use the seminar to update the campus community on the new and exciting insect research happening at Berkeley.

Join us for Essig Brunch weekly on Fridays at 10am in VLSB 1101. Breakfast is on us!

Spring 2014 Schedule 

January 31st, 2014

Speaker: Dr. John Harte, ESPM Faculty Member, UC Berkeley
Title: “How Many Arthropod Species at the Biome Scale?”

January 24th, 2014

Speaker: Dr. Lincoln Smith, US Department of Agriculture
Title: “Current Research on Biological Control of Weeds in California”

Fall 2013 Schedule 

November 22nd, 2013

Speaker: Bernardo Santos, American Museum of Natural History, Recipient of Essig’s Visiting Taxonomist Grant
Title: “Phylogeny, morphological evolution, and global patterns of diversification in ichneumonid wasps”

Bernardo will address two of the most enigmatic aspects of the evolution and diversification of an extremely diverse animal lineage – ichneumonid wasps. One of them is the incredibly high level of morphological homoplasy found in this family; specifically, the study of convergent adaptations in the subfamily Cryptinae from a phylogenetic framework. The other one is their puzzling global pattern of diversity, with seemingly less species in tropical areas than in temperate ones. He will show how studies on ecology, phylogenetics, and molecular taxonomy can help elucidate this apparently anomalous trend.

November 15th, 2013

Speaker: Audrey Ndaba, Ditsong National Museum of Natural History, South Africa
Title: “A glance at the South African scorpion fauna.”

Audrey is a visiting researcher from the Ditsong NMNH (formerly the Transvaal Museum) where she studies scorpion biology and taxonomy. She will give a brief history of the Ditsong Museum and discuss her work with scorpions. Her introduction to fieldwork and interest in scorpions began while working at the KwaZulu-Natal Museum (formerly the Natal Museum) where she first met Charles Griswold, who invited her to her current visit at the California Academy of Sciences.

November 8th, 2013

Speaker: Stephen Bayes, Graduate Student, Welter Lab and Mills Lab, UC Berkeley
Title: “Movement ecology of an agricultural pest, navel orangeworm (Amyelois transitella).

November 1st, 2013

Speaker: Yu Zeng, Graduate Student, Dudley Lab, UC Berkeley
Title: “Wing evolution and flight biomechanics in stick insects.”

Speaker: Kevi Mace,  Graduate Student, Mills Lab, UC Berkeley
Title: “Natural enemy evenness and aphid densities in walnut orchards: Improving biological control.”

October 26th, 2013

Speaker: Dr. Daniele Polotow, Post-doctoral Fellow, California Academy of Sciences
Topic: Spider phylogenetics

October 18th, 2013

Speaker: Dr. Facundo Labarque, Post-doctoral Fellow, California Academy of Sciences
Title: “Pretarsus: A storytelling on the evolution of the last segment of a spider’s leg.”

September 27th, 2013

Speaker: Dr. Michael Brewer, Post-doctoral Fellow, Gillespie Lab, UC Berkeley
Title: “Higher-level systematics of the millipedes (Arthropoda: Myriapoda: Diplopoda) evaluated using transcriptomic data, mitochondrial genomics, and classification analyses.”

September 13th, 2013

Speaker: Dr. Asaf Sadeh, Post-doctoral Fellow, UC Davis Department of Entomology
Title: “Cannibalism, disease spread and contagious cannibalism”

September 6th, 2013

Speaker: Dr. Peter T Oboyski, Collections Manager & Senior Museum Scientist, Essig Museum of Entomology, UC Berkeley
Title:  “California arthropod diversity online: The Essig DB & your data”                         The Essig Museum is one of the largest and most active university-based insect and spider collections in the country. The 120 years’ worth of specimen collections represent the cumulative effort of some of the most notable entomologist and standards-setting programs of the last century. While our species list has been online for many years, efforts are underway to database and georeference the individual specimens in our collection (plus seven other California collections). Our online database system is available for all UC and affiliated researchers to store, manage, and map their collections. Functions include: data entry webforms, label printing, on-the-fly mapping of georeferenced specimens, species name management, and advanced/complex data searches. Come learn how to manage your data online with the Essig.

Stayed tuned for more seminar updates!

If you are interested in presenting your insect-related research at Essig Brunch this Fall 2013 or Spring 2014, please contact Chrissy Rivera (crivera AT berkeley DOT edu) or Erin Brandt (eebrandt AT berkeley DOT edu). Reimbursements may be available for local travel within the Bay Area. 

Event is ADA accessible. For disability accommodation requests and information, please contact Disability Access Services by phone at 510.643.6456 (voice) or 510.642.6376 (TTY) or by email at