University of Florida

UF/IFAS research demonstrates improved appeal of crop-saving sterile flies

Topic(s): Uncategorized


Caption at bottom.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Irradiated, sterile flies dropped over seaports and agricultural areas to mate with unsuspecting females save food crops and millions of dollars in prevented infestations and the ensuing eradication efforts.

But blasting these secret-suitor insects with radiation via electron beams, X-rays or gamma-rays, tends to make them weaker than typical males — and not so appealing to females as possible mates.

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UF/IFAS study: Computer model can help coastal managers with nourishment decisions

Topic(s): Agriculture, Disaster Preparedness, Environment, Research

beach erosion

Cutline: UF/IFAS researchers say a new computer model can help coastal managers make better beach nourishment decisions and possibly save millions of dollars. Above, the beach is shown with a fence at St. Augustine Beach, Fla.

UF/IFAS file photo

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A computer model developed, in part, by University of Florida researchers can help coastal managers better understand the long-term effects of major storms, sea-level rise and beach restoration activities and possibly save millions of dollars.

Researchers used erosion data following tropical storms and hurricanes that hit Santa Rosa Island, off Florida’s Panhandle, and sea-level rise projections to predict beach habitat changes over the next 90 years. But they say their model can be used to inform nourishment decisions at any beach.

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UF/IFAS faculty member coordinates global pest paper contest

Topic(s): Agriculture, Household Pests, Pests
Jiri Hulcr, a University of Florida assistant professor of forest entomology, coordinates a global contest that encourages students to write original research papers about insects as pests. Courtesy: Jiri Hulcr

Jiri Hulcr, a University of Florida assistant professor of forest entomology, coordinates a global contest that encourages students to write original research papers about insects as pests.
Courtesy: Jiri Hulcr

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida entomology faculty member coordinates a global contest for students’ original insect research, and he recently announced the two winners for 2013.

The contest encourages students to research the natural history of pests, said Jiri Hulcr, a UF assistant professor in forest entomology and a member of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

For their research papers, Stephen Taerum, who attends the University of Pretoria in South Africa and Emily Meineke, a student at North Carolina State University, won the most recent contest, now in its second year, said. For winning, they shared the annual prize of  $500.

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UF/IFAS approves 14 new cultivars for release

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Crops, Cultivars


Shown is coleus cultivar UF12-86-91, recently approved by a UF/IFAS committee. The panel recently approved 13 other cultivars -- in coleus and citrus --  for release.

Shown is coleus cultivar UF12-86-91, recently approved by a UF/IFAS committee. The panel recently approved 13 other cultivars — in coleus and citrus — for release.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Fourteen new cultivars, including eight coleus varieties and six citrus, have been approved for release by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Coleus are used as decorative bedding plants for landscaping, in mixed containers and as indoor potted plants in homes and gardens in North America and throughout the world. They are versatile, consumer-friendly plants because they are easy to grow in sun and shade and require less maintenance than many other garden plants, said David Clark, professor in floriculture and biotechnology, who developed the new cultivars.

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Seventh annual UF Bee College event returns March 7-8

Topic(s): Entomology and Nematology, Uncategorized


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

UF’s Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory has organized and hosted the event since 2008. The event will be held at the UF Whitney Marine Laboratory in Marineland, Fla., March 7-8.

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UF/IFAS study shows promise for castor crop planting in Florida

Topic(s): Agriculture, Crops, Cultivars, Economics
This castor plant at the UF/IFAS Plant Science Research and Education Unit in Citra, can be grown in Florida, according to a new UF/IFAS study. Courtesy: David Campbell, former University of Florida graduate student

This castor plant at the UF/IFAS Plant Science Research and Education Unit in Citra, can be grown in Florida, according to a new UF/IFAS study.
Courtesy: David Campbell, former University of Florida graduate student

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Castor, grown in Florida during World War II and currently considered as a component for military jet fuel, can be grown here again, using proper management techniques, a new University of Florida study shows.

Those techniques include spacing plants properly and using harvest aids to defoliate the plant when it matures.

Growers in the U.S. want to mechanically harvest castor, which is typically hand-picked in other parts of the world, the researchers said. Among other things, the UF/IFAS study evaluated whether the plant would grow too tall for mechanical harvesting machines.

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PIE Center survey: Floridians value water, but not ‘all in’ on conservation

Topic(s): Conservation, Environment, Research, Uncategorized

Lake Okeechobee.  Florida lakes, freshwater.  2010 Annual Research Report Photo.  UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Floridians value water, almost as much as they value money and their health — just don’t ask them to time themselves in the shower.

An online survey of 516 Floridians found that interest in water ranked third in a list of public issues, just behind the economy and health care, but ahead of taxes and public education. Eighty-three percent of respondents considered water a highly or extremely important issue.

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Gov. Rick Scott signs resolution honoring Extension service at Florida State Fair

Topic(s): 4-H, Agriculture, Announcements, CALS, Economics, Extension, IFAS



TAMPA, Fla. – Florida Gov. Rick Scott pauses to be in a photograph with 4-H members, left to right,  Marissa Coughlin, Meagan Borg and Krista Baker at the Florida State Fair. Scott attended the fair and the Fresh From Florida breakfast to talk about the importance of agriculture in Florida. In the photograph, he and the 4-H’ers stand in front of cutouts of political leaders who helped create the land-grant university and cooperative extension systems. UF/IFAS photo by Javier Edwards.


GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a resolution, sponsored by state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Thursday, at the state fair in Tampa recognizing the centennial of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, which established the federal Cooperative Extension Service.

Scott formally opened the 110th Florida State Fair and held a cabinet meeting on the fairgrounds as a way to highlight the state’s agricultural heritage. He spoke briefly at the Fresh From Florida Breakfast.

Through the Smith-Lever Act, extension agents in every state work to share research information with various constituents, including farmers. Florida has an Extension office in every one of its 67 counties.

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UF/IFAS expert available to offer relationship tips, advice for Valentine’s Day coverage

Topic(s): CALS, Families and Consumers

Victor Harris.  Family, Youth, and Community Sciences.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Whether you are in a blissfully happy, everything-runs-like-a-charm relationship or whether your significant other is your cat, the University of Florida’s Victor Harris – an expert in couples and premarital education – has tips to help strengthen your relationship.

Harris, an assistant professor in family, youth and community sciences at the University of Florida, says it’s a great time for relationship reflection.

Here are six tips from his arsenal:

  1. The old adage about never going to bed angry? It’s a marriage myth, he says. Sometimes it’s best to get some rest before your tired, cranky self says something you can’t take back. During those times when you’re most aggravated by your spouse, he suggests calming down for at least 30-minutes and taking at least a three-minute meditation break, focusing on the things you love most about your partner.
  2. The idea that marriage must always be a 50-50, straight-down-the-middle partnership? Also a myth. Many couples prosper and thrive with many different power balances and imbalances, he says. As long as both partners are happy, the balance works.
  3. Every couple needs rituals, both the everyday and special occasion varieties, he says. “Men seem to especially need a ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye’ touch. Basically, rituals help us increase positive bonds, which are a major aspect of the ongoing nurturing of friendship.” Rituals can include physical affection, gifts, keeping promises, acts of kindness, surprises and giving compliments. “The most important compliments are those that tell you ‘You are lovable and you are capable,’” Harris says.
  4. One of the easiest routes to a busted union is when couples don’t learn how to de-escalate a disagreement. Couples stuck in criticism-defensiveness-contempt-stonewalling mode are in big trouble, he warns. “For a relationship to work, researchers have found that you’ve got to have at least a 5-to-1 ratio of positive to negative interactions and experiences, and you’ve got to learn how to short-circuit the argument cycle before it becomes a mud fight.”
  5. If you’re wondering if your marriage is doomed: Find a couples therapist. Harris said some studies show that of couples who contemplate divorce but choose to stay together, more than 90 percent say later that they’re glad they did.
  6. And for singles looking to find someone with whom to celebrate future Valentine’s Days, Harris advises: “Besides just finding a hottie, as my students say, you need to find someone who fulfills your needs – and you do that by finding someone first who knows how to meet their own needs. Another big key is finding someone who can accept influence from you when you express what your needs and opinions are.”

Harris can be reached at 352-273-3523 or at victorharris@ufl.edu. Here are links to three more of his pertinent publications:

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1277  9 important communication skills for every relationship; http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1335 10 things you need to know before you get married, and http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1334 Are you ready to tie the knot? A quick checklist

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