Pathogenic organisms such as Escherichia coli and Cryptosporidium parvum continue to cause a threat to our food and water safety. Similarly, organisms such as Dengue virus and rotavirus are important clinical analytes related to human health, especially in the countries of the developing world. Organisms such as Bacillus anthracis and Yersinia pestis are serious threat agents for our safety and security, since they can be used as bioweapon material.
A web-based, apple Integrated Pest Management (IPM) decision support system was developed to facilitate pest management decisions. The system tracks seasonal development of insect pests using degree day (DD) developmental models. DD models and historical records are used to calculate tree phenological stage, pest stage, status and management advice. When a spray is recommended, a pesticide filter helps identify appropriate materials according to efficacy and type of management program. Predictions can be refined and adjusted by user-entered information obtained through field monitoring.
The neural networks that organize the motor pattern for locomotion are located in the spinal cord. These networks normally receive descending inputs from the brain that activate them and direct them to modify their output for variable behavior. These inputs are lost after spinal cord injury (SCI). As a consequence, the neurons begin to change their properties, in ways that might be deleterious to eventual recovery from SCI.
We are studying the patterns of attack by a community of insect herbivores on plants; the work involves field biology, chemical ecology, genetics, and entomology. Our basic research involves milkweed plants, nearly 120 species from North America (and 20 from South America), which grow in various habitats and are attacked by a specialized community of insects. Some of the work is evolutionary in terms of quantifying phylogenetic patterns associated with the evolution of specialization (in insects parasites) and other work is more ecological, based on community interactions.
Spinal cord injury (SCI) results in two spinal problems. First, the neural networks that control movement in the spinal cord lose their drive from the brain. Second, the neurons in the spinal cord below the lesion start to alter their properties due to the loss of input. We are studying this second problem by analyzing the properties of identified spinal interneurons after spinal cord injury, and whether replacement therapy with serotonergic agonists can prevent these changes.
New York has great potential to expand the cultivation of sustainable, perennial crops for the production of woody biomass—for heat and bioenergy and as a feedstock for biofuels—on under-used agricultural land.
Cornell Cooperative Extension educators increasingly find it challenging to make meaningful connections in a “too busy” world. In addition, they rarely have opportunities to engage with Cornell undergraduate. This is unfortunate for the educators, who benefit from the innovative engagement with the students, and for the students, who benefit from the real world connections and mentoring opportunities offered by interacting with educators.
Production of fruits and vegetables requires animal, primarily bee, pollination. While honey bees are widely used for crop pollination, honey bee populations are in decline due to a combination of factors, including heavy pathogen load and pesticide use. Native bees—wild bees that occur naturally in the environment surrounding agricultural areas—are contributing significantly to crop pollination, but it is difficult to estimate their exact contribution, and limited resources exist for farmers who want to preserve their native bee fauna.
Alfalfa is a major economic crop in New York. It is often grown in rotation with corn where, on dairies, manure is applied to corn fields to meet nitrogen needs and build potassium, phosphorus, and sulfur levels. Questions arise related to the potassium and sulfur needs of alfalfa, given high fertilizer prices and reduced sulfur deposition.
A major infestation of arborvitae leafminer was diagnosed after examination of severe and debilitating defoliation in several stands totaling 50k cv. Nigra arborvitae trees. Pest sampling and monitoring protocols were developed based on live trapping and degree-day accumulations and were used to time several applications of contact and systemic insecticides. The infestation was halted resulting in a wholesale saving of $35/tree or $1.75 million for the grower.