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UC Riverside graduate students are national champions of collegiate competition in entomology

December 01, 2008

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Graduate students from UC Riverside's Department of Entomology became the national champions of the Entomological Society of America's Linnaean Games at the society's annual meeting in Reno, Nev., that took place Nov. 16-19, 2008.

The Linnaean Games, named in honor of taxonomist Carl Linnaeus and played between university-sponsored student teams, are a lively question-and-answer, college bowl-style competition on entomological facts.

The UCR team, comprised of Casey Butler, Jennifer Henke, Jason Mottern, Rebeccah Waterworth and Deane Zahn, defeated teams from the University of Nebraska, Texas A & M, and the University of Florida to reach the championship round against North Carolina State University on Nov. 18.

Members of the UCR team each received a medal; the team received an engraved plaque.

The championship round was highly competitive, with the winners being determined by a tie-breaking question.

In preparation for the national competition, the UCR students first had to win the competition at the Entomological Society of America's Pacific Branch meeting held in March 2008.

The students were coached and quizzed by Darcy A. Reed, an administrative specialist in the Department of Entomology. They studied various areas of entomology, including medical and veterinary entomology, physiology, morphology, and toxicology, taxonomy and systematics, ecology, agricultural and applied entomology as well as various aspects of cultural entomology, including poetry, literature and music. They also had to be up-to-date with current events and be well-versed with the histories of entomology and the Entomological Society of America.

"This year's success is greatly due to the students' diligence in studying not only for the games but also for their Ph.D. qualifying exams since all current team members are Ph.D. graduate students," Reed said. "The knowledge and experiences of team members who received their undergraduate and master's degrees from elsewhere in the United States were highly beneficial as many of the questions pertained to insect pests in the Midwest. Each team member brought his or her own unique abilities and expertise to the competition."

Next up for the UCR team: preparation for next year's competition at the Entomological Society of America's Pacific Branch meeting (San Diego; March 2009) and a chance to defend their title at the next annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America (Indianapolis, Ind.; December 2009).
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The University of California, Riverside is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment of about 17,000 is expected to grow to 21,000 students by 2020. The campus is planning a medical school and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Graduate Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion. To learn more, visit www.ucr.edu or call (951) UCR-NEWS.

University of California - Riverside

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