University of Florida

UF-led research team selected for $125 million joint U.S.-India energy project

Topic(s): Agriculture, Biofuels, Crops, Environment, New Technology

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A University of Florida-led research team has been selected to participate in a five-year, $125 million energy project involving the United States and India, U.S. Department of Energy officials have announced.

Known as the Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center, or JCERDC, the project is aimed at reducing energy consumption, cutting dependence on petroleum products and increasing use of renewable fuels.

The UF-led team will develop biofuels derived from inedible plant material. Two other research teams, led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, will focus on solar energy and energy efficiency of buildings, respectively.

Total funding for the biofuels project is about $21 million, including about $2.7 million in federal funding destined for UF.

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Officials pay tribute to UF/IFAS’ world-class scientific research efforts

Topic(s): Announcements, IFAS, Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Distinguished researchers with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences were honored for their work April 18 in an awards ceremony at the Harn Museum of Art.

It was the fifth year for the event, which recognized dozens of faculty members and graduate students from around the state for their scientific achievements.

IFAS scientists’ work included research that — among other things — increased cotton yields for Florida farmers, led to improved water quality in the Everglades and may help reduce incidences of the dengue and chikungunya viruses, mosquito-transmitted illnesses that cause human suffering around the world, said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources.

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Tussock moth cocoons cause allergic reactions in some, UF expert says

Topic(s): Green Living, Household Pests, Pests


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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s poison-control centers recently noted an uptick in calls about stinging caterpillars, and now a University of Florida entomologist warns that some people may suffer skin irritation from cocoons that are unusually abundant this year.

The culprit is a tussock moth, known scientifically as Orgyia detrita. Its caterpillars are usually active in March and April, often in the vicinity of oak trees. Touching the furry, black-and-white critters can cause localized swelling, itching, burning and redness. The caterpillar doesn’t produce stinging venom, but its hairs trigger an allergic reaction in some people.

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UF signs research agreement with Brazil

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida officials have inked an agreement formalizing involvement with Brazil’s new “Science without Borders” initiative, which will send 100,000 Brazilian students in STEM fields to study abroad in the next four years.

Under the agreement, UF will accept 20 of those undergraduates per year, as well as doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers, to do their academic work at UF.

The agreement also promotes faculty exchanges, collaborative research projects, and workshops and seminars between UF and Brazilian researchers.

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USAID official to speak on global food security April 19 at Carleton Auditorium

Topic(s): Announcements, Crops

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — An official with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will speak about global food security April 19 at Carleton Auditorium on the University of Florida campus.

Gregory C. Gottlieb, senior deputy assistant administrator in USAID’s bureau for food security, will present a speech titled “Global Food Security: Where we are and where we’re going.”

Gottlieb will highlight President Obama’s Feed the Future global hunger and food security initiative, a $3.5 billion investment meant to address the root causes of hunger and malnutrition that limits the potential of hundreds of millions of people.

“Under President Obama’s Feed the Future initiative, we are more focused than ever on ‘doing development differently’ and ensuring that our agricultural development efforts have a real impact for those who need it most,” Gottlieb said.

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UF study: Nature-based tourism often benefits local environment, economy

Topic(s): Economics, Environment, Families and Consumers, Finances, Green Living, IFAS, Research

Taylor Stein

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — When nature lovers book vacations in the great outdoors, they want their dollars to help preserve the places they visit, and a University of Florida study suggests that often happens.

Research in Costa Rica, one of the world’s top destinations for nature-based tourism, showed that successful tour businesses usually invested in environmental protection and maintenance, and tour businesses of all sizes circulated money throughout local economies.

The findings could help Florida’s fledgling nature-based tourism industry increase its appeal to potential customers, said author Taylor Stein, an associate professor with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

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UF/IFAS BugFest showcases entomology department to undergrads, local residents

Topic(s): Entomology and Nematology, IFAS

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida’s entomology department is once again showcasing its academic programs for undergraduates and inviting residents to explore the insect world, at its second annual BugFest Open House.

The event happens 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 4 at the UF entomology building, Steinmetz Hall, which is located off Hull Road behind the UF lacrosse stadium. It’s hosted by the Undergraduate Entomology Club, part of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

“BugFest is open to the public and is family friendly, however, our main goal is to bring in new students to our department, as either entomology majors or minors,” said club President Alyssa Porter, who coordinated the event.

This year’s theme is Hollywood movies, so the event will feature decorations and souvenirs inspired by the film industry, and even a red carpet to welcome visitors, said Porter, an entomology senior from Winter Haven.

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