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Agriculture


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Key: Meeting Journal Funder
Public Release: 21-Nov-2014
Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas
Rare new species of plant: Stachys caroliniana
University of South Carolina professor John Nelson knows you don't have to travel to a remote Amazon rainforest to discover a new species of plant. He and alumnus Douglas Rayner uncovered a rare hedge-nettle just 50 miles from Charleston, and they named it Stachys caroliniana, after the only state where it has been found.

Contact: Steven Powell
spowell2@mailbox.sc.edu
803-777-1923
University of South Carolina

Public Release: 21-Nov-2014
PLOS ONE
Next-door leopards: First GPS-collar study reveals how leopards live with people
In the first-ever GPS-based study of leopards in India, led by WCS and partners has delved into the secret lives of these big cats, and recorded their strategies to thrive in human-dominated areas.

Contact: Stephen Sautner
ssautner@wcs.org
718-220-3682
Wildlife Conservation Society

Public Release: 21-Nov-2014
Plant Journal
Researchers discover natural resistance gene against spruce budworm
Scientists from Université Laval, the University of British Columbia and the University of Oxford have discovered a natural resistance gene against spruce budworm in the white spruce. The breakthrough, reported in The Plant Journal, paves the way to identifying and selecting naturally resistant trees to replant forests devastated by the destructive pest.

Contact: Jean-François Huppé
jean-francois.huppe@dc.ulaval.ca
418-656-7785
Université Laval

Public Release: 21-Nov-2014
HortScience
Polyethylene mulch, glazing create optimal conditions for soil solarization
Researchers raised soil temperatures in high tunnels in southern Arizona to determine the efficacy of soil solarization using clear mulch on the soil surface and with tunnel glazing or with no glazing. Outcomes showed that producers using high tunnels in the region can complete solarization in less than a week during summer when the soil is fallow using glazing on the high tunnel and polyethylene mulch on the soil surface.

Contact: Michael W. Neff
mwneff@ashs.org
703-836-4606
American Society for Horticultural Science

Public Release: 21-Nov-2014
HortScience
Vermicompost leachate improves tomato seedling growth
A study assessed growth performance of tomato seedlings treated with vermicompost-leachate (VCL), an organic liquid produced from earthworm-digested material. Seedlings were subjected to various temperature and watering regimes. Results showed that VCL can be a suitable soil amendment product to improve overall soil fertility and growth of tomato plants, even under temperature and water stress conditions.

Contact: Michael W. Neff
mwneff@ashs.org
703-836-4606
American Society for Horticultural Science

Public Release: 20-Nov-2014
Restoration Ecology
New study: Aggressive conifer removal benefits Sierra aspen
Most of the aspen stands that dotted the Sierra Nevada less than a century ago are gone or are in poor health. A study just published by Point Blue Conservation Science shows the benefits of using aggressive mechanical treatment to restore Sierra aspen.

Contact: Melissa Pitkin
mpitkin@pointblue.org
831-423-8202
Point Blue Conservation Science

Public Release: 20-Nov-2014
Science
Dizzying heights: Prehistoric farming on the 'roof of the world'
Archaeological findings pose questions about genetic resistance in humans to altitude sickness and genetic response in crop plants to flowering times and ultraviolet radiation tolerance.

Contact: Stuart Roberts
stuart.j.roberts@admin.cam.ac.uk
44-122-376-4982
University of Cambridge

Public Release: 20-Nov-2014
Science
China's new 'Great Wall' not so great
China's second great wall, a vast seawall covering more than half of the country's mainland coastline, is a foundation for financial gain -- and also a dyke holding a swelling rush of ecological woes.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Sue Nichols
nichols@msu.edu
517-432-0206
Michigan State University

Public Release: 19-Nov-2014
Nature
Crops play a major role in the annual CO2 cycle increase
In a study published Wednesday, Nov. 19, in Nature, scientists at Boston University, the University of New Hampshire, the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and McGill University show that a steep rise in the productivity of crops grown for food accounts for as much as 25 percent of the increase in this carbon dioxide seasonality.

Contact: Chris Kucharik
kucharik@wisc.edu
608-890-3021
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Public Release: 19-Nov-2014
Marine Ecology Progress Series
Study: Environmental bleaching impairs long-term coral reproduction
Professor Don Levitan, chair of the Department of Biological Science, writes in the latest issue of Marine Ecology Progress Series that bleaching -- a process where high water temperatures or UV light stresses the coral to the point where it loses its symbiotic algal partner that provides the coral with color -- is also affecting the long-term fertility of the coral.

Contact: Kathleen Haughney
khaughney@fsu.edu
850-644-1489
Florida State University

Public Release: 19-Nov-2014
Computers and Geosciences
New technology may speed up, build awareness of landslide risks
Engineers have created a new way to use lidar technology to identify and classify landslides on a landscape scale, which may revolutionize the understanding of landslides in the US and reveal them to be far more common and hazardous than often understood. Some areas of the Pacific Northwest may have had 10-100 times more landslides than were previously known of.

Contact: Michael Olsen
michael.olsen@oregonstate.edu
541-737-9327
Oregon State University

Public Release: 19-Nov-2014
Nature
Boosts in productivity of corn and other crops modify Northern Hemisphere carbon dioxide cycle
In the Northern Hemisphere, there's a strong seasonal cycle of vegetation, says scientist Mark Friedl of Boston University, senior author of a paper reporting the results in this week's issue of the journal Nature.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Cheryl Dybas
cdybas@nsf.gov
703-292-7734
National Science Foundation

Public Release: 19-Nov-2014
Journal of Forest Policy and Economics
2008 Lacey Act Amendment successful in reducing US imports of illegally logged wood
Recently published research by US Forest Service economist Jeff Prestemon supports the contention that the 2008 Lacey Act Amendment reduced the supply of illegally harvested wood from South America and Asia available for export to the United States.

Contact: Jeff Prestemon
jprestemon@fs.fed.us
919-549-4033
USDA Forest Service ‑ Southern Research Station

Public Release: 19-Nov-2014
Proceedings of the Royal Society B
'Aquatic osteoporosis' jellifying lakes
North American lakes are suffering from declining calcium levels, says new research from Queen's University.

Contact: Rosie Hales
rosie.hales@queensu.ca
613-533-6000 x77513
Queen's University

Public Release: 19-Nov-2014
Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry
Can eating blueberries really help you see better in the dark?
Blueberries are super stars among health food advocates, who tout the fruit for not only promoting heart health, better memory and digestion, but also for improving night vision. Scientists have taken a closer look at this latter claim and have found reason to doubt that the popular berry helps most healthy people see better in the dark. Their report appears in ACS' Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry.

Contact: Michael Bernstein
m_bernstein@acs.org
202-872-6042
American Chemical Society

Public Release: 19-Nov-2014
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
As CO2 acidifies oceans, scientists develop a way to measure effect on marine ecosystems
Man-made emissions have dramatically increased the CO2 content of oceans and acidified their surface waters. Now scientists in Israel have for the first time developed a way to quantify how acidification is affecting marine ecosystems on an oceanic basin scale. Studying a 5,000 km strip of ocean, they developed a new way to assess overall calcification rates of coral reefs and open sea plankton based on variations in surface water chemistry.
Israel Science Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology

Contact: Dov Smith
dovs@savion.huji.ac.il
972-258-82844
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Public Release: 19-Nov-2014
New Phytologist
Seed dormancy, a property that prevents germination, already existed 360 million years ago
An international team of scientists, coordinated by a researcher from the U. of Granada, has found that seed dormancy (a property that prevents germination under non-favourable conditions) was a feature already present in the first seeds, 360 million years ago. Seed dormancy is a phenomenon that has intrigued naturalists for decades, since it conditions the dynamics of natural vegetation and agricultural cycles. There are several types of dormancy, and some of them are modulated by environmental conditions in more subtle ways than others.

Contact: Rafael Rubio de Casas
rubiodecasas@ugr.es
34-958-249-861
University of Granada

Public Release: 19-Nov-2014
Global Change Biology
Climate change in drylands
Ecologists from the University of Cologne are analyzing vegetation stability during and after droughts.

Contact: Dr. Jan C. Ruppert
jan.ruppert@uni-koeln.de
University of Cologne

Public Release: 19-Nov-2014
Nature
'Green Revolution' changes breathing of the biosphere
The intense farming practices of the 'Green Revolution' are powerful enough to alter Earth's atmosphere at an ever-increasing rate, boosting the seasonal amplitude in atmospheric carbon dioxide to about 15 percent over the past five decades. That's the key finding of a new atmospheric model, which estimates that on average, the amplitude of the seasonal oscillation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing at a rate of 0.3 percent every year.
National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA

Contact: Abby Robinson
abbyr@umd.edu
301-405-5845
University of Maryland

Public Release: 19-Nov-2014
Nature
What agricultural 'ecosystems on steroids' are doing to the air
In a study that identifies a new, 'direct fingerprint' of human activity on Earth, scientists have found that agricultural crops play a big role in seasonal swings of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
NASA, National Science Foundation

Contact: Nicole Casal Moore
ncmoore@umich.edu
734-647-7087
University of Michigan

Public Release: 18-Nov-2014
Canadian Journal of Zoology
Salamanders are a more abundant food source in forest ecosystems than previously thought
In the 1970s, ecologists published results from one of the first whole-forest ecosystem studies ever conducted. Scientists reported that salamanders represent one of the largest sources of biomass, or food, of all vertebrates in the forest. Now, using new techniques, researchers at the University of Missouri have estimated that the population of salamanders in forested regions may be on average 10 times higher than previously thought.
US Forest Service Cooperative Agreement

Contact: Jeff Sossamon
sossamonj@missouri.edu
573-882-3346
University of Missouri-Columbia

Public Release: 18-Nov-2014
Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Virulent bacteria affecting oysters found to be a case of mistaken identity
The bacteria that helped cause the near-ruin of two large oyster hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest have been mistakenly identified for years, researchers say in a recent report. In addition, the study shows that the bacteria now believed to have participated in that problem are even more widespread and deadly than the previous suspect.
US Department of Agriculture

Contact: Claudia Hase
claudia.hase@oregonstate.edu
541-737-7001
Oregon State University

Public Release: 18-Nov-2014
Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education
Using technology to decrease the knowledge gap between Ugandan men and women
If an in-the-flesh Extension specialist isn't available to provide training, is a video of the specialist's presentation or a video of a new agricultural practice a good substitute? The answer, according to a University of Illinois study with farmers in rural Uganda, isn't simple, particularly when gender is factored into the equation.

Contact: Debra Levey Larson
dlarson@illinois.edu
217-244-2880
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Public Release: 18-Nov-2014
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Shift in gut bacteria observed in fiber supplement study may offer good news for weight loss
Most Americans don't get the daily recommended amount of fiber in their diet, though research has shown that dietary fiber can cause a shift in the gut toward beneficial bacteria, reducing the risk of colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases. A new study from the University of Illinois shows that two specific functional fibers may also have the potential to assist in weight loss when made part of a long-term, daily diet.
General Mills Inc.

Contact: Stephanie Henry
slhenry@illinois.edu
217-244-1183
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Public Release: 18-Nov-2014
Proceedings of the Royal Society B
As elephants go, so go the trees
Overhunting has been disastrous for elephants, but their forest habitats have also been caught in the crossfire.

Contact: Trevor Caughlin
trevorcaughlin@ufl.edu
352-392-1107
University of Florida