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IFAS News

University of Florida

UF/IFAS scientists: Sterilize tools before pruning Canary Island date palms to prevent lethal fungal disease

Topic(s): Environment, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Pests, RECs, Research

 

Fusarium Wilt Palms 083115

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — UF/IFAS scientists urge people to sterilize their pruning tools before and after they trim their Canary Island Date Palm trees to avoid spreading a deadly disease.

Monica Elliott, a plant pathology professor, published a study recently in the journal Plant Disease that shows that Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. canariensis, a pathogen that spreads fusarium wilt of Canary Island Date Palm, was discovered on a wild or Senegal date palm in Palm Beach County.

While this pathogen is not new to Florida, this is the first report of it infecting the wild date palm, said Elliott, co-director of the UF/IFAS Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center. Researchers have documented that this type of fusarium wilt pathogen will kill the Canary Island date palm.

The good news is that you can prevent the spread of F. oxysporum f. sp. canariensis

most of the time by sterilizing pruning tools prior to pruning or by using a new pruning tool.

“It is transmitted primarily from palm to palm by infested pruning tools,” Elliott said. “In other words, someone trims infected leaves off of a Canary Island date palm. Infested sawdust remains on the tool and when they trim leaves from the next Canary Island date palm, they ‘inoculate’ that palm with the pathogen.”

For more information, look at these Extension documents: Fusarium Wilt of Canary Island Date Palms:  http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/PP139; Fusarium Wilt of Queen and Mexican Fan Palms:  http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pp278.

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Caption: UF/IFAS scientists urge people to sterilize their tools before and after pruning their palm trees to avoid spread a potentially lethal fungus. The recommendations comes after they found Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. canariensis , a pathogen that spreads fusarium wilt of Canary Island Date Palm,on a wild or Senegal date palm in Palm Beach County.

Credit: UF/IFAS

By: Brad Buck, 352-294-3303, bradbuck@ufl.edu

Source: Monica Elliott, 954-577-6315, melliott@ufl.edu

UF/IFAS researchers awarded National Science Foundation grants to study animals in their environment

Topic(s): Announcements, Environment, IFAS, Research

NEON

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Knowing where animals choose to spend their time and why they may have chosen those areas is fundamental to conserving our nation’s wildlife. Two researchers from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences are among 28 scientists who will share nearly $4.8 million in funding from The National Science Foundation in grants and will observe insects, plants and animals to see how they interact with their environments throughout North America. (more …)

UF/IFAS scientist to spread knowledge at World Avocado Congress

Topic(s): Agriculture, Biocontrols, Crops, Economics, Environment, IFAS, New Technology, Pests, RECs, Research

Jonathan Crane, professor of horticultural sciences, inspecting an avocado tree at the Tropical Research and Education Center.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — With the laurel wilt pathogen threatening the Florida avocado industry, a UF/IFAS tropical fruit scientist will lend his expertise at the World Avocado Congress in September in Lima, Peru.

Jonathan Crane, professor in horticultural sciences, will give an opening presentation titled: “The Potential for Laurel Wilt to Threaten Avocado Production is Real” at the meeting, Sept. 13-18. With this talk, Crane will provide evidence that laurel wilt will spread throughout North America and will pose a threat to native trees and to commercial avocado production.

Later, Crane will present a paper titled: “Current status and control recommendations for laurel wilt and the ambrosia beetle vectors in commercial avocado orchards in South Florida.” Crane co-authored the paper with Daniel Carrillo, assistant professor in entomology; Randy Ploetz, professor in plant pathology; Edward Evans, associate professor in food and resource economics and Aaron Palmateer, associate professor in plant pathology – all of whom work at the UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead. The final co-author is Don Pybas, director of the Florida Avocado Administrative Committee.

Several ambrosia beetle species transmit the laurel wilt pathogen to avocado trees, killing most of them, threatening an industry with a $100 million-a-year economic impact on Florida. The original ambrosia beetle vector of laurel wilt was discovered in the U.S. in Georgia in 2002 and since that time has spread to seven additional states. Laurel wilt has begun to slightly affect commercial avocado production in Florida.

(more …)

Mating with the wrong insect may cut yellow fever mosquito populations

Topic(s): Entomology and Nematology, IFAS, RECs, Research

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Asian tiger mosquito

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Yellow fever mosquito

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Asian tiger mosquitoes can drive down yellow fever mosquito populations when the female chooses the wrong male with which to mate, UF/IFAS scientists say. Both insects transmit chikungunya and dengue, dangerous diseases affecting millions of people worldwide.

In a study published this month in the journal Infection, Genetics and Evolution, Post-doctoral Researcher Irka Bargielowski led a team of scientists that conducted field studies in Houston, Texas; Caracas, Venezuela; Franceville, Gabon and Singapore, Malaysia.

They studied mating between the Asian tiger and yellow fever mosquitoes and found that it in the wild, avoidance mechanisms evolved in yellow fever mosquitoes, Bargielowski said. That finding may help scientists predict population changes of the two mosquito populations.

In the current study, about 1 to 3 percent of the mosquitoes mated in the wild, said Bargielowski, who works at the UF/IFAS Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory in Vero Beach.

“Model predictions, however, show that the rates we detected in the field are likely high enough to drive ecological change, such as reducing populations,” she said.

(more …)

Citrus Health Management Areas staving off greening with coordinated pesticide spraying

Topic(s): Agriculture, Citrus, Entomology and Nematology, IFAS, Pests, RECs, Research

An Asian citrus psyllid feeds on a citrus tree, leaving the citrus greening bacteria. The bacteria will starve the tree of nutrients and eventually kill it.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — What’s a little pesticide among neighbors?  For Florida citrus growers, it could mean saving their trees that are under attack from the virulent citrus greening bacterium threatening to destroy the state’s $10.7 billion industry.

Entomologist Michael Rogers, director of the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center, is telling growers that one of the best approaches to managing citrus greening is to control the insect that spreads this disease. And the best way to do that is by coordinating their pesticide applications with their neighbors. (more …)

UF/IFAS scientists: Keep your dogs out of warm lakes

Topic(s): Environment, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Research

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida scientists warn against letting your dog swim in warm water bodies after they found several lakes with a pathogen that can make canines sick.

Animals, including dogs and horses, can contract pythiosis from swimming spores, said Erica Goss, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of plant pathology. About 10 cases of humans getting sick from this disease have also been reported in the U.S.

In addition to keeping their animals out of lakes, people should avoid ponds and other standing water that contains grass and aquatic vegetation, particularly in the hot months, Goss said.

“Lined ponds should be OK, because the pathogen is probably soil borne,” she said. “I believe that dogs who do not swim have also gotten it though, possibly from eating infested grass. Dogs that drink infested water can get intestinal infections.”

(more …)

UF/IFAS scientists warn of pharmaceutical peril for aquatic organisms in urban rivers

Topic(s): Conservation, Environment, Extension, Families and Consumers, IFAS, Pollution, RECs, Research, Safety

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — River beds in urban areas worldwide store pharmaceuticals, and University of Florida scientists warn they can pose a potential environmental danger to aquatic organisms.

UF/IFAS Post-Doctoral Researcher Yun-Ya Yang conducted a study along rural and urban areas of the Alafia River, which runs through parts of Hillsborough County and empties into the Gulf of Mexico. In her study, Yang collected sediment samples at several sites along the river and found 17 pharmaceuticals.

Yang found a lower amount of pharmaceuticals than in previous similar studies because river beds in Florida do not contain enough silt and clay, but they can still present an environmental concern.

These types of chemicals are not confined to the Alafia River or urban-area rivers in Florida, said Gurpal Toor, an associate professor in soil and water science, who supervised Yang’s study. The scientists say their findings are representative of urban rivers worldwide, partly because wastewater treatments plants, septic systems and industrial wastewater empty into water bodies. Landfill chemicals also leach into water bodies. All these sources contribute these contaminants in the environment.

(more …)

Two UF/IFAS animal sciences faculty members each earn $450K cattle research grants

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Environment, IFAS, Livestock, RECs, Research

Cliff Lamb.  Professor and coordinator, Animal Science Programs.  UF/IFAS Photographer Tyler Jones.

Geoffrey E. Dahl (Geoff), Professor and Chair, Ph.D. UF/IFAS Photo: Sally Lanigan.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Geoff Dahl wants to know why heat makes cows less prone to produce milk, even when they are not lactating.

Dahl, a UF/IFAS animal sciences professor, has won a $450,000 grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to study how to reduce mammary cell growth so he and his colleagues can develop strategies to limit the negative impact of heat stress on cows that are late in pregnancy and not producing milk, the so-called “dry cows.”

Dahl was one of two UF/IFAS animal sciences faculty members to win $450,000 NIFA grants last week. Cliff Lamb, a professor at the North Florida Research and Education Center in Marianna, Florida, will study the differences in fetal development of Bos Indicus cows compared to Bos Taurus cows.

Heat stress causes cows to eat less and reduces milk during lactation, Dahl said. But it also decreases mammary growth late in a cow’s pregnancy, when cows normally do not produce milk as they prepare for the next lactation.

“That depression of mammary growth translates to less milk throughout the next lactation, and thus reduced efficiency and profitability for dairy producers,” said Dahl, who’s also chair of the Department of Animal Sciences.

(more …)

UF/IFAS Citrus Rootstock Selection Guide now online

Topic(s): Agriculture, Announcements, Citrus, Crops, Extension, IFAS, RECs, Research

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Citrus Rootstock Selection Guide is now online at http://flrootstockselectionguide.org in a format that lets visitors interact with the guide.

Visitors to the site can find 104 publications supporting the ratings in the guide and can conduct queries of the rootstock information, said Stephen Futch, UF/IFAS multi-county Extension agent. The information and tools let you make informed citrus rootstock selections for your groves.

Three large buttons on the home page let you:

  • Open and interact with the Rootstock Selection Guide. It presents information on 45 rootstocks and 20 traits.
  • Open the Consult Guide, which introduces new technology to help you arrive at the best rootstock recommendations for your circumstances.
  • Open the Learn section, which contains a bibliography of references in an easy to use database with more than 100 published articles.

To access the website, go to www.crec.ifas.ufl.edu, then click on “Extension,” then “Horticulture,” then “Varieties and Rootstocks.”

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Caption: The Florida Citrus Rootstock Selection Guide, developed by UF/IFAS faculty members and Extension agents, is now online at http://flrootstockselectionguide.org in a format that lets visitors interact with the guide.

Credit: UF/IFAS file.

By: Brad Buck, 352-294-3303, bradbuck@ufl.edu

Source: Stephen Futch, 863-9546-8644, shf@ufl.edu

Book examines the use of predatory mites for biological control

Topic(s): Agriculture, Biocontrols, Economics, Entomology and Nematology, Environment, IFAS, Invasive Species, Pests, RECs, Research

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Biological control of pests, weeds, plants and animals gives “the best hope to providing lasting, environmentally sound and socially acceptable pest management,” according to a new book edited by two UF/IFAS scientists.

The book, “Prospects for Biological Control of Plant Feeding Mites and Other Harmful Organisms,” was recently published by Springer Science. It includes chapters by scientists in California, Kenya, Benin, Brazil, Colombia, Greece, Spain and New Zealand.

Research compiled in the book examines how predatory mites can be used to control other plant-eating mites and other harmful organisms such as stable flies, mushrooms flies and some soil pests, said Daniel Carrillo, a UF/IFAS assistant professor in entomology. The book serves as an important resource for anyone searching for efficient and sustainable biological methods of pest control. Biological control is vital because pests become more difficult to control as they build resistance to pesticides.

“So, biological control is a sound alternative,” Carrillo said. “You can release predatory mites to control spider mites, whiteflies and thrips, among other pests. People use them in greenhouses mostly.”

(more …)

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