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Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station

Sample Summer Scholar Project

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Renewing an Agriculture of the Middle: Value Chain Design, Policy Approaches, Environmental and Social Impacts

We will develop a mathematical model that predicts how farmers (or firms) will make decisions when choosing between two markets. The markets we will study include a wholesale market, where farmer's products are no different from all other farmers, and a farm-to-school market where the farmer's products are differentiated (the farmer is known and the products are known to be locally produced). We will then design economic experiments that could be used to test the model's theoretical results.

Understanding the Choice Between Leasing and Owning for Residential Solar Systems

Each potential adopter faces a crucial decision--to lease or to own the panels. Leasing the panels from a solar company incurs little to no upfront cost. A fixed lease payment, however, reduces the net saving from the electricity generated by the panels. On the other hand, owning solar panels includes a high immediate cost with a higher return in future periods resulting from the absence of lease payments. Moreover, solar owners can receive additional revenue from selling Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC).

Urban Tree Planting, Neighborhood Satisfaction, and Safety: Establishing a Baseline and 5 Exploring Longitudinal Links

Municipalities worldwide are showing substantial interest in urban greening, defined here as the introduction or conservation of outdoor vegetation in cities. In many cases greening involves substantial tree planting, and across the United States cities have established ambitious canopy cover goals and major tree planting programs.

Disentangling the Predation Paradox: Human Food Subsidies, Elevated Predator Densities, and Non-lethal Effects of Predators Along an Urbanization Gradient

Predation is considered a key limiting process, and management actions for declining species, such as forest-dwelling songbirds, are often aimed at reducing impacts of predation. This is of particular concern in areas undergoing urbanization, since densities of potential predators tend to increase dramatically with urbanization.

Bio-prospecting for High Added-value Compounds from Cultured Cells Derived from Local Plants and Crops

Plants are an ancient, rich and sustainable source of natural chemodiversity in the form of alkaloids, terpenoids, flavonoids, tannins and other classes of small-molecular-weight compounds (phytochemicals). Lacking the adaptive immunity of animals, plants evolved to rely on small molecules for their survival, proliferation and reproduction.

IUD Modulation of the Reproductive Cycle In Equine

During estrus, mares can behave in a manner that can make handling, riding, training, or competing these horses difficult. Current methods to suppress estrus behavior during the breeding season, when most horse competition takes place, include: pharmacological treatments; glass marbles; and negative reinforcement. This work will develpe strategies to control estrus behaviour without the need for pharmacological treatments or negative reinforcement.

Hydropedology of Vernal Pool Systems

Wetland identification, protection, and restoration is a multi-million dollar industry in the United States. State, regional, and federal agencies are working to develop and enforce regulations to maintain, enhance, increase, and protect our nation's wetlands. Non-profit organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund, and Ducks Unlimited have joined forces to support many of these efforts. In contrast, economic development can be stymied by over-regulation and thus developers argue for a balance between natural resource protection and development.

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