College of Natural & Agricultural Sciences

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Christiane Weirauch wins royal society medal for book on true bugs

The Royal Entomological Society has bestowed its Westwood Medal upon entomology professor Christiane Weirauch for her work on true bugs — a group of insect that includes plant attackers and human disease spreaders as well as natural pest controllers. The society, based in the U.K., is one of the oldest and most prominent organizations of...
By Jules Bernstein |

UC Riverside enters collaboration with GALT to advance microbiome research

The UC Riverside Microbiome Initiative and California-based General Automation Lab Technologies, or GALT, have partnered to advance plant pathology, environmental microbiology, and insect and human gut microbiome studies. As part of this collaboration, GALT will support five UC Riverside research projects that will use the company’s Prospector® high-throughput microbial isolation and cultivation system to generate...
By Holly Ober |

Hive Minders

If you think blueberries, cherries, or almonds are expensive, wait until you buy cranberries for Thanksgiving this year. They’re about to get much pricier, if you can get them at all. All of them are dependent on pollination by bees, as are about a third of the foods we put in our mouths. If honeybee...
By Jules Bernstein |

Bee Health with Boris Baer

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside are leading a new effort to stop and reverse a worldwide decline in honeybees. To boost dwindling honeybee populations, the University of California’s Office of the President has awarded $900,000 to a four-campus network of bee researchers and engineers. Boris Baer is a professor of entomology at UC...
By Tim Hammerich |

Need a Book With That Spider?

Late last month, Anne Danielson-Francois, an associate biology professor at the University of Michigan, received an unusual package. She had instructed the sender to make sure the contents — spiders — were cushioned because she did not want their legs to break off. When Dr. Danielson-Francois opened the little brown box, there they were —...
By Christine Hauser |

Parasitic plants conspire to keep hosts alive

The plant that encourages kissing at Christmas is in fact a parasite, and new research reveals mistletoe has an unusual feeding strategy. Like other plants, mistletoe is capable of using sunlight to create its own food, a process called photosynthesis. However, it prefers to siphon water and nutrients from other trees and shrubs, using “false...
By Jules Bernstein |

Scientists using new tools to deal with the shrinking number of honeybees

With honeybees dying at rates never seen before, there’s a big buzz about the future of some of your favorite foods. “This is something that is going to affect what you can buy in a grocery store and what you can eat and how much you are going to pay for,” said Jules Bernstein of...
By Kai Beech |

Scientists Developing New Solutions for Honeybee Colony Collapse

Scientists at four University of California campuses, including UC San Diego, are leading a new effort to stop and reverse a worldwide decline in honeybees, which threatens food security and prices. Honeybees pollinate more than 80 agricultural crops, which account for about a third of what we eat. Several factors, including pesticide exposure and the...
By By Jules Bernstein and Mario Aguilera |

In Memory of William E. Walton

In Memoriam William E. Walton Professor of Entomology (September 1, 1956 - October 18, 2020) The Department of Entomology, the University of California, and the field of vector ecology have lost one of their most dedicated, productive, and beloved scientists. Dr. William E. (Bill) Walton, Professor of Entomology, passed away at the UC Irvine Medical...

Scientists unlock genetic secrets of wine growers’ worst enemy

Following a decade-long effort, scientists have mapped out the genome of an aphid-like pest capable of decimating vineyards. In so doing, they have discovered how it spreads — and potentially how to stop it. The research team’s work on the genome was published this past week in a BMC Biology paper. In it, they identified...
By JULES BERNSTEIN |

Parasite infestations revealed by tiny chicken backpacks

Blood-feeding livestock mites can be detected with wearable sensor technology nicknamed “Fitbits for chickens.” Motion sensors helped detect the presence of blood-feeding mites. (Amy Murillo/UCR) To help farmers detect mite infestations, a team of entomologists, computer scientists, and biologists led by UC Riverside entomologist Amy Murillo has created a new insect detection system. The team’s...
By JULES BERNSTEIN |

UCR wins $10 million to develop AI for sustainable agriculture

The University of California, Riverside, has won a $10 million grant to develop artificial intelligence that will increase the environmental and economic stability of agriculture in the Western U.S. This Sustainable Agricultural Systems grant is one of nine given by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, or NIFA, annually to...
By JULES BERNSTEIN |

Professor’s own body becomes physiology lab during pandemic

Just call him Professor Guinea Pig. Adapting to remote learning this quarter, Professor Rich Cardullo is performing all the experiments for his human physiology laboratory course — on himself. Professor Rich Cardullo drawing his own blood for a glucose tolerance test in his human physiology laboratory class. (Stan Lim/UCR) Picture a video in which your...
By JULES BERNSTEIN |

Thank you to those lending hearts and minds to California’s recovery

As the world continues to confront the global pandemic, the University of California community has stepped up like never before, drawing on the spirit of ingenuity and service that defines us. From hospitals and labs to neighborhoods across California, UC staff, faculty, alumni and students are putting their creativity and compassion to work to help...
By NICOLE FREELING |

Congratulations to PhD candidate, Jacob Cecala, whose recent paper examining the high degree of floral fidelity by native bees in California plant nurseries is featured on the cover of the June 2020 issue of Ecology!

COVER PHOTO: A female sweat bee, Halictus ligatus, perches on the petals of an ornamental crepe myrtle, Lagerstroemia indica, at a plant nursery in Irwindale, California, USA. In this issue, The Scientific Naturalist series shares how Cecala and Wilson Rankin (Article e03021; doi:10.1002/ecy.3021) paint-marked bees to track their foraging patterns on flowering plants inside commercial...

EGSA Wins Outstanding Outreach Events Award

Congratulations to the Entomology Graduate Student Association for their recent award for excellence in community outreach!

Houston Wilson named Presidential Director for the Clif Bar Endowed Organic Agriculture Institute

Houston Wilson has been named the Presidential Director for the University of California's Organic Agriculture Institute, which was established in January 2020 with a $500,000 endowment by Clif Bar and a matching $500,000 endowment from UC President Janet Napolitano. Wilson, a UC Riverside agricultural entomologist based at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, joined...
By PAMELA KAN-RICE |

Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about bees

World Bee Day is May 20. To mark the occasion, we gathered some of UC Riverside’s top bee experts to answer questions submitted on our Instagram page. The response created, for lack of a better term, quite a buzz! We got so many questions — hundreds — that we could not answer them all on...
By Jules Bernstein | UCR News |

Does urbanization homogenize regional biodiversity in native bees?

When you think of California in the 1970s, maybe you think of hippies, Fleetwood Mac, or skateboards. But if you’re an entomologist, you might think of all the natural spaces that have since been devoured by urbanization and wonder what happened to the native bees that lived in them. The question isn’t one of mere...
By Holly Ober | UCR News |

Murder hornets invade headlines, not the U.S.

Though “murder hornets” are dominating recent headlines, there are no Asian Giant Hornets currently known to be living in the U.S. or Canada, according to UC Riverside Entomology Research Museum Senior Scientist Doug Yanega. Yanega is one of the country’s foremost insect identification experts. Beekeepers in Canada consulted him when a colony of the 2-inch-long...
By Jules Bernstein |
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