Title: Myakka
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00089449/00002
 Material Information
Title: Myakka
Series Title: Myakka
Physical Description: Serial
Creator: Department of Soil and Water Science. Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. University of Florida.
Publisher: Department of Soil and Water Science. Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. University of Florida.
Publication Date: Spring 2001
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00089449
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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A Soil and Water Science Department Publication

Erovvw tle cahatr...

SWSD Thrust Area:

Remediation of
Contaminated Soils,
Waters, and Aquifers

The Soil and Water
Science Department
(SWSD) is going
through exciting and
challenging times.
We all know that
optimal soil and water
quality is essential to
sustainable agricultural productivity as well as
protection and conservation of natural
resources. Nonpoint source pollution of
streams, rivers, groundwater, lakes, wetlands,
and estuaries is linked to the management
practices used in agricultural, forest, range, and
urban land ecosystems. Many current
practices used in these ecosystems may not be
adequate to sustain the quality of natural
resources. In the context of Florida FIRST, the
SWSD programs are designed to address
critical issues related to soil and water quality in
these ecosystems.

The SWSD faculty continue to explore new
opportunities by expanding their programs
and developing scientific knowledge that will
help to protect the quality of soil and water
resources, while sustaining the productivity of
Florida's ecosystems. We are addressing the
critical needs of the State of Florida through
teaching courses on and off campus, timely
research and extension publications, serving
on state sponsored task forces, conducting in-
service training and workshops, and
consultations with clientele. Here are a few
examples of our recent activities:

*A teaching retreat conducted by our faculty
identified several critical needs in improving
undergraduate and graduate education. We
are taking new approaches to address this

*Graduate student enrollment is steadily
increasing in all thrust areas of the

*Discovery of a 'fern' that hyper-accumulates
arsenic offers excellent opportunities to phyto
remediate this important contaminant.

DrK Ra es Redy Chair Soi an Wate Scec Deatet 106 Neel Hall Bo 150 nvest fFoidGievle


*With our faculty taking the lead, major
research efforts are underway in
addressing water quality issues in the
Suwannee River Basin.

*Our faculty are in the process of
developing research and extension
programs to stabilize phosphorus in the
Okeechobee Basin.

*We are placing increased emphasis on a
watershed approach to understanding the
soil and water quality issues in
agricultural, forest, range, urban and
wetland ecosystems.

*The SWSD hosted several international
visiting scholars and hosted the 7th
International Conference on Constructed
Wetlands for Water Pollution held in
Orlando, Florida.

*The SWSD cosponsored the 2001 York
Distinguished Lecturer, Dr. M.S.

*The SWSD is in the process of recruiting
two new faculty members: Soil
Physics/Hydrology and Land Resources.

In this newsletter we feature one of our
thrust areas, 'Remediation of
Contaminated Soils, Waters, and

As we march forward to meet new
challenges, we need support and help
from our emeritus faculty, alumni, and
friends. Together we can take SWSD
to the next level. Any ideas and
suggestions are welcome. Please take a
moment and send us a letter or an e-mail.
Thank you.

^Rj~t -

Arsenic hyper-accumulating 'fern'

Fixed-Film Anaerobic Digester
designed by Dr. Ann Wilkie

Pam Marlin
Dr. Rao Mylavarapu
Dr. Vimala Nair
Darryl Palmer
Dr. John White

Visit the SWS website:


Volume 1 Number 2 Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Spring 2001

Tre cf vtg

Spring 2001

Erin Bostic .1 S
Ac, isor J R VVhile

Iladine Kabengi Ph D
a"j isor S H D13ru:'L

o:nsantino:s P.l1sris Ph D
Acj ior CO Conn-r

L'nette F.lalei.: M S
`,- isor J P VVhile

1Kell, 1.organ Ph D
Ac3' ior T A Obreza

Mike Ti :hler F.1 S
a". isor ..1 E Collins

Ponnie VoliV [. S
Ac' isor J R VVhile

Spring 2001

Linqzhenq \Vlu Ph D
L". isor L M3

Spring 2001

hmned Khan II B S SLS

Brian r.lurphn B S EMn-

T.-..d Ondeck B S SLS

Tamara VVells B S SLS


Dr. Mary
Collins on an
site in Sicily

Through the leadership of Dean Jimmy Cheek's
office, we are actively seeking non-traditional
majors (English, History, Engineers, etc) and
non-declared majors to encourage them to enroll
in SOS 3022. Our aim is to open the world of
soils to students who may not have thought of
"what lies beneath their feet". Dr. Mary Collins is
internationally recognized in Environmental
Pedology. She is a Fellow of the Soil Science
Society of America and serves on a National
Academic Committee for Soil Science.

For details about the course contact Dr. Collins at
352-392-1951 or email at mec@gnv.ifas.ufl.edu.

Soils in the Environment

Dr. Mary Collins, Professor of Environmental
Pedology, now teaches the department's
"flagship" course, "Introduction to Soils in the
Environment", formerly named "General Soils".
Dr. Collins' commitment to teach this course will
help us to increase the visibility of the role of
'Soils' in the 'Environment'.

Dr. Brian McNeal, a native of
central Oregon, joined UF as chair
of the SWSD in 1983 and served in
that capacity until 1990. Since that
time he has taught introductory
soils and the beginning graduate-
level soil chemistry class, advised
undergraduate and graduate
students, and served as co-chair of
the Agronomy and Soils Club. His
research has dealt with nutrient
losses from irrigated croplands in
Central and South Florida, and with
crop modeling. For several years
he managed a large demonstration
project in Manatee County, Florida,
which was among the first to
establish nitrate-N accumulation
patterns beneath vegetable field
and citrus groves of the state.
He served during 1994-95 as interim
director of the UF Center for

Dr. Brian McNeal Retires

Natural Resources, and has served since
1994 as the UF/IFAS liaison to the Florida
Department of Agriculture and Consumer
Services for the 1994 Legislature's Nitrate
Bill, a program designed to develop
research-based BMPs for croplands of the
state. He is a Fellow of the American

Society of Agronomy and the Soil
Science Society of America.

Dr. McNeal has also served while in
Gainesville, on two separate occasions,
as a bishop (lay minister) for his church,
including one 3-year period of service for
a congregation of young single adults
aged 19-30. He has worked in church
and youth programs, and in scouting, for
most of his adult life. He and his wife,
Dee Ann, have 4 children and 16
grandchildren. In retirement they plan to
continue their enjoyment of
'grandparenting', to travel in the U.S.
and abroad, to pursue their interest in
genealogy, and to perform a mission for
their church. The faculty, staff, and
students wish Brian and Dee Ann an
enjoyable retirement. They will always
be part of the SWSD family.

SWS Teaching Retreat

The undergraduate and graduate
departmental teaching retreat ..as held
at the Reitz Union on March 5 2001 A
Iively discussion ,.as held among a
variety y of topics inoling strategies to
impro e the enrollment in graduate and
undergraduate programs Key action
items identified ',ere 1 change the
focus of current undergraduate programs
to reflect changing needs .21 identify
core and elect e courses for graduate
programs in each thrust area, I 3 develop
ne,A, courses to meet the needs of
students in SWSD and other related
Interdisciplinary programs and il4
de elop strategies to increase student
enrollment Faculty Sub-committees
..,ere formed to de elop plans to address
these critical Issues 'oith the hope of
implementing neSt strategies during the
neit fiscal year

pcolivti)g EVevt ------------------
The SWSD 2nd Annual Graduate Research
Forum will be held September 6, 2001 at the
Reitz Union on the UF campus. The SWSD
Graduate Research Forum will be held in
association with 'Hydrologic Sciences Academic
Cluster'. For details contact Miss Kanika
Sharma by email at krsh@gnv.ifas.ufl.edu.


Rese och

Discovery of a Fern that
Hyper-accumulates Arsenic

Dr. Lena Ma examines fern plant

University of Florida scientists, led by Dr.
Lena Ma, report discovering a fern that
soaks up arsenic from contaminated soil.
The first plant ever found to "hyper-
accumulate" arsenic -- a carcinogenic
trace element often used as an herbicide
- the fern may prove useful in cleaning up
thousands of sites contaminated by
arsenic from industrial, mining, ag-
ricultural or other operations around the

Approximately 3,500 cattle dip vats
were utilized in Florida during the cattle-
fever tick eradication program that ran
from about 1923 to 1943. The only
tickicide officially approved by the
USDA during this period was arsenic
(As). Vat solutions were usually
pumped into a nearby pit annually and
allowed to seep into the ground. This
practice resulted in extensive arsenic
contamination of soil and, in some
cases, ground water in the immediate
vicinity of these vats. A study was
recently completed by Dr. Dean Rhue
with John Thomas, Bill Reve and Dr.
Willie Harris, in which the extent of
arsenic contamination at several vat
sites was related to soil and hydrologic
properties. The extent of contamination
was strongly related to soil clay content,
the presence of iron oxide coatings on
sand grains, and depth to the water
table. Arsenic plumes varied from
small, highly concentrated zones
adjacent to the vat in the case of deep,
well-drained soils with relatively high
clay content, to contaminant plumes
extending over 300m down-gradient
from the vat in the case of soils with
high water tables and minimal

The research team, which included
Ken Komar, Cong Tu, and Beth
Kennelley of the SWSD, and Weihua
Zhang and Yong Cai of Florida
International University, Miami, found
that the Brake fern, Pteris vittata, soaks
up arsenic with staggering efficiency.
They measured levels as much as 200
times higher in the fern than the
concentrations in contaminated soils
where it was growing. In greenhouse
tests using soil artificially infused with
arsenic, arsenic concentrations in the
fern's fronds have reached 22,630 parts
per million -- 2.3% of the plant was
composed of arsenic. The findings
suggest that Brake fern has the
potential to remediate arsenic-
contaminated soils, and could also aid
in studies of arsenic uptake, trans-
location, speciation, distribution and
detoxification in plants. The fern is an
easy-to-grow perennial that prefers a
sunny environment and alkaline soil.
Results of this work were recently
published in "Nature" (Feb. 2001).

Soil sampling adjacent to a cattle vat at
Paynes Prairie, Florida.

amounts of clay and metal oxides.
Evidence was also obtained
that arsenic is volatilized by soil
microbes at these vat sites and that
the potential exists for natural
attenuation of arsenic via atmospheric
dispersal. Evaluation of a quick on-site
test for delineating soil As plumes was
conducted during the project. This test
accurately delineated plumes at
dipping vats located in landscapes with
different soil and hydrologic properties
and allows arsenic contaminant
plumes to be delineated much more
rapidly and cost effectively than
conventional assessment techniques.

Molybdenum Standards for
Biosolids Recommended

'r eoige '- 'Connor far left, i Ilh
colleagues forn the 3r mposurn

Mn interdisciplinary leam of Diosoiids
experts led Db uF scientist Dr. George
O'Connor has recommended long-
a,aited standards fo.r molibdenunm in
Diosoiids The original USEPM standards
,,,ere 'iln dra~,,n folio.:. ng a legal
cnallenge in 1994 pending aa3ilional
field data and reconsideratio.n ,1 risk
Data ',,as generated in field studies in
Fli.rida Illinois and Plnnescta in
:ou.-perati.n ..'ilh UF animal scientist Lee
McDowell Cit) of Chicago vvaler
Reclamahlo:n agronomist Tom Granalo
and aRS scientist Bob Dowdy The ne, -
data idas included in a reassessment of
bti.js.jlids m.j-l bdennumn risk tb a team ..
e*perns including C, Connor anda r.lcDo:.,el
SUF Bob Brobst and Alan Rubin
ILSEPAi Rulus Chaney mPSI Ron
Kincaid vvasningo:'n SItae uni.. I Gary
Pierzynski iKansas SIale Uni.. i and
Gary Van Riper IMontgomner \/lats.-.n

BI.:s':l.ias nign in moit.as niumii can inauce
a copper deficiency) termed mol,-
biden..sis in cattle consuming forage
qgrc.,,n n b.-l.jlids-amended land The
problem can be especially, se ere for
cattle fed legumes gro..n n in alkalne soils
Basec on nei data and an impro..ed
understanding lo bt.r.sl.jds pasture and
animal manaQement the leam concluded
that the risk o.f mo-ltbden.-sis i.as small
Modern Dblsolds applied at reasona3sle
rates conim ned i,,tlin reasonatl,
e.-pected cattle ,diel e-posure minimize
m l') t.denosis risk \Alhen attlle diets are
supplemented ..'ith copper as
recommended an) molLbdenosis risk
can be easily, co,-ntrolled The re,.. ed
moltcl'denum stancarcs ito be pu.iiisnedc
F3ll '001 in the Journal of En..ironmentl
OualitI '.IIl be considered Db USEPm in
final rule-making expected ne-t tear

Assessment and Remediation Alternatives for Arsenic
Contamination at Cattle Dip Vat Sites in Florida

&,KtevSio IAU _____U____

Extension Publications on the Web. Extension specialists at the Soil and Water
Science Department have made a concerted effort to have all of our department's current
fact sheets and circulars updated and in the UF/IFAS electronic repository known as EDIS.
Our publications may be accessed directly by going to the EDIS web site
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/. The search feature is very flexible and powerful. The publications
may also be accessed through the SWS web page by going to Publications then clicking
on Extension Publications where access is through a menu system. Either way, the most
up-to-date version of our publications is the one residing in EDIS. If you want to know if the
copy of a publication you have is the latest version, go to EDIS and look at the date in the
footnote associated with the title. While there, simply print out the latest version from EDIS.
Publications on EDIS are in html format so they can be searchable by web search engines.
They are also available in pdf format, which is the familiar print version.

New Publication. "Introduction to Preparing Nutrient Management Plans" is a new
54-page UF/IFAS circular (#1247) designed to lay the groundwork for nutrient management
planning, especially on dairy and poultry farms. Authors are G. Kidder, H.H. Van Horn,
L.W. Schnell, J.P. Jacob, and R. Mylavarapu. Currently, copies are available from Jerry
Kidder, kidder@ufl.edu. It will also be available as a pdf file on EDIS in the near future.

Erosion Control on Highway Embankments. Dr. Jerry Kidder is working with
colleagues in Environmental Horticulture on a Florida Department of Transportation project
to study the effectiveness of various treatments to control erosion on steep slopes such as
overpass embankments. Mulch made from ground up urban plant debris (yard wastes) is
working quite well.


Mark your calendars and plan to
attend the First Annual Soil and
vater Science Institute to be held
March 4 5. 2002 in Gainesille
This first Institute .ill deal ,-ith
Principles of Arsenic Behavior in
Florida's Soils Instructors .,,All
include members of the UF Soil and
Water Science and Statistics
Departments faculties A field trip
'ill take y'ou to the greenhouse to
see an arsenic hynper-accumulating
fern and to the field to see a cattle
dipping vat site to learn field analysis
and plume determination techniques
Keep your eyes peeled for additional
information over the net se eral

For details contact Dr. Randy
Brown at 35-.32-32-1803 344 or
e-mail at rbb@'mail fas ufl edu


The 42nd Annual Florida State Land Judging Contest was successfully hosted by the Orange Hill (Washington County) and Holmes
Creek (Holmes County) Soil and Water Conservation Districts on March 30, 2001. Thirty 4-H and FFA teams from around the state
participated. Visit the website at http://landjudging.ifas.ufl.edu.

~8~a A ,6s~~sEl~

New Faculty Members

Arnold Schumann
joined the Citrus
Research and
Education Center
(CREC) in Lake
Alfred as Assistant
Professor of Citrus
Nutrition in the
Soil and Water Science Department.

Arnold obtained his Ph.D. degree in
Soil Chemistry at the University of
Georgia, under the guidance of Dr.
Malcolm Sumner.

P Samira Daroub
joined the Everglades
Research and
Education Center
(EREC) in Belle
Glade. Samira
obtained her Ph.D. in
soil chemistry at
Michigan State University under the
guidance of Dr. Boyd Ellis.

Samira divides her time between the
EREC in Belle Glade and the FREC in
Ft. Lauderdale.

Congratulations to:

Dr. Andy Ogram for his promotion to
Associate Professor with tenure.

Vijayalakshmi (Viji) Ramakrishnan
for first prize in the Environmental
Biology Poster Session of the
University Graduate Student Forum.

Gerald Green, recipient of the
University Scholars Program Award
(2001-2002). His advisor is Dr.
W.G. Harris.

Co mnsSugsin plas send to *-.D Nesetr Box 1150 Unvrst of Flria Gansvle Flrd 32611.
Editorial Co mte cotats Pa Maln -mrin mi.ifsule Ra Myaaau e0m~f~ u Dary Paler

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