Jeong, left, and Folta, right
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A University of Florida scientist will try to figure out how antibiotic-resistant microorganisms get into cattle. Another will study how to get tomatoes and strawberries to retain their flavors and last longer.
The two vastly different questions will be the focus of separate studies led by UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty members. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has awarded KC Jeong $2.19 million to study the cattle antibiotic question. NIFA also has awarded Kevin Folta and Thomas Colquhoun $500,000 to investigate the strawberry/tomato issue.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — St. Lucie County ranchers have saved an estimated $850,000 a year, thanks to University of Florida experts who taught them how to release a beetle to eat an invasive plant that normally elbows out valuable cattle forage.
“Using the Tropical Soda Apple beetle has resulted in significant cost savings for ranchers while at the same time protecting the environment by reducing the need to use herbicides,” said St. Lucie County Extension agent Ken Gioeli, part of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
The program, which uses beetles to biologically control the Tropical Soda Apple (TSA) on St. Lucie County ranches, has won the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals National Innovative Program Award. That’s the fourth straight year UF’s St. Lucie County Extension Office has won a national award.
Pictured top (left to right) Robert Fletcher, Michelle Danyluk and Bin Gao; second row (left to right) Zhenli He, Jose Eduardo Santos and Gary Peter.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Six University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty members, who are trying to solve global issues like food safety and environmental sustainability, have been named as UF Research Foundation Professors for 2015-18.
The recognition goes to faculty who demonstrate a distinguished record of research and a strong research agenda that’s likely to continue to distinguish them in their fields.
“When I look at the breadth of research exemplified by these talented scientists, I am reminded of the complexity and breadth of the IFAS mission, and how fortunate we are to have people of such high caliber working in a university that places such a high value on research and invests so heavily in the research enterprise,” said Doug Archer, UF/IFAS associate dean of research.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — When the University of Florida’s School of Forest Resources and Conservation (SFRC) holds its annual Spring Celebration, there’s plenty of focus on the School’s storied past, but the event also salutes current students, their achievements and future aspirations, said Tim White, SFRC director and a professor with the School, part of UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
The two-day event, scheduled for April 10-11, is part social gathering and part scientific symposium, welcoming all SFRC personnel, students and alumni, supporters and friends, he said. All three of SFRC’s academic divisions take part in the Celebration – Forest Resources and Conservation; Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, and Geomatics, which includes surveying, map making and other disciplines involving geographic information.
“This is our one opportunity each year to bring together everyone connected with the School,” White said. “Spring Celebration is supposed to be inclusive, so we try to offer something for everybody.”
Events this year include a barbecue, 5K run, trap and skeet shooting competition, displays and demonstrations, and an awards ceremony for students and alumni, he said. Much of the activity will take place at the school’s new Austin Cary Learning Center, dedicated in April 2014.
For more information and to register for events, visit http://sfrc.ufl.edu/about/events/sc/.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Nan-Yao Su, the University of Florida scientist who invented the Sentricon® system for termite colony elimination, has been selected for induction into the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame.
Sentricon®, the first commercial baiting product for subterranean termites, has protected millions of structures, including the White House and the Statue of Liberty.
The Hall of Fame selection committee chose nominees whose inventions and achievements have “advanced the quality of life for Floridians, our state and our nation,” according to a letter to Su from hall of fame Program Manager William Nikolic.
Su said he feels honored to be mentioned alongside such great inventors as Thomas Edison and UF’s own Robert Cade, who invented Gatorade®.
“I am glad that I can contribute to the quality of life of many homeowners in Florida and worldwide,” Su said.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Chanda Jones Littles and Hannah Allen, two University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences graduate students, are finalists for the Three Minute Thesis competition, where they will explain what makes their research compelling in, well, three minutes. The competition starts at 2 p.m. April 7 in the Reitz Union Auditorium.
The competition, developed by the University of Queensland in 2008, challenges graduate students to present their research in 180 seconds to an intelligent, non-specialist audience. The competition helps students develop academic, presentation and research communication skills.
“For one, I think that it’s important for people to communicate with a broad audience about what you do and why it’s important,” said Littles, an interdisciplinary ecology major working toward her doctorate. “This competition is great practice for that. Given the time constraints, it has made me focus more on what really is important in my research and how it’s contributing to the bigger picture of conservation.”
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Madan Oli, a professor in the University of Florida’s Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, has won the 2015 UF Doctoral Dissertation Advisor/Mentoring Award. He is one of four doctoral advisors university-wide who received the award, which is given to faculty advisors who have an excellent track record of training outstanding doctoral students.
“This award means a lot to me because it is the highest recognition for an advisor at the University of Florida, and that gives me the confidence that what I’m doing is meaningful,” said Oli, a faculty member in the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. “I feel good because I spend a lot of time working with students, and it’s very rewarding that that is being recognized.”
The award is given every year to about five advisors, who are selected on a competitive basis to promote doctoral studies and to recognize strong doctoral advising programs. UF’s graduate school evaluates faculty based on how well the doctoral students have performed in terms of their publications, job placements and impact on science and society. Nominations for the award come from current graduate students, graduate alumni, faculty members, graduate coordinators, department chairs, school directors, college deans and higher-level administrators. Each winner receives a $3,000 cash award, plus $1,000 to support their graduate students.
Baskets of hard clams on a Cedar Key dock — Cutline below
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Aquaculture, the controlled production of seafood, ornamental fish and other aquatic life, is big business in Florida. In 2012, the state’s producers earned $70 million in cash receipts, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture survey.
Worldwide, aquaculture is responsible for about half of all seafood consumed, so this emerging sector of Florida agricultural production holds great promise for the future, said Karl Havens, Florida Sea Grant director and a professor with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
To inform the public about this rapidly developing field, Florida Sea Grant chose aquaculture as the subject of its latest special report for the statewide business magazine Florida Trend.
The report, “Florida’s Economy Is Expanding Under the Sea,” appears in the April issue of the magazine. It’s the second of a four-part series focused on important opportunities and challenges involving the marine environments off Florida’s shores. (more …)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Casey Parker came to the University of Florida aspiring to be a pharmacist. But chemistry wasn’t for her. So, she took a class called “Bugs and People,” and the professor at the time, Carl Barfield, convinced her to study entomology.
“I loved everything about it,” Parker said of studying insects. “It’s something people don’t think about very much. They’re around, but we don’t think, ‘they do so many crazy things in our world.’ They transmit tons of diseases that affect humans and animals.”
Parker did so well academically that she graduated last year and continued her master’s studies at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Department of Entomology and Nematology. The graduate entomology student recently won the ONE WORLD competition, organized by the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Challenge 2050 Project in conjunction with the Syngenta Good Growth Plan. She was awarded $2,000 for her work.
“I was really honored,” Parker said, adding that she felt humbled to be among the other five student finalists – dubbed “The Solution 6” — all of whom created outstanding innovations.
Cutline at bottom
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Faculty from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences produce some of the nation’s tastiest fruits and vegetables.
Researchers at UF’s Plant Innovation Center breed new cultivars and conduct research to boost the taste, smell and appearance of Florida fruits, vegetables and foliage. But the PIC does much more, said UF environmental horticulture Professor David Clark.
“The big thing is this: No other university in the country can pull off what we’ve put together here, so we are novel,” Clark said. “We cover the whole supply chain, from the conception of an idea to the realization of a product.”
UF faculty, administrators and friends gathered Monday at the UF president’s house in Gainesville for Flavors of Florida 2015, a premier event showcasing the edible research products of the UF/IFAS Plant Innovation Center. Industry leaders, donors and guests savored the sensations of tasty tomatoes, flavor-filled fruits and other Sunshine State food and drinks while learning more about the impact that UF/IFAS makes for the agriculture industry. This is the second year the event has been held.