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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Scientists believe climate change means more erratic weather patterns for the future, and that doesn’t bode well for forests in the Southeastern U.S.
Two things trees don’t need are damaging hurricane-force winds and wildfires, and they believe those climate change-related weather patterns portend more of both.
University of Florida researchers, including postdoctoral research associate Andres Susaeta, built a computer model that simulates various climate scenarios in hopes of minimizing the potentially cataclysmic damage to forests on privately owned forest land.
“Climate change is likely to affect forest productivity and exacerbate the impacts of big disasters on forest ecosystems in the South,” Susaeta said.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida research team is cautiously optimistic after finding a possible treatment in the lab for citrus greening, a disease devastating Florida’s $9 billion citrus industry. It is the first step in a years-long process to bring a treatment to market.
Claudio Gonzalez and Graciela Lorca led the research team at UF that examined three biochemical treatments: phloretin, hexestrol and benzbromarone.
The team sprayed greenhouse tree shoots separately with one of the three biochemicals and were successful in stopping the bacteria’s spread, particularly with benzbromarone, which halted the bacteria in 80 percent of the infected trees’ shoots. They expect to begin field experiments with this treatment later this year. Their research was published in late April by the online open access journal PLOS Pathogens. (more …)
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A University of Florida scientist has pinpointed Mexico as the origin of the pathogen that caused the 1840s Irish Potato Famine, a finding that may help researchers solve the $6 billion-a-year disease that continues to evolve and torment potato and tomato growers around the world.
A disease called “late blight” killed most of Ireland’s potatoes, while today it costs Florida tomato farmers millions each year in lost yield, unmarketable crop and control expenses.
For more than a century, scientists thought the pathogen that caused late blight originated in Mexico. But a 2007 study contradicted earlier findings, concluding it came from the South American Andes.
UF plant pathology assistant professor Erica Goss wanted to clear up the confusion and after analyzing sequenced genes from four strains of the pathogen, found ancestral relationships among them that point to Mexico as the origin.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Four species communicate with and sometimes trick each other around a scent produced by greening-infected citrus trees, a new University of Florida study finds.
Communication between species is common but almost always is described between two or three species, said Lukasz Stelinski, associate professor of entomology and nematology at the Citrus Research and Education Center in Lake Alfred.
Stelinski wanted know how a fourth species, in this case, a wasp, would vary this interaction ─ a probe that may be one of the few cases where species at four levels of the food chain use one odor to communicate with, and exploit, each other.
This UF/IFAS file photo shows Florida-grown strawberries.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – After the first year of a University of Florida study to try to develop new organic strawberry production systems, growers are playing a critical role in setting priorities for the research project’s future.
The study stemmed from several issues strawberry growers face. Rising costs of production and increased imports of strawberries threaten the sustainability of the Florida strawberry industry, one of two major production regions in the nation. Demand for organic strawberries is growing and brings a price premium for growers who can master the art and science of organic strawberry production.
Organic and conventional growers assessed parts of the first year of research, said Mickie Swisher, associate professor of sustainable agriculture in UF’s Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences and a member of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is hosting its second annual Bug Week May 19-23 with activities for students, families and bug lovers around the nation.
“The UF Department of Entomology and Nematology is one of the best in the country,” said Ruth Hohl Borger, assistant vice president for UF/IFAS Communications. “Bug Week is a great opportunity for our researchers to excite the imaginations of children – and children at heart – about the bugs that live among us.” (more …)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A South American insect could help control the invasive Brazilian peppertree in places where it supplants critical habitat for many organisms, according to University of Florida and U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists.
Brazilian peppertree has clusters of hundreds of small, red berries, and grows about 10 feet per year, to about 30 feet. It is native to Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. The tree has moved around the world as an ornamental plant and has become invasive in several states and countries, including Florida, Texas and Hawaii as well as Australia, New Zealand and some Caribbean islands.
In Florida, Brazilian peppertree has infested nearly 700,000 acres in the central and southern regions. It has been particularly abundant in the Everglades. In general, the trees take over space where native plants should be. Animals such as white-tailed deer, the Florida panther and migratory birds that depend on native vegetation, such as mangrove, for food and shelter are deprived of that habitat.
“This can have cascading effects through the food chain,” said Bill Overholt, an entomology professor at UF’s Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – University of Florida Entomology and Nematology undergraduate student Sabrina White recently participated in the elite two-day “Posters on the Hill” presentation with congressional leaders and staff last week.
White presented findings from her honors thesis work with her faculty mentor, UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ insect physiologist Daniel Hahn, April 29 at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C.