It’s a hot topic, and discussion was simmering at a recent symposium sponsored by CALS International Program and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, Changing crops for a changing climate: What can biotechnology contribute? Controversial author Mark Lynas opened the event with a keynote speech that addressed his dramatic transformation from anti-GM activist to advocate. Among the respondents during the ensuing panel discussion:
David Wolfe, horticulture, explained some of the biology behind genetic modification, and its potential to add to crop diversification and mitigate climate change. (58min)
Peter Davies, plant biology, addressed some of the misconceptions about GMOs, and shared examples of instances where genetic modification led to environmental and health benefits.(1:09:00min)
This week, students in Creating the Urban Eden: Woody Plant Selection, Design, and Landscape Establishment (HORT/LA 4910/4920) are highlighting why trees are worth hugging, by hanging bright green “price tags” on trunks around the Ag Quad and in an Ithaca park.
Using an online tool, the National Tree Benefit Calculator, students from the course estimated the environmental and economic benefits of 29 trees based on their location, size and species.
“It’s really quite eye-opening for people who think that trees are just nice to look at and don’t have any other value,” said horticulture professor Nina Bassuk, who leads the class alongside landscape architecture professor Peter Trowbridge.
There are also benefits that are not easily quantified, such as wildlife habitats and emotional responses, Bassuk said.
Last fall, Karl Niklas, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor of Plant Biology, gave a talk about Plant Physics, a book he co-authored with Hanns-Christof Spatz, professor emeritus of biophysics in the Faculty of Biology at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg in Germany.
If you missed the talk, part of Mann Library’s ‘Chats in the Stacks’ series, it’s now available online.
The book explains how plants cannot be fully understood without grasping how physical forces and processes influence growth, development, reproduction, evolution, and the environment.
From a Weed Science Society of America news release:
Glenn J. Evans, Robin R. Bellinder and Russell R. Hahn won an Outstanding Paper Award from the Weed Science Society of Americafor their paper in Weed Technology: An Evaluation of Two Novel Cultivation Tools. Evans is director of agricultural operations for the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station. Bellinder and Hahn work in research and extension at Cornell University. Evans is director of agricultural operations for the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station. Bellinder and Hahn work in research and extension at Cornell University.
The two novel tools are block and stirrup cultivators created by Evans. You can see them in action here: