Click here for photo. Caption at bottom.
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.
Click here for high-resolution image. Caption at bottom.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Many scientists see great promise in algae as a new source of oil — a sustainable, environmentally sound way to break the world’s fossil fuel dependence.
Algal lipids from microalgae are one of the best sources for biofuels – algae grow quickly, tolerate extreme weather conditions, and do not pose the same issues as biofuel crops that are grown both for fuel and food.
Many research teams in academia and private industry are struggling, however, with one vexing problem with algae as a fuel source: The conditions that promote algal growth aren’t the same as the conditions that allow the algae to create the maximum amount of oil.
Click here for high resolution image. Caption at bottom.
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.
Click here for high-resolution photo. Caption at bottom.
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.
See caption below.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Standing in the dairy aisle, hand on a gallon of milk, a consumer might wonder why reports of falling dairy prices aren’t reflected in a lower price on the milk he’s eyeing in his neighborhood grocery.
And in part, that consumer would be right: A new University of Florida study that examines 100 food commodities shows that price changes can take several months to be reflected at the consumer level.
But overall, the study showed that price-change signals are accurate, and more important, are not arbitrary, said Ronald Ward, an emeritus professor in agricultural marketing with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — There’s an old head-scratcher that asks whether the refrigerator light really goes out when you close the door.
The answer may be about to change.
Scientists have known for hundreds of years that plants respond to light in a variety of ways.
But the results of a new University of Florida study tell them how specific light wavelengths can manipulate volatile compounds that control aroma and taste in several high-value crops, including petunia, tomato, strawberry and blueberry.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Two papers co-authored by a University of Florida professor have been highlighted by a leading science journal.
The science journal Plant Physiology recently named the studies “Crop Genome Plasticity and Its Relevance to Food and Feed Safety of Genetically Engineered Breeding Stacks” and “Evaluating the Potential for Adverse Interactions within Genetically Engineered Breeding Stacks” as Editor’s Choice papers.
The papers were co-authored by Curtis Hannah, an professor with the horticultural sciences department, part of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Depending on one’s perspective, goliath grouper are either a conservation success story or a protected species that no longer needs help, according to a new survey from the University of Florida.
Atlantic goliath grouper, part of the sea bass family, were overfished from the 1960s through the 1980s and their numbers thinned until 1990, when a harvest moratorium was put into place in U.S. waters. As the name suggests, the slow-moving fish can reach 800 pounds and more than 8 feet in length. They’re found off Florida’s coasts, throughout the Caribbean and off West Africa.
Click here for high-resolution version. Caption at bottom.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — University of Florida researchers have found, for the first time, that crop models predicting yields for one of the world’s most important crops begin to disagree under climate change scenarios.
By knowing where those models break down, researchers will be better able to improve them. The computerized models predict crop yields for wheat, one of the world’s most-consumed foods.
Scientists use crop models to foresee which parts of the world may face the greatest food shortages, so that efforts to improve food production can be directed to those places.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — One of the world’s fastest growing agricultural industries, goat farming, is plagued by deadly intestinal parasites, particularly the barber’s pole worm – a pest that poses great danger to the goat-farming industry in the Southeastern U.S. and other parts of the world.
Improper use of commercial medicines has helped make the parasites resistant to many deworming drugs.
But recent research by the University of Florida’s Animal Sciences department may be closing in on a solution. Although researchers say it needs more study, they’ve recently found papaya seeds to be an inexpensive, alternative method for ridding goats of their parasitic passengers.