By Kathy Keatley Garvey
Special to Dixon Patch
DAVIS - Integrated pest management specialist Frank Zalom, professor and former vice chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, is on the path to the presidency of the 6000-member Entomological Society of America, the world’s largest organization of entomologists.
Zalom will begin a four-year commitment to the organization this fall when he will be inducted as vice president-elect at the ESA’s 59th annual meeting set Nov. 13-16 in Reno. He will subsequently move up to vice president and president and then serve a year fulfilling the duties of past president.
The UC Davis entomologist will become president at the end of the 2013 meeting and then will serve as president at the 2014 meeting in Portland, Ore.
The worldwide organization, founded in 1889, is headquartered in Lanham, Md., a suburb of Washington, D.C. Its members are in educational institutions, health agencies, private industry and government.
Zalom will be the second UC Davis entomologist to head the international organization. The first was Donald McLean, former professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, who was elected ESA president in 1984.
Asked about his vision for ESA, Zalom said in part: "The Entomological Society of America exists to support the science and profession of entomology. Our science is well-served by producing high-quality journals and facilitating stimulating and well-attended meetings at both national and branch levels.
"I support publications and meetings that broadly enable participation by everyone involved in insect science, including those who use arthropods in their research, teaching or profession who may not yet have considered joining ESA. Membership remains essential to the health of ESA. My recent three-year term on the Membership Committee taught me that dedicated members well-supported by headquarters staff make a difference. Actively seeking students and young professionals to become members and encouraging their meaningful participation in ESA affairs will infuse our society with energy and will ultimately create a society that reflects their interests and needs. In turn, this will shape the discipline’s future.
"Establishing the International Branch was especially significant for our society, and the success of this branch can stimulate our science globally. ESA must identify and support innovative ways to facilitate communication by insect scientists from around the world that enables their full participation in the society. Innovative uses of new communication technologies should be further explored and adopted in all appropriate ESA activities. Planning for the society’s future must be our foremost goal, while also conserving its rich heritage. Preservation and accessibility of national and branch archives are goals I believe are well worth supporting. I thank the P-IE (Plant Insect Ecosystems) Section, the Pacific Branch and the North Central Branch for endorsing my nomination."
Zalom has been heavily involved in research and leadership in integrated pest management (IPM) activities at the state, national and international levels. He directed the UC Statewide IPM Program for 16 years (1988-2001) and is currently experiment station co-chair of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) National IPM Committee.
Zalom focuses his research on California specialty crops, including tree crops (almonds, olives, prunes, peaches), small fruits (grapes, strawberries, caneberries), and fruiting vegetables (tomatoes), as well as international IPM programs.
The IPM strategies and tactics Zalom has developed include monitoring procedures, thresholds, pest development and population models, biological controls and use of less toxic pesticides, which have become standard in practice and part of the UC IPM Guidelines for these crops.
In his three decades with the UC Davis Department of Entomology, Zalom has published almost 300 refereed papers and book chapters, and 340 technical and extension articles. The articles span a wide range of topics related to IPM, including introduction and management of newer, soft insecticides, development of economic thresholds and sampling methods, management of invasive species, biological control, insect population dynamics, pesticide runoff mitigation, and determination of host feeding and oviposition preferences of pests.
The Zalom lab has responded to six important pest invasions in the last decade, with research projects on glassy-winged sharpshooter, olive fruit fly, a new biotype of greenhouse whitefly, invasive saltcedar, light brown apple moth, and the spotted wing Drosophila.
Zalom is a fellow of ESA, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the California Academy of Sciences.
Highly honored for his work, Zalom received the Entomological Foundation’s 2010 “Award for Excellence in IPM,” an award sponsored by Syngenta Crop Protection and given for “the most outstanding contributions to IPM.” In 2008 he was was part of a team receiving an International IPM “Excellence Award” at the sixth International IPM Symposium. Also in 2008, Zalom was part of the seven-member UC Almond Pest Management Alliance IPM Team that received the Entomological Foundation’s "Award for Excellence in IPM.” Zalom was awarded the C. W. Woodworth Award from the Pacific Branch of the ESA in 2011.
Michael Parrella, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology, serves as the Pacific Branch’s representative to the ESA governing board.
Zalom, Parrella and McLean are among 15 UC Davis entomologists elected as ESA fellows, an honor bestowed to a maximum of 10 persons per year. Richard Bohart (1913-2007), for whom the Bohart Museum of Entomology is named, received the honor in 1947, followed by Donald McLean, 1990; Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. (1907-2003), 1991; John Edman, 1994; Robert Washino, 1996; Bruce Eldridge, 2001; William Reisen, 2003; Harry Kaya, 2007; Michael Parrella and Frank Zalom, 2008; Walter Leal, 2009, and Bruce Hammock and Thomas Scott, 2010. James Carey and Diane Ullman will be inducted in November.
(Editor's Note: Richard Levine of the Entomological Society of America contributed to this news story.)