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Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station

The Development and Assessment of Standardized Methodologies for Monitoring the Forest Ecosystem Indicator Species Plethodon Cinereus

The red-backed salamander P. cinereus is an important component of forest ecosystems and, because they are widely distributed, occur at high densities, and are sensitive to environmental change and habitat disturbance/alteration, they are an ideal indicator species for assessing forest ecosystem health. However, the behavioral ecology of P.

Deciding the Future of the Land: The Estate Planning Decisions of Family Forest Owners

Family forest owners (FFOs) control 263 million acres (or 35%) of U.S. forests. In the eastern U.S, FFOs control more than 50% of the forests (Butler, 2008). The average age of FFOs is over 60 years old. It is estimated that over 75% of family forest land is owned by people over the age of 55 and nearly 50% is owned by people over the age of 65 (Butler, et al. 2016). In the coming years, nearly 3.8 million FFOs will be deciding the future of their land. We are, in fact, in the midst of the largest intergenerational shift of land our country has ever experienced.

Global Invasive Plants: Using Spatial Patterns to Understand Invasion Risk to the Northeast

Invasive plants are species introduced from another region (non-native) that have established self-sustaining populations and are spreading, often with substantial negative consequences (Lockwood et al., 2007). Invasive species are a prominent component of global change (Vitousek et al., 1997, 1996), and have been identified as one of five major threats to ecosystems by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (along with, for example, climate change; MA, 2003).

Harnessing Chemical Ecology to Address Agricultural Pest and Pollinator Priorities

Many bee pollinators are in decline, and exposure to diseases has been implicated as one of the potential causes Novel work in my lab found that consuming sunflower pollen dramatically reduced bumble bee infection by a gut pathogen. These are exciting results, but at this point we have established this effect only in the lab, with a single sunflower variety, one bumble bee species, and one pathogen species.

Programmed Cell Death in Grass Flower Development and Evolution Leveraging Basic Research into Rational Crop Design

This proposal is about programmed cell death and sex determination in maize and the grass family. Programmed cell death is best defined as genetically encoded, actively controlled cellular suicide. Programmed cell death is of fundamental importance in plant development. For example, xylem cells undergo programmed cell death and create an interconnected network of hollow tubes essential for water transport.

Ovarian Influences on Reproductive Success in Ruminants

The aim of this project is to enhance our understanding of the ovarian, embryonic and uterine factors that regulate developmental competence of oocytes, pre-implantation embryo development and uterine conditions so that the declining fertility rates and increased embryonic losses among dairy cattle as well as beef cattle and sheep, can be overturned. Therefore, by reversing these declining rates of fertility, we expect to make agricultural production more efficient, profitable, and competitive.

The Science and Engineering for a Biobased Industry and Economy

Only 10 years ago the "brown rot" wood degrading fungi were considered to be poorly evolved organisms in the fungal world. It was known that they lacked many of the enzymatic systems that the taxonomically more numerous "white rot" wood degrading fungi possessed, and it was thought that the brown rot fungi just had not yet reached a stage of evolution to produce these enzymatic systems. In essence, they were thought to be more primitive fungal organisms. However, new genomic analyses conducted over the last 7-8 years have turned this thinking on its head.

Improving Economic and Environmental Sustainability in Tree-Fruit Production Through Changes in Rootstock Use

We will evaluate the influence of rootstocks on temperate-zone fruit tree characteristics grown under varying environments using sustainable management systems.  This will help allow us to better assess the impacts of biotic and abiotic stresses on scion/rootstockcombinations in temperate zone fruit trees and to enhance the sustainability of temperate fruit farming through development and distribution of research based information utilizing eXtension.

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