University of Florida

UF/IFAS expert: Female mosquitoes become savvy about other-species suitors

Topic(s): Entomology and Nematology, Environment, Families and Consumers, Household Pests, IFAS, Invasive Species, RECs


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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Talk about meeting Mr. Wrong.

Female yellow fever mosquitoes sometimes contend with the courtship and mating efforts of males from another, competing species – the Asian tiger mosquito.

She’s naïve, he’s sneaky. Both species spread dengue, a viral disease that’s a major human health threat.

In an ironic turnabout, Florida dengue cases may rise in the near future due to female yellow fever mosquitoes becoming savvy about the false-flag suitors, leading to increased yellow fever mosquito populations, says an expert with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

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Turfgrass alternatives offer residents additional groundcover choices, UF/IFAS experts say

Topic(s): Environment, Extension, Florida Friendly, Green Living, IFAS, Landscaping, Lawn & Garden

Perennial peanut

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Spring is right around the corner, and for some residents it may be time to think about sprucing up the yard with new landscaping.

Covering more than 5 million acres in Florida, turfgrass is the state’s most popular groundcover – but it may not be the ideal choice for every situation, say experts with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Emphasizing the Florida-Friendly Landscaping principle “right plant, right place,” UF/IFAS Extension faculty members suggest that residents who are considering groundcover options start by assessing their needs and site conditions.

“We need turf for recreation, for that open front-yard spot in your landscape, and to give us that green look,” said Wendy Wilber, an Alachua County environmental horticulture Extension agent. “A good-looking Florida-Friendly Landscape can have a mix of plants and features, if the conditions call for it.”

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Tourists’ photos could help scientists study whale sharks, UF/IFAS expert says

Topic(s): Conservation, Environment


Photo by Juliane Struve. Click here for high-res image.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Whale sharks may be the world’s largest fish, but the body of scientific knowledge surrounding them is surprisingly small.

Now, a University of Florida expert says tourists armed with cameras may be a new source of data about the gentle giants, often seen in the Gulf of Mexico. Photographs could help scientists gauge the shark’s abundance and shed light on its longevity, migratory patterns, breeding habits and other information needed for conservation efforts.

A study published in the current issue of the journal Wildlife Research examined whale shark photographs and video still images posted online by vacationers on diving or sightseeing excursions who’d seen the creatures. The researchers concluded that the material was often suitable for use in scientific studies that identify and track individual whale sharks.

“We need to consider all available information to try and fill the gaps of knowledge for data-deficient, vulnerable species like whale sharks,” said Juliane Struve, a research assistant professor with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. “Citizen photos are as useful as researcher photos if they meet the requirements of photo identification.”

Whale sharks can be individually identified because each one has a unique pattern of spots and lines on its back, giving the creature a visual signature akin to a fingerprint, Struve said. And, unlike many large marine species, whale sharks often swim close to the surface, making them accessible to photographers.

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UF agricultural economics professor wins lifetime achievement award

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


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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Charles Moss, a professor in the University of Florida’s food and resource economics department, recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southern Agricultural Economics Association.

The award was presented at the association’s annual meeting in Orlando earlier this month.

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To help homeowners, industry personnel, UF/IFAS posts videos on turfgrass research

Topic(s): Agriculture, Conservation, Crops, Cultivars, Environment, Green Living, Landscaping, Lawn & Garden


GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Researchers with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences recently completed the state’s largest-ever study of landscape turfgrass and fertilizer use, and new online videos will help homeowners and lawn-care professionals understand the findings.

The eight-year, $4.2 million study was funded by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to determine the effectiveness of current UF/IFAS fertilizer recommendations, which have been in use since about 2000, said John Hayes, UF/IFAS dean for research. Florida has more than 5 million acres of home and commercial turf.

“This work is an important body of information generated here to address important questions about nutrient management,” Hayes said. “We’re proud to communicate our findings and we hope they will play a substantial role in helping residents, industry personnel and policymakers protect water quality.”

Three hours of technical presentations from a Jan. 15 live symposium are available at http://tinyurl.com/be2la7q and a three-minute video aimed at educating the public has been posted at http://tinyurl.com/ajy4ytr.

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UF/IFAS report finds Floridians value water resources, want to conserve

Topic(s): Conservation, Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Floridians are more concerned with water quality than quantity, the results of a new University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences water survey suggest.The survey of some 469 Floridians found that when respondents were asked to assign levels of importance to 16 water-related topics such as “plentiful water for cities” and “clean groundwater,” residents rated having “clean drinking water” most important. (more …)

Florida 4-H pushes to reach big registration goal for annual 4-H Day at the Capitol event

Topic(s): 4-H


GAINESVILLE, Fla. – This year, Florida reached a milestone, marking the 500th anniversary of Juan Ponce de Leon’s arrival on Florida’s east coast.

To commemorate that anniversary, Florida 4-H has come up with a goal related to the number 500: The UF-based organization hopes to bring 500 green-shirted young people to the state’s government headquarters in Tallahassee for its annual 4-H Day at the Capitol event on March 14.

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UF researchers share expertise at prestigious AAAS meeting in Boston

Topic(s): New Technology, Nutrition, Research

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two University of Florida scientists will share their research on a natural way to sweeten foods with colleagues and journalists at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting this week in Boston.

Harry Klee, of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and Linda Bartoshuk, of UF’s College of Dentistry, have been asked to meet with journalists Thursday morning.

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Sixth annual UF Bee College event returns in March

Topic(s): Crops, Entomology and Nematology, Green Living

Bee College on Friday March 20th, 2009.  UF/IFAS Photo: Tyler Jones.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The state’s biggest educational event for honey bee hobbyists, professionals and anyone interested in honey bees — Bee College — is back for a sixth year, University of Florida officials announced this week.

UF’s Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory has organized and hosted the event since 2008. This year’s event will be held at the UF Whitney Marine Laboratory in Marineland, Fla., March 8-9.

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