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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Captive breeding of the endangered Key Largo woodrat may not be the best solution to preserve the ecologically important rodent, an animal driven to near extinction by development, a new University of Florida study shows.
Using a computer model, scientists developed a captive breeding-and-release program to see if adding captive-reared animals outweighed the loss of rats from the wild. But it did not, the study said.
Robert McCleery, UF assistant professor in wildlife ecology and conservation and co-author of the study, estimated that fewer than 500 of the woodrats remain. That’s down from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates of about 6,000 in 1984.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — African crocodiles, long thought of as just three known species, are among the most iconic creatures on that continent. But recent University of Florida research now finds that there are at least seven distinct African crocodile species.
The UF team’s latest discovery, led by then-doctoral candidate Matthew H. Shirley, is that what had been believed to be a single species of slender-snouted crocodile, is actually two.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Although some scientists suggest that coral reefs are headed for certain doom, a new study by University of Florida and Caribbean researchers indicates even damaged reefs can recover.
In a 13-year study in the Cayman Islands, warm ocean temperatures led to bleaching and infectious disease that reduced live coral cover by more than 40 percent between 1999 and 2004. But seven years later, the amount of live coral on the reefs, the density of young colonies critical to the reefs’ future health, and the overall size of corals all had returned to the 1999 state, the study showed.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – More than half of all fresh produce in the United States is wasted every year, the vast majority due to retailers and consumers throwing out fruits and vegetables gone bad after being at the store or home for too long.
Jeffrey Brecht is the leader of one of two research groups at UF awarded grant money by the National Strawberry Sustainability Initiative.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Restaurants and supermarkets could save millions of dollars by hanging on to bug zapper bulbs instead of tossing them every year as they normally do, a new University of Florida study has found.
What’s more, the benefits could extend to the environment by keeping some of the bulbs’ mercury out of the waste stream.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida has released three smart device apps of interest to those in the irrigation business, and for the time being, users can download them for free.
The first three apps to be released were designed for citrus, strawberry and urban turfgrass irrigators, said Kati Migliaccio, an associate professor in agricultural and biological engineering, based at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, Fla.
GAINESVILLE — Using boomboxes to amplify predator bird sounds in the wild, University of Florida researchers have found that smaller birds listen to vocal cues to avoid areas populated by predators.
In her study, doctoral student Fangyuan Hua set up above-ground boomboxes mounted in camouflaged boxes on half-acre plots at the Ordway-Swisher Biological Station near Melrose.
Powered by car batteries, these boomboxes were programmed for four months to broadcast predator sounds according to a schedule that simulated when and how predators would normally call.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Animal biodiversity suffers near conservation areas that border big farms, and the effects can spread for miles, according to a new study by University of Florida researchers and their colleagues.
Maintaining animal biodiversity is important as it can lead to greater control of agricultural pests and increased pollination around farmland as well as help maintain the health of an area’s ecosystem, said Robert McCleery, a study co-author.
The researchers studied small mammal populations across large-scale sugarcane production areas and adjacent to isolated pockets of conservation land in Swaziland, Africa. The study was published Monday in the online journal PLOS ONE and can be viewed here: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0074520.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Captive “wild” horses will cost U.S. taxpayers $1 billion by 2030 if federal management approaches don’t change, according to a new report by a pair of researchers who were part of a national committee that studied the issue.
A possible solution, they say: contraceptive vaccines.
The report by researchers Madan Oli of the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and Robert Garrott of Montana State University, was published late last week in the journal Science. Oli is a professor in the wildlife ecology and conservation department, and Garrott is a professor in the MSU ecology department.
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Despite a soggy summer, water supply remains a critical issue in the Sunshine State. University of Florida researchers now say that reducing plant material, or biomass, in forests could significantly increase water supplied to streams, lakes and aquifers.
Researchers with the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences made the finding by creating computer models that analyzed the effects of reduced forest biomass on regional hydrological supplies. Their results will be published in the August issue of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association.
In one 4,000-acre tract in Central Florida, the model predicted that converting a densely planted pine forest to one managed with slightly fewer trees per acre could supply an additional 400,000 to 1.6 million gallons of water per day to the regional water supply.