News Highlights

Mt Shasta


  • Congratulations to Michael Turelli, CPB faculty member, Monique Borgerhoff Mulder, CPB faculty member, and Anurag Agrawal, Population Biology Graduate Group alum, on their elections to the National Academic of Sciences, April 2021. 

  • Since the 1950s, “Africanized” honeybees have spread north and south across the Americas until apparently coming to a halt in California and northern Argentina. Now genome sequencing of hundreds of bees from the northern and southern limits shows a gradual decline in African ancestry across hundreds of miles, rather than an abrupt shift.

    “There’s a gradual transition at the same latitude in North and South America,” said Erin Calfee, Population Biology graduate student and affiliate member of CPB at the University of California, Davis, and first author on the paper, published Oct. 19 in PLOS Genetics. “There’s a natural barrier that is likely maintained by many different genetic loci.”

  • Jay Rosenheim is now a newly elected Fellow of the Entomological Society of America (ESA).  Each year only 10 are selected for the honor.  Rosenheim, who joined the UC Davis entomology faculty in 1990, is internationally known for his research on the ecology of insect parasitoids and predators, insect reproductive behavior, and the application of big data, or "ecoinformatics," methods in agricultural entomology.  Read the detailed article here.

  • Cassandra Ettinger, CPB graduate student affiliate member, submitted a paper titled, Characterization of the mycobiome of the seagrass, Zostera marina, reveals putative associations with marine chytrids.

  • Didem Sarikaya, a University of California's President's Postdoctoral Fellowship recipient, has appointments in the labs of Professor David Begun, CPB faculty member, and Assistant Professor John Albeck, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.  In a study appearing in Current Biology, Didem Sarikaya and her colleagues analyzed egg-laying strategies of 65 different Hawaiian Drosophila species and found that egg-laying capacities diverged in response to their unique environments, which directly affected the number of cells involved in each species’ ovarian development.

  • In the lab of Richard Grosberg, Population Biology PhD student and CPB affiliate Victoria Morgan, studies the genetics of land crabs to understand how they adapted to living on land.  In the summer of 2017, Morgan traveled to Christmas Island on a fieldwork expedition.  She was fascinated by the breadth of the island's land crab species.

  • David Neale, CPB Faculty member, helped sequence the coast redwood and giant sequoia genomes.  The research partners, composed of the University of California Davis, Johns Hopkins and the Save the Redwoods League, are making the data publicly available.

  • Vince Buffalo, CPB affiliate, graduated from UC Davis with a B.A. in Economics and Political Science.  Today, he studies evolutionary and population genetics in the lab of Professor Graham Coop.  Find out how he traded macroeconomic models for genome sequencing.

  • CPB faculty member Alan Hastings received a RAISE award, for Research Advanced by Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering, a category for projects that appear to promise transformational advances.

  • Bacteria of the Flies: Tracing the Spread of Disease-Controlling Wolbachia...  In a study appearing in Current Biology, Michael Turelli, distinguished professor of genetics in the Department of Evolution and Ecology / CPB faculty member, and his colleagues traced the spread of closely related Wolbachia across Drosophila fly species. They found that while the flies evolutionarily diverged tens of millions of years ago, their Wolbachia bacteria diverged only tens of thousands of years ago.

  • In a study appearing in Genome Biology and Evolution, Associate Professor Santiago Ramirez, Department of Evolution and Ecology / CPB faculty member, and postdoctoral researcher Julie Cridland provide a genetic snapshot of the state’s honey bee populations, defining how the species has changed over the past 105 years. Their findings could help researchers breed hardier honey bees capable of thriving under many environmental stressors.

  • CPB faculty member David Neale’s research is highlighted in this Washington Post ‘Decoding the Redwoods’ article which discusses that as threats to California’s giant redwoods grow, the key to their salvation might be in their complex genetic code.

  • A big congratulations was in order for Professor Gail Patricelli, Department of Evolution and Ecology and CPB faculty member, who received a Distinguished Teaching Award from the UC Davis Academic Senate and Academic Federation in 2018.  Patricelli was selected based on the dedication, enthusiasm and creativity she showcases inside and outside undergraduate classrooms.

  • UC Davis integrative genetics and genomics Ph.D. student and CPB affiliate member Cassie Ettinger identifies and characterizes seagrass-associated microbial communities. A study published last year in the journal PeerJ suggests how understanding the role of these microbes could reveal new information about seagrass sulfur cycling and establish seagrass as a model organism.

  • Moria Robinson receives a 2016-17 Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award. This award, which is sponsored by Graduate Studies, recognizes excellence in teaching by graduate students on the UC Davis campus.
  • Congratulations to CPB faculty member Annie Schmitt, who has been elected an Honorary Lifetime Member of the American Society of Naturalists
  • CPB faculty member Tim Caro has discovered why giant pandas are black and white.  More news here and here.
  • CPB faculty member Peter Wainwright has won the annual UC Davis Faculty Research Lecture award.  Peter joins previous CPB recipients of this prize - Chuck Langley, Michael Turelli, and Don Strong – and that’s just in the last few years.
  •  CPB members and alums Will Wetzel, Moria Robinson, Heather Kharouba, and Rick Karban have published a paper in Nature showing that plants suppress herbivore populations through variable nutrient levels.
  •  Eric Sanford and his colleagues investigate how sea urchins cope with ocean acidification.
  •  A former CPB graduate student affiliate, Matt Meisner, is the co-founder and head of analytics at Farmers Business Network.   Matt’s company currently has over 4,000 member farmers, and has been analyzing data on 13 million acres of crops they own.  More news about this innovative company and the many ways it is empowering farmers here.  Matt received his PhD in the labs of CPB faculty members Jay Rosenheim and Sebastian Schreiber.