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FLAG IFAS UFIR













Off-Campus Research and Education Centers
1 CITRUS REC I Lake Alfred
2 EVERGLADES REC I Belle Glade
3 FLORIDA MEDICAL ENTOMOLOGY LAB I Vero Beach
4 FORT LAUDERDALE REC I Fort Lauderdale
5 GULF COAST REC 1 Wimauma, Plant City__
6 INDIAN RIVER REC I Fort Pierce .
7 MID-FLORIDA REC I Apopka
8 NORTH FLORIDA REC I Live Oak, Marianna, Quincy
9 RANGE CATTLE REC I Ona
10 SOUTHWEST FLORIDA REC I mmokalee
11 SUBTROPICAL AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH STATION (I" C,-AC, I 6r:,:.i ;..
12 TROPICAL REC I Homestead
13 WEST FLORIDA REC I Jay, Milton

Research and Demonstration Sites
14 FLORIDA PARTNERSHIP FOR WATER, AGRICULTURAL
AND COMMUNITY SUSTAINABIUTY I Hastings
15 PLANT SCIENCE RESEARCH AND EDUCATION UNIT I ,.',
16 TROPICAL AQUACULTURE LABORATORY I Ruskin

Academic Departments and Schools 'Gaine;ville, FL'
AGRICULTURAL AND BIOLOGICAL ENGINEERING
AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION AND COMMUNICATION
AGRONOMY
ANIMAL SCIENCES
ENTOMOLOGY AND NEMATOLOGY
ENVIRONMENTAL HORTICULTURE
FAMILY, YOUTH AND COMMUNITY SCIENCES
FISHERIES AND AQUATIC SCIENCES
FOOD AND RESOURCE ECONOMICS
FOOD SCIENCE AND HUMAN NUTRITION
SCHOOL OF FOREST RESOURCES AND CONSERVATION
HORTICULTURAL SCIENCES
MICROBIOLOGY AND CELL SCIENCE
SCHOOL OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT
ACADEMIC PROGRAMS
RESEARCH AND OUTREACH/EXTENSION
PLANT PATHOLOGY
PLANT MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR BIOLOGY
SOIL AND WATER SCIENCE
STATISTICS
WILDLIFE ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION

Multidisciplinary Programs (Gaires. lle, FL)
AGRICULTURAL LAW CENTER
CENTER FOR AQUATIC AND INVASIVE PLANTS
CENTER FOR COOPERATIVE AGRICULTURAL PROGRAMS I FAMU
CENTER FOR FOOD DISTRIBUTION AND RETAILING
CENTER FOR NUTRITIONAL SCIENCES
CENTER FOR ORGANIC AGRICULTURE
CENTER FOR REMOTE SENSING
CENTER FOR RENEWABLE CHEMICALS AND FUELS
CENTER FOR SUBTROPICAL AGROFORESTRY
CENTER FOR TROPICAL AGRICULTURE
ENERGY EXTENSION SERVICE
FLORIDA ORGANIC RECYCLING CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE FORCE
FLORIDA SEA GRANT
INTERDISCIPLINARY CENTER FOR BIOTECHNICAL RESEARCH I CBR
INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURAL TRADE AND POUCY CENTER
INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS
PROGRAM FOR RESOURCE EFFICIENT COMMUNITIES
TROPICAL AND SUBTROPICAL AGRICULTURE T-STAR
UF JUICE AND BEVERAGE CENTER
UF HERBARIUM I FLAS
WATER INSTITUTE

Supported Colleges (Gaines., ile, FL)
COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURAL AND LIFE SCIENCES
COLLEGE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE


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firI UNIVERSITY of
UFFLORIDA

IFAS

Florida 4A ~:. : ' Experiment Station
Institute of Food and ,ar',: .i- a" Sciences
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
This annual research report is: . D- : D- by
Dr. Mark R. .': _ - Dean for Research, in order
to further programs and related activities, available
to aI persons with nondiscrimination with respect
to race, creed, color, .- : - age, - : n -. sex,
sexual orientation, marital status, national origin,
political opinions, or affiliations. Information
about alternate formats is avai ab e from FAS
Communication Services, Univers ty of - -
PO Box 110810, Gainesvile, FL 32611-0810.
Produced by IFAS Communicat on Services
April 2008


-.




Florida Agricultural Experiment Station Annual Report
ALL VOLUMES CITATION SEARCH THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00008296/00025
 Material Information
Title: Florida Agricultural Experiment Station Annual Report
Added title page title: Annual research report of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
Alternate title: Research report
Physical Description: v. : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: University of Florida -- Agricultural Experiment Station
Publisher: University of Florida,
University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla
Creation Date: 2007
Frequency: annual
regular
 Subjects
Subjects / Keywords: Food -- Research -- Periodicals -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- Periodicals -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- Research -- Periodicals -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
serial   ( sobekcm )
 Notes
Numbering Peculiarities: Fiscal year ends June 30.
General Note: Description based on: 1987; title from cover.
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltqf - AAA6654
oclc - 20304921
lccn - sn 92011064
System ID: UF00008296:00025
 Related Items
Preceded by: Annual research report of the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Table of Contents
        Page 3
    Note from the Dean for Research
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Main
        Page 6
        Page 7
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    Back Cover
        Back Cover
Full Text
























































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Contents


UNIVERSITY of
UF FLORIDA
IFAS


6 Taking Control of Landscape Irrigation for Water Conservation
8 Research Aims at Consumer-friendly Goat Meat Products
10 Conservation of the Miami Blue Butterfly
1 2 The Impacts of Hurricanes on Trees and the Urban Forest
14 Defining the Impact of Turf Fertilization Practices on Water
Quality
1 6 Ethnic Cuisines Bring Food Safety Issues Along with
Tantalizing Tastes
1 8 Science Used to Understand the Biological Complexity of
Florida's Springs
20 A New Scale for Taste Measurement of Food
22 An International Collaborative Brazil Nut Research Program
24 Giant Leaps in Strawberry Science
26 DNA Bar Codes: Plant Identification for the Future
28 Earth Microbes on Mars: The Ultimate Invasive Species?
30 Growers Will Need Many Tools to Control Bacterial Spot
32 Marine Mammal Medicine
34 Relocating Bears Doesn't Always Work
36 Biofiltration of Arsenic-contaminated Industrial Groundwater
38 Florida Strawberry Producers Demonstrate Effective BMP Use
40 Tracking Down a Palm Killer
42 Biological Control of the Mexican Bromeliad Weevil
44 Mosquito-borne Diseases a Global Concern
46 New Research Approaches to Citrus Greening
48 Researchers Discover the Many Benefits of Perennial Peanuts
50 New Shipping Technology Delivers High-quality Produce
While Preventing Spread of Insect Pests
52 Research Finds Keys to Cultural Management of Seashore
Paspalum
54 Featured Spotlight - ICBR: A Campus-wide Resource for
Biotechnology Research
56 Research Foundation Professors (UFRF)
59 Patents and Licenses
60 Directors Financial Report
61 Research Awards FY 2006-2007


� Copyright 2008 by the University of Florida/IFAS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED I ANNUAL RESEARCH REPORT













W welcome to the research engine that powers UF/IFAS! We are the men and women of
IFAS carrying research appointments and we are dedicated to creating new knowl-
edge, transforming knowledge through innovation, and finding real-world applications
for our science. We are the scientists of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, and as dean and
director, it is an honor and a privilege to help tell our story.
In this 2007 annual report you are invited to tour some of the results of our research that
have led to real-world answers for real-world challenges. Our scientists tackle some of
the most daunting issues facing Floridians, Americans and caring inhabitants of this
spaceship we call Earth. We are scoring undreamed of breakthroughs in corn yield...
discovering nutrition guidelines that dramatically lower birth defects...opening the
most extensive ecological preserve in the U.S. The list goes on and on.
Like any team, we are not perfect; we occasionally stumble and fall, but we get
up again, bound and determined to search for solutions that work, that are inclusive,
that are innovative...solutions for our lives.
Late in 2007 and moving into 2008 we at IFAS had our world rocked by the most
dramatic reduction of state funding ever faced by UF/IFAS scientists. It has made us
all rethink not just how we do things, but also how we can remake ourselves into a
more adaptable, effective enterprise ready to focus our intellectual powers on the
most daunting of issues while creating a value proposition that is unmistakably a
solid investment.
I recently explained to an audience that "the research scientists of IFAS are the
'rocket engine' behind every great teacher and every excellent extension professional."
We are the dreamers that live for the thrill of exploration. We live for that sense of exhila-
ration that comes with discovering the unknown, of dreaming up new and innovative ways
to look at our science, and the pride of demonstrating that science can make a very real
and tangible difference in our society. This is what the magic of IFAS research is all about.
We dare to dream - to believe - that here, as researchers in IFAS, many of the world's
greatest questions will be answered and its greatest problems solved. Through discovery,
innovation and application, our researchers are truly pioneers, discoverers, explorers. Like
Archimedes their cry is, "Give me a place to stand and with a lever I will move the world!"
IFAS researchers are moving our world - all they need is the leverage of sponsorship and
investment.
It is against this backdrop of dramatic change and incredible capacities, dreams and
possibilities that, as Dean for Research and Director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment
Station, I announce a plan to launch in 2008 a comprehensive self-examination of who
we are, what we need to be and where we want to go. I'm describing a year-long process
of IFAS research review; a chance for each of our research disciplines to reassess their
pathways and lock down two or three intended areas of research leadership. Here is an
opportunity for our research and education centers to firmly plant a flag and declare their
intent to be world-class research leaders. We will end this process with an IFAS Research
Roadmap that will clarify our capacities and intent. This process will be faculty-driven and
will help guide us as we fill future research appointments. It will help us as we remake our-
selves, ensuring that we keep our eye on our goal: to be world-class research leaders, dedi-
cated to discovery, innovation and applications through science.





Mark R. McLellan
Dean for Research, IFAS
Director, Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
2007 Annual Research Report I Florida Agricultural Experiment Station































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Name the water hog: a golf course, a tomato farm
or the house at 123 Elm St.
If you named the home and its irrigation sys-
tem, you likely know a thing or two about water conserva-
tion, according to University of Florida irrigation specialist
Michael Dukes. Residential water use accounts for 61 per-
cent of public water supply consumption and 43 percent of
groundwater withdrawals. Most household water is used on
the lawn.
"Think of one home wasting water, multiplied by millions
of households," Dukes said. "That's a lot of water."
The problem, Dukes said, is that most homeowners use
more water on their lawns than they think they do. Many
might even think they're being water-wise by using their
automatic sprinkler systems, but they are actually being
wasteful.
In two research projects, Dukes has shown that it is pos-
sible to save staggering amounts of water just by properly
using an in-ground irrigation system or by taking the irriga-
tion system out of the hands of the homeowner altogether.
In the first project, beginning in 2003, researchers stud-
ied three groups of homeowners in three Central Florida


counties, each using in-ground irrigation systems. The first
group made no changes in its irrigation habits. For the
second group, researchers adjusted the irrigation timers
monthly to account for historical rainfall and evapotranspira-
tion (water lost through plants and soil). For the third group,
researchers replaced sprinklers with microirrigation and drip
irrigation systems.
At the end of the two-and-a-half-year project, the data
showed a 30 percent reduction in water use by the second
group and a 50 percent reduction in water use by the third
group.
For some of these homeowners, the issue is education,
Dukes said. Many homeowners think lawns and landscapes
need more water than they do. For others, it's a matter of
learning how to use their irrigation systems and remember-
ing to reset timers according to weather conditions.
In-ground home irrigation systems are becoming more
and more common throughout Florida, and nearly all new
developments feature'them. They are easy to use but also
easy to abuse.


Michael Dukes, Associate Professor, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, inspects flow meters and solenoid values that measure and control
irrigation on the turfgrass research plots.


SlTakingE Contro of Ladcp


Iriaion for Water Conservatio~n









































"The average homeowner doesn't know how to set the
clock on the VCR," Dukes pointed out. "The best results
come from a system with no need for human decision."
For the second project, researchers explored the water
savings that might be possible if irrigation decisions are
taken out of the hands of people. In this study, researchers
used soil moisture sensors as the trigger for home sprinkler
systems. The sensors allowed irrigation depending on how
much water the landscape needed. In other words, rainfall
would allow the system to remain off, while several days of
sunny, dry weather would trigger the sprinklers to come on.
As a result, the sensors provided water savings as high as 70
to 90 percent during normal rainfall conditions and as high
as 50 percent during dry conditions.
The big plus for the sensors is that they don't depend
on humans to determine the amount of water a lawn needs
or require them to remember to set timers. The drawback,
Dukes said, is cost.
"Everyone you tell about this thinks it's great, everyone
agrees it should happen, until you talk about the price.
When these systems first came out, they might cost $400
and more for installation," Dukes said. "The price is coming


down, now they're about $200, and that might pay off on a
water bill in a year."
While golf courses and farmers can be water hogs, too,
in recent years water restrictions and increasing costs have
prompted many to adopt more conservation-minded irri-
gation methods, such as using reclaimed water or drip or
microirrigation. However, for many homeowners who tend to
irrigate too much, the water bill is not an issue, Dukes said.



"The best results come from a

system with no need for human
decision."

- MICHAEL DUKES


As water shortages and droughts threaten to limit con-
struction of new homes, developers are getting more inter-
ested in conserving water. Dukes works with developers,
helping them train contractors to install these systems on a
wide scale and then monitor water use. For new develop-
ments, it might be as simple as requiring use of an approved
system as part of the covenants of a subdivision. Dukes also
is working on ways of retrofitting irrigation systems already in
place.
Dukes said households nationwide use more than 50
percent of their water on landscapes. In his study, landscape
irrigation accounted for 64 percent of total water use. Saving
even some of that water, Dukes said, could go a long way
toward easing the water shortage. 8


2007 Annual Research Report I 7








Reseams at Consumer-

f^rinlGoat Meat Products^^


Goat burgers may not be on the menu at your
favorite drive-thru anytime soon, but if University
of Florida researcher Sally Williams has her way, it
won't be long before you can find heat-and-serve goat meat
entrees on some supermarket shelves.
Goat meat has been a niche market in the United States
for some time, and thanks to immigrants who bring their cui-
sine with them it's a growing market, said Williams, an asso-
ciate professor in UF's Animal Sciences Department.
Williams began working on developing goat meat prod-
ucts in collaboration with Florida Agricultural and Mechanical


University (FAMU) about 10 years ago. Goats have long been
a major research species for FAMU, which specializes in goat
reproduction, nutrition and herd health. For expertise in goat
meat processing and product development, FAMU turned to
Williams.
So far, Williams said, the UF research has yielded five
vacuum-packaged, value-added goat meat products with
consumer appeal. The products include cabrito smoked sau-
sage, cabrito snack sticks, uncooked goat meat ribs, heat-
and-serve ribs, and heat-and-serve curry goat. Preparing the
heat-and-serve products is as simple as placing a vacuum-
sealed package in boiling water.
To gauge consumer appeal, Williams
enlisted the help of colleagues at UF's Food
� Science and Human Nutrition Department
I to test the products on a panel of volunteer
tasters. In the taste tests, 85 percent of
the panelists said they would purchase the
product they were served.
"It has a characteristic flavor," Williams
said. "For the typical American consumer,
it's an unfamiliar flavor so we're looking at
processes, like marinating, to give the prod-
ucts a more familiar flavor note.
"You prepare it similar to other meats,
but it's still a goat," Williams said. "So
we've worked on the spices, the flavor
notes that are somewhat familiar."














Sally Williams, Associate Professor, Animal Sciences,
displaying cabrito snack sticks, cabrito smoked sau-
sage, heat-and-serve ribs and curry goat products
developed at the University of Florida.


























Goats can be raised for either meat or dairy, and
Americans are already familiar with goat cheese, a common
staple in gourmet markets. But goat meat is a niche market,
available only in small supermarkets and those that stock
hard-to-find ethnic and cultural food staples.
If demand increased, and major supermarket chains
decided to stock goat meat, the supply of goats would need
to increase as well, said Williams. A 2007 report indicated
that only 65,000 goats were raised for meat in Florida, and
that is not enough of a herd to supply major grocers.
"We've done the work of making goat meat consumer-
friendly, and we would like to increase the profitability and
consumer awareness of goat meat," Williams said, "but at
present, it's still a niche market. We'll need to produce a
larger population of these animals if this takes off."
Goat meat can be processed at any general meat pro-
cessing facility, using existing equipment, so no special
handling is necessary. Food safety and shelf life studies have
been done, showing that goat meat has a shelf life similar
to that of pork and beef. The potential for marketing whole
and/or fabricated carcasses to retail stores is also being
explored.
Williams said USDA labeling is in the works for the pack-
aged products, which will then head to store shelves. The
logical next step, she said, is marketing.
The research project also has provided valuable experi-
ence for graduate and undergraduate students. Williams
said her students have worked on all the goat meat products
developed. The cabrito snack stick, similar to beef snack
sticks, received strong, positive reviews at a recent goat
meat symposium.


The demand for goat meat has been stoked by immi-
grants from Hispanic countries and the Caribbean, who bring
their dining preferences with them. Demand also goes up
during certain Muslim, Jewish and Chinese holidays. The UF
taste tests, however, indicate that goat meat has mainstream
potential.



"We've done the work of
making goat meat consumer-
friendly, and we would like to
increase the profitability and
consumer awareness of goat
meat."

- SALLY WILLIAMS



"There is interest in goat meat," Williams said.
"Americans are willing to try it, and if it tastes OK, we're vill-
ing to keep trying it. Once the American consumer adapts,
there could be a large market and a huge demand." a


2007 Annual Research Report I 9








Cosrvto of th Mim


L Blu Butrl_


without its rock-star name, the Miami blue
A butterfly might be extinct, says University of
IV Florida entomologist Jaret Daniels.
Instead, the tiny creature captured the imagination of
Florida citizens, Daniels said, and became the first insect to
be placed on the state's endangered species list by public
petition. But with only about 150 left in the wild, it will take
more than a catchy name to keep the Miami blue out of
danger.
Daniels has been working with the Miami blue since
2002 and is one of the butterfly's key champions. He cre-
ated a captive breeding program at the McGuire Center for
Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, a part of UF's Institute of Food
and Agricultural Sciences. Through the program, the butter-
fly can be studied more closely and can be bred for release
back into the wild.
The program has been remarkably successful. More than
25,000 viable pupae have been produced at a rate of 500
organisms per month, making it one of the largest such pro-
grams in the nation. A total of 3,349 larvae and 364 adults
have been reintroduced into suitable habitat areas in South
Florida.


"This is a model program to look at how to effectively
deal with similar organisms in decline," Daniels said. "It's
one of the more productive captive butterfly programs out
there."
The Miami blue's history makes it an even more unlikely
success story. For decades, the brightly colored butterfly was
taken for granted, a common sight throughout South Florida.
With urbanization, however, the butterfly's home - coastal
hammocks and beachside scrub - began to disappear, and
in the 1980s and 1990s the Miami blue declined rapidly. In
1992, Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida with sustained
winds of 145 miles per hour. Entomologists feared the Miami
blue had been blown into extinction, with no verifiable sight-
ings in the seven years after Hurricane Andrew.
Then in November 1999, a small colony was discovered
in a state park in the Florida Keys. With fewer than 50 surviv-
ing individuals, the alarm was sounded, and amateur natural-
ists took up the Miami blue's cause. The butterfly, one of the
nation's rarest invertebrates, won the protection offered by
the state endangered species list.


Jaret C. Daniels, Assistant Professor, Department of Entomology and Nematology, examines specimens of the endangered Miami blue butterfly in the
McGuire Center collections.


























"With fewer than 100 left, that catapulted it to one of the
most imperiled insects in the world," Daniels said. "Today,
it's a candidate for the federal endangered species list."
Once the butterfly was protected, the focus shifted to
research. The butterfly had once been so common that
no one had bothered to study it. Exhaustive surveys were
conducted throughout its historic range to find out if other
isolated colonies existed. Disappointed researchers found
none, making the colony in the Keys even more important.
Daniels retrieved 100 eggs from that colony to establish
the UF breeding program. In captivity the butterflies live
longer, so they can breed longer, leading to more larvae and
adults that can be reestablished throughout South Florida.
That is particularly important, considering that the wild but-
terflies live less than five days and rarely venture more than
30 feet from their birthplace. The short lifespan and seden-
tary nature of the butterfly could make it difficult to reestab-
lish large populations, Daniels said.
"Their lifespan means we only have a short time to
impact a population," Daniels said. "Since they are unlikely
to move from island to island, they won't easily disperse. We
have to assist them in moving from location to location."
The captive breeding program also had other issues to
resolve. Without natural nectar, the butterflies needed to be
hand-fed, a process the butterflhe. found stressful. A gradu-
ate student hit upon a particularly Gator-oriented solution:
let the butterflies feed on a cotton swab soaked in Fierce
Melon Gatorade. The Gatorade outperformed all the other
artificial nectars the team tried.
Another focus of research is on factors that led to the but-
terfly's decline.
"The decline is unusual in that there is no primary factor
you can point to that caused it," Daniels said. "There are a
lot of unknowns, and those factors could still be out there."
One curiosity Daniels is studying is the butterfly's change
in diet. The Miami blue used to dine on balloon vine.


Although balloon vine is toxic to other animals, the Miami
blue tolerates the toxins. The balloon vine offered nourish-
ment and the protection of large blooms that would sur-
round the larvae as it fed. The Miami blue's new food choice,
nicker bean, does not offer the same protection, Daniels
said.
Recently, a small population of Miami blues was dis-
covered in the Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuge, and
Daniels plans to survey that group this year. With public
enthusiasm around butterflies growing rapidly, the Miami
blue has a cadre of advocates.
"This is a charismatic organism with an attractive name,"
Daniels said. "This butterfly wouldn't be around today with-
out the name Miami blue." a



"With fewer than 100 left, that

catapulted it to one of the most
imperiled insects in the world."

- JARET DANIELS


2007 Annual Research Report I 11



















Communities ravaged by hurricanes often change
how they view their trees. Where once they saw
sheltering canopies of shade, they see a threat.
With memories of hurricane winds still fresh, some com-
munities could make hasty decisions about their trees. So
University of Florida researchers Mary Duryea and Ed Gilman
are conducting research that could help communities make
better decisions about their urban forests in the wake of
hurricanes.
"There can be a kind of backlash after a hurricane," said
Duryea, an urban forestry expert. "I've come across houses
where people have removed all their trees."
Duryea began her research on the effects of hurricanes
on the urban forest after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Her
work continued when hurricanes Opal and Erin struck the
Florida Panhandle in 1995 and when Hurricane Georges
struck Puerto Rico in 1998. When the recent cycle of hur-
ricanes began in 2004, she had turned to administration as
an associate dean for research in UF's Institute of Food and
Agricultural Sciences. But the possibilities for furthering her
own research proved too strong a lure, and she began fol-
lowing hurricanes again: Charley, Jeanne and Ivan in 2004;
Dennis, Katrina and Rita in 2005.


"The real call came in 2004, and I got attracted to seeing
what we could learn," Duryea said. "After each hurricane, we
went immediately to the site of the strongest winds, walked
through the neighborhoods and measured all the trees."
After analyzing the wealth of data, Duryea was able to
determine several factors - biological, cultural and site-
specific - that made trees more or less wind resistant.
Among her findings was that indiscriminate tree removal
won't protect a neighborhood. In fact, she said, groupings of
the right trees may actually help protect buildings. She also
found instances in which people ignored the importance of
the underground portion of trees by trenching through root
systems for utilities or not providing enough surface space
and soil depth to nurture the roots.
Another interesting finding was that trees that lost the
most leaves were more likely to survive, even though home-
owners sometimes thought they were dead and removed
them prematurely.
"The more leaves that were lost, the more likely the tree
was to survive, so people need to wait and see if the tree
leafs out," Duryea said.


Mary Duryea, Professor and Associate Dean, evaluates tree damage following Hurricane Ivan.


















Jimmy Jesteadt, right, an engineer working with Forrest Masters (not
pictured) and Ed Gilman, left, stand at one of eight air intakes for the
3,000 hp wind machine used to blow trees and buildings.



As Duryea's work was progressing, Gilman was also study-
ing the impact of hurricane winds on trees and whether
pruning practices might help or harm trees.
With help from Dr. Forrest Masters, Assistant Professor
and Jimmy Jesteadt, engineer with the Departments of Civil
and Coastal Engineering, Gilman was simulating progres-
sively stronger hurricane winds and aiming them at trees
pruned in a variety of methods. He started with an airboat
motor on two concrete pilings and gauged how much prun-
ing type and amount affected movement of the trees.
By the third simulation, Gilman's Civil and Coastal
Engineering colleagues had constructed a machine 9-feet
wide by 20-feet tall, with four engines and 3,000 horse-
power. The machine, the largest of its kind in the world, is
capable of changing wind speed and direction and generat-
ing vortex effects in its quest to more nearly mimic hurricane
winds.
"The findings showed that trees that are reduced or
thinned in the proper manner could receive less damage in
wind storms," Gilman said.
The trees used in the studies were live oaks, which were
fitted with sensors to measure movement. Gilman's tests
showed that thinning or reducing the crown reduced trunk
movement. Thinning the crown also proved to be more
protective than raising the canopy. And pruning of all types
reduced trunk movement in comparison with trees that were
not pruned.
"The typical homeowner wants to remove all the three-
inch stems," Gilman said. "Instead, they should retain the
little branches and prune to thin or reduce the outer edge of
the canopy."
Gilman said the research is getting attention nationwide,
even worldwide, as pruning companies, utilities and commu-
nities become more interested in preventing storm damage
from trees. Much more research is needed, Gilman said, to


determine whether the findings apply to trees of different
species and sizes.
Duryea's findings dovetailed with Gilman's early findings
that pruned trees fare better in heavy winds. The later hur-
ricanes also bore out earlier observations about which tree
species fared better in hurricanes. Palms generally fared well,
as did sand and live oaks. Laurel and water oaks failed at
higher rates, and native species generally were more wind
resistant than nonnative species. In all, more than 150 tree
species were analyzed.
As attached to their trees as communities can become,
Duryea said, it is a good idea to remove the unhealthiest



"The findings showed that trees
that are reduced or thinned in
the proper manner could receive
less damage in wind storms."

\- ED GILMAN


members of the urban forest and replace those trees with
more wind-resistant varieties.
"Communities get very dedicated to their trees, but the
large and overmature trees that are well past their prime
should be removed," Duryea said. "If people don't remove
them, the wind will." a


2007 Annual Research Report I 13








I Defining the ImpactofTu

Practices on WaterQuality


Florida homeowners who baby their lush, green lawns
have been wearing environmental black hats lately,
but without much research to back that up.
So state environmental officials are eagerly awaiting the
results of a six-year, $4 million University of Florida study
of nitrate and phosphorus leaching from Florida lawns. The
study, the most comprehensive of its kind to date, is in its
fourth year, said horticultural scientist Laurie Trenholm, who
is coordinating the research at three locations statewide.
"Fertilizers used on lawns are often targeted as a source
of water pollution, and fertilizer ordinances are being
enacted to regulate how fertilizer can be applied," Trenholm
said. "There's a perception that lawns are a cause of pollu-
tion, but whether that is true or not may be another story."
With 5.5 million acres of home and roadside grasses in
Florida, the state Department of Environmental Protection
wanted more data, and funded the study.
To begin, Trenholm enlisted the help of colleagues at UF
research centers in the Panhandle, in South Florida and in
North Central Florida. By using three locations, the research


program covers all the variations in soil, climate, seasons and
lawn grass species in Florida.
On all three sites, containers called lysimeters were
installed underground to catch the leachate, or substances
that percolate through the grass and soil. Aboveground,
various grasses were planted and various fertilizer applica-
tions were used. Leachate that collects in the base of the
lysimeters is extracted with a vacuum pump weekly and
samples are sent to a laboratory on the Gainesville campus
for analysis of the content of nitrogen and phosphorus, two
key ingredients in fertilizers that can pollute and disrupt
ecosystems.
Each experiment is being conducted for two to three
years to account for variations in temperature and rainfall.
Comparisons also are being made between leaching from
newly sodded grass and established grass, between different
fertilizers, and winter vs. warm season fertilization. With two
years to go, Trenholm said, it is too early to use the data for
making regulations.


Laurie Trenholm, Associate Professor, Environmental Horticulture, and Jerry Sartain, Professor, Soil Fertility and Turfgrass Nutrition, stand beside one of
the leachate collection towers used in evaluating the environmental impact of home lawn fertilization.













"Having a lawn should not be thought of as environmen-
tally bad," Trenholm said. "If we get rid of turf, we get rid of
the ability to hold soil, stop surface water runoff, absorb heat
and all the other benefits of turf.
"There's a lot of grass in Florida; it's just important that
people understand how to manage it properly." a


"But from our preliminary data, it's clear that where we
put nitrogen on at rates higher than UF recommends, leach-
ing can occur, and rainfall does influence it," Trenholm said.
The results, she said, also verify earlier work by her col-
leagues, researchers John Cisar in Fort Lauderdale and Jerry
Sartain in Gainesville.
"Research has shown that turf is a very good absorber of
fertilizer if it is applied properly," Trenholm said. "Fertilization
of lawns themselves is not necessarily contributing to water
pollution."
Turf acts as a filter for nutrients in runoff on the surface
and for water that trickles downward into groundwater sup-
plies. Rainfall plays a large role in the amount of nutrients
that get into surface and groundwater from lawns, Trenholm
said. If a homeowner applies fertilizer right before a heavy
rain, much of the nutrient content of the fertilizer washes
away. Another error homeowners make is fertilizing a new
lawn too heavily. New grass does not have the root system
of established grass and can't absorb as much fertilizer.
"Some homeowners think, 'Oh, it's going to rain, it's
a good time to fertilize.' But it's not. If there's a chance of
heavy rain, it's best to postpone fertilization," Trenholm said.
Educating homeowners will play a big role in protect-
ing the state's waters from fertilizer runoff. Trenholm said
homeowners can find a wealth of information about envi-
ronmentally safe lawn care at SolutionsForYourLife.com or
YourFloridaLawn.ifas.ufl.edu.


"There's a lot of grass in
Florida; it's just important that
people understand how to man-


age it properly."


- LAURIE TRENHOLM


2007 Annual Research Report I 15


















Creamy cannoli, garlicky pancit and tasty tamales.
The smorgasbord of cuisines available in the
United States can keep even the most adventur-
ous palates busy. But diners may want to be aware of the po-
tential for danger in this delectable diversity, says University
of Florida food safety specialist Amy Simonne.
Simonne's research has found that foodborne illness
related to ethnic foods is on the rise. Using data from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Simonne found
that in 1990 only 3 percent of outbreaks of foodborne illness
were from ethnic foods, while in 2000, 11 percent of out-
breaks were associated with ethnic foods.
"A lot of people in the United States like to eat food
from different cultures, so I wanted to look at ethnic food,"
Simonne said. "The options for eating something different
are growing all the time."
Simonne found that three cuisines were responsible for
most of the outbreaks and that the incidence of outbreaks
differed among those cuisines. Mexican food had the highest
incidence of outbreaks, closely followed by Italian. A distant
third was Asian cuisine. Incidence of outbreaks also differed
among states with Florida having by far the largest number


of outbreaks during the study period at 136. Trailing Florida
were California, New York, Maryland and Michigan.
The findings led Simonne to the conclusion that food
safety training may need to be tailored for various ethnic
cuisines.
"Now we have universal training, but we may need to
emphasize something more than that in ethnic foods,"
Simonne said. "Perhaps we should customize training for
ethnic food vendors."
Simonne, UF faculty members Mark Brennan and Sam
Farrah and California colleagues Christine Bruhn, Denise
Foley and Lilian Were recently launched a survey of ethnic
food vendors and consumers to determine if there are pat-
terns in food handling and specific foods that may cause
illness.
Part of the problem may be cultural, Simonne said.
Immigrants bring their food preparation practices to the
United States with them. Those who come from lands with-
out widespread refrigeration may balk at refrigerating foods
if it changes taste or texture. Their dishes may combine cold
and hot foods, which have different safety considerations. In
their native lands, the foods may be mixed right before they


Amy Simonne, Associate Professor, Food Safety and Quality, examines popular ethnic food items for microbial contamination.

IiE1L"...












Simonne said the increase in the ethnic population of the
". United States has increased Americans' exposure to foods
from other cultures, but it is not just ethnic diners who are
consuming the foods. Her study found that 75 percent of
ethnic food consumption in the United States is by main-
S. stream consumers. Some of those consumers are turning
to ethnic foods for the spices and vegetables that are seen
as healthful alternatives to a traditional high-fat, high-meat
American diet.
"Americans are constantly looking for new flavor com-
binations," Simonne said, "so we need to look at how this


are served, but in a restaurant those foods may sit longer
before they are served.
"Tacos, for instance, have cooked meat and fresh veg-
etables," Simonne said. "When Mexican cooks prepare
them at home, they mix them right before they eat and
store the ingredients separately. That may not be so in a
Mexican restaurant. Some Asian restaurants may keep rice
at room temperature because it tastes different if you put it
in the refrigerator. In their native land, they may not have a
refrigerator."
When foreign food-handling practices meet up with the
American consumer's tendency to expect to take home left-
overs, the culture clash can lead to illness. Some ethnic res-
taurateurs change their practice of preparing only what can
be eaten in a single meal to increase their portion sizes to
meet American expectations.
"Consumers want to take their leftovers home, and
certain things keep better than others," Simonne said.
"Consumers take home food that is not so safe after a few
hours and keep it a longer time."
Simonne also has found that the microbes that cause ill-
ness vary by cuisine.
The bacteria causing the outbreaks were Salmonella sp,
Clostridium perfringens, Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus
aureus. The two top microbes in Asian food were Bacillus
and Staphylococcus. For Italian food, the top two were
Salmonella sp and Staphylococcus and for Mexican food,
Salmonella sp and Clostridium.
The foods most often implicated in outbreaks linked to
Mexican cuisine were tacos, burritos, chili, salsa, enchiladas,
refried beans, nachos and guacamole. For Italian cuisine, the
dishes were pizza, lasagna and spaghetti, while for Asian cui-
sine, the dishes were fried rice, egg rolls, chow mein, salad
and soups.


"The options for eating some-

thing different are growing all

the time."

- AMY SIMONNE




food is being handled. We may need to change our one-
size-fits-all food safety training to consider the unique char-
acteristics of ethnic foods." a


2007 Annual Research Report I 17











l Ct of Fi


f you were to take a canoe and paddle down the
Chassahowitzka, Homosassa or Weeki Wachee rivers
on Florida's Nature Coast, you'd likely be impressed by
the crystal clear water in a seemingly undisturbed, pristine
setting.
But looks can be deceiving, says University of Florida
researcher Tom Frazer. All three rivers are changing.
"If the first time you saw these rivers was in 2007, you'd
think they're really nice places," Frazer said. "Aesthetically,
they may be, but it doesn't mean they haven't changed.
They have."
Frazer set out to document the changes and found the
rivers were so understudied and poorly known that he had
to establish some basic information first. With support from
the Southwest Florida Water Management District, he set
up a network to monitor systems from Tampa Bay north to
Steinhatchee, sampling rivers and the coastal areas they
affect.
All three rivers are spring fed, meaning their source is a
groundwater basin that extends underground beyond the
banks of the rivers and their tributaries. Human activity miles
away, such as discharging wastes or fertilizing crops, can


have an impact on the groundwater and therefore the water
quality in the rivers.
Frazer collected data on chemicals and vegetation in the
three rivers from 1998 to 2000 and again from 2003 to 2005.
Even in the short time between the two studies, he found
marked increases in nitrogen and phosphorus, two sub-
stances that can be highly disruptive to natural ecosystems.
The Weeki Wachee River experienced the most dras-
tic change. From the first study to the second, nitrate
concentrations in the river increased by 50 percent. For
the Chassahowitzka the increase was 20 percent, and for
the Homosassa the nitrogen increase was 6 percent. The
increase in nitrate loading in the headwater regions of the
rivers was even more dramatic: 76 percent for the Weeki
Wachee, 43 percent for the Chassahowitzka and 56 percent
for the Homosassa.
Over the same time, phosphorus concentrations also
increased. In the Weeki Wachee, phosphorus concentrations
increased by as much as 21 percent, in the Chassahowitzka
the increase was 19 percent and in the Homosassa it was
15 percent. The increase in phosphorus loading at the
headwaters was 33 percent for the Weeki Wachee,


Thomas Frazer, Associate Professor and Associate Chair, Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, assesses water quality and measures the abundance of plants
and algae to more fully understand the factors that underlie changes in the ecology of Florida's springs.

























44 percent for the Chassahowitzka and 46 percent for the
Homosassa.
Increases in nutrient levels weren't the only changes,
Frazer said. In the Weeki Wachee, submersed aquatic veg-
etation decreased by 75 percent. In the Homosassa the
reduction was 67 percent, and in the Chassahowitzka it was
31 percent.
"If you lose the plants, you change the habitat of an
aquatic system, and you can affect all the other organisms
that depend on the habitat," Frazer said. "That has the
potential to compromise the integrity of the community."
Wild celery, Vallisneria americana, showed a sharp drop
in the Homosassa River and Sagittaria kurziana declined in
the Chassahowitzka River, Frazer said. Both native aquatic
grasses provide refuge and forage habitat for fishes.
"We can document the increase in the nutrient load, the
decline of the native plants, and the increase in the algae
and nuisance vegetation," Frazer said. "Now, we'll try to
determine if these changes impact the rest of the system,
the animals. For instance, if you lose wild celery, will you lose
the largemouth bass?"
The health of the rivers raises questions downstream, too,
Frazer said. All three rivers discharge into the Gulf of Mexico
in an area that encompasses the second largest contiguous
seagrass bed in North America. Frazer, who started his sci-
entific career studying near-shore coastal ecology, says more
research is needed.
"If we continue to increase nutrient loads and the dis-
charge of nutrients to the Gulf, and the seagrass beds are
replaced with algae, will it affect the coastal waters?" Frazer
said. "That's important to know because the majority of our
recreational and commercial fisheries target animals that
depend on seagrass beds at some point in their life cycle.
"Documenting the timing and extent of changes in
the systems lays a foundation for asking and answering


questions about causes and effects," Frazer said. "With
answers to such questions, we stand a better chance of man-
aging our activities in ways that limit negative impacts on riv-
ers and coastal waters."
Nitrogen and phosphorus occur naturally, Frazer said,
but considering the high levels found in the rivers, human



"Documenting the timing and
extent of changes in the sys-
tems lays a foundation for asking
and answering questions about
causes and effects."

-THOMAS FRAZER


activities are the likely source. Both nutrients are compo-
nents of fertilizers used on lawns and in agriculture. Even
with reductions in nitrogen and phosphorus, however, the
threat would not disappear overnight. The nutrients stay in
the water, and the water coming out of springs today can be
10 to 20 years old, Frazer said.
In some cases, distressing changes already are apparent.
The Homosassa, a river Frazer said used to be teeming with
native plants, has almost no natural vegetation remaining.
The native plants have been replaced by algae, which thrive
on the extra nitrogen and phosphorus.
"The water clarity is still good. That's one of the inter-
esting things about these shallow, spring-fed systems. The
shoreline vegetation, in many cases, keeps the light down,
and the water just looks crystal clear," Frazer said. "But there
has still been replacement of natural vegetation by algae.
Is the impact on fishes and invertebrates negative? We just
don't know yet." N


2007 Annual Research Report I 19



















A crinkled nose or a gag reflex might tell the family
chef all that needs to be known about the taste of
the latest concoction.
But a scientific rating of taste? That's more involved, and
University of Florida researcher Charlie Sims has spent 22
years studying the issue. Food conglomerates that produce
chewing gum and candy bars, strawberries and citrus, bar-
becue sauce, cereal, soda, soup, crackers, iced tea - you
name it - all turn to him to answer the question: Will the
public like it?
"The food industry wants to know how products will be
perceived by consumers," said Sims, a professor in the Food
Science and Human Nutrition Department, a part of UF's
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. "Sensory testing
is an important step in developing new products."
There's a lot of room for variation. What tastes good to
you might not taste good to your friend. So Sims uses taste
panels to get an overall sense of consumer reaction to a
product. When he's ready to seat a panel, he just walks out-
side his office.
"The majority of our taste panels are on consumer like-
ability," Sims said. "And we use primarily college students;


we've got 50,000 of them, and they're a pretty mixed
group."
Panels are useful but not foolproof. Sims has had panels
give the thumbs-up to products that fizzled in the market-
place, so he began looking for better ways to measure taste.
Recently, he teamed up with researcher Linda Bartoshuk
in UF's College of Dentistry. Bartoshuk, a member of the
National Academy of Science, who arrived at UF two years
ago from Yale University, is an expert on the senses of taste
and smell and ways of measuring these two seemingly
unmeasurable traits.
Bartoshuk said the standard way of measuring a sensation
like sweetness has been to use a scale of 0 to 10, in which
0 is no sweetness and 10 is the strongest sweetness ever
tasted. The person is asked to rate the sweetness of a par-
ticular food or beverage, orange juice for example, on that
scale. The problem, she said, is that one person's "strongest
sweetness" does not necessarily match any other person's
"strongest sweetness."
Bartoshuk and Sims are working on a new scale that uses
cross modality matching to improve taste measurement.
Cross modality matching uses an experience, such as the


Charlie Sims, left, Professor of Food Science and Linda Bartoshuk, an internationally known researcher in the chemical senses of taste
and smell, College of Dentistry, work a taste panel as part of a study to define a new taste measurement scale.


























loudest noise, that is not related to the sensation of interest,
such as saltiness. Then the people are asked to compare the
taste of the product of interest to the loudness of the noise.
They might first be asked to compare a weak salt solution
with a loud sound, then a strong salt solution with a weak
sound. The two extremes won't match, but somewhere in the
middle is a step where the intensity of taste will match the
intensity of sound, and from there, the researchers can build
a more scientific scale for measuring taste. The same issues
apply when assessing the likeability of a food or beverage.
"Using the new scale, we think we will get much more
accurate data," Bartoshuk said. "We think we can make
genuine comparisons across groups, ask more questions.
Laboratory studies do not predict consumer behavior very
well, but we believe that they could."
The research could pay off for researchers across IFAS.
The fruits of other research programs - transgenic toma-
toes with pest resistance, strawberries with sweeter flavor,
peanuts with healthier oil content - all must pass the taste
panels before hitting supermarket shelves.
Sims said interest in the taste panels among students in
the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department is so
strong that he often has to turn students away. The lure of
free food or a coupon at the campus food court helps recruit
students, but sometimes they get more than they bargain
for.
Sims remembers one panel that tested a chewing gum
developed to fight bad breath. The panelists were asked
o drink a garlic solution, then chew the gum. In the next
hase of the research, the panelists were going to be asked
0 smell and rate each other's breath. Luckily, Sims said, the
project ended before that step.
"We've had people walk out, and we've had fights in
res," Sims said. "It can get interesting."


Some of the most valuable data comes from expert taste
panels, Sims said. The tasters on these panels are trained
to become experts on a product, strawberries for example,
then asked to rate various cultivars for traits like sweetness.
Their ratings carry a lot of weight, Sims said, because they
are more precise.
Sims said the new scale being developed with Bartoshuk
will allow the regular panels to generate better information.



"The food industry wants to

know how products will be

perceived by consumers."

- CHARLIE SIMS



"Using Linda's techniques, we'll be able to do a better
job of determining food acceptability," Sims said. "We think
it will be a better way to measure consumer perception of
food." a


2007 Annual Research Report I 21



















Each time you pop open a can of mixed nuts, you
just might be helping to support the forests of the
Amazon.
The Brazil nut, a staple in any can of mixed nuts, is so
important economically to Amazonian countries that it gives
them a good reason to conserve the tropical forests where
the Brazil nut tree grows, said University of Florida research-
ers Karen Kainer and Christina Staudhammer.
Brazil nut trees only thrive in the wild and nut harvests are
a cornerstone for local economies in Bolivia, Brazil and Peru.
The combined value of Brazil nut exports from these three
countries in 2006 was more than $100 million. Kainer said


the nut harvests provide a model of how a non-timber for-
est product can provide both an economical and ecological
benefit to regions of the Amazon.
"All the nuts, in all those Planters cans, in all the world,
come from here," said Kainer, a tropical forest ecologist,
who has a dual appointment in the Department of Forest
Resources and Conservation and the Center for Latin
American Studies. "There's a long-established international
market in Brazil nuts, and there are families that have been
doing this for generations."
The governments of Bolivia, Brazil and Peru have made
the Brazil nut tree one of the few tree species that is
illegal to cut down, Staudhammer said.
They've recognized its economic value is
equaled by its environmental value. The
Brazil nut tree is among the tallest trees in the
Amazon with one of the widest canopies. That
means the tree stores a lot of carbon, Kainer
said, and opens a very large gap when it falls.
The tree also has resisted plantation-style
cultivation by flowering but failing to fruit.
The Brazil nut tree requires two genetically
different parents, so it's possible it gets more
genetic variation by growing in the wild, the
researchers said.
Leaving the Brazil nut tree in place, and
the forest around it, appears to be the best
means of obtaining the valuable Brazil nut
.harvest.











Karen Kainer, left, Assistant Professor, Tropical Forestr
and Christina Staudhammer, Assistant Professor, Fore
Biometrics, work with Lucia Wadt (not pictured) of
Brazil to research Brazil nut population dynamics and
management options for enhancing nut production.
















"You don't have to cut the forests to get an economic
output," Kainer said. "This species has been credited with
the protection of millions of hectares of Amazonian forests."
Kainer and Staudhammer have been collaborating with
Dr. Lucia Wadt at the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corp. to
study populations of Brazil nut trees, their growth habits and
their fruit production. They have found that fruit production
greatly varies from tree to tree, and they are looking at ways
of enhancing the yield of nuts. Kainer said there seems to be
a trade-off between fruit production and growth of the tree,
and that is something she plans to investigate further.
Staudhammer is a forest biometrician, and joined the
team to help with analysis of quantitative and statisti-
cal problems. She traveled to the research sites on the
Amazonian frontier on an international travel grant from the
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and said it was
particularly helpful to see in person how the data were col-
lected and why the design of the study was appropriate. At
times, she said, it could be hazardous.
"You don't want to be near the trees when the Brazil nut
fruits are falling," Staudhammer said. "They're the size of a
softball."
In the wild, these woody husks are opened by rodents
and other small animals, which carry off the fruit and help
disperse Brazil nut tree seedlings throughout the forest. The
local people who gather the nuts often walk miles to harvest
them.
Kainer and Staudhammer's research has shown that the
Brazil nut is resilient, maintaining adequate regeneration
even when harvested very intensively over many decades.
The Brazil nut also reappears readily in abandoned cultiva-
tion plots as these plots shift from place to place. Cultivation
plots have come and gone through the years, suggesting
that they have played a role in the current distribution of
Brazil nut trees, Kainer said.
"Many of the shifting cultivation plots have been cleared
nd then have gone fallow, and this is a practice that has
occurred for centuries. We see a lot of regeneration of Brazil
ut trees in shifting cultivation plots," Kainer said. "This
suggests that we should be thinking about the larger forest
osaic."
The Brazil nut is the most valuable example of sustain-
le use of the tropical forest, but not the only one. Other


products yielded by extractive forest reserves include wild
game, natural rubber, wild palm and palm fruit. Kainer said
it is important to find ways to develop the forest for the eco-
nomic benefit of those who live there, while conserving it for
the greater global good. The Brazil nut tree is the anchor for
that approach.

/-

"All the nuts, in all those Planters

cans, in all the world, come from

here."

- KAREN KAINER



"The extractive reserves built around natural stands of
Brazil nut trees have already helped conserve parts of the
remaining Amazon," Kainer said. "They have bought us time
to figure out how to use these forests and then sustainably
develop them." a


2007 Annual Research Report I 23

















In 2004, only 58 sequences of the strawberry genome
were known, and little was understood about how
genes affected traits important to the strawberry industry
and the consumer. Sometime in 2008 the entire straw-
berry genome will be sequenced and assembled, and the
University of Florida will be a leading institution in this effort.
Such leaps in science take an incredible amount of work
and collaboration, said University of Florida Horticultural
Science Assistant Professor Kevin Folta, who started the UF
Strawberry Genomics Program in 2004.
"We went from no one working on molecular biology
in strawberry in 2004 to a laboratory filled with dedicated
researchers, including undergrads, grad students, postdocs
and visiting international scientists," Folta said. "We're get-
ting just a mountain of work done."
UF has traditionally boasted one of the world's best
academic strawberry breeding programs. But conventional
breeding of a genetically complex organism like strawberry
is laborious and has an element of trial and error. The straw-
berry's status as a high-value crop in Florida agriculture -
Florida ranks second nationwide in strawberry production -
made the addition of a complementary Strawberry Genomics


Program a logical step. Collaboration between conventional
breeders and genomicists is rare, Folta said, but it is working
well at UF because both groups of scientists have expertise
that accelerates the other's work.
For example, a breeder who wants to find a strawberry
plant with the best resistance to a given pathogen might
start out evaluating 10,000 plants. However, with a comple-
mentary molecular biology program, a breeder can focus
his or her efforts on a much smaller population of plants
that exhibit a genetic marker for resistance, saving time and
money.
"Traditional breeding takes a tremendously long time.
If you are really good you will release a successful cultivar
every couple of years," Folta said. "Using information from
genomicists, breeders can focus their efforts and expertise to
produce more promising cultivar candidates."
The strawberry's genetic makeup is unusual, Folta said.
It has evolved independently from other plants in the
Rosaceae family, which includes roses, apples, blackberries,
cherries, raspberries and peaches. Folta estimates 10 to 15
percent of the strawberry's genes have no clear match out-
side the family, and feels that they may represent the factors


Kevin Folta, Assistant Professor, Plant Molecular and Celluar Biology, displays how specialized lighting illuminates the mechanisms of how strawberry
plants turn environmental signals into a high-value Florida fruit crop.


Giant Leaps in Strawberry


Science





































behind the unique, desirable traits. Identifying the function
of these genes may allow identification of new markers to
help breeders, an important step in developing new straw-
berry varieties.
A species of strawberry called Fragaria vesca has a
genome similar to that of cultivated strawberry, but is much
simpler. F. vesca is useful in the laboratory, as it shares
many similarities with Arabidopsis thaliana, the lab rat of
the plant world. Arabidopsis is widely used in laboratories
because its small genome is completely known. It goes
from seed to seed quickly, produces many offspring and
is comparatively easy to genetically manipulate. F vesca's
genome, too, is comparatively small, among the smallest
of any plant species, and once it is completely known it
could make the strawberry even more useful to plant scien-
tists. This is important because the genes in strawberry are
much like those of other Rosaceous tree crops, like apple
or cherry. Unlike an apple or cherry tree, the strawberry is a
ab-friendly, shelf-sized model that goes through its life cycle
rapidly, flowering in weeks rather than years.
"The effects of inserting genes or taking them out are
known quickly in the laboratory," Folta said. "Because time,
Ind and safety are all critical issues, strawberry is a great
stem to test hypotheses relevant to many rosaceous


tree crops. You don't have to grow a set of trees for every
guess."
Folta said the true value in strawberry is that it provides
a system to understand the function of genes. Currently, the
apple, peach and strawberry genomes are being sequenced,
but all of the A's, G's, C's and T's in the Rosaceae parts list
are not as meaningful until their function is experimentally
defined. In this way, strawberry is an outstanding model sys-
tem to ask questions that may apply to all members of the
Rosaceae family.



"Using information from
genomicists, breeders can
focus their efforts and expertise
to produce more promising
cultivar candidates."

- KEVIN FOLTA




Folta also notes the strong collaboration and interaction
among Rosaceae scientists.
"We need to leverage everybody's knowledge," Folta
said. "It's crazy to think one lab could solve all the questions
or approach all the questions in a meaningful way."
Currently, Folta is chair of the U.S. Rosaceae Genetics
Genomics and Breeding Executive Committee and helps
coordinate research endeavors within the rose family. The
interaction is especially strong, anchored by a common data-
base, the Genome Database for Rosaceae at Washington
State University. The marriage of applied and basic research
tracks has attracted support from the USDA and a recent $1
million grant from the National Science Foundation. Florida
strawberry growers have pitched in, too, via the Florida
Strawberry Research and Education Foundation.
"My favorite part of the program is that it serves two
important functions," Folta said. "We contribute to assist-
ing breeders and affecting strawberry cultivation, but at the
same time our models teach us a massive amount about fun-
damental plant biology - we're helping to put better fruit
and a thicker textbook on the shelf." a


2007 Annual Research Report I 25








DN B


A fragment of a plant recently was brought to the
University of Florida Plant Identification Service,
and five specialists took a shot at identifying it. All
five taxonomists were stumped, said UF Herbarium Keeper
Norris Williams, so the plant was sent for genetic testing.
"We were like a bunch of children at Christmastime when
we got the sequencing back," Williams said.
The mystery plant? A common water weed from South
Florida in its juvenile form. The plantlets look nothing like
the adults, '.'illi.n:, said, and without using DNA it likely
would have resisted identification.


The experience highlighted the value of a project the
UF Herbarium is embarking on to establish a DNA bar code
for Florida plants, Williams said. Such a bar code would not
be as simple as a grocery scanner in a supermarket, but it
would still be faster than sequencing a plant's entire genetic
code and simpler than passing a plant around in hopes that
it might land in the hands of a botanist who would recognize
it. Nearly 2,000 plant species in Florida already have been
c.:::.ll:te.:-1 for bar coding by UF Herbarium researchers.
The seemingly simple task of identifying plants can be
tricky, like the experience with the South Florida water weed,
which looked markedly different from its 3-foot-tall adult
form. Other plants must flower before they
can be identified, or be collected during a
particular season. Many plants cannot be
identified from just a piece, a leaf or stem, for
example. With DNA, any plant can be identi-
fied at any time using any portion.
The value, Williams said, is manifold.
Police could use DNA bar coding to identify
tiny pieces of plants found at crime scenes or
on victims. Customs officers could use it to
monitor the illegal plant trade. Poison con-
trol centers might use a piece of a plant to
determine its toxicity. Invasive plants, some-
times difficult to identify as seedlings, could
be identified, and therefore contained, more
quickly. Verifiying that a food or herb being
sold is accurately labeled could be done
through DNA. And using bar codes could
help in monitoring the earth's biodiversity and
conserving species not yet known. By some




Herbarium staff with examples of the 250,000 dried
, . plant specimens from museum collections. These
specimens, carefully identified by experts, serve as the
"gold standard" examples of a species that are linked!
to the DNA bar code data. Left to right: Kent Perkins,
Collection Manager; Norris Williams, Keeper of the
Herbarium; Mark Whitten, Senior Biologist; Richard
Abbott, graduate student; and Kurt Neubig, graduate
student.






















estimates, less than 2 million of perhaps 10 million plant and
animal species on earth have been named.
Commercial applications are possible, too, Williams said.
DNA discoveries could open the door to a boom in hybrid-
izing and cross breeding to produce new varieties of plants.
"We may find that things we used to think are related
are not," Williams said, "and things we thought were not
related, are. Once the DNA is known, there is the poten-
tial to make hybridization possible in ways not thought of
before."
The concept of DNA bar codes is very new. Zoologists
began work on bar codes for animals in 2004, after finding
that a short genetic marker, or segment of DNA, could be
used to identify almost every species. For botanists, finding
the genetic marker has been more problematic, although
they finally arrived at a process that uses genetic information
provided in the chloroplast, which governs photosynthesis in
plants.
Williams said botanists worldwide have been collaborat-
ing on the project. On campus, the project also has been
collaborative, with the UF Herbarium sending specimens
for genetic identification to UF's Interdisciplinary Center for
Biotechnology Research before sending the information
on to GenBank, a national DNA database at the National
Center for Biotechnology Information. The potential for new
technology also exists. Some scientists envision a futuristic,
as-yet-uninvented device that could take in a piece of a plant
and provide its identification.
This project involves Mark Whitten, Senior Biologist, and
Kurt Neubig, a graduate student, who will generate the
DNA data that will serve as the bar codes. Although one
of the main results of this project will be DNA data to help
in identification of plants, a great deal of the work is inten-
sive field study by workers like graduate student, Richard
Abbott. Only by using an integrative approach of combining
traditional identification skills and field work to obtain the
thousands of vouchered specimens can the DNA sequence
data have any value for subsequent identification. These


.. ouchered specimens are processed and maintained by the
LUF Herbariurm and its collection manager, Kent Perkins.
Williams said the UF Herbarium project is continuing to
focus on collecting more of the wild and cultivated plants
of Florida, and sequencing will occur once funds have been
obtained Logical steps would be to tackle invasive plants,
then poi.s.ncious plants, as botanists work toward bar codes
for all Florida's flora. Many plant categories are quite large,
Williams said, pointing out that there are approximately
25,000 species of orchids.



"The UF Herbarium project is
continuing to focus on collecting
more of the wild and cultivated
plants of Florida."

- NORRIS WILLIAMS



For some plants, there may be only one expert who can
provide identification. DNA bar codes, however, make it pos-
sible to spread botanical knowledge more evenly. There's
value, Williams said, in just knowing a plant's identity.
"It would be good to know the specific marker to say, for
instance, this is a ghost orchid," Williams said. a


2007 Annual Research Report I 27









EarthMicroeso Ma:


A lien invasions from outer space have long been
the stuff of human imagination - drooling aliens,
little green men and heartless robots intent on
Earth's destruction.
But scientists think humans may be more of a threat to
space than space is to us. Earthlings, it turns out, could be
the real space invaders.
Protecting space from Earth's hardiest life forms -
microbes - is the work of researchers like University of
Florida astrobiologist Wayne Nicholson at the Space Life
Sciences Laboratory at the Kennedy Space Center. Mars, our
nearest neighbor in space, is his focus.
Using a Mars environmental simulator, Nicholson and his
colleagues have been testing whether microbes from space-
craft can survive and grow under Martian conditions. The
surface of Mars is not hospitable: carbon dioxide dominates
the atmosphere and the atmospheric pressure is only about
1 percent of Earth's. There is no ozone layer, so radiation
blankets the surface. It is cold, and water exists mostly as ice
or vapor, not the liquid form Earth creatures need to survive.


"We come from a place completely contaminated with
life, and we don't want to bring our life to another planet,"
Nicholson said. "When we get to Mars, we want to be sure
we find Martian life and not Earth life that is contaminating
Mars."
Since the 1960s, the Red Planet has captivated scientists.
Exploration started with orbiters taking pictures. Next came
landers, then robotic rovers, in a quest for knowledge that
scientists hope will culminate with a human expedition to
Mars. That makes protecting Mars from an invasion of earthly
microbes a real concern.
Recently, images from Mars show liquid water spurting
from beneath the surface, prompting scientists to speculate
about the existence of subsurface aquifers, similar to those
in Antarctica. Nicholson said studying microbes that survive
Antarctic conditions might provide information on which
microbes might be most likely to colonize Mars.
In accordance with an international treaty on planetary
protection, spacecraft are assembled in a highly sterile,
surgical-style facility. The process is horrendously expensive,


Wayne Nicholson, Associate Professor, Microbiology and Cell Science, holds an artificial "meteorite" carrying spores of the bacterium Bacillus subtilis,
which survived a short flight into space and high-speed reentry through Earth's atmosphere.

































Nicholson said, and even under such conditions dormant
spores - the toughest and longest-lived cells known to sci-
ence - survive. The cells likely would survive an Earth-to-
Mars space flight, but whether they could withstand surface
conditions on Mars, and reproduce, is unknown, Nicholson
said.
"We do find some microbes that are very, very resistant to
radiation. Only the hardiest bugs make it through the assem-
bly process," Nicholson said. When subjected to the Mars
simulator, however, the result is different. "At the moment,
the news is pretty good; the contaminants we do take won't
fare well."
Exploring Mars and perhaps living on Mars will mean
carrying a host of terrestrial microorganisms into space
with us. Astronauts' bodies will be teeming with beneficial
microbes that support human life, and microbes would be
integral to space-grown plants. Robots are easier to protect
from contamination, and initially, samples taken from the
Martian surface would be taken by robots.
"There's a value in knowing what was there before we
contaminated it," Nicholson said.
In early space flight, the focus was on protecting Earth
from space contaminants. The Apollo astronauts were sub-
jected to severe quarantine restraints, but no one worried


"When we get to Mars, we
want to be sure we find Martian
life and not Earth life that is
contaminating Mars."

- WAYNE NICHOLSON



about contaminating the lunar surface when Neil Armstrong
took his first steps on the moon. The moon turned out to be
sterile and was taken off the planet protection list.
Considering the number of lunar and Martian meteorites
that have landed on Earth's surface, the possibility exists
that Earth already has been contaminated. If the rocks har-
bored microbial life and it survived the entry into Earth's
atmosphere, that would raise interesting questions about the
origin of life on Earth, Nicholson said. It also would mean,
microbially speaking, that we are not alone.
That humans are concerned about the contaminants they
could carry into an extraterrestrial world is a major shift from
the days of the New World explorers, who brought European
diseases with them to the Americas, devastating native pop-
ulations along the way.
"This is the first opportunity in human history to think and
plan ahead to try to minimize the impact of human explora-
tion," Nicholson said. "It's a testament to mankind that we're
thinking about the harm we could do." a


2007 Annual Research Report I 29







Grwr Wil NedMayTol

to onro Bctril po


For Florida tomato growers, there is no panacea that
will fix their most threatening disease problems.
What there is, said University of Florida researcher
Jeffrey Jones, is an integrated approach that could reduce
crop losses and help control pests.
Jones has been working since 1981 on integrated pest
management (IPM). IPM focuses on maximizing a range
of weapons in fighting the diseases and pests that plague
tomato crops. Everything plays a role, Jones said, from
chemicals to biological control agents to breeding tomato
plants with a natural resistance to pests.


Among the newest additions to the tomato growers' arse-
nal are bacteriophages, viruses that attack bacteria.
Tomato growers normally fight viruses rather than
embrace them, and several viruses rank among the worst
disease problems for tomato crops. But bacteriophages are
good viruses, and they eat the bacteria that cause one of the
worst tomato diseases of all - bacterial spot. The dreaded
tomato disease causes lesions on leaves and fruit and is
most severe in Florida and the Southeastern United States.
Jones said he has seen farmers with 40 to 50 percent crop
losses from bacterial spot, and that makes bacteriophages a
welcome guest in Florida tomato fields.
"The two most important tomato disease
problems in Florida are viruses and bacterial
spot," Jones said. "Our goal is to use all the
available technology to get an integrated
approach to disease control."
Jones has been collaborating since 1995
with a microbiologist in Utah on controlling
plant bacterial diseases with bacteriophages.
Field tests in 1997-98 showed good potential
for disease control using the phages but also


Jeffrey Jones, Professor, Plant Pathology, looks for
alternative strategies for controlling bacterial disease.

























pointed out the need for using them strategically to maxi-
mize their effectiveness.
First, Jones said, researchers found that bacteria can
develop resistance to a particular phage. That prompted
a series of experiments to find several phages that would
attack the bacteria. From there, scientists developed a bank
of phages so that a mixture could be used on tomato fields.
The mixture made it unlikely that the bacteria would develop
resistance to all the phages at once.
Next, researchers needed a strategy for applying phages
to tomato fields. Phages are light-sensitive, so they lose
effectiveness as the sun grows stronger. Early morning
applications worked but only until the sun came up. One
of Jones' graduate students decided to try applications
timed for sunset and found that the phages persisted on the
tomato plants for 12 hours, giving them more time to attack
the bacteria. Researchers are still working to find formula-
tions that will extend the persistence of phages on tomato
plants.
Research results have shown that fields treated with bac-
teriophages can see as much as a 25 percent increase in
yields over fields left untreated or treated with standard bac-
tericide combinations, Jones said.
Although phages are important, plant breeding and
chemicals still play pivotal roles, Jones said. In plant breed-
ing, the challenge is to find genes that give the plant a natu-
ral resistance to bacterial spot. So far, Jones said, several
dominant resistance genes have been identified that could
be used in developing commercial varieties of tomatoes.
Jones and his colleagues also are studying plant activa-
tors (chemicals that activate a defense system in plants).
Under greenhouse and test field conditions, the activators
have been used in combination with bacteriophages and
shown to reduce bacterial spot on tomato.


Jones said growers have been receptive to all facets of
UF's research.
"The growers do IPM themselves, in terms of looking for
the best ways to control diseases," Jones said. "They are
very flexible in what they'll try.
"We have some good possibilities that offer hope. We
just need more research." a








"Our goal is to use all the
available technology to get an
integrated approach to disease
control."

- JEFFREY JONES


2007 Annual Research Report I 31










Ie


Veterinarians know a lot about anesthetizing a dog
or treating viruses in horses. Faced with a sick cow
or cat, veterinarians can diagnose their maladies.
But when it comes to sick seals, whales, ailing sea lions or
dolphins, veterinarians have more questions than answers,
particularly about the viruses that cause many marine
mammal diseases. And that leaves University of Florida
scientist Hendrik Nollens with an abundance of research
opportunities.
"Veterinarians who work with marine mammals get to a
point in working up a sick animal where all they can say is,
'it's this organ and it's probably viral,'" said Nollens, who
is based in San Diego at the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research
Institute. "They have no tools beyond that. My focus is on
finding the viruses and figuring out which are significant,"
Nollens said. "It's an open field."
Marine mammal medicine is so new that only 29 viruses
have been identified in 120 species of marine mammals.
That compares to 208 viruses identified among the 1,407
pathogens of humans, said Nollens. Even those marine
mammal viruses that are known are not well-studied, so


Hendrik Nollens, Research Associate, Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute,
Program, University of Florida.


almost any new piece of information is helpful for wildlife
managers who treat or rehabilitate marine mammals.
Nollens works four weeks in San Diego for every week he
spends in Gainesville on campus at the College of Veterinary
Medicine. The bicoastal nature of his work racks up the fre-
quent flyer miles, but it gives him the best of both worlds. In
San Diego, collaborating with SeaWorld and the U.S. Navy
Marine Mammal Program, Nollens has access to a wealth of
animals. An important part of the work in San Diego is col-
lecting and screening samples to send to UF.
At UF, the selected samples are used in advanced
workups in state-of-the-art laboratory facilities. Nollens
collaborates with wildlife disease experts in the College
of Veterinary Medicine and virologists in the College of
Medicine, and every week the scientists hold a videoconfer-
ence laboratory meeting to discuss their research.
Nollens' post in San Diego is necessary because it gives
him proximity to the SeaWorld and Navy animals and vet-
erinarians, rather than just tissue samples in a lab, and gives
him perspective on the clinical cases as a whole.


San Diego, Calif. and Clinical Assistant Professor, Marine Mammal Health
























The role of the animals in research is important, but both
collections of marine mammals serve other purposes, too.
The SeaWorld animals, Nollens said, provide valuable public
education.
"If people go to a zoo or water park and see a sea lion
swimming under water, when they hear about an oil tanker
hitting a bridge and spilling oil, they're going to care,"
Nollens said.
The Navy's marine mammals are working animals, the
marine equivalent of guard dogs for the underwater areas of
naval bases.
Both collections are large and offer the advantage of ani-
mals with completely known medical histories, making them
good cases to determine if a discovery is a pathogen or a
harmless virus. When the researchers identify a pathogen in
the collection animals, they sample the wild animals to find
out whether it is present in the wild as well. So far, Nollens
said, any time a virus has been found in a collection animal,
it has also appeared in a wild animal.
Nollens' perspective is unique because he can draw upon
three areas of expertise as a veterinarian, virologist and
marine biologist.
"Marine biology helps me understand animal behavior,"
Nollens said. "For example, when they migrate, they congre-
gate, and that's a great time to exchange viruses. It helps me
see the big picture."


Nollens said he works with a lot of "charismatic animals"
and enjoys them all, from the mystery of the dolphins to
the majesty of the killer whales. But his favorites are the sea
lions, the first marine mammals he worked with in his doc-
toral research.
"The sea lions may be the least charismatic but they have
the most personality," Nollens said. "They're like very smart
dogs. I can see them right outside my office window."
Just another advantage of bicoastal research. U





"If people go to a zoo or water
park and see a sea lion swim-
ming under water, when they
hear about an oil tanker hitting
a bridge and spilling oil, they're
going to care."

- HENDRIK NOLLENS


2007 Annual Research Report I 33







Relocating Bears


Does't lways Work


t could be a cookie dropped by a toddler. A dish of
dog food left overnight on the patio. A bird feeder
brimming with seed. A burger that fell to the ground,
forgotten from last night's barbecue.
For a Florida black bear, it's free food. For the hom-
eowner who wakes up to find a bear in the back yard, it's a
nuisance in the making.
What happens to these bears that venture too comfort-
ably into the world of humans? That's the question University
of Florida researchers Mel Sunquist and Kim Annis answered
in a study conducted from May 2004 to December 2006.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
(FWC) routinely relocates nuisance bears, but Sunquist and
Annis found that the relocation program does not work as
well as wildlife otil.:,.-,, thought. For the study, 41 nuisance
bears - 33 males and eight females - were captured, fit-
ted with radio tracking collars, and released in the Ocala
National Forest. Then Annis tracked them from the air and
from the ground.
"No two bears, even those with the same history and
captured at the same location, did the same thing when we
let them go," said Annis, who conducted the research for her


master's thesis. "They didn't always stay where we put them.
Some just started walking and kept walking."
One bear ended up as far east as Anastasia Island on the
coast near St. Augustine. Another bear's journey took him to
an area south of Zephyrhills in Pasco County. Another spent
the fall and winter in the forest, but when spring arrived
trekked all the way to Jacksonville.
"The FWC relocated the bears and thought the prob-
lem was solved," said Sunquist, a professor in the Wildlife
Ecology and Conservation Department in UF's Institute of
Food and Agricultural Sciences. "But we're not in Montana,
where you can take them somewhere remote, turn them
loose and never see them again."
The bears that were relocated short distances, less than
40 miles, returned home. For others, their keen noses still
got them into trouble. Sunquist noted that a tipped-over
turkey cooker attracted three bears within 24 hours. Nearly
half the bears exhibited nuisance behavior at least once after
relocation, and 34 percent of those bears repeated their nui-
sance behaviors more than once. Males were more likely to
be repeat offenders than females.


Melvin Sunquist, Professor, Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, displays a portable, handheld radio tracking device that is used to determine the where-
abouts of radio-tagged bears following their release into the forest.

























Kim Annis, a recent Wildlife Ecology and Conservation graduate stu-
dent, poses with her largest research bear (weighing in at 580 Ibs).
Unfortunately, this bear was illegally killed several months after his re-
lease by a poacher who is now serving time for the crime.



Thirty-two percent of the bears remained in the Ocala
National Forest, and 37 percent left the forest but did not
return home. Relocation did not appear to affect the survival
rate of the animals, Annis said. Even though eight bears
died during the study - one of natural causes, one in a for-
est fire, two in car collisions, three killed illegally, and one
euthanized - the survival rate of relocated bears was similar
to that of bears already living in the Ocala National Forest.
Sunquist said wildlife officials generally give bears three
chances to succeed after relocation, and then euthanize
them if their nuisance behaviors persist.
Annis said relocation might work better if wildlife officials
can capture a nuisance bear before its behavior pattern is
established. Bears are smart, and by the time they are relo-
cated, she said, the freeloaders usually have learned to asso-
ciate back yards, patios and garbage cans with food.
"Bears know when garbage day is," Annis said. "If gar-
bage day is Wednesday, the night before they say, 'yes, it's
garbage night,' and they knock over the garbage cans, and
you find a huge mess in the morning."
The mooched meals are not healthy for the bears, either,
Annis said. A bear that normally forages 20 hours in a day
to get the 20,000 calories it needs, can pack on the pounds
when it can get all the calories it needs in a single snack from
a bird feeder or pet food dish.
Although bears can be a nuisance, there has never been
a documented bear attack in Florida. That possibility still
exists, Annis cautions, especially with more and more people
encroaching on bear habitat. The solution to the nuisance


bear issue, Annis and Sunquist agree, may be educating
people about how to live with their wild neighbors.
"Some people will feed the bears and the alligators,"
Annis said. "That causes problems for themselves and for
other people."
Bears have been a threatened species in Florida since
1974, and bear hunting was banned in 1994. Today, the bear
population is believed to be between 2,200 and 3,000, said
Annis, who now works as the grizzly bear management spe-
cialist for the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks service.
Unlike panthers and wolves, black bears have the ability
to live among people, if people will learn how to live among
them, Annis said.
"In Florida, new people are moving in and still learning
how to live with alligators and bears and other creatures they
didn't live with before," Annis said. "We can relocate the



"In Florida, new people are
moving in and still learning how
to live with alligators and bears
and other creatures they didn't
live with before."

- KIM ANNIS


bears, but if people leave attractants out, the bears will still
come. People need to secure their dog food, bird food and
garbage cans. The bears will still be there, but they won't
come into your yard." a





'

2007 Annual Research Report I 35





BU flr o of Are i-ona iae


Indstra Groundwater*

S *


For the Chinese brake fern, a toxic waste site filled
with arsenic is a feast.
And that's good news for companies looking for
environmentally -rienrdl, ways to clean up arsenic-contami-
nated groundwater, say two University of Florida researchers.
Robert Stamps and Seenivasan Natarajan have com-
pleted preliminary tests showing that Pteris vittata, com-
monly known as the Chinese brake fern, can absorb arsenic
from groundwater quickly and efficiently.
"There are many sites in Florida, the United States, the
world, where the soil or the water is contaminated with arse-
nic, either from natural sources or from man-made sources,"
said Stamps, a foliage specialist at UF's Mid-Florida Research
and Education Center in Apopka. "The purpose of our work
was to demonstrate that these ferns could be used to clean
up contaminated water."
Arsenic was commonly used in pressure treating lumber,
cattle dipping vats and in some herbicides. Arsenic also is
a byproduct of mining and smelting ores and of treating
municipal wastes and sewage. The mineral can leach into
groundwater, and ingestion of it can cause cancer. The U.S.


Environmental Protection Agency has set the maximum limit
for arsenic in drinking water at 10 parts per billion.
The Chinese brake fern's appetite for arsenic was
discovered by chance in 2001 by the UF research team of
Lena Ma, Professor, Biogeochemistry of Trace Metals. They
found the ferns growing at an abandoned lumber treat-
ment site near Gainesville, and their tests showed that the
plant absorbs arsenic from the soil, making it the first plant
known to hyperaccumulate arsenic in its tissues. Stamps and
Natarajan wanted to study the fern's ability to draw arsenic
out of groundwater.
Environmental cleanup conjure images of industrial
machinery, high-tech laboratory equipment and piles of
money, so the prospect of using plants for cleanup - a pro-
cess called phytoremediation - was exciting, the research-
ers said.
The groundwater used for the studies was collected from
underneath an electrical power substation in South Florida
and had been contaminated by past use of arsenic-based
herbicides. Plugs of Chinese brake ferns were grown hydro-
ponically in this water.


Seenivasan Natarajan, left, Post-doc and Robert Stamps, Professor of Environmental Horticulture, examine the prolific root system of an arsenic-
hyperaccumulating fern used to decontaminate groundwater.






















In their tests, Stamps and Natarajan used four planting
densities, two levels of nitrogen fertilization and two levels
of phosphorous fertilization. Determining the best density
for planting was important, both to determine the density at
which the plants absorbed the most arsenic and the density
that was most economical. Determining the level of fertiliza-
tion needed was important because they did not want to
contaminate the water with fertilizer while cleaning up the
arsenic.
When the tests began, Natarajan said, the researchers
drew water samples after 24 hours. They were surprised to
find the samples free of arsenic in such a short time, so they
tried sampling the water after just eight hours.
"We found we were able to drop arsenic levels in 30 liters
of groundwater from 135 parts per billion to 10 parts per bil-
lion in eight hours," Stamps said. "That's much faster than
had previously been reported."
"As the plants were growing bigger and bigger,"
Natarajan said, "they were taking up the arsenic faster and
faster."
The research also showed that the ferns needed very little
fertilizer.
Chinese brake fern is a perennial plant, making it ideal for
long-term cleanup because the same plants can be reused,
Natarajan said. Once the plant has accumulated arsenic,
the fronds, which are 90 percent water, can be harvested,
dried and then disposed of in special landfills. Since disposal
costs run $75 to $80 a ton, depositing the dried material in a
landfill costs much less than conventional methods of water
treatment.
For their studies, Stamps and Natarajan harvested the
fronds three times and found that the ferns maintained vigor-
ous growth after each harvest.
Cleaning up arsenic with Chinese brake ferns might work
particularly well in poorer regions of the world, Natarajan
said. One of the most famous mass poisonings from arsenic
occurred in Bangladesh, where drinking water wells contami-


nated wirth naturally occurring ar'enir ha.e harrrmed large
pFopulaticns
'The World Health Orqanization vwas trying to help peo-
ple wh,: 'vere drinkirn� surface water." Natarajari, aid "They
drilled w'ell but they failed to test for hea. , netalc The
people were drinking arerni.: aater at 50 parts per billion
anrid are still suHerriqn to.da, '
Chinese brake fern provides ar, inexpensi.ve and readily
available tilter since it qrw,,s inr rniost ,%arrn rei':rns of the
worl,:d Just orie plant car, rerno &e .3S8 n-ii:r.c'gra ns ot arsenic
per hour, Stamps said.
"It's an economical way to clean up drinking water in
countries where people don't have a lot of money," Stamps



"There are many sites in Florida,
the United States, the world,
where the soil or the water is
contaminated with arsenic,
either from natural sources or
from man-made sources."


- ROBERT STAMPS


said. "They can clean up their water at the well, at their
home." W


2007 Annual Research Report I 37


















hen University of Florida researcher Craig
I Stanley set out to do a study on improving
V water and nutrient management for strawberry
growers, he got a surprising result almost from the start.
The strawberry farmers were already doing a remark-
ably good job protecting water and conserving water and
nutrients.
"The crux of it was that it was hard to improve on what
they're doing," said Stanley, a soil and water scientist and
Associate Director of the Gulf Coast Research and Education
Center in Wimauma.
Also surprising to Stanley was the willingness of the grow-
ers to give researchers the run of their fields. Every grower
asked to take part in the project agreed to participate.
"It's rare for a grower to want to be monitored. There's
an unknown there about what the study will find, so there's a
risk," Stanley said. "But the strawberry growers all had confi-
dence in what they were doing."
With good reason, it turned out.


The four-year project started in 2004 with funding from
the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
The agencies wanted Stanley to assess the level at which
nitrogen leaches into groundwater or runs off into surface
waters from strawberry farms, and to recommend best man-
agement practices to conserve water and minimize water
contamination from fertilizers, primarily nitrogen.
Stanley enlisted Hillsborough County extension agent
Alicia Whidden to help locate farmers to participate. With
her help, he ended up with 21 sites on 11 strawberry farms,
with eight collection points per site. Fourteen different soil
types were represented among the sites. The researchers
installed eight collectors below the root zone in the straw-
berry beds at each sampling site a'nd instructed the farmers
to fertilize and irrigate as usual. Stanley could tell how much
nitrogen and water was unused by the strawberry plants -
and therefore wasted - by taking weekly samples of the
contents of the collectors.


Craig Stanley, standing, and Biological Scientist, Tim Davis, review results for water samples .: ll-.: i-d from commercial strawberry
grower-cooperator sampling sites.


ds ' -





























Only one site exceeded a loss of 5 pounds of nitrogen
for the season, a minimal level. That site showed a loss of 15
pounds of nitrogen for the season, and Stanley said the soil
type or excessive irrigation might have caused the anomaly.
More than 95 percent of strawberry farmers use drip
irrigation systems that allow for precise water and nutrient
management. The farmers can irrigate and fertilize based on
a strawberry crop's needs, rather than on a schedule. Drip
irrigation reduces the amount of water needed to produce
a strawberry crop by about half and reduces fertilizer use by
about a third. In fact, as an industry, strawberry growers are
using less water than they did 20 years ago, with 40 percent
more acreage in production.
Stanley said the growers realize the measures that protect
and conserve water resources help them, too.
"It's an economic thing for them, because they are paying
for the fertilizer. It's to their advantage not to lose it," Stanley
said.
Rather than waste excess nitrogen, strawberry farmers
often plant crops after the strawberry harvest so the new
crop can use the remainder of the nitrogen in the soil.
Farmers have a bureaucratic incentive as well. Through
the state of Florida's voluntary BMP adoption program, those
who participate and agree to adopt tried-and-true best man-
agement practices receive a "presumption of compliance"
with state water quality standards by regulatory agencies.
Many farmers, Stanley said, likely are already in compliance.
"I thought this study might identify some issues," Stanley
said. "Instead, it identified the fact that they're doing a very
good job." a


"I thought this study might
identify some issues. Instead,
it identified the fact that they're
doing a very good job."

- CRAIG STANLEY


2007 Annual Research Report I 39








Trackin DonaPlmKle


T he stately queen palm is not native to Florida, but
it is such an icon in the urban landscapes of South
Florida that it is hard to imagine a park scene or
sunset without one.
So when unusual numbers of queen palms started dying,
landscapers knew it was time to call University of Florida
palm disease specialist Monica Elliott.
The scientific mystery began in 2004, when a landscape
manager at a golf course in Palm Beach County noticed
more queen palms were dying on his course than would
be normal. He called UF's Fort Lauderdale Research and
Education Center to confer with Elliott.
"He was savvy enough to know what he was dealing with
was not just a nutritional deficiency," Ell:.rt said. "Queen
palms are not necessarily adapted to Florida, but we grow a
lot of them, and the landscape manager recognized he had
a problem."
Elliott began by trying to determine if the infection was
in the root, the trunk, the bud or the leaves. She examined
trunks, browned leaves, yellowed canopies. She ruled out
insects as the cause, along with benign fungi that naturally
occur on palms without causing them to die.


Then Elliott asked the county Florida Cooperative
Extension Service offices throughout the state to see if any-
one else had queen palms dying in unusual numbers.
"We found out that queen palms were dying elsewhere,
and no one could explain it," Elliott said. "Within six months,
we had cases in Orlando, Naples, West Palm Beach and
Broward County. There were so many far-flung places, it was
clear this disease had been around a while."
Elliott began traversing the state to examine the trees.
She determined the disease was starting in the leaves and,
as cases proliferated, began asking extension agents to send
tree canopies to her laboratory in Fort Lauderdale.
"Soon I was receiving boxes the size of lawn mowers,"
Elliott said. "People were sending me entire tree canopies
with leaves labeled 1, 2, 3, 4..... It became clear it was start-
ing in the lowest leaves and moving up the canopy."
In Elliott's tests, two species of fungi kept turning up:
Fusarium and Pestalotiopsis. When Elliott was consis-
tently able to isolate Fusarium in diseased palms, but not
Pestalotiopsis, she decided to focus on finding the species
of Fusarium that was killing the palms.


Monica Elliott, Professor, Plant Pathology, displays a queen palm, left, which died after inoculation with a pathogenic Fusarium oxysporum.
The healthy queen palm, right, is the control.
.... - 7 . - - W" -























Elliott had to be sure she could consistently isolate the
pathogen from queen palms showing symptoms of the new
disease. Once she isolated the pathogen, Elliott grew it in a
pure culture, free of other fungi and bacteria that might skew
her results in later tests. Next, she took the cultured patho-
gen and inoculated a healthy queen palm, watching to see
whether it would develop the symptoms of the new disease.
Finally, she recovered the disease-causing agent and then
determined that it was the same as the pathogen originally
isolated.
"This process took six months to a year," Elliott said.
"Palms are large; this is not petunias."
In spring 2007, just when Elliott had named the disease
Fusarium decline and was closing in on the Fusarium spe-
cies to blame - Fusarium oxysporum - she began to get
reports of odd deaths in Mexican fan palms. Within a mat-
ter of months, cases of dead Mexican fan palms turned up
in places as far apart as Orlando, St. Petersburg and Fort
Myers. Unlike the queen palm deaths, which occurred in
landscapes, the Mexican fan palm deaths also were occur-
ring in field-grown plants in nurseries, raising the possibility
of an economic impact on the nursery industry.
With the pathogen showing up in Mexican fan palms, the
possibility of it spreading statewide had to be considered.
Queen palms generally grow south of Orlando, keeping the
disease contained in that region. But Mexican fan palms are
more cold-tolerant and can grow statewide.
"This means the disease can spread throughout the
state," Elliott said. "It's no longer just a South Florida
problem."
Elliott's tests showed that the Fusarium oxysporum caus-
ing queen palms to die was also to blame for the death of
the Mexican fan palms. DNA sequencing failed to identify
it as a known subspecies, and recent results from a USDA
laboratory indicate the pathogen is new to Florida and the
United States.


Adding to the mystery is that queen palms and Mexican
fan palms are not the same species of palm, making it pos-
sible that the pathogen could jump from palm species to
palm species, in spores traveling on the wind.
"Fusarium oxysporum is usually relatively host-specific,
so I was very shocked to find it on Mexican fan palms,"
Elliott said. "It could be a subtle genetic difference that has
appeared."
The next step, Elliott said, will be to screen other palms in
the landscape and perhaps develop a more rapid means of
diagnosis if it turns out that other palms are affected. There



"We found out that queen
palms were dying elsewhere,
and no one could explain it."

- MONICA ELLIOTT




is no cure for the disease, so the best practice for landscap-
ers is to sterilize pruning tools and remove diseased palms
from the landscape to avoid spreading the disease.
"People are reluctant to eliminate a palm, but the longer
you leave it in the landscape, the more possibility there is for
transmission," Elliott said. "It's like leaving Typhoid Mary in
the landscape." a


2007 Annual Research Report I 41



















B romeliad lovers call the Mexican bromeliad weevil
the "evil weevil" because it is destroying popula-
tions of these unusual native plants throughout
South Florida. Out of Florida's 16 native species of bromeli-
ads, 12 are threatened by the voracious insect.
The best way to control a weevil that eats bromeliads
might be an insect that eats weevils, says University of
Florida entomologist Ronald Cave. And Cave found that
insect in the jungles of Honduras.
A 1993 telephone call from UF entomologist Howard
Frank sent Cave into the jungle. Frank asked Cave, then
working at the Panamerican School of Agriculture in
Zamorano, if there were Mexican bromeliad weevils in
Honduras and whether they had any natural enemies. Cave
set off into the cloud forests to collect bromeliads and wee-
vils and bring them back to the laboratory.
"Out came this parasitic fly," Cave said. "I had collected
the weevil before, but I never thought to look for parasites."
Cave didn't recognize the fly so he sent it to taxonomists
for identification. It was soon clear that the tiny creature was
not only a new species, but a new genus. In honor of Frank's


role in its discovery, Cave and Canadian taxonomist Monty
Wood named it Lixadmontia franki.
"I was one of the first entomologists to collect in these
forests, but I wouldn't have just stumbled on it. I almost had
to be looking for it," Cave said. "After further study, it was
clear that it was so different that it was in a genus of its own,
new to science."
Cave figured he had found a potential biological con-
trol agent, the "good bugs that combat or control the bad
bugs." But the new creature would need to be studied
extensively before it could be imported to the United States
and unleashed on the weevils in Florida forests. Cave began
the work in Zamorano, then brought the project with him to
UF's Indian River Research and Education Center in 2002.
Cave had to develop a technique to rear the flies in the
laboratory in numbers great enough to cover all the avenues
of research. He would also need to provide a home for the
weevils without using the precious bromeliads. The solution:
picking up the tops of pineapples, a bromeliad relative, after
local grocery stores tossed them out.
The work also had to be done under quarantine until
research showed the parasitic fly could be released safely


Ronald Cave, Assistant Professor, Entomology, Indian River Research and Education Center.
-' " , 11 *


Meia Bro elnm W evi


















1.iLcrcJP1'


into Florida's environment. The only quarantine facility avail-
able to Cave initially was in Gainesville, and one day the air
conditioning failed and all the laboratory flies were lost.
As research progressed, plans were made for a new
quarantine facility in Fort Pierce, and in 2004 the Hayslip
Biological Control Research and Containment Laboratory
opened on the campus of the Indian River Research and
Education Center.
"That made all the difference in the world," Cave said.
"This project wouldn't be where it is without this facility. We
finally had the facility and the space to produce a couple
hundred flies a week, where before we could get two or
three a week."
Finally, in the summer of 2007 at a park in Hillsborough
County, Cave was able to release the first group of "good
bugs" to see if they could control the "bad bugs." Six weeks
later, sentinel pineapples infested with the weevils were set
out by UF graduate student Teresa Cooper in hopes that the
parasitic flies would find them. After two more weeks, the
pineapple tops were retrieved and taken back to the lab,
where two parasitic flies were recovered, the proof that the
research could pay off.
"We were lucky after the first release to be able to
recover two flies. That means the flies we released were able
to find weevils in native bromeliads and from these the sons
and daughters of the released flies emerged, mated, found
the lab-infested pineapple tops in the forest and laid eggs,"
Cave said.
Researchers can tell from the length of the fly's life cycle
that the flies recovered in the lab were the granddaughters


of the flies initially released. Cave said it was heartening to
find that the parasitic flies can survive and produce offspring
in Florida, considering that they come from a high elevation
with a cool, moist and shady forest.



"The loss of bromeliads is a
loss of part of Florida's natural
heritage and a loss of the fauna
that uses it."

- RONALD CAVE



Several other releases have followed, so far without a
recovery of the parasitic flies, but Cave is patient. With bio-
logical control, he said, it can take time for the population of
the beneficial insects to build up.
"Bromeliads are worth the effort," Cave said. "The
leaves come together to form a trough for water and a nice
little hiding spot used by a number of insects and other
invertebrates."
"Bromeliads are a beautiful component to the natural
forests in South Florida," Cave said. "The loss of bromeliads
is a loss of part of Florida's natural heritage and a loss of the
fauna that uses it."
Fourteen years is an unusually long time from discovery
to release for a biological control. Cave said he didn't antici-
pate it would take so long.
"Frustration can be a big part of science, but we had a lot
of good fortune and a little bit of success," Cave said. "You
have to keep building on the successes." U


2007 Annual Research Report I 43

















t seems a world away, Chikungunya virus infects 1.5
million people in the Indian Ocean region in 2006.
But the two mosquitoes that transmit the virus,
Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, call Florida home
as '..ell, making chikungunya and other mosquito-borne
viruses a real threat to Floridians, said University of Florida
researcher Walter Tabachnick, Director of the Florida Medical
Entomology Laboratory (FMEL) in Vero Beach. The virus
could readily hop from Asia to the United States via an
infected traveler.
"It's easy to envision a traveler from the Indian Ocean
region coming off a plane in Gainesville with just a mild


illness, sitting outside in the evening and getting bitten
by Aedes albopictus," Tabachnick said. "That's all it would
take."
And chikungunya is by no means the only mosquito-
borne threat to the people of Florida and the United States.
Tabachnick and FMEL colleagues are working on a range
of viruses and mosquito vectors that pose a threat to humans
and animals, including dengue fever, West Nile virus and St.
Louis encephalitis. West Nile virus and St. Louis encephali-
tis viruses are both transmitted by Culex quinquefasciatus
and Culex nigripalpus mosquitoes in Florida and are being
studied by Tabachnick; Jonathon Day, Professor; Cynthia
Lord, Assistant Professor; Stephanie Richards,
Research Assistant Scientist; Chelsea Smartt,
Assistant Professor; and Christopher Vitek,
Post Doctorate Associate. Phil Lounibos,
Professor; George O'Meara, Professor; and
Michael Reiskind, Post Doctorate Associate
are investigating dengue and chikungunya
viruses and the mosquitoes in Florida capable
of transmitting the diseases to people.
These mosquito-borne pathogens can be
spread by animal hosts, such as migratory
birds (for West Nile and St. Louis encephali-
tis), as well as by humans traveling to Florida
from around the globe. This makes the spread
of these diseases almost assured, according
to FMEL scientists, and that makes research
all the more important. Communities need to
be ready before an outbreak occurs.
To understand the circumstances that allow
mosquitoes to transmit pathogens, the FMEL







From left to right: Phil Lounibos, Michael Reiskind,
Cynthia Lord, Stephanie Richards, and Walter
Tabachnick evaluate the production of Aedes
albopictus larval development in used tires. Used
tires are a major larval development site for this
species in the U. S.


Mosquito-borne Diseases a


Global Concern
L























is studying the biology of mosquitoes and the environments
they prefer. Learning how and why mosquitoes transmit
pathogens will help scientists and public health agencies
develop new methods to mitigate outbreaks in advance.
Many mosquito-borne pathogens are reemerging around
the world, including in the United States.
"There have been many new, more devastating outbreaks
despite efforts to control them," Tabachnick said. "In just
the past two years, we have seen more than 1 million cases
of chikungunya in the Indian Ocean regions, over 1 million
cases of dengue in Central and South America, and West
Nile virus continues to cause thousands of cases each year in
the United States."
Chikungunya virus has reemerged as a dangerous patho-
gen, the Indian Ocean outbreak being the largest outbreak
of the disease ever recorded, Tabachnick said. Like other
mosquito-borne viruses, its incubation period of four to
seven days, allows for an infected traveler to return to the
United States without recognizing the infection. Symptoms
include fever, headache, nausea and a rash. Victims of chi-
kungunya often develop joint inflammation that can lead to
pain and stooped posture that can last for months or years.
Research at the FMEL by Lounibos and Reiskind has
shown that Florida populations of Ae. aegypti and Ae.
albopictus are excellent carriers of chikungunya, a fact that
Tabachnick said should send a chill through mosquito con-
trol and public health workers. Florida has been spared
an outbreak, but there have been cases of chikungunya in
Minnesota, Louisiana and even Florida in travelers from the
Indian Ocean area. During the outbreak in the Indian Ocean,
the island of Reunion had 250,000 people infected out of its
750,000 population.
FMEL research seeks to lay the groundwork necessary
to mitigate mosquito-borne diseases that may enter Florida
and the United States. The goal is to predict the risk of an
outbreak of a mosquito-borne pathogen, something the


"It's easy to envision a traveler
from the Indian Ocean region
coming off a plane in Gainesville
with just a mild illness, sitting
outside in the evening and
getting bitten by Aedes
albopictus."

- WALTER TABACHNICK


FMEL has been doing successfully with West Nile virus and
St. Louis encephalitis, which have been closely studied by
FMEL scientists.
Wyoming, Colorado and South Dakota have struggled
with West Nile. In terms of cases relative to total population,
Tabachnick pointed out, the approximately 1,500 West Nile
cases in South Dakota over the last three years would be the
same as 36,000 cases in Florida.
Studies by Richards, Lord and Tabachnick have shown
that the ability of Florida's Cx. quinquefasciatus mosquitoes
to transmit West Nile depends on interdependent factors
such as temperature, host and the age of the mosquito.
"We've been very lucky in Florida," Tabachnick said. "The
environmental conditions haven't lined up yet. We hope our
luck lasts, but now is the time to prepare just in case." U


2007 Annual Research Report I 45







New Resarc Approache


to C


Devastating freezes in the 1980s and canker in the
1990s sent Florida citrus growers reeling from a
one-two punch. With the 2005 discovery of a new
enemy - citrus greening - growers are looking to research
to deliver them from what could be a knockout blow.
At the University of Florida's Citrus Research and
Education Center, scientists have begun experiments aimed
at identifying ways to combat the dreaded citrus disease.
"Our greenhouse and growth room experiments were
only allowed to start last February because of the Homeland
Security 'select agent' rules, and we started at ground zero,"
said '.'.'ilhi:rri 0. Dawson, the J.R. and Addie S. Graves chair
of molecular plant pathology. "We're starting to make some
progress, but greening is the worst of the worst."
Greening is new to Florida, but has plagued other areas
of the world for decades. It is caused by a bacterium spread
by the Asian citrus psyllid, which showed up in Florida in
1998. The first reports of greening were in 2005, leaving
researchers and growers little time to observe how the dis-
ease behaves under Florida growing conditions.


Of all the citrus diseases, greening is the most cata-
strophic. It blocks a citrus tree's vascular system, causing the
fruit to sour and become inedible as the tree slowly dies.
The Asian citrus psyllid has no natural enemies in the Florida
environment, so it spreads readily. Citrus greening's symp-
toms, yellowed or mottled leaves, mimic other less severe
problems, making it troublesome to diagnose accurately.
For now, Dawson said, there is no clear control mecha-
nism, other than removing infected trees from groves and
spraying with insecticides, which can destroy the beneficial
insects that protect groves from other pathogens. Ordinarily,
Dawson said, researchers would examine other crops and
plants with similar diseases, but that is not possible with cit-
rus greening.
"There is nothing to compare it to, no comparable sys-
tems," Dawson said. "We haven't had much time to even
observe it. We know almost nothing about the bacterium
and how it causes disease. We need to learn more, but we're
at the very beginning."


William Dawson, Professor, Plant Pathology, looks at citrus greening symptoms.

























In one of his experiments, Dawson and his colleagues
have taken a wide range of citrus genotypes and inoculated
them with citrus greening. Under controlled conditions in a
greenhouse or a plant growth room, the trees are observed
to determine if any variety has any degree of resistance to
citrus greening. So far, Dawson said, researchers have identi-
fied citrus varieties that are somewhat tolerant to greening
but none that have true resistance to the disease. Dawson
cautions that the outcome might vary under actual field
conditions.
"We're learning how the bacterium moves around
the plant," Dawson said. "We're starting to make some
progress."
Dawson was recruited to UF in 1992 to work on tristeza
virus. The strides he has made on that research may help in
developing the basic science of citrus greening, he said. In
his laboratory at the research center in Lake Alfred, Dawson
has developed a means of genetically modifying the tristeza
virus, allowing him to insert genes or take them out as a
method of determining their function.
For example, Dawson can insert into the tristeza virus an
antibacterial peptide and then quickly screen to see if the
peptide offers protection against citrus greening. If a use-
ful gene can be located, it can be used on laboratory citrus
trees and studied further.
"Tristeza is a nice tool for the lab," Dawson said.
Although genetic engineering of citrus trees is controver-
sial, Dawson said it is the job of scientists to define possibili-
ties and provide options.
"Decisions about marketing genetically engineered citrus
can be decided later by others," Dawson said. "Ideally, we'll
find something that works for both canker and greening." U


"We're learning how the
bacterium moves around the
plant. We're starting to make
some progress."

- WILLIAM DAWSON


2007 Annual Research Report I 47









Reerces-DsoeteMn


T he golden flowers are beautiful, so beautiful in fact
that they might distract from perennial peanut's
more practical features: it's a high-quality, long-
lived legume with little to no need for nitrogen fertilizer.
But University of Florida researchers Ann Blount and
Cheryl Mackowiak, being scientists, did what scientists do
best. They took a good thing and made it better, following
the lead of colleagues Tito French, Gordon Prine and Ken
Quesenberry. In 2008, UF/IFAS researchers will be ready to
release three new varieties of rhizoma peanut, two for forage
and one as an ornamental.
Blount, a forage breeder, and several colleagues on the
Gainesville campus have been working with perennial peanut
since the 1970s. When Mackowiak, a soil scientist, arrived at
the North Florida Research and Education Center four years
ago, she joined the team. The new forages the researchers
are getting ready to release will help farmers diversify their
perennial peanut plantings to protect them from diseases.
Today, a variety called Florigraze dominates the planted
acreage. Perennial peanut is vegetatively propagated,


meaning that all the acreage planted in Florigraze is geneti-
cally the same. And that means any disease that can damage
one plant might damage the entire acreage of plants.
The key to mitigating the problem is broadening the
plantings with new varieties for genetic diversity, Blount said.
Perennial peanut is particularly useful in the Southeast,
where alfalfa does not thrive. The legume is native to South
America and is well adapted to the sandy soils of the south-
ern United States. It is used for hay, pasture, creep grazing,
silage, ornamental ground cover, conservation cover and liv-
ing mulch in citrus groves. In Florida, perennial peanut has a
unique role because there is no other perennial warm-season
legume that rivals its quality, long life and variety of uses.
"This plant is a great fit for Florida," Blount said. "It's the
only perennial legume that is truly successful and that really
works for our environment."
A plant virus has hurt yields in the past, but the plant has
an amazing capacity to recover. Blount and Mackowiak know
of some fields that are 20 to 30 years old.


Perennial peanut research continues year-round, with the aid of greenhouses. Forage breeder Ann Blount, left, shows the above-ground high-quality
perennial peanut. Cheryl Mackowiak displays below-ground rhizomes that help carry the plant through short-duration nutrient and water deficits.
.-. ., .I.

























And because perennial peanut is long-lived, it develops
a deep and extensive root mass, Mackowiak said. The root
system allows perennial peanut to extract moisture and
nutrients from an area of soil both deep and wide, enabling
it to survive dry spells and grow with less fertilizer. The plant
requires no application of nitrogen and, in fact, is good at
removing excess nitrogen from soil. Perennial peanut is a
particularly good fit for dairy farms using sprayfields because
perennial peanut removes excess nitrogen from the soil
while providing a high-quality forage.
Perennial peanut's ability to remove nitrogen from soil
was what got Mackowiak interested in the plant. Mackowiak
had worked at Kennedy Space Center on bioregenerative
systems for life support in space. Using plants to recycle
nutrients like nitrogen was an important part of her work.
"It seemed smart to look at a plant that didn't require
nitrogen fertilization but could take up nitrogen if it was
available," Mackowiak said.
The research and extension team also has conducted
other tests, studying row spacing and herbicide applications.
Once they found the right planting practices and herbicide
applications, establishment concerns became less of an
issue.
Blount said perennial peanut is still a novel plant with
about 25,000 production acres planted in the Southeast.
There is a big initial investment before there is economic
return due to slow establishment.
But once the fields are established, the economic return
is great, and the price of perennial peanut hay has steadily
increased. A recent economic analysis indicated that even


at a conservatively low price of $270 per ton and 3 tons per
acre production, a producer would gross about $800 per
acre, netting about $400.
The eye-pleasing plant also makes a great ornamental
as ground cover because it is drought tolerant and has low
fertilization requirements. Its dark green leaves and yellow
flowers give it its nickname "pastures of gold."
At a recent field day in North Florida, Mackowiak and
Blount showed off perennial peanut, and Blount said many
observers were "wowed." As interest increases, the scientists
hope research funding does, too.



"It seemed smart to look at a
plant that didn't require nitrogen
fertilization but could take up
nitrogen if it was available."

- CHERYL MACKOWIAK



"Mostly it's been sweat equity," Blount said. "We have a
passion for perennial peanut because we know it works. And
it's physically beautiful, just beautiful, like a field of gold." a


2007 Annual Research Report I 49


















Insects that hitchhike on fruits, vegetables and cut
flowers can wreak havoc on international commodity
markets and cause produce to sit in quarantine, losing
quality day by day.
But hitchhiking insects can't arrive alive if the produce is
shipped using low-pressure storage technology, according
to a new study by University of Florida researcher Thomas
Davenport. And as an added benefit, the insect-free produce
arrives perfectly preserved.
"The primary way insects get spread around the world
is produce," said Davenport, an expert in plant physiology
who is currently studying the fate of horticultural crops after
they are harvested. "That could come to a halt using this
technology."
Fearing that nonnative insects could disrupt domestic
production of valuable crops, the United States requires
quarantine treatments and inspections of imported meats,
fruits, vegetables and ornamental plants from all regions of
the world. Likewise, other countries quarantine commodities
exported from the United States.
Davenport was already familiar with low-pressure
storage technology, which was developed but not fully


commercialized by colleague Stanley Burg in the 1960s
as a way to get fresher produce to market. Together, they
investigated the possibility that this technology could kill
globe-trotting insects while preserving the fresh quality
of horticultural products during overseas shipment. Their
findings were heartening. In his laboratory at UF's Tropical
Research and Education Center in Homestead, Davenport
demonstrated that the low oxygen levels that keep com-
modities fresh during storage and shipment also kill
Caribbean fruit fly eggs, larvae and adults often found on
imported commodities.
The process puts commodities into a state of dormancy
akin to suspended animation, Davenport said. Oxygen is
reduced to a fraction of 1 percent, the relative humidity is
maintained at nearly 100 percent, and a vacuum pump oper-
ates continuously, sweeping out carbon dioxide and the
ripening hormone, ethylene. Under these conditions, fruits,
vegetables and plants generate little heat, lose virtually no
water and bacteria and fungi do not grow.
"I've kept fully mature mangoes in small, laboratory
containers, even mangoes already starting to soften, which
you'd normally never try to ship because they would turn to


Thomas Davenport, Associate Professor, left, and Zhentu Ying, Senior Biologist, compare numbers of insect larvae and quality of fruit stored
at low and normal atmospheric pressure.


Ne Sip in TcholgyDeivrsHih-ualit

























mush before reaching their destination," Davenport said.
"I've kept them for 60 days, and they came out exactly like
the day they went in. The next question was 'can we kill
insects this way.'"
Low-pressure conditions that were optimal for the respira-
tory needs of shipped produce and plants were insufficient
for the respiration needs of the hitchhiking insects. Without
the oxygen they needed to survive, all the eggs, larvae and
adults died.
Davenport found that it took 9V2 days under low-pressure
storage conditions to kill insects, eggs and larvae. That time
frame would not be a problem on international shipments,
since the produce must travel from field to packing house to
port, set sail, then arrive and get parceled out to warehouses
and supermarkets. Still, Davenport thinks he can reduce the
time needed to kill insects to five days.
The original designs patented by Burg did not succeed
commercially because the shipping containers were heavy
and expensive. In the years since Burg's original work, new
technology has made it possible to build lightweight alumi-
num cylindrical containers, and a newly designed rectangular
container will increase carrying capacity, making them more
efficient.
"With this technology, you can harvest fruit right up to
its full horticultural maturity and ship it anywhere - around
the world if you need to," Davenport said. "Today, produce
is harvested early to prevent ripening during shipment. That
sacrifices quality and taste because early harvest prevents
normal ripening."
The technology would bring back flavors from the past
for consumers old enough to remember eating full-flavored,
vine-ripe tomatoes and juicy mangoes. Younger consumers,
Davenport said, may not even recognize what they're eating.
For example, Davenport tells a story about camping with his


14-year-old son in Georgia and taking him to a fruit stand
beside an orchard during the peach harvest.
"I told him, 'you've never tasted a peach.' He said, 'of
course I have,'" Davenport related. "I gave him a peach off



"The primary way insects get
spread around the world is
produce. That could come to a
halt using this technology."

- THOMAS DAVENPORT



a tree, and he said, 'Wow, you're right. I've never tasted this
before.'
"It's the same with mangoes. If you've bought a mango at
a grocery store, you don't know what a mango tastes like,"
Davenport said. "With this technology, all fruits and veg-
etables will ripen with the full flavor and texture that nature
intended."
Today, Davenport said, the United States generally pro-
duces fruit for the domestic market. But when the United
States is producing fruits and vegetables, many regions
of the world are not, and those markets could open to
the United States once an insect-free method of shipping
becomes available. The technology would make it possible,
for the first time, to get fresh fruits and vegetables to U.S.
soldiers fighting overseas.
"There's half a world out there that will open up if we
can ship fruit that is insect-free and fully mature," Davenport
said. "All the world's markets will open to every single ship-
per in the United States." U


2007 Annual Research Report I 51

















Bryan Unruh and Barry Brecke could get a tee time to
play any golf course in the world, but when they hit
the links they're more likely to carry a clipboard than
golf clubs.
The two University of Florida researchers study turfgrass,
and lately an unusual variety of turfgrass called seashore
paspalum has captured much of their attention. The reason?
Seashore paspalum is a salt-tolerant turf that turns out to be
nearly ideal for water-limited and coastal golf courses.
"In the golf course world, seashore paspalum can be
used in areas with poor water quality," Unruh said. "It can be
irrigated essentially with ocean water."
Although seashore paspalum is native to tropical and
subtropical regions of the world and has been around for
hundreds of years, it was not until the mid- to late-1990s
that cultivars were developed for golf courses. The U.S. Golf
Association began looking for alternative turfgrasses that
could handle reduced irrigation or irrigation with substan-
dard water.
Seashore paspalum attracted attention because it toler-
ates irrigation with salty or reclaimed water or even reduced


irrigation levels, while producing a dense, dark green turf
that stands up well to golf course traffic.
The turf is new enough, however, that little data existed
on side-by-side comparisons of varieties. So the USGA
funded a study by Unruh and Brecke that allowed them
to evaluate seashore paspalum varieties in a trial. In 2003,
the researchers planted eight varieties maintained at golf-
putting-greens height and 10 varieties maintained at fairway
height and then varied the nitrogen use.
In 2004, their Panhandle trial sites were battered by
hurricanes.
"On one trial site on Perdido Key, we had five feet of
ocean water over the top of the course," Unruh said.
The owners of the golf course, formerly planted in ber-
mudagrass, opted to rebuild with seashore paspalum, giv-
ing Unruh and Brecke a real-world site to observe near their
West Florida Research and Education Center.
Brecke, a weed scientist, says seashore paspalum
works best on new courses, or in situations, as on Perdido
Key, where the bermudagrass has been eradicated.
Bermudagrass, while not as salt-tolerant as seashore


Bryan Unruh, Associate Professor and Extension Turfgrass Specialist, left, and Barry Brecke, Associate Center Director, West Florida Research
and Education Center, inspect "Aloha" seashore paspalum. Aloha was developed by the University of Florida for use on golf courses from
tee-to-green and on sports fields.


Research Finds Keys to Cultural

Management of Seashore Paspalum
L






















ly T.- .
...


paspalum, is hardy enough to become a weed on a seashore
paspalum course.
"Because you can use salt water for irrigation on seashore
paspalum, you also get a weed control benefit from that.
The higher the salt content in the water, the better the weed
management gets," Brecke said.
In one experiment, Brecke said, he found that granular
salt could even be applied directly to seashore paspalum,
although the turf is not completely immune to salt.
New golf courses planted completely in seashore pas-
palum also get a time-management benefit. Unruh said one
of the biggest tasks for course managers is containing differ-
ent grasses, for example keeping fairway grass from growing
onto putting surfaces. That issue is resolved with seashore
paspalum because the same grass can be used from the tee
on hole number 1 to the green on hole number 18.
"This grass is very unique in the way it grows," Unruh
said. "It is one of the first species where you can literally use
the same variety on the whole course. Before, you might use
two or three grasses between your greens, tees, fairways and
rough.
"And seashore paspalum holds mowing patterns, you
can see the striping, and it will give you a groomed appear-
ance for three to four days," Unruh said. "There's a big wow
factor."
Unruh said one of the best seashore paspalum courses in
Florida is Old Collier Golf Club in Naples. Developers knew
that the water available for irrigation would be high in salts
and that they needed a grass that could tolerate the salt.
"That course would most likely not be there if not for sea-
shore paspalum," Unruh said.
Although seashore paspalum has been touted as the
"environmental grass," it is not without its issues. The turf
does have disease and pest problems that need to be


"Now there are more options

for managing weeds in seashore

paspalum."

-BARRY BRECKE



managed, and it does require proper fertilization. Salt water
irrigation helps with weed control, but more vigorous weeds
still require herbicides.
"Initially there were very few herbicides available to use
on seashore paspalum, but we've been evaluating herbi-
cides," Brecke said. "Now there are more options for man-
aging weeds in seashore paspalum."
As water becomes a more and more limiting factor for
development in Florida, seashore paspalum may gain in
popularity.
"If you need to irrigate with substandard water, brack-
ish water or salty water," Brecke said. "Seashore paspalum
works." U


2007 Annual Research Report I 53
























Rob Ferl has a panoramic view when it comes
to getting a peek at the University of Florida's
scientific output.
As director of UF's Interdisciplinary Center for
Biotechnology Research (ICBR), Ferl often sees scientists
who seek the ICBR's help when their research crosses paths
with the fields of genomics, cellomics, proteomics and
bioinformatics.
The assistance might be something as simple as a horti-
culturist or conservationist facing a sample of an unknown
something. The ICBR '.-,Il unlock the sample's genetic secrets
and give it an identity. The aid could be more complex, like
designing an experiment that requires imaging or sorting live
cells or protein sequencing. Other researchers might need
access to million-dollar instruments and help using them.
"We can do procedures that cost $1 and those that cost
$10,000," Ferl said. "We are set up to do for the research
faculty what they could not do individually, especially when it
comes to high-end science."
The ICBR was established 20 years ago to provide access
to equipment and expertise
not available on a depart-
ment level, Ferl said. For
example, a technology that
might cost a million dollars ......
would be dHl.:ulr for a fac-
ulty member or department
to purchase, maintain and
run. So it makes sense to
share the purchase across







Rob Ferl, Director,
Interdisciplinary Center for
Biotechnology Research.


the university and locate that equipment in a place where all
faculty members can have access to it.
That organizing principle has proved a smashing success.
Today, the ICBR is a $6 million a year enterprise with 1,500
clients. Ferl said the combined expertise of its staff of 63
brings about 500 years of experience to the scientific output
of the ICBR.
"In a nutshell, the ICBR was a big-ticket investment that
has been nurtured and matured," Ferl said. "UF researchers
now can use the biggest, the best, most expensive technolo-
gies out there with only an intellectual investment and mini-
mal cost."
Although the ICBR is a campuswide resource, UF's
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is one of the big-
gest users of its services. Ferl, who sends plants into space
as an IFAS researcher in the Department of Horticultural
Sciences, says he knows firsthand the value of the facility,
and thanks to a unique grant program IFAS ran in 2007, even
more IFAS researchers have been able to use the ICBR to
boost their research.


54 I 2007 Annual Research Report











"The cool thing about the opportunity
or innovation grants, was that we didn't
award money, we awarded services with
the ICBR," Ferl said. "We wanted to reach
researchers who needed biotech services
to advance their work or to tap into a
national funding stream."
Ferl said the program attracted 10
times the response administrators antici-
pated, indicating a strong demand for
ICBR services. One of the grant recipients
was John Davis, Associate Professor of
Forest Biotechnology. Davis' research
focuses on identifying and sequencing
genes from a fungus that causes fusiform
rust, a disease that costs pine planta-
tion growers $25 million a year. The ICBR
award, Davis said, will help growers iden-
tify the correct varieties of pines to estab-
lish in a particular county to ensure genetic
resistance to the costly disease.
Genetics is a cornerstone of many
other areas of IFAS research, such as work
on understanding the genetics of citrus
cultivars that might make them resistant
to the devastating greening disease,
and research into developing hardier, tastier fruits and
vegetables.
Genomics has come a long way, Ferl said, and today,
gene and genome sequencing is almost routine.
"The human genome took 13 years and $3.8 billion dol-
lars using the equipment that was the best of its day. To
sequence entire genomes used to take a national effort.
Now, it is within reach of individual research programs," Ferl
said. "In the last two years, we've purchased genome analyz-
ers that sequence an entire genome overnight. The capacity
to sequence entire genomes was hugely expensive 10 years
ago; now it's doable at the lab level."
For IFAS researchers, the ICBR's bioinformatics division
helps sort data sets that can get large and unwieldy. It's not
unusual, Ferl said, for a scientist to generate thousands or
millions of sequences over many lines or cultivars. The bio-
informatics scientists help sort that information and make
sense of it.
"We are capable of generating terabytes [1,024 giga-
bytes] of information a day," Ferl said.


1I i.


The proteomics division helps with protein sequencing
and identification, and the cellomics division helps with the
study of cell structure and function, including the production
of monoclonal antibodies. Monoclonal antibodies are rou-
tinely used to create diagnostic tests in both human and ani-
mal medicine, and they are also used therapeutically to treat
diseases such as cancer. The education and training section
of the ICBR provides hands-on training in specialized areas
for faculty, staff and students.
The ICBR's scientists also help write grant proposals and
guide research, Ferl said. Rather than reject a research pro-
posal or project that misses its mark, Ferl said the ICBR staff
will ask what a researcher wants to accomplish and find a
way to help.
"We're more likely to say, 'here's a better solution,' or
'someone over in that unit tried this and it worked,'" Ferl
said. "In that way, and with our technologies, we feel that
we're most efficient as a research engine multiplier." 8


2007 Annual Research Report I 55












Murat 0. Balaban, Ph.D.
Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition

F ood science and
human nutrition
Professor Murat Balaban
e.. ... says that he applies engi-
neering principles to foods
and biological matter in
innovative ways that can
be useful to industry.
During his career at UF,
Balaban has worked on
ways to pasteurize orange
juice and other products
using carbon dioxide, and
to measure their quality;
to dry fruits such as grapes
without the use of sulfites;
and to increase the quality
of coffee.
In the orange juice
project, Balaban found that carbon dioxide gas under high
pressure can produce orange juice that tastes just like fresh-
squeezed, but is as safe to drink as heat-pasteurized juice.
"We have done extensive taste tests where people cannot
tell the difference between fresh-squeezed orange juice and
orange juice that is made safe and long lasting with this pro-
cess," Balaban says.
The process involves passing fresh-squeezed orange juice
mixed with pressurized carbon dioxide through a tube. At the
end of the process, the juice is depressurized and separated
from the gas, killing harmful microorganisms.
Balaban also helped develop a highly accurate electronic
nose that sniffs out fishy seafood before it gets to the consumer.
The noses are computerized tabletop units with sensors that
detect odor molecules. They are also being used to find bacte-
ria in wounds, inspect toxic waste sites and check the quality of
wine and coffee.
"The electronic nose gives us nearly 100 percent accuracy
and could be just what we need to help seafood inspectors
handle their growing workload," Balaban says.
In tests on shrimp, the electronic nose was in perfect agree-
ment with Food and Drug Administration inspectors.
"We call the odor of some spoiled shrimp "wet dog", but
my wet dog may smell different than someone else's wet dog,
and that is where this device can help us most," he says. "Once
an electronic nose has learned enough seafood odors, it can be
more objective than human inspectors." U


Thomas K. Frazer, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

T om Frazer is an ecologist
whose recent research
activities are focused on the
potential ecological impacts of __
nutrient over-enrichment on the
structure and function of ecosys- --
tems at the land-water interface.
In support of this research, Frazer
has garnered more than $3.5 mil-
lion over the last five years. He
is also "a role model for other
faculty and IFAS as a whole, and
routinely devotes considerable
amounts of his times to mentor-
ing junior research faculty," says
Karl Havens, his department
chair.
The goal of his collective
research efforts is to develop and
transfer into management a mechanistic understanding of the
ecological effects of nutrient enrichment in aquatic systems, with
a major focus on spring-fed aquatic systems along Florida's cen-
tral Gulf coast. Achieving this goal will involve a series of inter-
related objectives implemented by Frazer and colleagues nearly
a decade ago. These objectives hinge on sustained long-term
and large-scale sampling programs in spring-fed rivers, estuar-
ies and nearshore waters along Florida's central Gulf coast that
were implemented by Frazer and colleagues nearly a decade
ago.
He and his collaborators have secured funding through
2009 to investigate decadal-scale variation in the chemical and
vegetative characteristics of three spring-fed coastal rivers and
additional multi-year funding for a complementary effort to
study macroinvertebrates and fishes in these same systems. The
ultimate objective of these combined projects is the develop-
ment and parameterization of a dynamic model that describes
ecosystem responses to variations in nutrient loads, flow rates
and subsequent changes in habitat.
"Managers will be able to use these tools to help guide
decisions related to issues such as water allocation, establish-
ment of minimum flows and total maximum daily loads, as well
as habitat conservation and restoration," Frazer says. 0


56 I 2007 Annual Research Report












Peter J. Hansen, Ph.D.
Professor of Animal Sciences


A animal science Professor Pete
Hansen's research is focused
on the biology of pregnancy and
embryonic survival and using that
information to develop approaches
to improve fertility in livestock,
especially dairy cattle.
In addition to developing novel
strategies for improving pregnancy
success during heat stress in dairy
cattle, Hansen has made major find-
ings about the immunological rela-
tionship between an embryo and its
mother.
Hansen has conducted research
into creating a more efficient repro-
ductive cycle in cows during the
summer months, when heat stress
takes a staggering toll on successful
pregnancies.
"The success rate on pregnancies drops to less than 10
percent during the summer months," Hansen says. "That's an
incredible decline that leads to a seasonal shortage in the milk
supply."
Cows begin producing milk after calving, so a drop in the
number of cows becoming pregnant is followed by a drop in the
number of cows that begin lactation.
"As a result," Hansen says, "during the summer, Florida dair-
ies cannot meet the needs of the state for fluid milk."
Modern dairy cows have been bred for maximum milk pro-
duction, but their higher metabolism also makes it difficult for
them to rid themselves of excess heat, and high body tempera-
tures make successful reproduction extremely difficult.
Hansen's research has found that embryonic resistance to
elevated temperature in cattle increases as the embryo matures,
so that embryos on day three of the pregnancy are substantially
more resistant than embryos at earlier stages.
Hansen and his colleagues have demonstrated that the
effects of heat stress on dairy cattle fertility can be overcome by
the use of embryo transfer. By growing a cattle embryo in the
laboratory, then implanting it in a mother seven days after fertil-
ization, Hansen has achieved pregnancy rates in heat-stressed
cows of more than 40 percent, similar to rates during cool
weather. N


Willie Garner Harris, Ph.D.
Professor of Soil and Water Science

W illie G. Harris-
V focuses his i ,
research on Florida's envi- -
ronmental issues that are -
influenced by soils and -
sediment components .:, .
and basic soil genetic
processes, including those
involved in the formation
of spodosols, the domi-
nant soil order of Florida.
With the U.S.
Department of Agriculture
funding, Harris has con-
ducted two projects
addressing environmental
aspects of phosphate in
soils. He also worked col-
laboratively on research
pertaining to phosphorous sorption by drinking water treat-
ment residuals; lead transformations in contaminated soils;
efficacy and consequence of protocols to stabilize lead using
phosphates; fluidized-bed recovery of phosphate from flushed
dairy manure; mineralogical nature of Okeechobee sediment as
it relates to turbidity; and forms of particulate phosphorous in
water moving from the Everglades agricultural area.
He also contributed to the planning, development and
implementation of the Florida "Phosphorous Index," a tool used
in nutrient management and assessment of environmental risks.
Harris has served as advisor for seven graduate students,
on committees for 34 other students, and as a UF University
Scholars Program student advisor. He was recognized by the
graduate students of the Soil and Water Science Department
as Outstanding Teacher/Advisor of the Year in 2003; as co-
advisor of the Ph.D. student recipient of the 2005 IFAS Award of
Excellence for Graduate Research; and as the 2004-2005 CALS
Graduate Teacher/Advisor of the Year.
"My goals over the next five years are to promote inter-
disciplinary environmental research in Florida and to continue
studying soil mechanisms involved in subsurface carbon accu-
mulation," says Harris, who is a Fellow of the Soil Science
Society of America.
"Dr. Harris's research and teaching contributions during his
20 years clearly put him in the ranks of world-class scientist and
educator," says K.R. Reddy, Chair of the Soil and Water Science
Department. 8


2007 Annual Research Report I 57












Yuncong Li, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Soil and Water Science

i uncong Li's research
I focuses on develop-
ing management practices
to improve nutrient use
efficiency, plant nutrition
and water quality; char-
acterizing nutrient cycling
in calcareous soils; and
determining agricultural
-t. . ' impacts on South Florida's
natural ecosystems.
Sf"The unique soils,
climatic extremes and
diverse commercial crops
/ ' and native plants have
f Sposed great challenges to
i our soil and water research
program in South Florida,"
Li says.
His research group developed a one-point isotherm method
to predict saturation and leaching potential of phosphorous in
calcareous soils. They also found that apatite formed in calcare-
ous soils for many years. They are developing and facilitating
the implementation of best management practices (BMPs) for
various crops in South Florida.
Li and his collaborators introduced South Florida to sunn
hemp, a legume cover crop, that produces up to 12,000 kilo-
grams dry matter and fixes up to 300 kilograms nitrogen per
hectare, and suppresses nematodes. He showed that vegetables
planted in a sunn hemp plot produced more marketable fruits.
He also developed management practices to utilize biosolids
or composts, which significantly increased soil organic carbon,
soil nutrient availability and crop yields but avoided trace metal
accumulation in soils and nutrient leaching into groundwater.
"These findings have led to significant improvements in fer-
tilizer practices/technologies, crop yields and protection of the
fragile South Florida ecosystem," said Van Waddill, Director of
the Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead.
Li has established one of the best water quality monitoring
networks and analytical laboratories in South Florida. During the
last five years, Li has received more than $4.19 million in extra-
mural funding from federal and state agencies, grower organiza-
tions and private companies. His patent on slow-release oxygen
fertilizer is pending. a


Rongling Wu, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Statistics

R ongling Wu is developing
a technique to help farm-
ers predict how fast crops will
grow. And thanks to an $855,000
grant from the National Science
Foundation (NSF), he will soon
use the same technology to
speed the process of creating
new lifesaving drugs.
Using massive amounts of sta-
tistical data, he built a computer
modeling technique that helps
predict how a plant's or animal's
bodily functions and growth are
affected by complex genetic
interactions.
"The very important thing
about this approach is how uni- *. .
versal it is," says Wu, a professor of statistical genetics in UF's
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Every day, thousands of researchers work at uncovering the
process by which genes control and create life. Every discovery
brings understanding, but the search is virtually unending -
life's processes bring a nearly boundless variety of chemical
structures and actions.
So Wu focuses on the big picture. In short, he watches what
happens on a large scale, and then statistically correlates that
with genetic interactions he knows are taking place on a small
scale.
"You can look at one gene and one result," Wu says. "But
we need to know more - we know that genes play together."
Wu's technique, called functional mapping, produces a
computer model that uses known gene interactions along with
expected environmental conditions.
He began his research more than a decade ago with plant
variations. His work eventually looked at how drugs interplay
with human genomics, a field known as pharmacogenetics. Wu
and his colleagues published the first major analysis of func-
tional mapping models of human drug responses in the journal
of Bioinformatics.
Wu is using the $855,000 NSF grant to construct a user-
friendly functional model for anyone pursuing pharmacogenetic
research.
The programming may be especially useful in light of world-
wide efforts to match genetic profiles with physical traits. a


58 I 2007 Annual Research Report
















Berry J. Treat, M.S.
Assistant Director, Research Programs, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

B erry J. Treat is the germplasm property manager for
the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station (FAES)
and Florida Foundation Seed Producers (FFSP). He is re-
sponsible for the marketing and licensing of all germ-
plasm discovered and developed in the experiment sta-
tion. Together with the Office of Technology and Licensing

(OTL), they facilitate invention and technology transfer
to the agriculture industry and manage all forms of intel-
f , B lectual property for IFAS using an invitation to negotiate
(ITN) process. In the past year, FAES has released 29 cul-
tivars, and OTL reported 44 invention disclosures. Total
new cultivars and new inventions number 298 in the past


IFAS Inventions


five years. The majority of plant germplasm and inventions
developed at UF/IFAS is protected through the federal US
Office of Patents and Trademarks and/or the Plant Variety
Protection Office. The licensing agents work closely with
UF's faculty and plant breeders (currently working in over
40 crop areas) and assist in commercializing new and im-
proved varieties and inventions around the world. IFAS
revenue from licensed inventions was approximately
$4.5 million in 2006-07 and a total $21.1 million in the
past five years. IFAS research programs continue to bene-
fit and grow because of technology transfer with private/
commercial company partners. U


U.S. Patents Issued


80 -

70 -

60 - 56

S50

40

S30

20

10

0
00/01 01/02 0:

OTL Invention Disclosure
37
22
28
32
29
33
44
225


22 22


Fiscal Year
FFSP Cultivar Releases
12
34
17
21
21
44
29
178


FY
00/01
01/02
02/03
03/04
04/05
05/06
06/07
TOTAL


00/01 01/02 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 06/07
Fiscal Year
OTL Patents Filed OTL Patents Issued FFSP PPatent/ TM/PVP issued
42 15 6
47 16 8
28 12 10
55 10 12
25 12 5
40 63 10
30 30 2
267 158 53


License Agreements


IFAS License Income


00/01 01/02 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 06/07
Fiscal Year

OTL Licenses FFSP Cultivars Licensed
3 19
21 41
22 73
15 105
14 28
18 67
10 55
103 388


TOTAL
22
62
95
120
42
85
65
491


FY
00/01
01/02
02/03
03/04
04/05
05/06
06/07
TOTAL


00/01 01/02 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 06/07
Fiscal Year
OTL IFAS Income FFSP IFAS License Income
$1,772,585 $616,953
$2,545,765 $705,805
$2,716,928 $1,341,354
$2,789,435 $1,269,660
$2,635,258 $1,549,547
$2,415,470 $1,982,585
$2,316,242 $2,172,325
$17,191,683 $9,638,229


TOTAL ($M)
$2,389,537
$3,251,570
$4,184,805
$4,059,095
$4,184,804
$4,398,055
$4,488,567
$26,829,910


2007 Annual Research Report I 59


FY
00/01
01/02
02/03
03/04
04/05
05/06
06/07
TOTAL


FY
00/01
01/02
02/03
03/04
04/05
05/06
06/07
TOTAL














Federal Agency Funds
-$34,695,641, 25.4%


Other Sponsored Funds
--$16,267,580, 12%


RESEARCH EXPENDITURES

BY SOURCE OF FUND


State Fiscal Year 2006-2007
(NOTE: This is not an accounting document)


State Agency Funds
$13,409,706, 9.8%


- Federal Funds
$5,091,171, 3.7%


'State General Revenue
$66,914,593, 49.1%


CATEGORY
Source of Funds
Formula Funds
Hatch
Smith Lever
Multi-State
Mclntire-Stennis
IFAS/Animal Health


State General Revenue
General Revenue

Federal Agency Funds
USDA
National Science Foundation
National Institute of Health
Department of Interior
Department of Energy
U.S. Army
Environmental Protection Agency
National Aeronautics and Space
Administration
Federal Flow Through - Other
Department of Commerce
Agency for International
Development
Sea Grants
Federal - Other
U.S. Veterans Administration
U.S. Department of Education
U.S. Air Force
Department of Housing and Urban
Development
U.S. Navy


Expenditures


2,122,517
1,725,886
679,886
561,452
1,430


66,914,593


17,962,094
3,762,865
3,304,676
3,022,439
1,525,731
817,435
814,781

794,663
792,997
761,166

699,447
213,908
83,051
81,749
50,284
7,151

1,041
163


5,091


66,914


CATEGORY
Total Source of Funds Exp(
State Agency Funds
Department of Agriculture and
Consumer Services
Department of Environmental
Protection
Fish and Wildlife Conservation
,171 Department of Citrus
Department of Community Affairs
Other
.,593 Department of Transportation
Department of Health
Department of Business and
Professional Regulation
Department of Education
Department of Law Enforcement
Department of Commerce
Department of Children and Families
Department of State


34,695,641


Other Sponsored Funds
Industry
Foundations'
Water Management District
Counties
Miscellaneous - Other
Volunteer Health Organizations
Foreign - Other
University of Florida Research
Foundation
Foreign Governments
City
Institute of Phosphate Research


GRAND TOTAL


enditures


7,854,828

2,597,742
1,502,933
471,310
285,657
246,802
242,860
105,781

66,540
31,252
3,115
441
371
74


Total


13,409,706


4,749,994
3,303,963
3,259,430
2,149,496
1,671,123
511,688
380,925


105,502
55,535
44,089
35,835


16,267,580

136,378,691


60 I 2007 Annual Research Report













SUMMARY OF IFAS SPONSORED RESEARCH ACTIVITY


Proposals Submitted
Awards Received
New Awards Received
Renewals
Continuations/Supplementals
Total Research Awards FY 06-07


1,024
805
548
21
236
$72M


"Faculty ingenuity, creativity and entrepreneurial
spirit drive our grantsmanship forward."
- Dr. Mark R. McLellan
Dean for Research, IFAS
Director, Florida Agricultural
Experiment Station


IFAS Sponsored Research Awards by Unit
($72M Total)
Research & Education Centers
$13M, 18%


Research and
Education
Centers \
$13M, 18%









Nonacademic
Units
$8M, 11%


Everglades
Ft. Lauderdale
Indian River
Lake Alfred
Mid Florida
North Florida
Range Cattle
Southwest Florida
Tropical
Vero Beach
West Florida
Wimauma


$0.4M
$1.9M
$2.2M
$1.8M
$0.5M
$2.0M
$0.1 M
$0.5M
$0.8M
$1.3M
$0.3M
$1.2M


0.6%
2.6%
2.9%
2.5%
0.8%
2.8%
0.7%
0.7%
1.1%
1.8%
0.4%
1.4%


Academic
Departments
$51M, 71%


Academic Departments
$51M, 71%


Ag. and Bio Eng
Ag. Education
Agronomy
Animal Sciences
Aquatic Science
Entomology
Environmental Hort.
Family Youth
Fisheries
Food Science
Forestry
FRED
Hort. Science
Microbiology
Plant Pathology
SNRE
Soil and Water Science
Statistics
Wildlife


$4.3M
$0.2M
$2.4M
$1.8M
$1.5M
$3.1 M
$1.7M
$5.9M
$6.2M
$2.5M
$2.6M
$1.0M
$4.8M
$5.3M
$1.8M
$0.2M
$2.6M
$1.0M
$2.5M


6.0%
0.3%
3.3%
2.5%
2.1%
4.3%
2.4%
8.0%
8.6%
3.5%
3.6%
1.4%
6.6%
7.4%
2.5%
0.3%
3.6%
1.4%
3.5%


Universities
$4M, 6%
Local & Regional
Governments
$7M, 10% /

Foundations- -
$4M, 6%State


State21 M, 29%
$21M, 29%


IFAS Sponsored Research Awards


_ Corporations
- $4M, 5%


Federal Awards
- by Agency
$32M, 44%


Federal Awards by Agency
$32M, 44%
Disease Control and Prevention.....$0.2 M U.S. Dept. of Defense................ $0.2 M
NASA...........................................$0.4 M U.S. Dept. of Energy.................. $0.5 M
National Institute of Health............$2.8 M U.S. Dept. of Interior.................. $3.1 M
National Science Foundation......... $5.0 M U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs ....... $0.2 M
U.S. Army.....................................$0.3 M U.S. Environ. Protection Agency... $0.2 M
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture..............$18.4 M
U.S. Dept. of Commerce................$0.2 M


95/96 96/97 97/98 98/99 99/00 00/01 01/02 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 06/07
Fiscal Year


2007 Annual Research Report I 61


IFAS Research Awards by Sponsor













Off-Campus Research and Education Centers
1 CITRUS REC I Lake Alfred
2 EVERGLADES REC I Belle Glade
3 FLORIDA MEDICAL ENTOMOLOGY LAB I Vero Beach
4 FORT LAUDERDALE REC I Fort Lauderdale
5 GULF COAST REC I Wimauma, Plant City ______
6 INDIAN RIVER REC I Fort Pierce - I 13
7 MID-FLORIDA REC I Apopka \ 13
8 NORTH FLORIDA REC I Live Oak, Marianna, Quincy '
9 RANGE CATTLE REC I Ona ,,
10 SOUTHWEST FLORIDA REC I Immokalee '- b
11 SUBTROPICAL AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH STATION (USDA-ARSI I Brc.ok ;,le ",
12 TROPICAL REC I Homestead L.-,--
13 WEST FLORIDA REC I Jay, Milton

Research and Demonstration Sites
14 FLORIDA PARTNERSHIP FOR WATER, AGRICULTURAL
AND COMMUNITY SUSTAINABILITY I Hastings
15 PLANT SCIENCE RESEARCH AND EDUCATION UNIT I ,,rr.,
16 TROPICAL AQUACULTURE LABORATORY I Ruskin

Academic Departments and Schools (Gainesville, FL)
AGRICULTURAL AND BIOLOGICAL ENGINEERING
AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION AND COMMUNICATION
AGRONOMY
ANIMAL SCIENCES
ENTOMOLOGY AND NEMATOLOGY
ENVIRONMENTAL HORTICULTURE
FAMILY, YOUTH AND COMMUNITY SCIENCES
FISHERIES AND AQUATIC SCIENCES
FOOD AND RESOURCE ECONOMICS
FOOD SCIENCE AND HUMAN NUTRITION
SCHOOL OF FOREST RESOURCES AND CONSERVATION
HORTICULTURAL SCIENCES
MICROBIOLOGY AND CELL SCIENCE
SCHOOL OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT
ACADEMIC PROGRAMS
RESEARCH AND OUTREACH/EXTENSION
PLANT PATHOLOGY
PLANT MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR BIOLOGY
SOIL AND WATER SCIENCE
STATISTICS
WILDLIFE ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION

Multidisciplinary Programs (Gainesville, FL)
AGRICULTURAL LAW CENTER
CENTER FOR AQUATIC AND INVASIVE PLANTS
CENTER FOR COOPERATIVE AGRICULTURAL PROGRAMS I FAMU
CENTER FOR FOOD DISTRIBUTION AND RETAILING
CENTER FOR NUTRITIONAL SCIENCES
CENTER FOR ORGANIC AGRICULTURE
CENTER FOR REMOTE SENSING
CENTER FOR RENEWABLE CHEMICALS AND FUELS
CENTER FOR SUBTROPICAL AGROFORESTRY
CENTER FOR TROPICAL AGRICULTURE
ENERGY EXTENSION SERVICE
FLORIDA ORGANIC RECYCLING CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE I FORCE
FLORIDA SEA GRANT
INTERDISCIPLINARY CENTER FOR BIOTECHNICAL RESEARCH I ICBR
INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURAL TRADE AND POLICY CENTER
INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS
PROGRAM FOR RESOURCE EFFICIENT COMMUNITIES
TROPICAL AND SUBTROPICAL AGRICULTURE I T-STAR
UF JUICE AND BEVERAGE CENTER
UF HERBARIUM I FLAS
WATER INSTITUTE

Supported Colleges (Gainesville, FL)
COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURAL AND LIFE SCIENCES
COLLEGE OF VETERINARY MEDICINE


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U F UNIVERSITY of
UF FLORIDA

IFAS

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
This annual research report is published by
Dr. Mark R. McLellan, Dean for Research, in order
to further programs and related activities, available
to all persons with nondiscrimination with respect
to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex,
sexual orientation, marital status, national origin,
political opinions, or affiliations. Information
about alternate formats is available from IFAS
Communication Services, University of Florida,
PO Box 110810, Gainesville, FL 32611-0810.
Produced by IFAS Communication Services
April 2008


I