Study Shows Native, Non-Honey Bees Contribute Significantly to Crop Pollination

Pollinator study - data collection.

Pollinator study data collection.

Research is helping to develop protocols for pollinator conservation and restoration.

The lab of Rachael Winfree, associate professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources, focuses its research on bees and pollination, including the pollination of crops, and in communicating those scientific results to the agricultural community.

Her lab has focused its outreach efforts on two areas related to sustainable crop pollination. First is developing science-based protocols for pollinator restoration on private lands, an effort funded through several federal Farm Bill programs. Winfree and colleagues are testing the efficacy of different pollinator restoration protocols, in collaboration with New Jersey Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

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Balancing Passions, a Rutgers-trained Scientist Heads for the Future

Talia Young, on a research trip to Mongolia. Photo: Talia Young.

Talia Young, on a research trip to Mongolia. Photo: Talia Young.

Acquiring new knowledge and sharing it with high school students have marked Talia Young’s journey

Talia Young, a newly minted Rutgers Ph.D. in ecology, studies fish and their relationship to the people and communities that depend on them.

She’s also passionate about acquiring new knowledge and sharing it with young people, which is what has led her to move between research and teaching since her undergraduate days at Swarthmore College. Now preparing for postdoctoral work at Princeton University, Young spent her last several weeks as a Rutgers graduate student co-teaching, with help from Kristin Hunter-Thomson in 4H Youth Development, a mini-course on mathematics applications in fisheries science in a Philadelphia high school – the same one she taught biology in before going to graduate school. The course was partly funded by the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources and the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences.

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How to make a yummy, consistent beer: Rutgers team is on a mission

There’s a lot of science that goes into making a tasty beer. But not all brewers and hop farmers — especially the small ones — have access to the tools and information they need to arrive at the perfect product… “What we really wanted to do was try to respond to what breweries and growers were asking of Rutgers,” said Jim Simon, principal investigator of the project. “They were asking: how do we position ourselves to level the playing field, to try to get the same type of information that some of the big breweries have?”

Read the entire article at NJ 101.5 »

This Year’s Record Arctic Melt Is a Problem For Everybody

If your life has felt like a hot mess this year, you’re not alone. Same goes for the Arctic, which month after month has seen its ice cover contract to new lows. By late September, Arctic sea ice may reach its lowest extent since satellite record-keeping began… There could also be more global effects. Some evidence indicates that Arctic warming – which is causing a change in the temperature gradient between the equator and the poles – could be shifting the polar jet stream, causing it to meander more north and south rather than traveling a straight line. A recent study from Rutgers University linked a wavier jet stream to an uptick in extreme weather events, noting that "these are the types of phenomena that are expected to occur more often as the world continues to warm and the Arctic continues to lose its ice."

Read the entire article at Gizmodo »

Climate tipping points: What do they mean for society?

The phrase “tipping point” passed its own tipping point and caught fire after author Malcolm Gladwell’s so-named 2000 book. It’s now frequently used in discussions about climate change, but what are “climate tipping points”? And what do they mean for society and the economy?.. “I hear from a lot of people in the general public who wonder whether we’ve passed a tipping point with respect to the climate, but frequently they don’t know precisely what the term means,” said Robert E. Kopp, the study’s lead author and an associate professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Rutgers. “And that’s on the scientific community. Oftentimes, we use the term in a way that doesn’t quite jive with popular understanding.” Study authors also include, among others, Rachael L. Shwom, an associate professor in the Department of Human Ecology at Rutgers.

Read the entire article at My Central Jersey »

Rutgers Equine Center Kicks Off “15 Years Of Excellence”

Summer Showcase #12 Group Shot

Presentation of the New Jersey Joint Legislative Resolution by Ann Dorsett to the Rutgers University Equine Science Center. Left to right: Ann Dorsett, Liz Durkin, Sharon Ortepio, Karyn Malinowski, Carey Williams, Brad Hillman, and Wendie Cohick.

The 2016 Rutgers Equine Science Center Summer Showcase was a huge success! Close to 100 people participated in the kickoff celebration of the Center’s 15-year anniversary on July 13th. Welcoming remarks were given by Karyn Malinowski, director of the Equine Science Center, and Wendie Cohick, chair of the Department of Animal Sciences, and Brad Hillman, senior associate director of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station and director of Research.

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Bill would simplify aquaculture permit process

Legislation to simplify the permit process for aquaculture projects such as oyster farms in state waters was approved Thursday by the Senate Economic Growth Committee… In 2013, Rutgers University released a survey of oyster farmers in New Jersey. There were 12 oyster farmers, and 11 of them responded. One respondent was located in Cumberland County, six in Cape May County, three in Ocean County and one in Atlantic County.

Read the entire article at The Press of Atlantic City »

Moringa’s Health Benefits In Lowering Inflammation

Moringa is known throughout the world as a miracle tree. But, what exactly is moringa and why is research buzzing about the possible health benefits of this hearty plant?.. Carrie Waterman, PhD, a National Institutes of Health Fogarty International Career Development Grant recipient at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis), has studied the possible anti-inflammatory effects of moringa for the past five years, beginning at Rutgers University with Ilya Raskin, PhD. Waterman and Raskin, co-inventors on the patented processing of moringa to harness isothiocyanates, are working closely with Estée Lauder to develop anti-inflammatory skincare products. The expectation is that profits gained from such products will help fund future research on moringa’s health and agricultural uses in the developing world.

Read the entire article at The Huffington Post »

Competition Between Oyster Aquaculture and Horseshoe Crabs Could Be Affecting Red Knot Foraging

Red Knot (Calidris canutus).

Red Knot (Calidris canutus rufa).

Aquaculture is a burgeoning industry along the Delaware Bayshore, infusing millions of dollars and jobs into local economies each year. A particular area of growth over the last decade has been intertidal rack and bag oyster production of eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica).

Farm raised oysters ready for harvest at a Cape May County oyster farm.

Farm raised oysters ready for harvest at a Cape May County oyster farm.

The majority of existing oyster farms in New Jersey are located along the Cape Shore region of Delaware Bay where oyster cultivation developed more than a century ago. The region is also an important stopover site for the federally listed red knot (Calidris canutus rufa), a shorebird that migrates from southern Argentina to breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic.

Red knots rely heavily on the lipid-rich eggs deposited by spawning horseshoe crabs in order to gain enough weight to complete their migration and begin their breeding season in the Arctic. Horseshoe crabs deposit eggs over a three- to seven-week window each spring, and red knots have evolved over millennia to time their migration and stopover to take advantage of this energetically rewarding food source during the brief period it is available. [Read more…]

Brewery Boom Could Revive New Jersey Hops Production

Rutgers doctoral candidate in plant biology, Megan Muehlbauer, co-directs the Rutger's hops study and oversees the trial hops plot at Snyder Research Farm in Pittstown. Photo: Cameron Bowman

Rutgers doctoral candidate in plant biology, Megan Muehlbauer, co-directs the Rutger’s hops study and oversees the trial hops plot at Snyder Research Farm in Pittstown. Photo: Cameron Bowman

The two-year Rutgers study, funded by a grant from the USDA Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, focuses on identifying the best practices for growing and analyzing hops, a traditionally risky and expensive crop to grow. The project includes creating and maintaining a quarter-acre trial hops plot at the Snyder Research Farm in Pittstown, NJ, that is managed by two Rutgers doctoral candidates in plant biology, Megan Muehlbauer and Robert Pyne. They are directed in this project by Jim Simon, professor in the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology and director of the Rutgers new‐use agriculture and natural products program. In Colonial days, the mid-Atlantic region was the epicenter of hops production in the United States. Disease and prohibition during the early 1900s sent hops to the country’s northwestern corner. The proliferation of craft breweries and the Rutgers study could help bring this crop back to New Jersey. Read more at Rutgers Today.