University of Florida

UF researchers develop effective, inexpensive citrus greening detector

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, IFAS, New Technology, Research
UF post-doctoral research associate Alireza Pourreza utilizes the vision sensor he helped to develop to detect citrus greening.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — While a commercially available cure for crop-killing citrus greening remains elusive, University of Florida researchers have developed a tool to help growers combat the insidious disease: an efficient, inexpensive and easy-to-use sensor that can quickly detect whether a tree has been infected.

That early warning could give growers enough lead time to destroy plagued trees and save the rest. (more …)

3 honored with UF/IFAS International Awards

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

Muthusami Kumaran.  Family, Youth, and Community Sciences.UF IFAS International Awards Bactawar 012915

In this photo released by the University of Florida?s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, agricultural economist Edward ?Gilly? Evans, left, and tropical fruit expert Jonathan Crane examine avocados in a research grove at UF?s Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead ? Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009. The pair helped write a paper on the potential economic impact of laurel wilt, a disease threatening Florida?s avocado crop. If the disease reaches Miami-Dade County, it could destroy half the crop and cost the state $27 million. (AP photo/University of Florida/IFAS/Thomas Wright)



GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Two faculty members and a county Extension director exemplify UF/UFAS’ efforts to help solve global issues and have earned the UF/IFAS International Awards for 2014.

Edward “Gilly” Evans, Muthusami Kumaran and Basil Bactawar have won this year’s honors, as announced by Jack Payne, UF senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources.

“This is a great distinction and honor for each that reflects the global stature of their career accomplishments and the high esteem in which they are held not only here in IFAS but also worldwide,” Payne said.

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CALS doctoral student earns $25,000 fellowship from Dannon Yogurt

Topic(s): Agriculture, CALS, Families and Consumers, Nutrition

Yogurt Grant - 012815 Ford_Amanda photo 2014

Amanda Ford

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences doctoral student has won a $25,000 fellowship to continue studying probiotics.

Amanda Ford, conducting research under the guidance of Wendy Dahl, an assistant professor in the UF/IFAS Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, was awarded the fellowship by the Dannon Company.

“Ford’s strong interest in yogurt and probiotics and commitment to advancing human health through scientific research distinguished her from a pool of well-qualified and talented candidates,” the Dannon Company said in a news release.

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UF/IFAS study: Fatherly involvement with teenage girls may lead to safer sexual protection in college

Topic(s): Families and Consumers, IFAS

GAINESVILLE, Fla. ─ To paraphrase an old TV show title, Perhaps “Father (does) Know Best.”

Female students who said their dads were “involved” in their lives as teens are more likely to use protection when having sex in college, a positive sign for fathers in an era of increasingly single-parent homes, according to new University of Florida research.

For her master’s thesis in the UF/IFAS Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Caroline Payne-Purvis analyzed responses from 748 college students in an introductory course at UF. About 60 percent were females, and 40 percent male.

Students answered 73 questions, which tried to find out, among other things, aspects of the participants’ adolescent years, their parents’ level of involvement when the students still lived at home, how often they now engage in sexual behaviors, including intercourse and their contraception use during various sexual behaviors.

Payne-Purvis found female students who said their father was “involved” in their lives as teens used condoms more frequently during intercourse.

(more …)

One fish, two fish ─ Camera counts freshwater fish, which could help combat hydrilla

Topic(s): Aquaculture, Conservation, Economics, Environment, IFAS
FISHCAMERA photo 012215

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A camera can accurately count freshwater fish, even in the thickest of underwater vegetation, a key finding for those who manage fisheries and control the invasive plant hydrilla, new University of Florida research shows.

The finding by UF/IFAS scientists can help researchers understand how many and which fish species are using dense plant habitats, said former UF/IFAS graduate student Kyle Wilson.

While cameras have been used to document fish behavior – including eating and breeding ─ this marks the first time scientists have used video to count fish in underwater plant habitats, Wilson said. In addition, no prior studies that used cameras to count fish verified their fish populations.

“It is commonly assumed that dense and invasive plants, like hydrilla, can drastically change fish habitat quality, primarily through changes in dissolved oxygen levels, water chemistry and habitat structure,” Wilson said. “Whether these changes are good or bad for fish has previously remained uncertain due to sampling problems in dense plant habitats. Using underwater cameras, we have shown that fish can and do use habitats we previously thought were too stressful for fish habitat.”

This is a big problem, especially with hydrilla, a plant that has invaded lakes throughout Florida, much of the U.S., Central America, South Africa and Australia, Wilson said. He estimated Florida spent up to $14 million per year throughout the 2000s to manage hydrilla, while the U.S. spent about $100 million per year in the 2000s for aquatic plant management.

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UF/IFAS names Wilson interim chair of environmental horticulture

Topic(s): Announcements, Departments, IFAS

Wilson Env. Hort. chair 012115

Sandra Wilson

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – After 15 years as an environmental horticulture faculty member at the UF/IFAS research center in Fort Pierce, Sandra Wilson was honored when asked to take over the department at the university’s main campus in Gainesville.

But there were a lot of logistics involved. For one thing, she needed to relocate her husband, a UF/IFAS soil and water science professor, who also worked at the Indian River Research and Education Center. Not to mention their 7-year-old daughter, two dogs and three cats.

Still, the Wilsons have made the transition, and Sandra is the interim chair of the UF/IFAS Department of Environmental Horticulture. Wilson was appointed to the post by Jack Payne, UF senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources.

“Dr. Wilson was a natural choice to lead our Environmental Horticulture Department,” Payne said. “Combine her outstanding teaching and research record, the leadership she has shown and the fact that the faculty support her, and we knew right away Dr. Wilson would lead the department to unparalleled heights.”

(more …)

UF/IFAS hosting One World summit to address feeding the world’s growing population

Topic(s): Uncategorized

Corn crops being watered by a pivot irrigation system. UF/IFAS photo: Josh Wickham

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida Professor Tony Andenoro is a determined man, bent on figuring out how to feed the world’s population when it grows to 9 billion people by the year 2050 – and he wants help in solving that problem through the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Challenge 2050 Project and the upcoming One World summit at UF and via the web. (more …)

Bicyclists willing to ride up to 3 miles to catch bus, train, UF/IFAS study shows

Topic(s): Conservation, Environment, Families and Consumers, Green Living, IFAS, RECs, Research

Students commute on bicycles through campus.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – If three American metro areas are any indication, few people ride their bicycles to a bus or train station to commute to work, and those who do only travel an average of 1 to 2 miles. That suggests to a University of Florida researcher that American cities should make the 2-mile radius around transit hubs more bike-friendly.

Methods to do so could include installing bicycle lanes separated from vehicular traffic, adding off-street multipurpose paths for pedestrians and bicyclists and converting car lanes to bike-only lanes, said UF geomatics Associate Professor Henry Hochmair.

Hochmair reached his conclusions by studying data collected by transit agencies from passengers who rode trains and buses in three metro areas – Atlanta, Los Angeles and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

From those who completed the survey, Hochmair analyzed trips from 157 people in Los Angeles, 66 in Atlanta and 99 in Minneapolis who rode their bikes to access transit – 2.3 percent, 0.3 percent, and 4.2 percent, respectively. In Hochmair’s data analysis, those who opted to ride a bike to a transit hub cycled an average of 1 to 2 miles in Atlanta and the Twin Cities and 3 miles in Los Angeles.

(more …)

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