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Bauerle Lab’s Schieder awarded DAAD-RISE internship

From Taryn Bauerle, associate professor, Horticulture Section:

Plant Sciences major Tommi Schieder ’19 has been awarded a DAAD-RISE internship and is one of only five students chosen from more than 1,700 to receive additional funding from the German Center for Research and Innovation Foundation.

This summer, Tommi will be traveling to the Technical University of Munich to research tree hydraulic redistribution, the passive movement of water that helps trees survive drought stress, a growing concern due to climate change.

Bauerle (right) orients Schieder to some of the equipment she’ll be using to collect data while on her internship in Germany.

Bauerle (right) orients Schieder to some of the equipment she’ll be using to collect data while on her internship in Germany.

Researchers Look for Genetic Clues to Help Grapes Survive Cold

CALS News [2017-03-29]

Al Kovaleski, a doctoral student in the field of horticulture, visits the Anthony Road Winery in Penn Yan, New York. Photo by Chris Kitchen / University Photography

Al Kovaleski, a doctoral student in the field of horticulture, visits the Anthony Road Winery in Penn Yan, New York. (Photo:  Chris Kitchen /University Photography)

Months before northern vineyards burst into their lush summer peak, the delicate grape buds holding the nascent fruit in its tiny core must first withstand the freezing onslaught of winter.

Understanding how grape buds respond to subzero temperatures is of paramount concern to vineyard managers in New York and other northerly grape-producing states. Some of the more popular varieties used in the wine and juice industries can survive temperatures far below the freezing point of water. By a process known as supercooling, cellular mechanisms within the bud maintain water in liquid state down to around minus 4 to minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the species. Beyond a certain low-temperature threshold, ice forms inside the cells, cellular functions cease and the bud dies.

Horticulturists have long relied on traditional methods to study freezing in plants. Now a researcher in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is using powerful technologies on campus to explore in new ways the cellular mechanics that allow grape buds to survive brutal cold. The research has implications for vineyard economics, especially as climate change opens more northerly land for cultivation and current growing regions experience more extreme weather.

Al Kovaleski, a doctoral student in the field of horticulture, is using the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) to create 3-D images of grape buds. The images produced at CHESS are providing a unique perspective as Kovaleski unravels the genetic underpinnings of supercooling in grape buds.

Read the whole article.

 

This article originally appeared in the Cornell Chronicle.

Wolfe on what climate change executive order means for clean energy

David Wolfe

David Wolfe

In a commentary on the Fortune Magazine website [2017-03-28], Horticulture Section professor David Wolfe weighs in:

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump is expected to release an executive order that rolls back Obama-era environmental protections. This plan should worry anyone who cares about the environment or America’s economic future, as it takes the country backward in global climate change leadership. Instead of galvanizing public and private forces to meet today’s energy and environmental challenges, Trump will essentially surrender that responsibility to other nations.

The order will reportedly expand energy extraction on public lands and gut the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which aimed to reduce emissions from outmoded and heavily polluting power plants and provide businesses with financial incentives for expanding new technologies such as wind and solar farms. Trump’s latest actions come on the heels of a proposed 31% cut in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget and a directive for the EPA to review motor vehicle energy-efficiency standards that were also put in place under Obama.

Trump’s climate and energy policy is based on the false premise that a world with safeguards for clean air and water and a stable climate is incompatible with economic growth. It reflects a fear of change, rather than a worldview that seeks to turn our environmental challenges into economic opportunities.

Read the whole article.

Seminar video: Hard cider research at Washington State University

If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar Hard cider research at Washington State University with Carol Ann Miles, Washington State University, it is available online.

 

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

Signs of spring: Hortus Forum at KPL

Members of Hortus Forum, Cornell’s undergraduate horticulture club, visited Kenneth Post Lab greenhouses Wednesday, where Bill Miller explained the work of the Flower Bulb Research Program.

HoFo at KPL

Could a Platoon of Helicopters Have Saved Washington, D.C.’s Cherry Blossoms?

Popular Mechanics [2017-03-20] talked to Marvin Pritts, professor in the Horticulture Section of Cornell’s School of Integrative Plant Science, about some of the more drastic techniques professional growers use to protect their plants — and the rest of us can use to survive the weird weather this winter.

The helicopters might have worked.

Read the whole article.

Nina Bassuk (right) coaches Marvin Pritts and pupils on late-winter pruning techniques.

Nina Bassuk (right) coaches Marvin Pritts and pupils on late-winter pruning techniques.

Seminar video: Cover crop and weed management in a living mulch system for vegetables

If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar Cover crop and weed management in a living mulch system for vegetables with Vinay Bhaskar, Graduate Field of Horticulture, it is available online.

 

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

Greenhouse staff plow on through nor’easter

Greenhouse grower Julie Blaha relishes the springtime color March 15, as she waters flowers at the Post Labs in the middle of a snowstorm. (Photo: Blaine Friedlander/Cornell Chronicle)

Greenhouse grower Julie Blaha relishes the springtime color March 15, as she waters flowers at the Post Labs in the middle of a snowstorm. (Photo: Blaine Friedlander/Cornell Chronicle)

Excerpted from the Cornell Chronicle [2017-03-16]:

For the first time since February 2014, Cornell closed the Ithaca campus due to snow, halting all but essential services from noon March 14 until 4:30 p.m. March 15.

Although officially closed, the work of Cornell continued. Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (CUAES) greenhouse grower Julie Blaha braved the roads from her home in Odessa, New York, to tend plants in the Kenneth Post Laboratories and Greenhouses, while grower Laurence Walsh patched several broken windowpanes when melted snow and ice fell through the roof.

Walsh, born and raised in Hawaii, moved to Ithaca six months ago. “I have discovered that I love the cold,” he said. “It’s so refreshing.”

United Parcel Service suspended Ithaca operations due to the snow, but Andy Leed, CUAES greenhouse manager, picked up his weekly shipment of beneficial insects – cucumeris mites that control greenhouse thrips and persimilis that control spider mites. “UPS unloaded their 18-wheeler truck to sort through it to find my box,” said Leed. “These are biocontrols; they’re tropical insects. If they freeze, they’re gone.”

Read the whole article.

‘On healthy soil and dirty art’ at Science Cabaret March 21

From the Field to Canvas: On Healthy Soil and Dirty Art

Tuesday, March 21
7 to 9 p.m.
Coltivare Restaurant
235 S. Cayuga St.

Join Kirsten Kurtz and Bob Schindelbeck from the Cornell Soil Health Laboratory to dig into new perspectives on soil. As soil health is gaining recognition as being paramount for human survival these scientists will explore the nature and properties of soil and agriculture while illustrating the beauty of this resource through a live soil painting.

More information.

poster

Register now for Soil Summit March 28-29

CALS News [2017-03-15]:

Soil amendments such as raw manure offer clear benefits to agricultural production, but they can also pose potential environmental and food safety risks if not handled properly. The Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Safety Rule outlines some requirements for using soil amendments because of the microbial risks associated with their use.  Raw manure has been shown to have a higher potential to contain foodborne pathogens that can cause illness, especially if fruits and vegetables become contaminated, either directly (e.g., improper application or processing of compost) or indirectly (e.g., through contaminated irrigation water from runoff).

To discuss the benefits and challenges of using soil amendments such as raw manure and compost relative to the safety of fresh fruit and vegetable production, Cornell food safety experts are convening a summit March 28-29, 2017. The Soil Summit will provide the opportunity for produce growers, educators, and researchers to discuss and identify barriers to using/producing compost while also identifying management strategies, resources, and additional support necessary to support growers in minimizing food safety risks on the farm, especially when using raw manure.

Held at Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY, the summit will address the need to support produce growers in identifying management options that preserve the benefits and minimize the risks from using soil amendments such as manure and compost, while also addressing the environmental impacts. The summit will include presentations and break out discussions, and provide participants a better understanding of current research and risk assessment efforts by the U.S Food and Drug Administration. Participants will learn details about the final Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule and the standards it sets in the use of biological soil amendments of animal origin and human waste.

The summit costs $100. Registrations can be made at: http://events.cals.cornell.edu/soilsummit2017

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