2010 Summer Scholars share research results

May 5, 2011 under CANR News

Katie Yost, a senior in biological sciences from Dover, Del., discusses her project to assess the insect biodiversity in a restored wetland versus a meadow filled with native plants with Tom Sims, deputy dean of agriculture and natural resources.

Sweep net in hand, Katie Yost wants to find out how well a restored wetland previously rife with invasive reed canary grass near Route 72 in Newark, Del., supports insect biodiversity compared to a meadow filled with native plants.

Yost, a University of Delaware senior in biological sciences from Dover, Del., is one of 116 UD Summer Scholars who showcased their research at the Scholars Poster Session on April 22 in the Trabant University Center.

“This research project provided me with lots of new knowledge, skills and hands-on experience that I could not have gotten inside a classroom,” says Yost, who used a sweep net, which resembles a butterfly net but with a sturdier material for its collecting bag, to catch beetles, tiny flies, spiders, grasshoppers and other insects for examination and counting at the two sites.

Along the way, Yost says she discovered a lot about insects — after all, she collected 13,000 of them — as well as about taxonomy, data analysis and research processes. She plans to continue the research this summer.

Students in UD’s Summer Scholars Program work on their projects full-time for 10 weeks in the summer and continue on to complete three credits of research the following academic year. Each scholar is sponsored by a faculty member, who guides the student’s efforts to understand and engage in research.

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UDairy Creamery opens doors at special Ag Day ceremony

May 2, 2011 under CANR News

Despite the morning chill, those in attendance at Ag Day 2011 on Saturday, April 30, lined up for a taste of UDairy ice cream and to watch the ceremonial ribbon cutting that officially marked the opening of the UDairy Creamery.

When the sun finally poked through at the end of the day, the UDairy Creamery, housed in a new building adjacent to Townsend Hall, had served approximately 2,500 people.

Robin Morgan, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), spoke first at the ribbon cutting ceremony, pointing out the many benefits of the creamery. “This is much more than a shop front,” she said. “This creamery represents how to teach and how to do business development and management. It’s about sustainable and environmentally sound agriculture, it’s about food safety and food science and it’s about communications and marketing.”

Morgan introduced Monica Taylor, UD vice president for development and alumni relations, who noted that the creamery is focused on students and on giving them an opportunity to have learning experiences that stretch beyond the boundaries of the classroom.

“It is student managed from the science to the sales, the milk to the marketing,” Taylor said. “For our students who are here, you may not remember all the notes you have taken in class, but I can guarantee for those involved with this ice cream, you’ll leave UD with a deeper knowledge and understanding of both agriculture and business than you could have ever dreamed.”

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Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Viewable on YouTube >>

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CANR promotes nutrient management, water quality efforts in China

November 10, 2010 under CANR News

The University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) has recently taken a leadership role in organizing and presenting at two international symposia in Beijing, China. Through an ongoing partnership with China Agricultural University (CAU), CANR officials say they hope to provide sound advice and direction for the latest agricultural issues in China.

In 2008, UD signed an agreement with CAU and the University of Pennsylvania Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, to participate in joint research and exchange activities.

The fourth International Symposium on Phosphorus Dynamic in the Soil-Plant Continuum (ISPDSPC) provided a forum for international scientists to share their latest research findings and knowledge on phosphorus dynamics and management in food-producing and other managed and unmanaged ecosystems.

At this conference, keynote speeches were given by Donald Sparks, S. Hallock du Pont Chair of Soil Chemistry, and Tom Sims, deputy dean of CANR and T. A. Baker Professor of Soil and Environmental Chemistry.

Sims was a part of the international steering committee for this event. There were approximately 300 people in attendance.

Following ISPDSPC was the third International Workshop on Nutrient Management Technology and Policy, which was hosted by CAU and UD, and also joined by Wageningen University and Research Centre of the Netherlands.

Sims presented a keynote talk entitled “Nutrient Management Strategies in the USA: Integrating Science, Policy, and Management to Sustain Agricultural Productivity and Protect the Environment.”

David Hansen, associate professor of soil and environmental quality and Cooperative Extension specialist for nutrient management, spoke about the issues related to the development of a comprehensive nutrient management training program in China.

This conference also provided CAU graduate students with a training course on nutrient management tools and nutrient balance at different scales. U.S. and European experts alike shared their experiences with and how to improve upon best nutrient management practices and policies.

After the conference in Beijing, CAU hosted a tour of the new Quzhou agricultural research center, where a large-scale Chinese project focused on improving nutrient management, protecting water quality, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions is now underway.

“At CANR, our nutrient management efforts have been recognized globally,” Sims said. “By using our years of research and extension experience on nutrient management in Delaware and Pennsylvania, we hope to put China’s researchers in a better position to solve their agri-environmental problems.”

In August 2011, the fourth International Workshop on Nutrient Management Technology and Policy will be hosted at UD. For more information about this workshop, see the Global Partnership on Nutrient Management website.

Article by Rachael Dubinsky

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CANR Summer Institute offers glimpse of graduate student life

July 20, 2010 under CANR News

This summer five undergraduate students are conducting research with faculty mentors in the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR), experiencing the challenges and rewards of what a graduate education at UD might be like.

As participants in the Summer Institute in the Agricultural and Natural Resources Sciences, hosted by the college, these students are taking part in ongoing research projects guided by personal faculty mentors, networking with current graduate students and other staff within CANR, and interacting with industry professionals.

“The Summer Institute is a team effort by faculty from all departments in our college,” said Tom Sims, deputy dean of the college. “It provides these five outstanding undergraduate students the opportunity to conduct hands-on research and learn about the range of graduate education opportunities available in the agricultural and natural resources sciences.”

Now in its second year, the 10-week program — funded by the college and a Graduate Innovation and Improvement Grant from UD’s Office of Graduate and Professional Education – draws students from under-represented populations who are interested in a graduate degree in agriculture and natural resource sciences.

Maria Pautler, the program’s coordinator, said the Summer Institute was expanded from 4 to 10 weeks after last year’s participants suggested a longer program. The extended program allows students to become more involved with their research projects and present their findings at a campus-wide symposium at the end of the summer, she said.

“This, coupled with opportunities to attend seminars, workshops, and panelist luncheons, is exposing the students to facts and opinions on preparation for, and life in and beyond, graduate school,” Paulter said.

The 2010 CANR Summer Institute participants are:

Kamedra McNeil, of Forestville, Md., is a molecular biology major at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina. McNeil is involved in the Winston-Salem Student Government Association, Tri-Beta Biological Honors Society, NSCS Scholars and Pre-Marc Scholars. She is interested in a career in forensic biology. During her time at the Summer Institute, McNeil is studying different genes associated with photoperiod in plants. Her faculty mentor is Randall Wisser, assistant professor of plant and soil sciences.

Shurnevia Strickland, of Philadelphia, is a senior applied animal science major at UD. Strickland is secretary and webmaster for Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS). She is interested in future research with genetics. At the Summer Institute, Strickland is studying the endothelin 3 gene in the silkie chicken. Her faculty mentor is Carl Schmidt, associate professor of animal and food sciences.

Rochelle Day, of Laurel, Del., is a senior pre-veterinary medicine and animal biosciences major at UD. Day is a member of Puppy Raisers of UD (PROUD) and MANRRS, and is looking toward a career in animal pathology. At the Summer Institute, Day is mapping the genome of the Infectious Laryngotracheitis Virus (ILTV), an upper respiratory disease in birds that causes economic losses for the poultry industry. Her faculty mentor is Calvin Keeler, professor of animal and food sciences.

Rothman Reyes, of Long Island, N.Y., is a sophomore pre-veterinary medicine and animal biosciences major at UD with minors in sexuality and gender studies, and women’s studies. Reyes raises puppies for Guiding Eyes for the Blind and is a member of the LEARN mentor program. He also serves as co-president of the PROUD special interest community. Reyes hopes to practice veterinary medicine at a zoo. At the Summer Institute, Reyes is creating a fosmid library, where he will induce a mutation onto the Infectious Laryngotracheitis Virus (ILTV) to create a vaccine. His faculty mentor is also Calvin Keeler.

Kristina Barr, of Kingstree, SC., is a senior biology major at Benedict College in Columbia, S.C. She is a member of the Environmental Awareness Club at her school and plans to pursue a career as an ecologist. Her research at the Summer Institute involves the effects of rose bushes on birds’ ability to forage for food. Her faculty mentors are Jacob Bowman, associate professor, and Greg Shriver, assistant professor, both of entomology and wildlife ecology.

Article by Chelsea Caltuna

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