UC Davis Valentine’s Day Experts, News Tips for Media

Whether you are looking for an expert on the benefits of eating chocolate; wanting to find out more about the love lives of a white abalone or birds; or wondering what Valentine’s Day entertainment might present itself, these University of California, Davis, samplings have something for everyone.

Love is in the air for white abalone

Oh to be a white abalone at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory. Between antibiotic cleansing baths, exfoliating, coconut oil and beeswax treatments, the lab’s white abalone healthcare plan reads like a relaxing spa retreat, said UC Davis research scientist Kristin Aquilino. It’s all part of the research team’s efforts to bring the endangered animal back from the brink of extinction.

So far it’s working. With special “mood” lighting, just-right water temperatures, and even — no kidding — a little Barry White music thrown in for good measure, love is in the air for these pampered marine snails. In 2012, the UC Davis captive breeding program (video included) achieved the first successful spawning in a decade. Thousands of offspring were created through the program last year, making 2015’s attempt the best spawning season yet.

The program has been so successful, it’s likely there are now more white abalone in captivity than in the wild, Aquilino said. UC Davis and a team of white abalone recovery partners throughout the state are gearing up for another spawning season this March. Contact: Kristin Aquilino, (707) 875-2045, kmaquilino@ucdavis.edu.

Chocolate has some benefits, thank goodness

Carl Keen, professor of nutrition, studies the health benefits of cocoa and chocolate. He has conducted research on how polyphenolic compounds called flavanols, found in cocoa, can help a person maintain healthy circulation and improve blood flow. Depending on the processing method, cocoa may contain high levels of these flavanols, suggesting that that some cocoa and chocolate products can contribute to a healthy diet. Contact: Carl Keen, clkeen@ucdavis.edu, (530) 681-2047.

Valentine events

Music by Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton Sunday, Feb. 14

By any measure of talent and accomplishment, Lisa Fischer is a superstar. Yet, if you do not know her name it is likely because Fischer has spent the last 20 years as a backup singer for the Rolling Stones, Sting, Chris Botti and countless others. Her astonishing range, her spot-on intonation and her mastery of the stage keep her on top of the call list. The breakout documentary Twenty Feet From Stardom raised Fischer’s profile so high that she is taking her show on the road, and audiences are riveted by her interpretations of classic songs from across the rock and pop universe. Sunday, Feb. 14, 7 p.m., UC Davis Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. More information and tickets.

Tools of the Pornithologist: Using Robots to Spy on the Sex Lives of Birds, Feb. 11

UC Davis Professor Gail Patricelli will be among the talks at the UC Davis Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) event Thursday, Feb. 11, Room 3001, in the Plant and Environmental Sciences Building. The event, free and open to the public, will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Patricelli, a professor in the Department of Evolution and Ecology, will present her talk on “Tools of the Pornithologists” from 7 to 7:25 p.m. Patricelli studies bioacoustics, breeding behaviors and the impacts of noise pollution on birds. Much of the research in the Patricelli lab addresses sexual selection and breeding ecology of greater sage-grouse. More about other talks and event details.

Media Resources

Karen Nikos-Rose, News and Media Relations, 530-219-5472, kmnikos@ucdavis.edu

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