IFAS News

University of Florida

Statistical models inspired from Facebook could help endangered animals, UF researchers say

Topic(s): Conservation, Environment, IFAS, Invasive Species, New Technology, Research

Robert Fletcher. UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Some endangered animals may live in smaller habitats than scientists realize, leading to inflated estimates of their ability to survive, according to a new University of Florida study.

However, by predicting the animals’ habitat movement using models employed to analyze human interactions on social networks such as Facebook, scientists with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences find the animals’ predicament could be better understood.

Conservationists can use this improved approach to better prioritize habitat restoration efforts for endangered species, said author Robert Fletcher, a UF wildlife ecology and conservation assistant professor.

(more …)

Under lab conditions, Salmonella can reach tomato fruits through leaves, IFAS study shows

Topic(s): Crops, Food Safety, Research

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Food-safety experts have long believed that Salmonella bacteria could only enter tomatoes through wounds in the stem or fruit — but a new University of Florida laboratory study shows it can also happen another way.

Plant pathologist Ariena van Bruggen, a professor in UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, published a paper today in the online journal PLoS One, with research findings that show — for the first time — that Salmonella can enter tomato plants through intact leaves, travel through the plant and end up in the fruit itself. (more …)

New IFAS study shows corn plants help control major mite pest

Topic(s): Agriculture, Biocontrols, Crops, Entomology and Nematology, Environment, IFAS, New Technology, Pests, RECs, Research

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Add one more entry to corn’s list of abilities: helping to biologically control pests.

Already a source of food and biofuel, University of Florida researchers report in a new study that corn plants can help sustain populations of small, flying insects known as gall midges in order to control twospotted spider mites.

Spider mites are hard-to-manage, major pests of hundreds of ornamental and vegetable crops.

(more …)

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