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News from the Media

Massachusetts Towns Support UMass Amherst Tick Testing Program
November 5, 2015

AMHERST, Mass. – The recent popular success and high demand for a tick testing service provided to Massachusetts residents by the Laboratory of Medical Zoology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has led LMZ director Stephen Rich to extend the program, despite loss of state funding, by offering towns a co-pay model. (11/4/15 UMass News Office)

Building Privacy Into Smart Buildings
November 5, 2015

AMHERST, Mass. – As more smart grids and buildings are fitted with digital electric meters, Web-enabled appliances and lighting, programmable outlets and switches, and intelligent HVAC systems that rely on Internet-connected sensors, experts increasingly worry that smart sensors and other Internet-connected devices may leak sensitive private information, or hackers might take such data for malicious purposes. David Irwin, electrical and computer engineering, and Prashant Shenoy of the College of Information and Computer Sciences direct this project. (10/30/15 UMass News Office)

Oysters, aquaculture, slowly gaining some love on SouthCoast
October 28, 2015

With 75 percent of global fisheries overfished, there is a renewed interest in boosting aquaculture as well as great demand. Moreover, cultured seafood is safer to eat as the industry is heavily regulated at this time, experts said. The Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) funds three aquaculture centers at Salem State University, the Barnstable County Cooperative Extension, and the Center for Sustainable Aquaculture at UMass Amherst. (SouthCoast Today 10/28/15)

Climate change: Heat may drive cranberry industry north
October 26, 2015

University of Massachusetts Cranberry Station director Carolyn DeMoranville said there hasn’t been much change in annual rainfall totals in the past 20 years, but the station has noted one significant change in the past six or seven years: The rain comes in big rain events with long dry periods in between. Those torrential rains tend to run off the land instead of soaking in and replenishing diminished groundwater supplies, making irrigation costly. (Cape Cod Times 10/26/15)

Massachusetts Writes Plan to Boost Local Food and Farmers
October 26, 2015

Massachusetts state officials released a plan for boosting locally grown food – the first such plan since 1974.

"We have brought together an incredibly diverse and broad range of people involved in the food system, everyone from anti-hunger advocates to farmers to truckers to policy advocates, to try to figure out how we can build on the strength of the state's food system and collaborate in ways we haven't collaborated before," said Winton Pitcoff, the project manager overseeing the plan and a Plainfield resident. (Masslive 10/25/15)

Physical Activity Has Greater Impact on Body Composition in Postmenopausal Women
October 20, 2015

CLEVELAND, Ohio--Everyone knows that exercise is good for you, regardless of your age. But a new study coming out of the University of Massachusetts Amherst shows that some types of physical activity have a greater impact on body composition in postmenopausal compared to premenopausal women. (Science Newsline, 10/20/15; Science Codex, 10/19/15)

New England Foliage Season Delayed, but Spectacular, UMass professor comments
October 19, 2015

BOSTON (AP) — New England residents and visitors to the six-state region hoping to catch a glimpse of its celebrated fall foliage may have been a little disappointed so far in seeing more green than blazing orange, scarlet and gold. This year's foliage season was delayed slightly because of weather conditions but is likely to end up being just as spectacular. Paul Catanzaro, an extension assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts explains. (Hawaii Tribune 10/18/15; New York Times, ABC News, Houston Chronicle, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Daily Mail [U.K.], Yahoo Singapore [all from AP], 10/14/15)

Apple's DNA determines crispness says Wesley Autio, UMass professor
October 7, 2015

Whether the apples in your pie bake into tender, well-defined slices or turn shapeless and mushy is built into the fruit’s DNA.  What gives apples a firm texture is the structure and thickness of the fruit cell walls, says Wesley Autio, professor of pomology and directorof the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. (Boston Globe 10/7/15)

UMass researcher finds way to fight cheatgrass, a western scourge
October 7, 2015

Cheatgrass could vie for the title of the most successful invasive species in North America. The weed lives in every state, and is the dominant plant on more than 154,000 square miles of the West, by one estimate. When it turns green in the spring, “you can actually see it from space,” said Bethany Bradley, an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who studies biogeography, the spatial distribution of species. (New York Times 10/5/15)

Local farms reflect changes in pumpkin production
October 5, 2015

BRIDGEWATER - At Peterson’s Farm Greenhouse on South Street in Bridgewater, the farm stand is lit up by a display of blazing orange due to the dozens of pumpkins for sale at the stand.

“In a lot of ways, it was an ideal growing year,” said Katie Campbell-Nelson, a vegetable specialist for the UMass Extension School’s Center or Agriculture, Food and the Environment. The dry weather meant certain diseases were less prevalent in pumpkin plants. (Enterprise News 10/5/15)