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Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station

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.

Non-destructive Detection of Internal Decay and Xylem Dysfunction in American Elms Regularly Injected to Control Dutch Elm Disease.

American elms represent some of the most culturally and economically significant urban trees. Their contributions to the urban landscape are numerous and include: carbon sequestration, capture of storm water and airborne particulate matter, reduced heating and cooling costs through wind buffering and shade and enhanced aesthetics with their large, sweeping canopies. Prior to the introduction of Dutch Elm Disease, American elms dominated the urban and suburban landscape because of their beauty, rapid growth rates and ability to tolerate difficult growing conditions.

Non-destructive Detection of Internal Decay and Xylem Dysfunction in American Elms Regularly Injected to Control Dutch Elm Disease.

American elms represent some of the most culturally and economically significant urban trees. Their contributions to the urban landscape are numerous and include: carbon sequestration, capture of storm water and airborne particulate matter, reduced heating and cooling costs through wind buffering and shade and enhanced aesthetics with their large, sweeping canopies. Prior to the introduction of Dutch Elm Disease, American elms dominated the urban and suburban landscape because of their beauty, rapid growth rates and ability to tolerate difficult growing conditions.

Water Management and Quality for Ornamental Crop Production and Health

Improving water management is of increasing importance in horticultural operations. A growing global population and changes in water availability will mean that less water will be available for ornamental plant production. There are also a growing number of federal and state regulations regarding water use and runoff from production areas. Better irrigation and fertilization management practices will help to limit the environmental impact of container plant production by limiting the runoff of water and nutrients from nurseries.

Production and Use of Biochar and Bio-Oil from Farm and Forest Wastes to Enhance Small Farm Sustainability in the Northeast

Global climate change affects every aspect of our life. Global warming increases the intensity of drought, which leads to the increase in frequency and severity of forest fires. Beyond being a source of soot and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), severe wildfires/forest fires can damage soils, water quality and quantity, fisheries, plant communities, wildlife habitat, and endangered species; result in economic and property loss; and cause harms to the environment and public health. Forest thinning or prescribed burns reduce the accumulation of hazardous fuels and restore forest health.

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