The survey of 507 Floridians found that although many see undocumented immigrants as threats to their economic well-being and personal safety, they still had “pockets” of sympathetic views toward those trying to establish themselves as U.S. residents, said Tracy Irani, director of the UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education, or PIE Center, the research group that led the study.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Two University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty members have been included in a list of the top 25 women professors in Florida.
Samira Daroub, a professor with the soil and water science department who’s based at the UF/IFAS Everglades Research and Education Center in Belle Glade, and Ann Wilkie, a research professor in the department who’s based in Gainesville, received the recognition on the list that appeared in April.
It can be viewed here: http://onlineschoolsflorida.com/top-college-professors-in-florida/women/.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The plant hormones called auxins are well-known for stimulating development of roots and other structures, and now University of Florida scientists have shown that auxins help plants cope with environmental stresses.
The findings could lead to crop varieties that better tolerate heat and salinity, said author Bala Rathinasabapathi, a professor with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
“Our findings show there’s a possibility of manipulating plant stress tolerance with auxins,” Rathinasabapathi said. It may be possible to administer auxins to crops at critical stages of growth, he said, or possibly engineer new varieties that respond to auxins more efficiently.
GAINESVILLE — A University of Florida specialist recently received an award from the American Council on Consumer Interests for her research on Social Security survivors benefits.
Presented at the annual conference in April, the ACCI awarded Martie Gillen, an assistant professor in the UF/IFAS Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and co-author Jason Hans the Applied Consumer Economic Award. They were recognized for their identification of an important consumer issue, descriptions of practical solutions and strong communication of the findings’ immediate implications.
Gillen and Hans, an associate professor at the University of Kentucky, examined attitudes about the eligibility of posthumously born children for Social Security survivors benefits.
Five types of eligibility were examined: normal births, posthumous births, cryopreserved embryos, cryopreserved gametes and posthumous gamete retrieval. Their findings indicated broad support for the eligibility of normal and posthumous births for benefits, but significantly less favorable attitudes toward the other three.
Gillen, a family and consumer economics for older adults specialist, received her doctorate in family studies from the University of Kentucky. She came to UF in 2011, and divides her time between extension work and teaching.
Writer: Andrew Kays, 352-392-2411, email@example.com
Source: Martie Gillen, 352-392-0404, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bug Week includes projects and programs from around campus and showcases the strength of the university’s entomology program, said Ruth Borger, assistant vice president for information and communication services with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
“We have one of the biggest and best entomology departments in the country, and we want people to know about it,” said Borger, who helped organize Bug Week. “With summer approaching and bugs becoming more active, we think this is an ideal time to show how our expertise can help average people understand the bugs they see around their homes, yards and communities.”
Much of Bug Week is geared toward helping residents avoid unpleasant encounters with species that pose a threat to health or property, said Chris Moran, UF director of communications.
“I’m a newly arrived resident myself,” said Moran, who came to UF from Texas this year. “So I can appreciate how people move to Florida, see an unfamiliar bug and wonder ‘Is this a problem?’ We tried to keep that idea in mind when we planned our activities.”
Bug Week includes outreach to local, state and national media, with stories on removing ticks safely, avoiding bed bugs while traveling, preventing bee stings, recognizing signs of Formosan termite colonies and discouraging mosquitoes. Another story focuses on UF/IFAS efforts to study invasive pests that haven’t yet reached Florida but pose a threat.
Those stories are posted on a website, http://bugs.ufl.edu, along with profiles of common Florida bugs, a question-and-answer column on pest management, bug-related news items from around the world, a list of bug resources at UF/IFAS, and even a recipe for those bold enough to try eating bugs. The Twitter hashtag is #UFBugs.
The website will be updated regularly after Bug Week ends, and will include seasonal material and audience-participation features, Borger said.
“The website is beginner-friendly, and it’s meant to be fun and colorful, as well as informative,” she said. “It’s going to be home to some incredible contests and public outreach activities, so we hope that our visitors will check back often.”
One theme running throughout the website: helping users understand the difference between beneficial and harmful bugs. Not every bug that’s ugly or fearsome is harmful, and not every bug that’s attractive is beneficial, said Bug Week technical adviser Jennifer Gillett-Kaufman, an assistant extension scientist with the UF/IFAS entomology department.
“We really want people to come away with the idea that they can live in harmony with bugs in many instances, and that there are environmentally friendly options to discourage bugs that you don’t want around the house,” Gillett-Kaufman said. “We want people to break away from the old thinking that you see a bug and the first thing you do is reach for a can of bug spray.”
Writer: Tom Nordlie, email@example.com, 352-273-3567
Source: Ruth Borger, firstname.lastname@example.org, 352-392-2411, ext. 293
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences celebrated science at its annual Florida Agricultural Experiment Station research awards ceremony, held April 25 at the Harn Museum on campus.
It was the sixth year for the event in which dozens of faculty members and graduate students from around the state of Florida are lauded for their scientific achievements.
UF/IFAS scientists’ work includes such projects as working toward the development of a natural sweetener, the evaluation of sea-level rise and land development’s effects on an endangered mammal and the study of termites’ gut environment as an aid to improved energy production, said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources.
“Every day of the year, our researchers are working toward scientific solutions to global problems, as well as those closer to home,” he said.
John Hayes, IFAS dean for research, said since becoming dean last year, he’s been constantly impressed by the quality of work he’s seen.“IFAS scientists are advancing the frontiers of science, and providing critical knowledge to help our communities and industries thrive in the face of an ever-changing world,” he said. “The breadth and creativity of their work is truly incredible.”
Early Career Scientists
Twenty UF/IFAS researchers were awarded Early Career Scientist “seed funding” to support work that could help shape their careers: Barry Alto of the Florida Medical Entomology Lab-Vero Beach, for “Effects of larval competition on vectcorial capacity of Dengue vectors,” Stephanie Bohlman of the School of Forest Resources and Conservation, for “Modeling species and carbon dynamics of tropical forests at landscapes scales by integrating remote sensing and functional traits,” Randall Cantrell, Family, Youth and Community Sciences, for “Practices for accelerating behavior modification in home occupants through assessment of minor home-conservation measures,” Soonkyu Chung, Food Science and Human Nutrition, for “Effectiveness of ellagic acid on obesity: novel regulation of obesity by epigenetic modification,” Nicolas DiLorenzo, North Florida Research and Education Center-Marianna, for “Effects of chemical treatment of forages with alkali on beef cattle performance and greenhouse gas emission,” John Driver, Animal Sciences, “Natural Killer T (NKT) cell control of pandemic swine influenza infection: A novel pig model,” Robert Fletcher, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, “Large-scale land clearing and oil palm production in Borneo: Biodiversity effects and sustainability strategies,” Salvador Gezan, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, “Improving the output of breeding programs through advanced software for generating optimal experimental designs,” Erica Goss, Plant Pathology, “Understanding the evolution of the potato late blight pathogen in the Andes and its global impact,” Jiri Hulcr, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, “Understanding beetle-fungus symbioses through new technologies,” Kwang Jeong, Animal Sciences, “Underlying mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance in cows with uterine diseases,” Christopher Martinez, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, “Resolving the Pan Paradox: Using evapotranspiration as an indicator of climate,” Anne Mathews, Food Science and Human Nutrition, “Using media to improve fruit and vegetable consumption in elementary school lunch programs,” Robert McCleery, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, “Biodiversity, ecosystem services and valuation of conservation in the rapidly changing landscapes of Swaziland, Africa,” Eric McLamore, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, “PhysChip: a non-invasive biochip technology for physiological sensing in agricultural sciences,” Christine Miller, Entomology and Nematology, “Social networks in an agricultural pest, the squash bug,” Mathews Paret of the North Florida Research and Education Center, for “DNA-Directed metal nanoparticles against plant pathogenic Xanthomonas perforans on tomato,” Kelly Rice of Microbiology and Cell Science, for “saNOS Regulation of Staphylococcus aureus physiology and virulence,” Stephanie Wohlgemuth of Animal Sciences for “Effect of the gasotransmitter hydrogen sulfide on cellular stress responses and its interaction with autophagy,” and Lincoln Zotarelli of Horticultural Sciences for “Alternative irrigation systems for water saving and enhanced fertilizer use efficiency for vegetable crops – an integrated approach.”
High Impact Research Publications
Eight projects were singled out as “high impact” research publications. The UF/IFAS researchers involved include: Chunxian Chen and Fred Gmitter (Human Health) for “Characterization of Furanocoumarin Profile and Interitance Toward Selection of Low Furanocoumarin Seedless Grapefruit Cultivars”; Rudolf Scheffrahn (Energy Production) for “High-Resolution Analysis of Gut Environment and Bacterial Microbiota Reveals Functional Compartmentation of the Gut in Wood-Feeding Higher Termites”; Robert McCleery, Jennifer Seavey and Susan Cameron Devitt (Ecosystem Health) for “Impacts of a Half Century of Sea-Level Rise and Development on an Endangered Mammal”; Denise Tieman, Peter Bliss, Lauren McIntyre, Adilia Blandon-Ubeda, Dawn Bies, Asli Odabasi, Mark Taylor, Charles Goulet, Melissa Mageroy, Thomas Colquhoun, Howard Moskowitz, David Clark, Charles Sims and Harry Klee (Food Quality) for “The Chemical Interactions Underlying Tomato Flavor Preferences”; Patrick Minogue, Masato Miwa, Donald Rockwood and Cheryl Mackowiak (Water Quality) for “Removal of Nitrogen and Phosphorus by Eucalyptus and Populus at a Tertiary Treated Municipal Wastewater Sprayfield”; Steven MacKenzie and Natalia Peres (Agricultural Sustainability) for “Use of Leaf Wetness and Temperature to Time Fungicide Applications to Control Anthracnose Fruit Rot of Strawberry in Florida”; Laurie Trenholm, Bryan Unruh and Jerry Sartain (Landscape Management) for “Nitrate Leaching and Turf Quality in Established ‘Floratam’ St. Augustinegrass and ‘Empire’ Zoysiagrass” and Luke Flory, Kimberly Lorentz and Lynn Sollenberger (Invasive Plants) for “Experimental Approaches for Evaluating the Invasion Risk of Biofuels Crops.”
Research Professor Emeritus Award
After Paul Lyrene’s retirement in 2009, he stayed on part-time to help ease the transition for his successor. He has since continued his blueberry-breeding work, including sparkleberry – a Florida native, non-commercial berry being introduced to commercial blueberry to obtain its favorable traits.
Graduate Research Awards of Excellence
Best Master’s Thesis: Jason Scott Entsminger, food resource and economics, for “Implications of Developed-Nation Standards Regimes for Agro-Food Trade and Rural Development: Case Investigations of Welfare Impacts in Vegetative Crops.” Jeffrey Burkhardt and John VanSickle co-chaired Entsminger’s supervisory committee.
Best Doctoral Dissertation: Kofikuma Adzewoda Dzotsi, agricultural and biological engineering, for “Rainfall Variability Effects on Aggregated Crop Model Predictions.” Jim Jones chaired Dzotsi’s supervisory committee.
Richard L. Jones New Faculty Research Award
Vance Whitaker of the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center is the 2013 Richard L. Jones New Faculty Research Award winner for his work to improve strawberry breeding. His recent work includes development and release of the new strawberry cultivar Winterstar.™
Brent Harbaugh, Zhanao Deng, caladium ‘UF 331’; Jose Chaparro, peach tree ‘UFSHARP’; Richard Henny, Jianjun Chen, aglaonema ‘UF-808-4’; Paul Lyrene, blueberries ‘C97-41’ and ‘C00-09.
Barry Tillman and Dan Gorbet, peanut ‘UFT113.’
American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) Fellows
James Jones, Agricultural and Biological Engineering; Karen Koch, Horticultural Sciences, and Lena Ma, Soil and Water Science
National Academy of Sciences
Harry Klee, Horticultural Sciences
Wetland Lifetime Achievement Award
Ramesh Reddy, Soil and Water Science
University of Florida Research Foundation Professors
Fredy Altpeter, Agronomy; David Clark, Environmental Horticulture; Matias Kirst, School of Forest Resources and Conservation; Bill Pine, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation; Max Teplitski, Soil and Water Science; Alan Wright, Soil and Water Science
Writer: Mickie Anderson, 352-273-3566, email@example.com
Source: John Hayes, 352-392-1784, firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo cutline: UF/IFAS Dean for Research John Hayes addresses the audience at the 2013 F,lorida Agricultural Experiment Station awards ceremony, held April 25 at the Harn Museum on campus. (Photo by Tyler L. Jones)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Project Learning Tree program had a successful year in 2012 with more participation and activities, according to recently released figures.
The program, which is housed in the University of Florida School of Forest Resources and Conservation, is a partnership between UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Florida 4-H, the Florida Forest Service and the Florida Forest Association.
It offers environmental education curricula and tools that can be integrated into lesson plans for all grades and subject areas. Its parent organization is the American Forest Foundation.
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Downloadable broadcast video available at https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10837916/20130502_PETPOISON.zip
By Tom Nordlie, 352-273-3567, email@example.com
Contact: Matthew E. Smith, 352-273-2837, firstname.lastname@example.org
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Dogs are notorious for eating just about anything, and the nastier, the better – which is why a University of Florida expert is advising canine owners to keep an eye out for poisonous mushrooms as summer approaches.
One particularly common species is known scientifically as Chlorophyllum molybdites and often called the false parasol, said mycologist Matthew E. Smith, an assistant professor with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The large, light-colored fungus grows in grassy areas such as lawns throughout the Eastern United States and in California.
“Mushrooms can grow very quickly, so it’s important to be observant,” Smith said. “If you have a puppy or a dog, you should check the yard before you let the dog out, or supervise it when it goes outside.”
Though poisoning cases are rare, the false parasol causes intense gastrointestinal distress in people and may be deadly to dogs and horses. Puppies and adult dogs that like to chew are especially at risk for ingesting the fungus.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — There is no evidence that pollutants from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill contributed to the “unprecedented” decline in recent Apalachicola Bay oyster populations, according to a report this week by the University of Florida.
Instead, the report by UF’s Oyster Recovery Team cites drought, insufficient rainfall and increased salinity in the bay as factors contributing to the dramatic drop-off in oyster landings beginning in September 2012 and continuing through the year, said Karl Havens, task force leader and director of Florida Sea Grant.
“There was a whole chain of circumstances that led to this situation, some of which are beyond human control,” Havens said. “Our report makes recommendations for many things that can be done to help the oyster population through management and restoration.”
Havens and other recovery team members discussed the report and findings with a crowd of about 60 residents and seafood workers Wednesday at the Apalachicola Community Center.
The full report and a summary are available at the UF/IFAS Franklin County Extension office or its website, http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Art and science aren’t always birds of a feather, but a new University of Florida project has them flocking together.
Students from UF’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences recently worked with UF’s Harn Museum of Art to identify Brazilian birds and plants illustrated by famed naturalist painter Jean-Theodore Descourtilz.
A website detailing their work was launched earlier this year. It can be found here: http://descourtilz.wordpress.com/.
“The museum needed to know the names of the birds and plants depicted, whether they were accurately rendered, and if they were biologically realistic,” said Emilio Bruna, an associate professor in UF’s Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation.
Bruna and John Blake, a professor in the department, co-taught the graduate-level class that led the project. Both are members of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Students in the class, An Introduction to Tropical Ecology and Conservation, examined five prints – each portraying three to five birds and a plant species upon which the birds are perched. And while some of the birds were labeled by Descourtilz, none of the plants had identification.
The students were asked to accurately classify the birds and plants using modern taxonomic nomenclature and to prepare a report that outlined what the birds eat, where they live and in which part of the tropical forest canopy they reside.
Blake said one of the interesting findings from the project was that some of the birds portrayed together are not from the same part of Brazil.
“Some would be from the far corner of the Amazon and others would be from southern Brazil, and yet they’re all posed together on the same plant,” Blake said.
For example, in one print, the scarlet-headed blackbird, sharpbill and the pampas meadowlark are pictured on the same plant. However, the three birds do not share a similar habitat range and would not likely be found together.
On the same print, the birds sit on a ficus branch. And while the sharpbill may eat the plant’s fruit, the other three birds pictured eat mainly insects.
Bruna said he suspects that rather than being drawn from nature, the prints were drawn from memory or from museum specimens.
The artwork is part of Harn’s growing natural history collection of about 400 prints from the 16th to the 19th century by European and American artists that depict birds, rocks, mammals, plants, shells and more from Asia, the Americas and Europe.
Eric Segal, the museum’s education curator of academic programs, said once information is obtained about artwork, it is kept for later use when writing wall labels or essays.
“It’s very powerful information for us,” Segal said. “Everything that the students have done for this project is really useful and will come back again when those prints are shown.”
These works arrived at the museum in 2010 as part of an acquisition program initiated with generous loans from Graham Arader, a prominent dealer whose specialties include natural history prints.
They are from Descourtilz’s four-part book of 164 species of Brazilian birds titled “Ornithologie brésilienne ou Histoire des Oiseaux du Brésil, Remarquables par leur Plumage, leur Chant ou leurs Habitudes,” published between 1852 and 1856.
Descourtilz produced them through chromolithography, a process by which an image is drawn in reverse onto stone using special markers, ink is applied to the image and then paper is placed firmly against the stone using a press to make a print. The prints were then hand colored.
The Harn’s work with CALS is part of a larger effort to continue to weave the museum into the academic fabric of UF, Segal said.
“The museum is a world-class art museum, but it’s also a resource for the university,” he said. “We have a long history of working with a wide range of disciplines across campus.”
Writer: Robert H. Wells, 352-273-3569; email@example.com
Sources: Emilio Bruna, 352-846-0634; firstname.lastname@example.org
John Blake, 352-846-0591; email@example.com
Eric Segal, 352-392-9826, ext. 2115; firstname.lastname@example.org
By Robert H. Wells, 352-273-3569; email@example.com
Emilio Bruna, an associate professor in the University of Florida department of wildlife ecology and conservation; Leah Henderson, a graduate student in UF’s department of anthropology; John Blake, a professor in the department of wildlife and ecology and conservation; and Eric Segal, education curator of academic programs for UF’s Harn Museum of Art, are pictured in front of natural history prints by artist Jean-Theodore Descourtilz. Graduate students in a class led by Bruna and Blake, both members of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, recently worked to identify birds and plants pictured in the prints. UF/IFAS photo by Tyler L. Jones.