West Florida Research & Education Center 2024 sUMMER NEWSLETTER

From the Director

Memorial Day is here, and summer is upon us. Our faculty have been busy with field work, and other aspects of academia such as publishing refereed journal articles, garnering grant funds, and winning awards as shown in sections below. We held our undergraduate spring graduation in May, and our undergraduate numbers continue to increase to pre-pandemic levels. A new forest management assistant professor, Dr. Carissa Wonkka, joined us in January and is off to a good start. Our summer crops have been planted at the Jay Research Facility, and we anticipate a good fall harvest along with solid results from our field experiments. Our Spring Flower Festival was a great success this year, and we look forward to our summer events that will highlight our turf, cropping systems, and entomology programs. We are interviewing candidates for our weed scientist position and hope to select the newest WFREC faculty member before the end of June. We continue to look forward with excitement to the building of the graduate student dormitories at the Jay Research Facility in 2024/25. We held the groundbreaking ceremony in April, and I’ve been told that construction will begin this fall. The dormitories will allow us to further attract graduate students, increasing the productivity of the WFREC. I’m proud of the accomplishments of our productive faculty, staff, and students, and continue to believe the WFREC’s future is bright.

I thank you for taking the time to read about our accomplishments, and I invite you to attend and participate in any of our upcoming events that are mentioned later in this newsletter. Until then, GO GATORS!

News and Events

Congratulations to our 2024 Spring Graduates

Jennifer Charlotte DuBose, Cum Laude Bachelor of Science —Plant Science, Minor in Soil & Water Sciences * Blanca F. Lawson Bachelor of Science—Plant Science, Minor in Entomology & Nematology * William J. Steiner, Cum Laude Bachelor of Science—Plant Science * Ashlee L. Bauldree Bachelor of Science—Forest Resources & Conservation * Brenna Holland Bachelor of Science—Forest Resources & Conservation * Jacob L. Chatwood, Cum Laude Bachelor of Science—Forest Resources & Conservation * Caden W. Shows Bachelor of Science—Forest Resources & Conservation * Thomas C. Williams, Cum Laude Bachelor of Science—Plant Science

The University of Florida, WFREC and Pensacola State College Milton Campus had a great day with the 150 3rd graders from W.H. Rhodes Elementary School. The students learned about the importance of bees from the Santa Rosa Bee Association and learned a lot about bugs and insects from our UF graduate students. Our UF Turfgrass Biologists had a great time explaining to the students the many types of grasses and where they grow here in the Panhandle. The Pensacola State College Welding Department demonstrated to the students how to weld metal together and allowed them to use the welding simulators. As you can see the students loved the Pensacola State College outdoor crafts and relay games.

W.H. Rhodes Elementary School 3rd Graders
The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) West Florida Research and Education Center (WFREC) graduate student dorm groundbreaking was held on Wednesday, April 3, 2024, at 10:30 a.m. Leaders and members of the UF/IFAS community came out to officially mark the future construction of 2 new graduate student dorms at WFREC with a celebratory groundbreaking event. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis allocated $2.1 million of the state’s yearly budget in June 2023 to fund the project. Once completed, it will feature two single-story dwellings, each consisting of eight bedrooms and shared living space. Florida Sen. Doug Broxson, who championed legislation funding the project, attended, as did WFREC Director Wes Wood, Associate Center Director Bryan Unruh and Jeanna Mastrodicasa, UF/IFAS senior associate vice president for agriculture and natural resources. Thank you to all the WFREC Advisory Board members, staff, graduate students, community leaders and community supporters of our center for attending!
Graduate Dorm Ground Breaking at the WFREC Jay Research Facility

Mark Your Calendars

Corn & Soybean Field Day on July 25th

Extension Farm Field Day on August 22nd

Peanut Variety Study at the WFREC
The Santa Rosa County Farm Tour Committee had the pleasure of awarding Mr. Steven Godwin and his wife Rachael with the Santa Rosa County 2024 Farm Family of the Year! Congratulations from the faculty and staff at the UF/IFAS WFREC!
The University of Florida, at Milton and Pensacola State College thanks everyone who came out to the 2024 Spring Festival of Flowers! We had record crowds this year and some amazing vendors! Mark your calendars for next year... April 4, 5 & 6, 2025
2024 Spring Festival of Flowers
By the smiles on these grad students you can say their first ever grad student gathering was a huge success!
Central High School Ag Day

Our Academic Recruiter Dallas Brooks spoke to the Milton Rotary Club today to promote the Bachelor of Science degrees (Natural Resource Conservation and Plant Science) offered right here at the University of Florida, IFAS Milton.

The soybean looper threatens various crops, including peanuts. Therefore, it is crucial to identify peanut lineages that possess natural defense mechanisms against this pest, known as the antibiotic effect. Dr. Silvana Paula Moraes and her team are working on the experiment that involves introducing soybean looper individuals on experimental plants and evaluating the survival, performance of the larvae, and the levels of injury inflicted.

Congratulations Dr. Hardeep Singh for being awarded the 2024 Archer Early Career Scientist Seed Grant!

The UF/IFAS Archer Early Career Seed Grant program helps facilitate the development of new faculty research programs and provides a platform for their future success. The program honors Dr. Douglas Archer, who was UF/IFAS Associate Dean for Research and a staunch champion of faculty development.

Olumide Samuel Daramola won 1st Place in the PhD student oral presentation competition at the WSSA/SWSS Annual Meeting in San Antonio, TX, Jan 20-25, 2024.

Sam was also selected as the Gerald O. Mott Award recipient. This award recognizes outstanding graduate students in Crop Science related fields. His name and photo will be published in CSA News. Congratulations Sam!!

Lee Thrasher, IT Professional was awarded the 2024 IFAS Superior Accomplishment Award for his outstanding employee performance! The award was presented by Dr. Jeanna Mastrodicasa Senior Associate Vice President. Thank you Lee for all you do for the faculty, staff and students here at the WFREC! Congratulations!

Charlotte DuBose, undergraduate student in the Plant Science Program at the WFREC, won second place in the poster competition at the Entomological Society of America Southeastern Branch meeting in Augusta, GA.

Olumide Samuel Daramola (WFREC Weed Science PhD student) received the 2024 outstanding graduate student award from the Florida Weed Science Society (FWSS) at the FWSS annual conference at Haines City on May 7th.

The award recognizes graduate student with outstanding performance in research and potential for making significant contributions to Weed Science.

Way to go Sam!

Congratulations to Satinderpal Singh (MS Student- Cropping Systems) who won 2nd place for his poster presentation at the North Florida REC Spring Showcase in April. Way to go Satinderpal!
Dr. Paula-Moraes was invited to speak at the symposium at the Entomology Society of America – Pacific Branch meeting last month, at Kona, Hawaii. She also participated in work group discussion with scientists from several states about the possible ways to improve insecticide resistance management programs for transgenic cotton and corn in the U.S.

2024 Refereed Publications

Dr. Paula-Moraes “Continental-scale migration patterns and origin of Helicoverpa zea based on biogeochemical marker”, indicates the significance of the southeastern United States as a source region for H. zea migration and underscores the importance of understanding migratory patterns for improving Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and Insect Resistance Management (IRM) strategies.

Lamichhane, B., Dunn, B. L., Singh, H., Kumar, A., & Norwood, B. (2024). Determining Eastern Red Cedar Biochar Soilless Media Supplementation Rates for Potted Ornamental Kale and Chrysanthemum Production. HortScience, 59(6), 777-786. https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI17704-24

Lamichhane, B., Dunn, B. L., Singh, H., Kumar, A., & Norwood, F. B. (2024). Determining Eastern Red Cedar Biochar Soilless-Media Supplementation Rates for Potted Geranium and Petunia Production. Horticulturae, 10(5), 467. https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae10050467

Singh, H., Northup, B. K., Gowda, P. H., Omara, P., Baath, G. S., & Prasad, P. V. (2024). Moth bean and tepary bean as green nitrogen sources in intensive winter wheat cropping systems. Journal of Agriculture and Food Research, 15, 100938. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jafr.2023.100938

Daramola, O. S., MacDonald, G. E., Kanissery, R. G., Tillman, B. L., Singh, H., & Devkota, P. (2024). Influence of carrier water pH and hardness on imazapic efficacy for sicklepod (Senna obtusifolia L.) control in peanut. Weed Technology, 1-7. https://doi.org/10.1017/wet.2023.96

Singh, R., Kaur, S., Bhullar, S. S., Singh, H., & Sharma, L. K. (2024). Bacterial biostimulants for climate smart agriculture practices: Mode of action, effect on plant growth and roadmap for commercial products. Journal of Sustainable Agriculture and Environment, 3(1), e12085. https://doi.org/10.1002/sae2.12085

Daramola, O. S., Iboyi, J. E., MacDonald, G. E., Kanissery, R. G., Tillman, B. L., Singh, H., & Devkota, P. (2023). A systematic review of chemical weed management in peanut (Arachis hypogea) in the United States: challenges and opportunities. Weed Science, 1-74. https://doi.org/10.1017/wsc.2023.71

Singh, K., Singh, H., Omara, P., Nwosu, N. J., Bearden, J., Singh, R., & Sharma, L. K. (2024). Potassium Deficiency in Cotton: Causes, Symptoms, and Considerations: SS-AGR-479/AG475, 1/2024. EDIS, 2024(1).

Sharma, L., Khanna, R., & Singh, H. (2024). Developing a Web-based Agro-Application: SL513/SS726, 4/2024. EDIS, 2024(2).

Nwosu, N., Singh H., Brym Z., Sharma L., Carter E., Revynthi A., Osborne L. (2024) Fire Ants Management in Industrial Hemp (In Press)

Amanambu, A. C., Mossa, J., Chen, Y. H., Deitch, M., & Alruzuq, A. (2024). Damming consequences: Quantifying the effects on channel geometry and floodplain inundation. Catena, 235, 107634. DOI: 10.1016/j.catena.2023.107634

Bridgemohan, R., Deitch, M.J., Harmon, E., Whiles, M.R., Wilson, P.C., Bean, E., Bridgemohan, P., Bisesi, J.H., Nicholas, J., Redhead, A., & Bachoon, D.S. (2024). Spatiotemporal assessment of pathogenic Leptospira in subtropical coastal watersheds. J Water Health, jwh2024038. DOI: 10.2166/wh.2024.038

Fang, S., Deitch, M. J., Gebremicael, T. G., Angelini, C., & Ortals, C. J. (2024). Identifying Critical Source Areas of Non-point Source Pollution to Enhance Water Quality: Integrated SWAT Modeling and Multi-variable Statistical Analysis to Reveal Key Variables and Thresholds. Water Research, 253(1), 121286. DOI: 10.1016/j.watres.2024.121286

Tracy, J. E., Sharma, A., Deitch, M., Colee, J., Thetford, M., & Johnson, D. (2024). Flood dynamics and tree resilience: First-year seedlings of five floodplain forest species responding to diverse inundation scenarios. Forest Ecology and Management, 556, 121724. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2024.121724

2024 Grant Funding

Dr. Hardeep Singh: $20,000.00 National Peanut Board Calcium fertilization for Florida Peanut Production * $300,000.00 USDA-NIFA Evaluating Potential of Living Mulch within Corn Production Systems of Southern United States * $27,500.00 UF- IFAS Research Deans Office

Multispectral Drone Technology * $49,593.00 UF- IFAS Research Deans Office

Transforming Agricultural Carbon Management through Waste-Derived Biochar * $571,423.00 FDACS

Development of Florida agricultural stakeholder engagement program (step) in cotton production system to enhance best management practices.