Darwin (Evolution) Day 2018

On February 12, 2018 the Essig Museum hosted another great Evolution Day in honor of Charles Darwin’s birthday.  Over 120 students, staff, faculty, and folks from all around the Bay Area got a behind the scenes look at the Museum and some of our special displays. Thank you to our colleagues at the UC & Jepson Herbaria, UC Paleontology Museum, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, and UC Botanical Garden for supplying specimens and information for the displays.

At a reception afterwards, Dr. Peter Oboyski summarized some of the outstanding achievements of the Essig over the past year, including: a collaboration with the Muzeum of Vertebrate Zoology on a multi-taxon survey of the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia (hear more about this project this Friday at Essig Brunch); an Entomology at Cal Reunion in October; new specimen donations and accessions, and a temporary funding increase from the Vice Chancellor of Research and the Deans of Letters & Science and College of Natural Resources. The temporary funding increase will facilitate efforts to secure the financial future for the Essig Museum.

Our next big event is Cal Day on April 21 when we will welcome guests to view displays, touch live insects, and get behind the scenes tours of the museum in English, Spanish, Russian, and Mandarin – hope to see you there!

Entomology student, Jessica, talking about Orthoptera (grasshoppers and crickets).

   

Students checking out the giant African termite queens, and a marine iguana from the MVZ.

Specimens collected by Charles Darwin in Tierra del Fruego during the Voyage of the Beagle.

Entomology graduate student, Sean Perez, admiring a mimicry display by Professor Nipam Patel.

Carnivorous plants from the UC Botanical Garden.

Lots of happy guests enjoying their visit to the Essig Museum.

 

Thanks to Helina Chen (University of California Paleontology Museum) for taking photos!

Lepidopterists honor Jerry Powell

Speakers from the Powell symposium (l-r): Dave Wagner, Frank Hsu, Felix Sperling, Eric Metzler, Dan Rubinoff, Jerry Powell, Jim Kruse, Kelly Richers, Peter Oboyski, John Brown.

Dr. Jerry Powell was honored on July 30, 2017, at the Lepidopterist Society annual meeting in Tucson, Arizona, with a symposium organized by John Brown, Dan Rubinoff, and Dave Wagner. Speakers included students and colleagues who roasted and toasted Jerry, who sat with his wife Liz in arm chairs at the front of the room. A general theme throughout the presentations (besides Jerry’s demanding and often gruff facade) was how he influenced the trajectory of each person’s career. Others who chimed in remotely, either by Skype or email, included: Dan Janzen, Jim Liebherr, Cheryl Barr, and John De Benedictis. 

Jerry and Liz with front row seats to the roastng.

Jerry is known largely for his work in Lepidoptera, particularly microlepidoptera (ie. small moths). His publications (>240) include Moths of Western North America, (Field Guide to) California Insects, the biology and systematics of spruce budworm, Lepidoptera of the California Channel Islands, yuccas and yucca moths, insects of California sand dune habitats, and a long list of collaborations on various moth groups, including the taxonomy, systematics, and biology of Tortricidae, Heliodinidae, Ethmiidae, Prodoxidae, Pyralidae, and many others. He described as new 227 species of Lepidoptera, and collected over 440 holotypes in various groups. Over 40 species of insects have been named for Powell in seven orders to-date (Hemiptera x1, Neuroptera x1, Diptera x9, Coleoptera x4, Hymenoptera x5, Trichoptera x1, Lepidoptera x22). A true “vacuum cleaner” collector, Powell has contributed many hundreds of thousands of specimens to the Essig Museum of Entomology, where he still curates the Lepidoptera collection a few hours every day.

Comic on Powell’s office door.

Speakers also reminded the audience of their favorite Powell quotes and phrases: “If it was easy someone would have done it already”, “Science moves forward by creeps and jerks”, “chowdered”, “corked”, “good grief”, “One larva; two larvae / NO EXCEPTIONS”, Powell’s Law: “No biologist studies anything found within 100 miles of where they live.”

Although Jerry’s main research focus has always been the insect fauna of western North America, especially California, what was evident from the comments of speakers and other contributors is Jerry’s depth and breadth of knowledge in both insects and plants (and their interactions), and his influence on the careers of entomologists throughout the country and on most continents. Perhaps just as telling is a comment made by a citizen scientist helping to digitize label data from the Essig Museum specimen collection through our Notes From Nature portal who quipped, “Who is this Jerry Powell? Is he some sort of vampire? He has been collecting for over 60 years!”

Jerry Powell collecting in Anza Borrego, March 2017.

 

“Bugged” – California Alumni Magazine, Fall 2017

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The Essig Museum of Entomology was featured in the fall 2017 issue of the California Alumni Magazine. The issue explores the many different uses of the word “bug”, as best explained by UC Berkeley School of Information professor, Geoffrey Nunberg, in Krissy Eliot’s article An Entomological Etymology. The feature article on the Essig Museum, by Pat Joseph, explores the past, present, and future importance of The Bug Collection. The magazine also includes For Love of Roaches: confessions of an entomophile (not yet online), by Kaitlyn Kraybill-Voth, a recent UC Berkeley graduate that spent over three years working as a collections assistant in the Essig Museum.

As if the words and photos are not enough, video journalist Marika Petrey created four short videos that are available below: Introducing Bugged, How to Mount a Moth, How to Kill the Specimen, and Why Entomology? These videos provide a sneak peak into the daily activities of the Essig Museum. Enjoy!

 

 

Butterfly workshop – May 20/21, 2017

The Jepson Herbarium & Essig Museum
Co-Present: 

Butterflies: Biology, Behavior & Identification

May 20-21, 2017
 

Led by the Essig Museum of Entomology’s Dr. Peter Oboyski, this workshop is open to anyone who is curious about butterflies: perfect for naturalists, gardeners, and enthusiasts alike, in this course we will explore the diversity of butterflies, their life cycles and host plants, behaviors, and identification, with a special focus on California and the Bay Area. We will also discuss how to promote butterflies in your own neighborhood by providing resources for both larvae and adults. This workshop includes a tour of the Essig Museum, a field trip to nearby native butterfly habitats, and a visit from some guest speakers!

Visit the Jepson Workshops website for registration information

Enrollment is still open for this course! For more information or to register, contact Allyson Ayalon, Public Programs Coordinator at the Jepson Herbarium. Phone: 510-643-7008. Email: alayalon@berkeley.edu.

Darwin (Evolution) Day – February 10, 2017

Darwindday2007_frontFebruary 10th, 2017 (Friday) 12:00 – 5:30pm

Each year, the Essig Museum celebrates Darwin’s birthday on February 12th. Visit the Essig for special behind-the-scenes tours of our museum in the Valley Life Sciences Building; see specimens of Galapagos finches, iguanas, and tortoise shells; herbarium specimens, live orchids and insectivorous plants; and learn how Darwin and other naturalists improved our understanding of how evolution works in the natural world. RSVP to essig.museum@gmail.com for tours at 12:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, or 5:00pm.

Lepidopterists Aggregation – January 27, 2018

Lepidopterists Aggregation – January 27, 2018

SilveryBlueYou  and your guests are invited to UC Berkeley for the annual mid-winter gathering of Northern California Lepidopterists and Essig Museum of Entomology open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 27, 2018. As in previous years, you need not be a Northern Californian or a Lepidopterist to attend.

Visitors are encouraged to bring specimens, photos, Power Point presentations or slides from collecting trips, and tales of collecting triumphs to share with others. There will be no formal program. There is no charge. Attending lepidopterists may be able to help you identify specimens, and the museum collection will be open for your inspection. For further information, contact your hosts – Peter Oboyski and Jerry Powell, essig.museum@gmail.com, 510-643-0804.

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