Two entomologists at the University of California, Davis, are newly selected Fellows of the Entomological Society of America (ESA), honors that mean they're among the top insect scientists in the world.
They are professors Michael Parrella, associate dean of the Division of Agricultural Sciences, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, and former chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology; and Frank Zalom, an integrated pest management (IPM) specialist and former vice chair of the department.
“These are highly prestigious awards, granted only to 10 or fewer entomologists every year,” said Lynn Kimsey, chair of the Department of Entomology. “Michael Parrella and Frank Zalom are carrying on our department’s tradition of excellence and commitment." Eight other UC Davis entomologists have received the honor since 1947.
Fellows are selected for their outstanding contributions in entomological research, teaching, Extension or administration, said ESA spokesperson Richard Levine. Up to 10 entomologists from among the 5700-member organization are singled out for the annual award.
This year the ESA selected 10 Fellows, who will be honored at the ESA annual meeting, set Nov. 16-19 in Reno. Only two — Zalom and Parrella — are from the UC system. However, another recipient, USDA scientist Lawrence Lacey, was trained at UC Riverside.
Parrella, who joined the UC Davis faculty in 1988, maintains a teaching/research program in entomology and develops IPM strategies for ornamental crops, with an emphasis on biological control. His laboratory is an incubator for the development of research/extension personnel working in floricultural entomology.
Parrella, named associate dean in 1999, holds a joint appointment in entomology and plant sciences. He has authored more than 375 publications, with more than 200 appearing in trade journals. For 10 years he wrote a monthly column for Greenhouse Manager and GrowerTalks magazines.
Much honored for his work, Parrella received the California Association Research Award (1986), the ESA Recognition Award (1987), the Futura Research and Education Award from the Professional Plant Growers Association (1991), the Alex Laurie Research Award from the Society of American Florists (1997), the Virginia Tech Distinguished Alumni Award (1998), and the Emma Lausten Horticulture Award from Rutgers University (2007). He initiated and organized the first Conference on Insect and Disease Management on Ornamentals, sponsored by the Society of American Florists and held in 1985 in San Jose. It is now an annual event.
Parrella received his bachelor’s degree in animal science from Rutgers University in 1974, and his master’s and doctorate degrees in entomology from Virginia Tech in 1977 and 1980, respectively. He began his academic career as an assistant professor at the University of California, Riverside, in 1980 and was promoted to professor in 1988.
Zalom, engaged in international research and teaching, served as director of the UC Statewide IPM Program for 16 years. He co-chairs the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy (ESCOP) of the National IPM Committee, is a member of the ESCOP Science and Technology Committee, and serves as grants manager for the USDA-CSREES Western Region IPM Competitive Grants Program. He helped organize the 1st, 2nd and 4th National IPM Symposia, and was co-investigator on the USDA grant that originally funded the Western IPM Center.
Zalom’s research and extension activities focus on developing alternatives to conventional pesticides for insect and mite pests of fruit, nut, and vegetable crops, and on mitigating pesticide movement into surface waters. He has authored more than 260 journal articles and book chapters, including the book Food, Crop Pests and the Environment.
A Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, Zalom has received numerous other honors, including the ESA’s Recognition and Distinguished Achievement in Extension awards, a Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship, the James H. Meyer Award from UC Davis for career recognition in teaching, research, and public service, and a resolution from the California State Legislature in recognition of his career contributions to agriculture. He served as the 2001 president of the ESA Pacific Branch and also on many ESA branch and national committees.
Richard M. Bohart (1917-2007), for whom the Bohart Museum of Entomology is named, was the first UC Davis entomologist to be selected an ESA Fellow (1947). Seven others followed: Donald McLean, 1990; Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. (1907-2003), 1991; John Edman, 1994; Robert Washino, 1996; Bruce Eldridge, 2001; William Reisen, 2003 and Harry Kaya, 2007.
Founded in 1889, ESA is a non-profit organization that includes representatives from educational institutions, government, health agencies, and private industry.