Congrats, UC Linnaean Games Team!

Congrats to the University of California Linnaean Games Team! They know their insects!

The UC team, which swept the national championship last year, just won the regional competition Monday night at the Pacific Branch, Entomological Society of America (PBESA) meeting in San Diego. The Linnaean Games, launched in 1983,  are lively, college-bowl style competitions on entomological facts, including questions on insects and entomologists.

The UC team is comprised of UC Davis and UC Berkeley graduate students: captain Ralph Washington Jr., who received his bachelor of science degree at UC Davis and is now a graduate student at UC Berkeley; doctoral candidate Brendon Boudinot of the Phil Ward lab, UC Davis; and graduate student Zach Griebenow of the Phil Ward lab.

At the PBESA meeting, UC Riverside took second, and Washington State University, third.

The UC Team will now defend its championship at the ESA meeting , set Nov. 17-20 in St. Louis, Mo. Both the first and second-place teams from each of the ESA's six branches are eligible to compete.

Last year marked the third year that a UC Davis-based team has won the national championship.  Some of the questions asked at the national championship games last year:

Question: The longest-lived lepidopteran is a wooly-bear moth in the Arctiidae. In what habitat would you find these?
Answer: Arctic tundra

Question: The Passandridae are a family of beetles. What is unusual about their larvae?
Answer: The larvae are ectoparasitoids of wood-boring insects

Both Boudinot and Washington have received major accolades at the ESA and PBESA meetings.  Boudinot, who researches ants, won the 2019 John Henry Comstock Award, the highest graduate student award presented by PBESA.  He delivered a presentation on his research at the San Diego meeting. He next will be honored as one of the six Comstock award winners  (one from each ESA branch) at the national meeting.

Washington, who at UC Davis studied with major professors Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, and assistant professor Brian Johnson, won PBESA's  2017 Student Leadership Award.

PBESA encompasses 11 Western states, plus U.S. territories and parts of Canada and Mexico. ESA, the world's largest entomological society, is comprised of 7000 members. 

See ESA national championships on YouTube