Title: Myakka
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00089449/00025
 Material Information
Title: Myakka
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: Department of Soil and Water Science. Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Publisher: Department of Soil and Water Science. Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: Fall 2009
Copyright Date: 2009
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00089449
Volume ID: VID00025
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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UF-ICRISAT International Distance
Education Center
SWS Virtual Computer Laboratory
Information & Communication
Technologies for Capacity Buildii
in Water Management
UF Soil Resources Data Bank
Innovative Learning Units for Soil
Faculty, Staff, & Student News
SWS Distinguished Seminars

Susan Curry

Dr. Vimala Nair

Dr. Sabine Grunwald




From the Chair...
4 The Soil and Water Science Department
(SWSD) uses several innovative
5 e-technology delivery systems to
complement conventional classroom
teaching to serve broader groups of
ng cliental including students at distance
5 locations. The SWSD faculty are located
6 not only in Gainesville, but also at nine
Research and Education Centers (RECs). In
addition, an increased number of our
6 graduate students are now located at
these RECs. The e-technologies we use in
7 the department are designed to effectively
integrate our state-wide educational
8 programs. In this newsletter we present
select examples of programs that use e-
Departmental distance education (DE)
activities now include both undergraduate
and graduate programs and graduate
certificate programs in select areas. Many
of the courses in these programs are
offered using a range of technologies
including: videoconference (Polycom);
Adobe Connect; Adobe Presenter; and
Articulate. In addition, a special platform
EcoLearnIT to develop Reusable Learning
Objects (RLOs) has been developed by
Grunwald and Hoover. An online course is
now offered providing training on RLOs
using the EcoLearnIT platform for
students, staff, and faculty. The
department also maintains a virtual
computer laboratory that faculty and
I students can access at any time and from
anywhere. This virtual computer houses
several common software programs
including: ArcGIS, Office Suite, statistical
and geostatistical software in support of

The department is in the process of
establishing the Soil Resource Data Bank
(SoilDB) which will allow sharing of soils
data collected at different scales and
different time periods. We hope to extend
invitations to governmental agencies and
non-profit organizations, and private
industry to sponsor this project.
A three-year effort of SWSD working jointly
with the IFAS International Programs Office
and ICRISAT (International Crops Research
Institute for Semiarid Tropics) resulted in
establishment of the UF-ICRISAT
International Distance Education Center in
Hyderabad, India. Several SWSD faculty are
scheduled to teach short courses at this
center. The UF-ICRISAT Center will also
support faculty and student exchange
between India and US. In addition, the
center will facilitate graduate students
from UF to conduct research in India and in
other countries in the region. These
activities will enhance UF's ongoing efforts
for a global partnership.
The SWSD faculty are committed to
innovation in developing teaching and
extension programs using a range of
technologies to effectively communicate
with our students and clientele. Thanks to
Sabine Grunwald, who has been
instrumental in leading the effort on the
use of many of these e-technologies in
educational programs dealing with soil,
water, and environmental sciences. We
will be pleased to receive any input and
suggestions from our alumni and friends to
further improve our programs.


Distance Education

Graduate and Undergraduate Programs

There are two programs offered by the SWSD Master of Science
(thesis and non-thesis options) Environmental Science Track and
BS in Environmental Management in Agriculture and Natural
Resources offered through the Indian River Research and
Education Center. Both programs have attracted a large number
of students from Florida bridging research and education
activities between the UF main campus in the RECs. The MS
program is fully online and has engaged students from across the t j
country (Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, North Carolina, South -4 .-
Carolina, Virginia, and others) and abroad (Colombia, India,
Kenya, and Uganda) with current enrollment of about 60
students. The BS program uses videoconference technology
(Polycom) to connect students located at different RECs (Milton,
Balm, Immokalee, Apopka, Fort Lauderdale and Homestead).

For additional information, contact Sabine Grunwald at sabgru@uft.edu or Susan Curry at scurry@uft.edu.

Distance Education Certificate Program

Have you thought of earning a Graduate Certificate to
enhance your skills? The SWSD offers three Certificates to
non-degree and degree seeking students. Many students
who pursue the MS in Soil and Water Science with
Environmental Science track also pursue one of the
Certificates. Certificates are also attractive for those
who want to enhance knowledge and skills in a particular
area and/or earn specialized knowledge. Certificates are
one option to position you well in a competitive
economy. To start one of the certificate programs simply
fill out a registration form and register for courses as a
"non-degree seeking student."Want to know more? Go to:

Certificate options:
(1) Sustainable Land Resource and Nutrient
(2) Soil Ecosystem Services
(3) Wetland and Water Resource Management

Each certificate includes a total of 12 semester hours of credit. For additional information, contact Susan Curry
at scurry@uft.edu or Sabine Grunwald at sabgruuft.edu.

Welcome... Incoming Students
Fall 2009

Ellen Bailey, MS (Patrick Inglett)
Neal Beery, MS (Mark Clark)
Derek Gregory, MS (Amy Shober)
Jorge Guevara, MS (Rex Ellis)
Benjamin Hogue, MS (Patrick Inglett)
Julia Maki, MS (Jim Jawitz)
David Mitchell, MS (Carl Fitz)
Dashiell Morris, MS (Sabine Grunwald)
Sarah Seitz, MS (Carl Fitz)
Jared Sweat, MS (Mary Collins)
Shengsen Wang, MS (Arnold Schumann)

Santanu Bakshi, PhD (He/Harris)
Pasicha Chaikaew, PhD (Sabine Grunwald)
Xiaoling Dong, PhD (Lena Ma)
Xiaolin Liao, PhD (Patrick Inglett)
Aman Sharma, PhD (Alan Wright)
Julia Showalter, PhD (Vimala Nair)
Megan Smith, PhD (James Graham)
Rujira Tisarum, PhD (Lena Ma)
Christopher Weidow, PhD (Andy Ogram)
Xiong Xiong, PhD (Sabine Grunwald)

Want To Put Learning in a Box? Use the
EcoLearnIT RLO Toolbox


Reusable Learning Objects (RLOs) have much to offer to students, instructors,
researchers, extension specialists and agents, and support continued education.
EcoLearnIT provides free access to RLOs which are small learning units of topics in
soil, water, environmental, agricultural, and life sciences. In addition, EcoLearnlT
provides a toolbox of functions to create new RLOs in a collaborative setting. You can
team up with a fellow
student, colleague, faculty
'o members or expert and a hos, h.- / 1
jointly develop RLOs online. \ ..d..
To participate you do not ol l IT
have to be a techno-freak or
academic with 30+ years of ...
experience. On the contrary everybody is invited to eoS-T; ,,. E... LeaK1IT ... .. ,
participate. The system provides easy to use functions and Ao U.. I
adopts the concept of open education. Each RLO is an
online publication that is peer-reviewed before being E nt .s.. ... .. '....
shared with the public. Authors and co-authors are given .
full credit for development of RLOs. EcoLearnlT allows -, u'lc'; B
creation (upload) of learning/outreach material in ...
different digital formats including text, artwork (various Dr gIr....U. ,t Fg-. .
graphic formats and Power Point), video, audio, and flash 4 Easystp4 s.
animations to add interactive features. You can use RLOs ...rd. Buid an RLO't_
as learning, instructional or outreach material or simply
browse, learn and have fun with it.

For additional information, contact Sabine Grunwald at sabgru@ufl.edu or Brandon Hoover at hoover@ufl.edu.

University of Florida-ICRISAT International

Distance Education Center

To help improve the sustainability of agriculture and natural resources in developing
nations, the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has
launched a new distance education center with the nonprofit International Crops
Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, or ICRISAT. The center, formally known as
the UF-ICRISAT IDEC, is based at ICRISAT headquarters in Patancheru, a city near
Hyderabad, capitol of the Andhra Pradesh state in South Central India. ICRISAT is an
international organization that conducts research and provides outreach to poor, rural 0
farmers in the semi-arid tropics, which encompasses 48 countries in Africa and Asia. ICRISAT

Larry Arrington, UF interim senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources, believes the center will
strengthen UF's presence in South Asia. "We are pleased to partner with ICRISAT in this joint educational
endeavor", Arrington said. "This region is of great importance to our expanding international presence.
Moreover, this partnership with ICRISAT provides us with an opportunity to join with our center colleagues on a
wide array of research and education activities of mutual interest." William Dar, ICRISAT director general, said
of the center, "Capacity strengthening of professionals in the developing countries is an absolute must in the
current context of new vulnerabilities and opportunities in agriculture and natural resources management. We
consider this as a first step in bringing research universities such as UF closer to where the developing country
professionals work."

The center's goals include enhancing sustainability of agriculture and natural
resources, and spurring greater collaboration between IFAS faculty and
students and their counterparts from institutions in the region. The center
will also lead to new opportunities for UF faculty to enhance the L o
international reputation of UF's educational programs in the areas of i
sustainable agriculture, rural/urban development, natural resources
conservation and environmental protection. The center will also contribute
to the development of study-abroad opportunities for UF undergraduates,
graduate student research, the promotion of faculty sabbaticals with
institutions in South and Southeast Asia especially India and the
facilitation of research partnerships and collaborations.

A three-year effort of the SWSD working jointly with the IFAS International Programs office and ICRISAT
resulted in establishment of UF-ICRSAT-IDEC. Ramesh Reddy currently serves as the program leader for UF. The
program leader for the initiative at ICRISAT is Venkataraman Balaji, global leader for knowledge management
and sharing. For additional information on the center's activities, contact K. Ramesh Reddy at krr@ufl.edu.

New Online Course

SWS 6932 Reusable Learning Objects
(Special Topics Course)

http://soils.ifas.uft.edu/distance/courses.html (1 credit course)

Learn about technical and pedagogical approaches to develop RLOs. Degree-seeking and non-degree seeking
students can register for this course. This course is also useful for instructors or extension specialists/agents
who want to learn about development of e-learning and e-outreach material.

SWS Virtual Computer Laboratory

A virtual machine (VM) can be thought of as a desktop computer that you have access to at any time, from
anywhere. The Soil and Water Science VM provides remote access to software (ArcGIS, Office Suite, statistical
and geostatistical software) and secures workspace for work on research projects, course work or thesis/
dissertation projects. If you are a student enrolled in one of the departmental graduate or undergraduate
programs, staff, post-doc or faculty member in the SWSD you can use the VM. Request a login to the VM at
http: //swsde.ifas. ufl.edu

Information and Communication Technologies for

Capacity Building in Water Management:
U.S.-India Collaborative Extension/Outreach
and Distance Education

The SWSD faculty involved in new
technologies, both in technical and
educational arenas, can contribute
significantly to building long-term
technical capacity to solve problems
associated with crop production,
limited water resources, land and
water degradation, and food security in
India. Modern information technologies
in water management, including
geographical information systems (GIS),
remote sensing, and internet-based
education tools, provide new efficient
and cost-effective approaches for the
assessment of water resources and
quality. The joint project between UF and select Indian universities addressed two key components of the US-
India Agricultural Knowledge Initiative (AKI), Capacity Building and Water Management. This project was
funded by the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC) and the Indian
Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) US-India AKI. As a part of this project the partners developed skills and
collaborative digital learning resources to strengthen education and technical training for extension and
outreach to maximize the use of innovative tools focused on sustainable management of water resources. Both
UF and Indian partners conducted three workshops (two in India and one at UF) and developed a RLO platform
for integration into various modes of learning activities in the US and India. The project was concluded with the
final workshop conducted at ICRISAT during May 11-15, 2009. Additional information on some of educational
modules developed from this project can be found at: http://akicb.ifas.ufl.edu. For more information, contact
K. Ramesh Reddy at krr@uft.edu


UF Soil Resources Data Bank

In a newly launched project a UF Soil Resources Data Bank
(SoilDB) will be developed that will allow sharing of soil
resource data collected across micro-, meso- and macro
spatial scales and different time periods. The data bank will GocoglC irr
include physical, chemical, biological, and taxonomic soil
data from historic and current projects in the SWSD, which
will be complemented by other soil datasets across the State
in the next phase. Data will facilitate to synthesize soil
properties to analyze trends, compare site conditions, or
conduct other types of meta-analysis by fusing soil data from
the data bank. Synthesis of data will support projects
resembling all thrust areas of the department. A Google
Earth application will be linked to the data bank allowing
displaying soil data. At present the department is extending
invitations to potential sponsors including governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, and private
industry to support SoilDB activities. For further information, contact Sabine Grunwald at sabgru@ufl.edu.

Innovative Learning Units for Soil Labs

Many of the students enrolled in
Laboratory Objectives undergraduate programs at the University of
Florida's Plant City campus are attending
classes while working full-time. As a result, it
1. To understand the applicability of Stokes' Law in is ofen diiclt for students to devote
is often difficult for students to devote 3
determining the settling velocity of soil particles.
Including the role of temperature. hours of time to laboratory classes each week.
2. To approximate the texture of a soil using texture Therefore, pre-laboratory content review
by feel. modules were introduced to Plant City
3. To determine the percentages of sand, silt and students enrolled in Soils and the
clay in a soil sample using the hydrometer method. Environmental Laboratory in the Spring
4. To apply the soil textural triangle to determine a semester 2009. Each module was designed to
soil's textural class, provide background information that was vital
to successful completion of the laboratory
assignment. The students were required to
view the module and successfully complete
the quiz (at the end of each module) prior to
attending the laboratory. The time
commitment for each module was <15 minutes. By delivering this introductory material online, students were
able to prepare for lab when their schedules allowed. In addition, we were able to shorten the required
laboratory period from 3 hours to 2 hours. Student and faculty feedback on the quality and usefulness of the
modules has been positive.
For additional information, contact Amy Shober at alshober@ufl.edu

Faculty, Staff, and Students
Congratulations to our faculty, staff, and students for their outstanding
accomplishments in soil, water, and environmental sciences.

Don Graetz has been selected as the recipient of the 2009 Soil Science
Distinguished Service Award. Don was recognized at the Soil Science Society of
America awards program during ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meetings,
Nov. 1-5, 2009 in Pittsburgh, PA.

Ali AL-Agely (Max Teplitski-Advisor) earned "Best Oral presentation by an
Undergraduate" award at the meeting of American Society for Microbiology
(Florida Branch), which was held in Islamorada on Oct. 10-12. Ali presented
the results of a research on investigating mechanisms of bacterial cell-to-cell
signaling within the coral symbiont.

Lucy Ngatia, a Ph.D. candidate (K. R. Reddy and B. T. Turner, Advisors) was
awarded a fellowship by the Smithsonian Women's Committee. The special
Levinson-Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama, fellowships were
provided by the contributions from Frank and Monika Levinson and the support
of the Mpala Wildlife Foundation (MWF).

Pasicha Chaikaew was awarded a Ph.D. fellowship by the Royal Thai
Government. She will evaluate various ecosystem services in context of
carbon markets Et policy and carbon science. She is advised by S. Grunwald.

Susan Curry is hired as Lecturer in Soil and Water Science. Her duties will
include teaching several courses including: Agricultural and Environmental
Quality, Soil and Water Conservation, and GIS in Soil and Water Science. Susan
has a BS in Agricultural Engineering and an ME in Environmental Engineering.
She serves as the Undergraduate Coordinator for the Interdisciplinary Studies -
Environmental Management in Agriculture and Natural Resources. She will be
focusing on increasing the distance education opportunities for our program.

Michael Sisk is hired as Program Assistant for Student Services. Mike brings a
wealth of experience in student services. Mike will be replacing Rhiannon
Pollard who has decided to stay home and be a full-time mom.
We would like to thank Rhiannon for her 3-year service to students and
faculty. We wish her well with her new position as a full-time mom.

Plan to attend...
The University of Florida and Progress Energy partner to host the
2nd UF Water Institute Symposium


Water Resources
Complex Challenges, Integrated Solutions

February 24-26, 2010
Hilton University of Florida Conference Center
Gainesville, Florida
For additional information visit:
http: //www.waterinstitute. ufl.edu/symposium201 Oindex.asp

Soil and Water Science Distinguished Seminars

Dr. Clifford S. (Cliff) Snyder was the keynote speaker at the 10th Annual Soil and
Water Science Research Forum. His presentation entitled "Managing Reactive
Nitrogen in Agriculture: Research, Extension and Industry Challenges." Dr.
Snyder is the Nitrogen Program Director for the International Plant Nutrition
Institute (IPNI). He was named to this position in January of 2007, when IPNI was
officially established. His responsibilities include coordinating efforts of the
Institute dealing with environmental issues related to nitrogen fertilizer use in
agriculture, including North America and internationally. As the Southeast
Region Director, he had responsibility for agronomic research and education
programs for PPI in 11 southeastern US states.
Additional information related to Dr. Snyder's program can be found at the Nitrogen Portal of the IPNI
website: http://www.ipni.net/Nitrogen.

Dr. Ashok Alva presented a seminar entitled "Overview of USDA-ARS
Accomplishments in the Pacific Northwest Irrigation BMP's Using Real Time
Monitoring of Soil Water Content in Soil Profile." Dr. Alva is a Research Leader
and Location Coordinator at the USDA-ARS-Vegetable and Forage Crops Research
Unit, Prosser, Washington. He has published extensively on soil fertility and plant
nutrition and holds numerous research awards for his work with international
scientists and collaborators in the US. Prior to his current position, he was a
faculty member in the SWSD, at UF and stationed at Citrus REC, Lake Alfred, FL.
Additional information can be found at:
,* \/\. http: //www.ars.usda.gov/pwa/prosser

Alumni and Friends
Donor gifts from alumni and friends are a boost to our teaching, research, extension programs and without
their support we would not be able to maintain a high level of academic excellence. We sincerely thank our
alumni and friends for their generous support of SWSD programs. Gifts can be mailed to SWSD or to UF-
Foundation Inc., SHARE, University of Florida, PO Box 110170, Gainesville, Florida 32611-0170.

S10Q Annual Soil and Water Science Research Forum
The 10th Annual Soil and Water Science Research Forum (http://soils.ifas.ufl.edu/forum/) was conducted on
September 11, 2009, in Gainesville, Florida. This year, Dr. Cliff Snyder, Nitrogen Program Director for the
International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), was the featured keynote speaker at the forum. We thank all our
sponsors (Florida Association of Environmental Soil Scientists; DB Environmental Labs, Inc; Soil and Water
Chemistry Laboratory, TRECF, Homestead; Environmental Hydrology Laboratory; Microbial Ecology Laboratory;
and Wetland Biogeochemistry Laboratory) for their generous support of this year's forum. The Forum
showcased linkage between research and extension programs. Congratulations to the winners of the 2009
Annual Forum $500 research award. Oral Presentation: Rongzhong Ye (Alan Wright-Advisor). Poster
Presentations: Debolina Chakraborty (Vimala Nair-Advisor)); Lisa Gardner (Ramesh Reddy-Advisor); Shiny
Mathews (Lena Ma-Advisor); and Manmeet Waria (George O'Connor and Gurpal Toor-Advisors).

Plan to attend... 11th Annual Soil and Water Science Research Forum
September 9, 2010

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