2012 Annual Report
Fort Pierce: The U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory conducts research to develop new control methods for insect pests of citrus, vegetables and ornamentals; conduct basic physiological, biochemical and pathological research on postharvest problems of horticultural crops; develop new citrus varieties that have enhanced tolerance to environmental stress, resistance to diseases and pests, improved fruit quality and yield; combat bacterial, fungal, nematode and viral diseases of subtropical crops; develop alternatives for methyl bromide fumigation; understand the impact of horticultural crop production on water quality and water conservation; improve flavor and overall quality of products from citrus and subtropical fruits and to develop new byproducts from citrus processing waste; maintain flavor, nutrition and microbial stability of products from citrus and subtropical fruits while extending their shelf life.
Canal Point: The mission of the USDA, ARS Sugar cane Field Station is to develop high-yielding, disease and stress-tolerant sugarcane cultivars, and also new pathology, soil, crop and water management technologies that result in improved sugar cane production efficiency and soil conservation.
Fort Lauderdale: The mission of the USDA, ARS Invasive Plant Research Lab (IPRL) is to address the complex and multi-faceted problems of exotic plant invasions in natural and agricultural ecosystems. Invasions by exotic plants pose one of the most serious threats to the health and integrity of natural and agricultural ecosystems. In order to restore the function and biological diversity of these systems, managing pest plant populations is of critical necessity. The IPRL conducts research into the impacts of exotic plants as well as the safety and effectiveness of biological control and other methods used to manage invasive plants.
Miami: The mission of the Subtropical Horticulture Research Station is to support the agricultural industries in the southern areas of the United States by providing environmentally sound research on: (1) the breeding and genetics of tropical and subtropical fruit and ornamental crops; (2) the interdiction and control/eradication of exotic insect plant pests; (3) the investigation of best management practices for various ornamental crops with an emphasis on substrate/nutrient interactions.
Gainsville: The Center for Medical, Agricultural & Veterinary Entomology (CMAVE) conducts research aimed at reducing or eliminating the harm caused by insects to crops, stored products, livestock and humans. Research is directed not only at the insects themselves but at the pathogens they may transmit and at identifying inherent protective mechanisms in plants. Each unit of CMAVE has specific goals, but there are several commonalities with emphasis on both control and prevention. CMAVE work emphasizes biological and integrated pest management techniques, and and understanding how things work at the molecular level.
More than 100 non-funded cooperative research projects between University of Florida/Institute of Florida Agriculture Sciences (UF/IFAS) and the five ARS locations in Florida were active during the past year. These collaborative projects were very diverse including fire ant and mosquito projects in Gainesville, sugarcane projects in Canal Point, horticultural projects in Ft. Pierce, invasive exotic plant projects in Ft. Lauderdale and subtropical fruit and vegetable projects in Miami. No funds were exchanged between the two entities, but both committed significant amounts of resources including personnel, equipment and supplies in support of these collaborative projects. Numerous referred and non-referred publications were published with co-authors from USDA/ARS and UF/IFAS. Also, new technology resulting from the cooperative projects was disseminated to users via the Florida Cooperative Extension Service and through the Office of Technology transfer in ARS. This technology distribution was extended to agricultural producers, local, state and federal agencies, allied industries, harvesters, packers, shippers and processors plus homeowners.