IFAS News

University of Florida

Controlling invasive lionfish may best be done in targeted areas, UF research shows

Topic(s): Invasive Species, Research, Uncategorized

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Invasive lionfish may never be eradicated from Florida’s coastal waters, but it’s possible to keep them under control — in specific, targeted areas and using plenty of manpower, a new University of Florida study shows.

Native to the Indo-Pacific, the spiny, ornate fish began to turn up in small numbers in the mid-1980s along the Atlantic seaboard. Their numbers exploded in the last decade, and the fish can now be found in South American and Caribbean waters as well as the Gulf of Mexico.

They pose a significant threat to valuable native species such as grouper, snapper and shrimp because lionfish are voracious predators.

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UF/IFAS faculty honored with first Morrill Act Award

Topic(s): Announcements, Honors and Appointments, IFAS

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Faculty from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences were named the first recipients of the Morrill Act Award during a campus event on Sunday.

The winners are Kirby Barrick, a professor and extension specialist in UF’s department of agricultural education and communication; Family Album Radio, a weekday radio program on family issues from the department of family, youth and community sciences; and faculty offering distance education programs in the department of microbiology and cell science. (more …)

UF/IFAS research: Typical populations of bedbugs can cause harmful blood loss in humans

Topic(s): Entomology and Nematology, Household Pests, Pests
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — For years, bedbugs have been turning up in sometimes odd and random places, such as subways, movie theaters, dressing rooms and schools, but scientists believed that to flourish, the insects would need more frequent access to human blood meals.

Turns out they don’t.

A new University of Florida study, published online this month by the journal Medical and Veterinary Entomology, shows the blood-sucking insects can do much more than survive — they can even thrive — with far less access to human blood than previously believed.

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UF/IFAS excels in National Taiwan University rankings of published scientific papers

Topic(s): Agriculture, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — It’s official – the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is producing world-class research…and the proof is in the papers.

Rankings issued this month by National Taiwan University place several UF/IFAS programs among the best in the world, in terms of the quality and quantity of research publications they generated.

The most significant result was UF’s fourth-place finish in the field of agriculture publications. In the rankings program, “field” was a broadly defined area of study, encompassing many specialties.

In the narrower category of “subject,” UF was ranked fifth in plant and animal science, fifth in agricultural sciences and sixth in environment/ecology.

“These are incredible results, yet I’m not surprised,” said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “I’ve been consistently impressed by the published work from our faculty. These rankings show that UF/IFAS research is competitive with work conducted at top institutions around the globe.”

Payne noted that the rankings help advance one of his basic goals, raising UF/IFAS’ stature on the international stage.

The ranking program, formally known as Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities 2012, evaluates the published research output of 500 higher-education institutions worldwide.

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PIE Center move will increase its prominence in UF/IFAS

Topic(s): Announcements, IFAS

Four months after winning recurring state funding, the Center for Public Issues Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (PIE Center) will be moving from a department-level center to an IFAS-wide center.

Effective Nov. 1, the PIE Center will report to Jack Payne, University of Florida senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. By moving oversight of the center into the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences senior vice president’s office, the PIE Center’s administrative supervision will be similar to that of the Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology. The two centers teamed up on the successful budget request that the Florida state legislature passed in the spring.

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UF/IFAS researcher helps test new way to probe remote ecosystems with satellite imagery

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

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — For scientists, making field observations of organisms and ecosystems can be a daunting challenge.

Travel to remote locations is costly and difficult. Observation methods are limited and must be devised so that they only capture accurate, relevant data.

Satellite imagery is one alternative for assessing wild places, and it has some advantages over boots-on-the-ground observations, said Matteo Convertino, a research scientist with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. (more …)

Florida soil a patchwork quilt for carbon content, UF/IFAS researchers find

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

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida is home to many types of soil and some of them lack carbon, meaning they could be used for carbon sequestration – but a new University of Florida study shows that variability in the state’s existing soil carbon levels could make the task harder.

Carbon sequestration is the practice of storing carbon; one way to accomplish it is by adding carbon-rich material to soils. Carbon sequestration aims to slow the build-up of carbon-based gases in the atmosphere, a phenomenon believed to be a cause of global climate change. Some landowners may be able to make money by allowing their properties to be used as sites for carbon sequestration.

In a presentation today at the joint meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America, researchers with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences reported early findings from a statewide study analyzing soil carbon content across areas the size of a football field.

The results confirm what researchers have suspected – that soil carbon content can vary widely on a small site, said Sabine Grunwald, a professor in UF’s soil and water science department. That means efforts to amend soil with carbon-rich biomass will need to be tailored to local carbon levels.

The results also confirm that soil carbon variability has a lot to do with how the land is used and what material covers the land, factors known as land use and land cover.

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UF/IFAS thanks supporters during inaugural Dinner of Distinction

Topic(s): Honors and Appointments, IFAS

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A number of people will be honored for their contributions to UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the inaugural Dinner of Distinction, to be held at the Florida Museum of Natural History the evening of Friday, Oct. 19.

The awards banquet is a new addition to CALS’ TailGATOR weekend, which serves as both a celebration of alumni achievements and a welcome for incoming and future students. During the banquet, UF/IFAS officials will also honor state Sen. J.D. Alexander (R-Lake Wales) and state Rep. Denise Grimsley (R-Lake Placid) for their legislative efforts in support of UF/IFAS.

The 2012 Dinner of Distinction award recipients include:

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UF/IFAS scientists part of team set to study integrative pollination of the nation’s specialty crops

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Entomology and Nematology, IFAS

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Researchers with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences are part of a team awarded $1.7 million for the first year of a national crop pollination research and outreach project.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded the grant to Michigan State University. Over the five-year life of the $9.1 million grant, UF/IFAS entomology researcher Jamie Ellis said he expects UF will receive about $700,000.

The project will focus on improving specialty crop yields and profit by supporting both wild and managed bees, and it is part of the USDA’s $101 million initiative on behalf of the nation’s specialty crop producers.

In Florida’s case, the specialty crops to be studied include watermelon and blueberries, Ellis said.

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UF-bred nectarine tree planted to honor Faculty Senate Chair Cheri Brodeur

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Cultivars, Economics, Honors and Appointments, IFAS, Research

 

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida Faculty Senate Chair Cheri Brodeur is definitely a product of UF, having been a student, staffer and faculty member here.

So when it came time to honor her latest achievement with a tree-planting ceremony, it was natural that Brodeur chose a tree that hails from her alma mater. It’s the Southern Rose nectarine, a variety developed by plant breeders with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and released in summer 2011.

A five-foot sapling was planted on the UF campus’ Reitz Union Lawn Wednesday, Oct. 17 at a ceremony attended by Brodeur, UF officials and numerous onlookers. The tree-planting is a tradition for each UF Faculty Senate chair.

“The reason I made a big deal about this (variety) is that the tree is grown by my college and so that was really important to me,” said Brodeur, an assistant extension scientist with the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences’ agricultural education and communication department.

Brodeur said she chose the nectarine to promote UF/IFAS’ plant breeding program, one of the most active among the nation’s land-grant institutions. She said she also grows peaches at home and makes it a point to use UF-developed cultivars there.

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