News & Announcements

We are pleased to announce the following PB MS thesis defense

Kathryn Vescio
Friday, July 12, 2019
1:30 PM
Location: LSL N610
Thesis Title: Characterizing the interaction between non-pathogenic Fusarium oxysporum and Arabidopsis thaliana to determine beneficial effects conferred to the model host plant
Thesis Advisor: Li-Jun Ma

Alexandra Zink Awarded the Ray Ethan Torrey Scholarship

Alexandra Zink

As climate conditions change, many plant species may have to adjust in ways such as shifting their spatial distribution or the timing of phenological events like bud break or flowering. My project uses grape (Vitis) species as a model system to study these effects. The traditional European grapes such as Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon are cultivars of a single species, Vitis vinifera. We are located on the Northeast coast of the United States, which in contrast is one of the major centers of diversity for grapes, making this region an important source of Vitis germplasm for viticulture. In the face of climate and anthropogenic change, however, the climatically suitable habitat of crop wild relatives is expected to greatly decrease or even disappear. For this reason, it is important to understand how the diverse Vitis species of this area are distributed and respond to the ongoing changes in climate.

Herbarium data serves as a reliable archival record for studying shifts in flowering phenology in response to climatic changes and herbaria specimen have been used successfully to connect changes in spatial distribution and phenology timing with changes in climate. Using herbaria resources combined with GIS techniques, I will map the distribution of Vitis species across this region and analyze how their flowering phenology has changed since the 1800s.

For more information about the Ray Ethan Torrey Award, please visit the UMass AcademicWorks Website.

Jedaidah Chilufya selected as 2019 Cunin/Sigal Award recipient by the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University


Jedaidah Chilufya

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University has a rich collection of legume trees from all over the world. However, underneath these trees are a treasure of beneficial soil bacteria called rhizobia that are overlooked. These rhizobia interact with tree legumes to provide nitrogen biofertilizer for their successful long-term growth. Unlike legume crops such as peanut and soybean which, are short-lived, the long-living tree legumes likely have rhizobia with special traits to ensure successful long-term interaction and improved crop growth.

Jedaidah Chilufya is interested in boosting the agronomic potential of legume crops in this northeast region by identifying rhizobia that will help improve crop production. She has been selected as a 2019 Cunin/Sigal Award recipient to recover rhizobia from legume trees and identify new legume crop-rhizobia for improved plant growth and production. This study has the potential to identify efficient rhizobia strains for farmers to use in this region on agriculturally important legumes.

Anne Averill Contributes to Gazette Story "Citizen ‘beecologists’ digging into pollinator decline mystery"

Professor Anne Averill

Professor Anne L. Averill, Environmental Conservation, comments in a story about efforts to find out why the number of pollinators is in decline in North America. Read more

We are pleased to announce the following PB PhD thesis defense

Sandra Romero-Gamboa
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
11:00 AM
Location: LSL S340
Thesis Title: Brachypodium distachyon GNRF, SWAM1, and SWAM4 are transcriptional regulators of secondary cell wall biosynthesis.
Thesis Advisor: Sam Hazen