Hugh Dingle To Lecture on 'Crossing Taxonomic Lines to Study of Migratory Patterns'
Feb. 28, 2011
Biologist and emeritus professor Hugh Dingle.
DAVIS--Emeritus entomology professor Hugh Dingle will lecture on "Crossing Taxonomic Lines to Study of Migratory Patterns” at 1:30 p.m., Friday, March 4 in 113 Hoagland Hall.
His talk is the last of the nine lecture-series on “Frontiers in Physiology” sponsored by the Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior (NPB). The series opened Friday, Jan. 7. (His talk will be podcast and archived on the Department of Entomology website.)
Dingle, based in the Sharon Lawler lab in Briggs Hall, is currently working on the second edition of his popular textbook, Migration: The Biology of Life on the Move (Oxford University Press).
He says the underlying theme of his research is to understand relationships between migration and evolution of life histories. One of his many studies has focused on the rapid, contemporary evolution of the soapberry bug, Jadera hematoloma, and an introduced host plant, the golden raintree, Koelreuteria paniculata.
“Selection experiments were designed to determine genetic relationships across evolving traits (anatomical structures) required for feeding and flight, both necessary for migration,” according to the Frontiers in Physiology flier. “Dingle stands alone in his interests and academic pursuits of understanding the comparative biology of migration.”
Dingle was featured in a National Geographic cover story on “Mysteries of Great Migrations: What Guides Them Into the Unknown,” published in November 2010.
Soapberry bug on UC Davis tree. Click to enlarge. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
“What is it that makes animal migration such a magnificent spectacle for the eye and the mind?” the National Geographic asked in a foldout photo. “Is it the sheer abundance of wildlife in motion? Is it the steep odds to be overcome? Is it the amazing feats of precise navigation? The answer is all of the above. But there’s another reason why the long-distance journeys of wildebeests, sandhill cranes, monarch butterflies, sea turtles and so many other species inspire our awe. One biologist has noted the ‘indestructibility’ of migrating animals. A nonscientist, risking anthropomorphism, might say: Yes, they have a sense of larger purpose.”
The biologist: Hugh Dingle.
Author David Quammen went on to note: “Animal migration is a phenomenon far grander and more patterned than animal movement. It represents collective travel with long-deferred rewards. It suggests premeditation and epic willfulness, codified as inherited instinct. A biologist named Hugh Dingle, striving to understand the essence, has identified five characteristics that apply, in varying degrees and combinations to all migrations.”
A newly returned resident of Davis, Dingle spent the last seven years living and doing research at the University of Queensland, Brisbane.
He recently lectured on "And the Beak Shall Inherit: Contemporary Local and Reverse Evolution in Morphology and Life History in American and Australian Soapberry Bugs" at a Department of Entomology seminar on Nov. 10, 2010. His talk was webcast and is available in the archives.
Dingle was recently quoted in a LiveScience news story on “Why Do Animals Migrate?”
LiveScience senior staff writer Wynne Parry, for her Nov. 4 piece on "Life's Little Mysteries," asked Dingle why animals don’t find a shorter, simpler journey or stop altogether.
“The simple answer is that the benefits of long-distance migration outweigh its cost and the benefits of shorter distances,” Dingle told her.
In her article Parry mentioned that:
--Whales travel as much as 5,000 miles one way.
--Monarch butterflies flutter some 2,000 miles between southern Canada and central Mexico.
--A shorebird, the bar-tailed godwit, "holds the record for the longest nonstop flight: 6,835 miles in eight days."
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology