Kaiming Tan, an undergraduate working with Professor Walter Leal at the UC Davis Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, recently put a home-brewed clove repellent to the test against DEET. Their paper was just published in PLOS One.
The Asian citrus psyllid is the bogeyman of the citrus industry. Its appearance in fields is a dark harbinger for farmers, for carried within this insect is the bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter, the cause of citrus greening disease. In a study published in Scientific Reports, UC Davis researchers report that an acetic acid-based, slow-release trap is capable of capturing Asian citrus psyllids even when the insect populations are low.
Sexual determination and differentiation work in myriad ways across the animal kingdom. In vertebrates, like mammals and fish, sexual determination leads to the development of either ovaries or testis. These organs then secrete hormones that go on to govern the sexual development of the rest of the organism’s body. Insects are a completely different beast.
While we know certain plant-derived compounds act as insect repellents, much of the molecular science behind insect olfaction remains a mystery. In a study published in iScience, UC Davis researchers exposed further layers of complexity in the mosquito olfactory system.
To inform pest management techniques and fight threats like Citrus Greening disease, Walter Leal and his colleagues use reverse chemical ecology to identify sex pheromones in insects. From Brazil to Japan to Davis, Calif., Leal's research path has been unique.
In the last year, the Young Scientist Program has engaged roughly 1,100 students across the San Joaquin and Sacramento counties, bringing science education with a flair to underserved and poverty-stricken communities in the region.
In a study appearing in Science, researchers show that the pesticide imidacloprid, which has been sold in the U.S. since 1994, disrupts bumblebee (Bombus impatiens) nest behavior, causing reduced growth in exposed colonies.