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

May 30, 2000
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