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Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station

Spatial and Temporal Management of Forest Cover and Urban Impacts for Water Resources Sustainability

Urbanizing watersheds in the northeastern United States face rapid changes in forest cover, urbanization, and conflicts in water use (USGS, 2002) that require careful evaluation of trends in components of the watershed system. This research will evaluate land use/land cover changes, assess their impacts on surface and groundwater supplies, and evaluate forest management strategies in a rapidly urbanizing watershed in southeastern Massachusetts.

The Role of Turicibacter and Butyrate in Mediating Intestinal Tumorigenesis Associated with High Fat Diet-induced Obesity

Mounting epidemiological and experimental evidence consistently indicates that obesity is a robust risk factor, with 50~100% increase in risk for CRC. As obesity has reached an epidemic level and increases in the scope of the problem are projected, it is critical to understand the mechanism(s) responsible for the link and thereby to develop preventive strategies. The ultimate goal is, through the completion of this project, to facilitate the development of preventive approaches to diminish dietary obesity associated CRC.

Understanding Growth, Survival, & Maintenance Costs of Newly-established Urban Oak Trees, Produced Using Differing Nursery Methods.

To address climate change and other considerations, there has been a push to plant trees in cities (Boston and New York are 2 nearby examples). Simply planting trees without understanding whether and why they survive and grow to provide benefits is an effort of dubious long-term value. Since measurements of these trees has been taken from their date of planting (2014), a longterm (5-yr) project that would involve continued post-establishment measurement, would provide valuable empirical data relevant to actual growing conditions.

Asian pear fire blight inoculation/canker study

Fire blight is a major threat to apple production in USA. It can destroy thousands of high density trees per farm in epidemic conditions. Our priority is to address this threat by development of pest risk assessment through quantifying survival of fire blight bacterium Erwinia amylovora in wood cankers as main sources for infection. We will determine its survival in relation to apple and pear cultivar susceptibility, tree drought stress, and winter cold. Current fire blight prediction models assume successful fire blight survival in cankers every year.

Peach/nectarine/plum variety evaluation

Over 75 named and numbered peach/nectarine and plum varieties/selections are under casual evaluation and demonstration at the UMass Cold Spring Orchard. Most of them are varieties/selection from the Fruit Acres/Stellar, Paul Friday/Flaming Fury, and Rutgers/Adams County Nursery breeding and variety introduction programs. Data collected includes flowering, yield, and fruit quality (size, color, firmness, brix, maturity, and taste/consumer acceptance), and  pest susceptibility.

National Animal Genome Research Program

The relationship between domesticated animals and humans is a close one, and has existed for at least ten thousand years. It is important to understand the immune defenses of many animals, in addition to the immune defenses of humans and mice. Animals have evolved many different ways of responding to bacteria and viruses. Many diseases threatening humans are zoonotic, which means that they are shared between humans and animals.

Increasing Vegetable and Fruit Intake in Lactating Mothers to Decrease Breast Cancer Risk

The etiology of breast cancer is complex and varied. Many of the major risk factors for breast cancer, including age, reproductive history, and family history of cancer, are not modifiable. There is a great need to provide women with evidence based advice on how they can reduce their risk of developing breast cancer. Research has shown that compounds in fruits and vegetables have anti-cancer properties and most people agree that a diet rich in nutritious fruits and vegetables may help prevent breast cancer. However, the ways in which such a diet reduces risk remain unknown.

Interactions of Individual, Family, Community, and Policy Contexts on the Mental and Physical Health of Diverse Rural Low-Income Families

The goal of this project is to understand the many complexities of physical and mental health faced by rural low-income families within the context of their communities. Poverty is disproportionately higher and more persistent in rural areas than in urban areas and problems of unemployment, underemployment, lower wages, and poor health make it more difficult for the rural poor to escape poverty.

Explorations in the Turfgrass Phytobiome: Understanding Microbial Associations and Developing Tools for Management

Well-maintained, healthy turfgrass provides many environmental and social benefits.  However, multifaceted programs such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM) are needed to withstand the constant challenges by abiotic and biotic stressors year around. Integrated pest management is a comprehensive approach that brings together various cultural and chemical pest control methods to manage insects, plant diseases (mainly fungi), and weeds.

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