Accurate and timely pest identification activities are crucial and a prerequisite to facilitate rapid response to the inadvertent introduction of invasive plant pests into the United States. As a trained identification specialist, my research centers on screening commonly encountered species, as well as the uncommon species, collected during organized surveillance activities at or near ports of entry along the northeastern seaboard and the Pacific Northwest.
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.
In this newly funded National Science Foundation research project, the goal is to enhance understanding of the nature of science and evolutionary concepts, as well as to motivate all children to learn more about science.
The Fossil Finders project uses research-based practice to support teachers in engaging children in classrooms across the country in an authentic investigation of Devonian fossils in order to enhance learning about evolutionary and earth science concepts, inquiry, and the nature of science.
Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) educators are Cornell University’s front line in helping New York field crop producer clientele with crop production and pest management issues. Keeping CCE personnel informed on the latest information and developments helps us meet Cornell’s high standards for extension outreach and provides clientele with quality, pertinent, timely and user-friendly programs and resources that maximize our educational impacts.
The Science Links program of our Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study provides scientific information in accessible forms for public audiences, especially policy makers. In this forest carbon project, we are translating knowledge and information regarding the dynamics of carbon sequestration for evaluating the use of forest ecosystems as carbon offsets in cap-and-trade schemes like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (REGGI). Further, development of forest carbon offsets could aid in meeting net emission targets and improving management of forested lands.
Grape fruits are being analyzed to better understand disease resistance.
The project focuses on educating agencies, public officials, and other stakeholder groups about issues surrounding invasive, non-native forest pests. The potential social, economic, and ecological impacts of these forest pests is staggering. Decisions need to be made to manage pest populations in order to minimize impacts. Effective outreach and extension activities that communicate accurate and up-to-date scientific knowledge are necessary to facilitate this decision making process.
It is well accepted that conservation efforts worldwide must involve a cross-section of stakeholders, including those most affected by changes in land use, to promote the long-term protection of biodiversity, critical habitats, and fragile landscapes. Conservation organizations and land trusts, both big and small, are searching for better ways to build functional alliances for the protection of nature.
In keeping with its core principles and long-standing commitment to education and outreach, Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) is responding to a variety of stakeholders who seek a scientific, economic, and environmental understanding of the issues associated with Marcellus Shale natural gas exploration and drilling. In 2010 we focused more heavily on Marcellus Shale community task forces and local government officials and provided enhanced, targeted outreach to communities. More faculty and students have become involved in this issue.
A citizen science network for observing changes in the timing of native plant growth in response to climate change is continued to be established and expanded. With the observations made by members of this network, we will be able to understand the rate of effects of global warming on sensitivity of plant flowering and growth in central New York.