IFAS News

University of Florida

Holiday Light Technology Could Be the Secret to Growing Better Crops

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, New Technology, Research
  • By:
    Stu Hutson (352) 273-3569
  • Source:
    Kevin Folta – kfolta@ufl.edu, (352) 392-1928

Kevin Folta observes strawberry plants grown under various colors of light emitting diodes
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — It’s the time of year when festive lights outline rooftops and driveways, but University of Florida researchers have a different reason to celebrate the same technology that’s becoming popular Yule-time décor – better-growing crops.

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are now common replacements for incandescent bulbs in applications ranging from coffeemakers to holiday string lights. They stay cool to the touch, don’t burn out as easily and use up to 90 percent less energy. (more …)

Carl Beeman Receives E.T. York Distinguished Service Award

Topic(s): Honors and Appointments

Carl Beeman accepts the E.T. York Distinguished Service Award from Jimmy Cheek
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Carl Beeman, former chairman of the University of Florida’s Department of Agricultural Education and Communications, has received the E.T. York Distinguished Service Award, to honor his contributions to the people of Florida through UF agriculture and natural resources programs.

Beeman received the award Nov. 21 at Rolfs Hall, during a department faculty meeting. His name will be added to the plaque commemorating all recipients of the award, which has been given to only a handful of individuals since 1983. (more …)

UF Researcher Helps Test Next Generation Plug-In Hybrid Car Technology

Topic(s): Conservation, Families and Consumers, Green Living, New Technology, Research
  • By:
    Stu Hutson – (352) 273-3569
  • Source:
    Pierce Jones – piercejones@ufl.edu, (352) 392-8074

Pierce Jones demonstrates how to charge an experimental plug-in hybrid electric car
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Fluctuating gas prices and environmental concerns are leading many to electric-powered cars, and a new University of Florida partnership hopes to find out if it’s really a cleaner, cheaper and more reliable choice.

UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension researcher Pierce Jones is working with North Carolina-based companies Progress Energy, Advanced Energy and Duke Energy to test a Toyota Prius modified to use electricity delivered through a regular household electrical outlet. (more …)

UF Releases New Bahiagrass Cultivar with Celebration Honoring Forage Pioneer Edwin Hall Finlayson, Longtime Agriculture Supporter Rep. Allen Boyd

Topic(s): Cultivars, Landscaping, RECs

Ann Blount shows off a new variety of bahiagrass, UF-Riata
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GAINESVILLE, Fla.—Southeastern cattle production may have just entered a new era, thanks to University of Florida researchers who’ve developed a bahiagrass that withstands cold temperatures better than other varieties and produces forage longer, saving money for ranchers and dairy farmers.

Named UF-Riata, the forage officially debuted today at a ceremony in Greenville, attended by industry leaders and officials with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. It took place on the sod farm of U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd, D-Fla., a fifth-generation farmer and longtime supporter of agricultural research and extension programs. (more …)

Evolution Causes Bad-Tasting Butterflies to Share Appearance and Habitat, UF Study Shows

Topic(s): Entomology and Nematology, Research

Keith Willmott holds two butterfly species from the subfamily Ithomiinae
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Competition for resources can cause animal species in an ecological community to evolve away from each other, becoming less similar – but University of Florida research shows that sometimes mutual benefit causes just the opposite.

Case in point: South American butterflies that discourage predators by advertising the message “we all taste bad” via similar, conspicuous color patterns. (more …)

Former UF Agriculture Dean Larry Connor Receives York Distinguished Service Award

Topic(s): Honors and Appointments
  • By:
    Tom Nordlie – (352) 273-3567
  • Sources:
    Jimmy Cheek – jgcheek@ufl.edu, (352) 392-1971
    Larry Connor – ldac@ufl.edu, (352) 335-4806

Larry Connor with his wife Dee Ann after receiving the E.T. York Distinguished Service Award
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Larry Connor, former dean of the University of Florida’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, has been given the E.T. York Distinguished Service Award, to honor his contributions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries.

Connor received the award Thursday, Nov. 20 at Emerson Hall, during an IFAS unit leaders’ meeting. His name will be added to the plaque commemorating all recipients of the award. Past recipients are E.T. York, Ken Tefertiller, Jim Davidson and John Woeste. (more …)

UF-Tied Research to Study Embryos in Space

Topic(s): Research

Justin Fear examines a portion of a device that will carry three samples of just-fertilized bovine embryos into space
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Mankind’s quick trips to space haven’t had to cope with many problems that come with a longer stay off-planet, but research aboard the next shuttle mission will address one issue bound to come up in the foray to the final frontier – extraterrestrial motherhood.

The experiment will observe the progress of just-fertilized cow embryos as they divide and develop in the microgravity environment of the space shuttle. The experiment, which is expected to go up on the November 14 launch of the shuttle Endeavour, will be the first to examine how early-stage mammalian life develops under these conditions. (more …)

IFAS Announces Mary Ann Gosa as Next Governmental Relations Director

Topic(s): Honors and Appointments, IFAS
  • By:
    Tom Nordlie – (352) 273-3567
  • Source:
    Joe Joyce – joejoyce@ufl.edu, (352) 392-1971

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Mary Ann Gosa has been hired as the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ director of governmental relations. Her appointment becomes effective November 14.

Gosa is currently director of government and community affairs for the Florida Farm Bureau Federation, a position she’s held since 2005. In that job, she is a liaison between Farm Bureau members, state and federal agencies, legislators and local governments. (more …)

UF Study Suggests Spiders, Scorpions, Ticks, Mites Far Older Than Fossil Record Indicates

Topic(s): Entomology and Nematology, Research

Marjorie Hoy and Ayyamperumal Jeyaprakash examine a fossil spider embedded in amber
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Halloween is the only holiday when spiders and other arachnids get a little respect from humans, and a new University of Florida study suggests they deserve more, because they’ve apparently managed to survive a very, very long time.

By analyzing gene sequences in modern-day spiders, scorpions, ticks and mites, researchers have estimated that these invertebrates first appeared on Earth roughly 400 million to 450 million years ago. (more …)

UF Doctoral Student Uses High-Tech Method to Solve Greece’s Tough Mosquito Problem

Topic(s): Biocontrols, Entomology and Nematology, New Technology, Pests
  • By:
    Mickie Anderson – (352) 273-3566
  • Sources:
    Alex Chaskopoulou – andahask@ufl.edu, (352) 392-2326
    Phil Koehler – pgk@ufl.edu, (352) 392-2484

Alex Chaskopoulou and entomology professor Phil Koehler study GPS maps
View Photo

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida doctoral student from Greece is helping her country control its massive mosquito problem by using a high-tech, environmentally friendly system that uses a helicopter to spray tiny amounts of insecticide into precision-targeted areas.

Alex Chaskopoulou spent the summer overseeing an experimental mosquito control program, and now Greek government officials are pushing for the program to be rapidly expanded. She sent a formal report on her work to the Greek minister of agriculture two weeks ago. (more …)

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