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Flowers on an ʻōhiʻa tree.

"Study Sheds Light On Major Disease In Roses"
Featured Scientist: Gary Bauchan  
Title: Research Geneticist  
Research Unit: USDA-ARS Soybean Genomics & Improvement Labatory
Outlet: Morning Ag Clips  

Brief: A study by researchers at the ARS Electron and Confocal Microscopy Unit and their colleagues produced stunning, high-resolution images that, for the first time, identified the mite’s “hiding spots” deep within rose flowers and leaf buds. Gary Bauchan, who is director of the unit, is the study’s corresponding author. Co-authors include ARS researchers from the National Arboretum’s Floral and Nursery Plants Research Unit also located in Beltsville.


Flowers on an ʻōhiʻa tree.

“Not All Carrot Germplasm is the Same — In Terms of Salinity Tolerance”
“To Secure the Future of Food, Look to the Ancestors of Eggplant”
Featured Scientist: Philipp Simon
Title: Plant Geneticist   
Research Unit: USDA-ARS Vegetable Crops Research Unit
Outlet: Seed World / NOVA
Brief: ARS researchers in conjunction with University of Wisconsin studied the response of diverse carrot germplasm to salinity stress and defined screening criteria for assessing salt tolerance.

Flowers on an ʻōhiʻa tree.

"Insights On Pbs Hawaii Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death"
Featured Scientist: Lisa Keith
Title: Plant Pathologist  
Research Unit: USDA-ARS Tropical Plant Genetic Resources and Disease Research Unit
Outlet: Insights on PBS Hawaii
Brief: Dr. Lisa Keith and her University of Hawaii collaborator, James Friday, were interviewed by PBS Hawaii about Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death, a new species of fungi killing trees on two islands.

Tubers infected with zebra chip disease

“Learning To Live With Less Water”
Featured Scientist: Emile Elias  
Title: Hydrologist, Acting Director of SW Climate Hub
Research Unit: USDA-ARS Jornada Experimental Range
Outlet: Futurum
Brief: Futurum, a magazine and online platform in the UK aimed at inspiring young people to follow a career in the sciences, asked Dr. Elias to be the subject of an article and activity sheet sent to approximately 50,000 schools worldwide in March. Dr. Elias used this opportunity to talk about the USDA Southwest Climate Hub and the Climate Hub network.

Tubers infected with zebra chip disease

“Identification of a New Haplotype of ‘Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum’ in Solanum tuberosum
Featured Scientist: Kylie Dale Swisher Grimm
Title: Research Associate
Research Unit: USDA-ARS Yakima Agricultural Research Laboratory
Outlet: Plant Disease (The American Phytopathological Society)
Brief: Dr. Swisher Grimm published a paper that was chosen as the ‘Editor’s Choice’ for the March edition of the American Phytopathological Society. This acknowledges Dr. Swisher Grimm’s excellent service to growers and into the potato industry as well as providing additional information to those researchers working with the zebra chip pathogen.


“Something Is Rapidly Killing Young Apples Trees In North American Orchards. Scientists Are Stumped”
Featured Scientist: Ruhui Li
Title: Plant Pathologist
Research Unit: USDA-ARS National Germplasm Resources Laboratory
Outlet: Science Magazine
Brief: A research team that included ARS plant pathologist Ruhui Li of the National Germplasm Resources Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, discovered a previously undescribed apple luteovirus infecting dead trees.


"National Small Grains Collection Makes Cover of Crop Science"
Featured Facility: National Small Grains Collection
Research Unit: Small Grains and Potato Germplasm Research Unit
Outlet: Crop Science  
Brief: Barley accessions from the USDA ARS National Small Grains Collection made the cover of the latest issue of Crop Science.

Tim Gottwald

Featured Scientist: Timothy Gottwald
Title: Plant Pathologist
Research Unit: USDA-ARS U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory
Brief: ARS scientist Tim Gottwald at the U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory in Fort Pierce, FL, received two awards at two international meetings. Dr. Gottwald was made a Fellow of the International Organization of Citrus Virologists and he received the IRCHLB (International Research Conference on Huanglongbing) award. These two meetings were attended by over 500 participants from over 20 countries.

Photo courtesy of Michael Alvarez, Alvarez Photography


“Improving Fruit Quality in Strawberries”
Featured Scientist: Kimberly Lewers
Title: Plant Geneticist
Research Unit: USDA-ARS Genetic Improvement for Fruits & Vegetables Laboratory
Outlet: Vegetable and Specialty Crop News
Brief: At the North American Strawberry Growers Symposium Conference in Orlando, Florida, Dr. Kim Lewers discussed strawberry breeding research and her methods for improving fruit quality.

 Mary Nichols

"Healthy Rangelands: Control Gullies, Control Brush, Save Grasslands!"
Featured Scientist: Dr. Mary Nichols
Title: Research Hydraulic Engineer
Research Unit: USDA-ARS Southwest Watershed Research Center
Outlet: Edge of Science (University of Arizona)
Brief: Old water control structures create drastic impacts on grasslands. Mary Nichols researches these structures and their roles in the formation of gullies in rangelands which convert them into predominately hosting brush.

Lisa Ainsworth

“Elizabeth Ainsworth to receive the 2019 NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences”
Featured Scientist: Dr. Elizabeth Ainsworth
Title: Research Molecular Biologist
Research Unit: USDA-ARS Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit
Outlet: National Academy of Sciences
Brief: Elizabeth Ainsworth will receive the 2019 NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences. Ainsworth led the evolution of the SoyFACE Global Change Research Facility, where she serves as lead investigator. Ainsworth was among the first to use functional genomic and metabolomics approaches to understanding mechanisms of response to global change and has recently used quantitative genetic approaches to dissect plant responses to these changes.

"Congress Approves a $43 Million USDA Facility on Auburn University’s Campus"
Featured Facility: USDA-ARS National Soil Dynamics Laboratory
Research Unit: Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit
Outlet: NBC News WLTZ
Brief: Auburn University received $43 million in federal funding backed by Sen. Richard Shelby for a new agricultural science facility to improve food production in Alabama. The funding, approved by Congress, will help build a new USDA Agricultural Research Soil Dynamics lab on the University’s campus. Paul Patterson, Dean of Auburn’s College of Agriculture, explains how this new lab will transform agriculture in Alabama.


“Schumer announces $68.9 million for USDA grape lab at Cornell AgriTech”
Featured Facility: Grape Genetics Research Laboratory
Research Unit: Grape Genetics Research Unit
Outlet: Cornell Cals / Ithaca Voice
Brief: U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced Feb. 26 $68.9 million to build a new federal grape genetics research lab at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, New York. The funds will come from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Building and Facilities budget.