Skip to main content

NYSAES

Wolfe, Smart receive Academic Venture Fund awards from the Atkinson Center

David Wolfe and Larry Smart are among the recipients of $1.2 million from Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future (ACSF)’s Academic Venture Fund. The program funded 11 new projects selected from 37 proposals.

David Wolfe

David Wolfe


“We make seed grants to multidisciplinary teams with exciting ideas that address sustainability problems and opportunities. The process is very competitive and usually brings together faculty who have not previously worked together,” says Frank DiSalvo, Atkinson Center director and the John A. Newman Professor of Physical Science.

Wolfe is part of the Ecological Calendars for Climate Change project. A time-tested tool for climate adaptation—ecological calendars—helped generations of indigenous and rural societies anticipate seasonal patterns for farming, herding, hunting, and fishing. These calendars rely on natural cues, such as the arrival of birds and nascence of flowers. This transdisciplinary team will use ecological calendars to guide communities as they adapt to climate change. Working in partnership with Great Plains Native Americans and rural communities near Oneida Lake, the researchers will identify key climate vulnerabilities, document existing ecological calendars, and revitalize or develop new calendars for local use by combining folk knowledge with cutting-edge climate forecasting. Other investigators in the project are Karim-Aly Kassam, Natural Resources/American Indian Program; Christopher Dunn, Cornell Plantations; Art DeGaetano, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences; Amanda Rodewald, Lab of Ornithology.

Larry Smart

Larry Smart

Smart is part of the Cornell Climate Plan Reflections project. Cornell has embraced a carbon-neutral campus by 2035. Establishing forests on campus lands and transitioning to biofuels are options for reducing carbon emissions, but the carbon calculation is not straightforward. Forests and biofuel crops could reduce the land’s surface reflectivity, or “albedo”—an important but complex climate feature—and the warming effect may counterbalance the biofuels’ benefits. The researchers will develop an accounting tool to assess the net climate benefits of land management plans with more accurate climate projections. By revealing the trade-offs in land-use decisions, this much-needed tool has the potential for broad application beyond Cornell. Other investigators in the project are Timothy Fahey, Natural Resources; Natalie Mahowald, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences; Christine Goodale, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology;  and Peter Hess, Biological and Environmental Engineering.

More information:

Dougherty receives Perrine award

Laura Dougherty, horticulture graduate student in Kenong Xu’s lab, is the recipient of the 2015 Perrine Award. David Perrine (Pomology ’22), a prominent orchardist from Centralia, Ill., established the award in memory of his wife, Fanny French Perrine. The award supports research by an undergraduate or graduate student in pomology. Congratulations Laura!

Steve Reiners, association chair, Horticulture Section, Laura Dougherty and her advisor Kenong Xu.

Steve Reiners, association chair, Horticulture Section, Laura Dougherty and her advisor Kenong Xu.

New Hybrid Grapes Help Grow Wine Industry in Cold US Regions

Bruce Reisch

Bruce Reisch

AP via ABC News [2015-06-07]:

The Marquette grapevines clinging to a steep, rocky hillside in the southeastern Adirondacks are among a host of new grape varieties that have enabled a boutique wine industry to take root in areas of the Northeast and Midwest that were previously inhospitable.

There were about 2,000 wineries in the U.S. in 2000; today, there are more than 8,000, according to the industry publication Wines and Vines.

“Across the country we’ve seen a huge expansion in wine and grape production and wine-related tourism,” said Bruce Reisch, who leads Cornell University’s wine and grape research and development program in New York’s Finger Lakes.

And the new influx of tourism dollars can be traced to, among other places, Cornell and the University of Minnesota, which have developed these hybrid grapes that withstand brutal winters and disease — and provide the quality and consistency needed to produce fine wine in places like Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and Ohio.

Read the whole article.

In the news

A round-up of recent news of horticultural interest:

Kenong Xu (Photo: Robyn Wishna/Cornell University)

Kenong Xu (Photo: Robyn Wishna/Cornell University)

Why Arctic Apples Were Approved By USDA [Growing Produce 2015-04-29] – Kenong Xu, assistant professor, Horticulture Section, discusses the journey genetically modified non-browning Arctic Apples took in order to get the go-ahead from USDA to be grown and sold in the U.S.

Backyard plants can pose dangers to humans, animals [Ithaca Journal 2015-05-22] – “We don’t want to be scaring people that everything out there is there to eat them, but it’s good to be aware if you have these plants around, especially if you have young children or you have pets. They do have poisonous properties, and one should be aware of them,” says Tony DiTommaso, weed ecologist, Soil and Crop Sciences Section. “That doesn’t mean they don’t have a place or a role in your backyard or as a wildflower.”

SoDel Concepts donates meal for students, professors working on Botanic Gardens [Cape Gazette 2015-05-22] – Don Rakow, associate professor, Horticulture Section, and Erica Anderson, Karen St. Clair, Emily Detrick, and Benjamin Storms, graduate students in the public garden leadership program presented recommendations for Delaware Botanic Gardens’ children’s garden and for a plant collection policy to ensure a diverse yet meaningful collection. DBG President Susan Ryan praised “… the contributions that Cornell University, Dr. Don Rakow and his inspiring students are making to the Delaware Botanic Gardens.”

Chef + Plant Breeder: The Future of Flavor [Culinary Point of View 2015-04-09] – Interview with Michael Mazourek, assistant professor, Plant Breeding  and Genetics Section and Chef Dan Barber exploring how they have spent the past 10 years working together to develop new organic crop varieties that emphasize flavor.

Willow program featured on the cover of BioEnergy Research

 

bioenergy-coverx400Images from Larry Smart‘s shrub willow bioenergy crop research program are featured on the June issue of the Journal BioEnergy Research.

Smart and grad student Eric Fabio are among the co-authors of the article Untapped Potential: Opportunities and Challenges for Sustainable Bioenergy Production from Marginal Lands in the Northeast USA in the issue.

Find out more about Smart’s research program at his Willowpedia website.

Brown, Smart on Time-Warner Cable News

brown-smart-twc-news
View video

Researchers Provide Information Farmers Need to Improve Production, Quality of Crops
[Time-Warner Cable News 2015-05-11]

GENEVA, N.Y. — Out on a field at the New York State Agriculture Experiment Station, professor Larry Smart is growing shrub willow. Every two or three years, the stems are harvested and turned into wood chips. Those chips heat two buildings at the center. …

“Our mission is to apply cutting edge science to improve agriculture in New York State, in the Northeast, across the U.S. and even across the world if we can,” said Smart.

Susan Brown is also featured. She says:

“Our vegetable growers will say when people enjoy a carrot or cabbage; they don’t realize the research that goes into it. You know that bumper sticker that says if you have food, thank a farmer? Thank a researcher as well,” said Brown.

Read the whole article/view video.

Seminar video: Genomics-assisted breeding of triploid hybrids of shrub willow for bioenergy

If you missed Monday’s Horticulture Section seminar, Genomics-assisted breeding of triploid hybrids of shrub willow for bioenergy, with Horticulture associate professor Larry Smart, it’s available online.

More seminar videos: Horticulture | School of Integrative Plant Science

Cornell joins Land Grant peers in announcing new ‘Impacts’ website

Cornell berry breeder Courtney WeberReposted from Station Notes, [2015-03-02]

March 2, Cornell University joined a number of its peers nationwide in announcing the official launch of the National Land-grant Impacts website, a centralized online resource that highlights the teaching, research and extension efforts by Land-grant universities.

The website provides access to university or regional-specific impact stories, which document the research and extension programming planned, performed,and implemented by Cornell and other land-grant universities. The website, as a cooperative effort of these institutions, represents a collective voice for the agricultural experiment station and cooperative extension arms of the land-grant universities.

“The Land-Grant Impacts website is a new tool that will better inform the American people and the international community of the significant agricultural research, education and extension impacts taking place at land grant universities across our nation, which offer practical solutions to today’s critical societal challenges,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “This website will help policy makers and the public learn more about this work that is partially supported with NIFA funding.”

Read the whole article.

Any way you cut it, 2014 was a very good year for NYSAES

CALS Communications

Greenhouse ribbon-cutting at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva, N.Y., October 2014. Photo: Rob Way, CALS Communications.

Reposted from CALS Notes [2015-02-24]

It was a year of promises and deliveries, of new partnerships and the research and outreach results those relationships fuel. For Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, 2014 will be remembered as a very good year.

Here are a few of the highlights:

  • The Northern Grapes Project, led by senior extension associate Tim Martinson, received a $2.6 million USDA grant to continue developing grape growing, wine making and marketing resources for cold climate grape growers.
  • Susan Brown, incoming Station director and faculty in the Horticulture Section, was named a 2014 “Women of Distinction” in a ceremony at the State Capitol.
  • Sarah Pethybridge was hired as an assistant professor in the Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section, Steve Reiners assumed the position of associate chair of the Horticulture Section, Anna Katharine Mansfield was promoted to associate professor in the Department of Food Science, and Jennifer Grant was named director of the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program.
  • The Station completed its 10th year of boosting science literacy through a plant science program for the Geneva City School District’s third and fourth graders.
  • The Summer Research Scholars Program hosted 27 students from top universities around the country for immersion in agricultural research.

And that’s just a start.

Read all the highlights in the Station’s “2014 Year in Review” available online on the NYSAES homepage: nysaes.cals.cornell.edu.

Alan Taylor on ‘Going Green’

If you missed it last week, Alan Taylor was featured on a Growing Green segment on Time-Warner Cable News: How Can You Protect Your Seeds from Diseases? Taylor is a professor in the Horticulture Section based at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva.

“What the seed treatment would do is it would protect the seed from an attack by an insect or disease. It would be a particular material or agent that’s applied to seeds to go ahead and protect them,” said Taylor.

View the video.

twc-screen-captuer