Recent CALS Spotlights

  • The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Entomology will be hosting the Arizona Insect Festival again for its 4th year on campus! The festival will take place on Sunday, September 21 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the University of Arizona. There will be more than 20 booths in the Student Union Grand Ballroom, with theme-based, interactive activities and exhibits about the importance of insects in our lives, and exciting University of Arizona research.

    The festival will highlight research conducted by UA scientists from a wide range of academic departments including Entomology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Neurobiology. This event has attracted thousands of Tucson residents, students, and children in the past, so the attendees are expected to increase this year. Don't miss out on this fun and free event!  

  • Solving global challenges in food security, emerging diseases and biodiversity loss requires evolutionary thinking, argues a new study published online in Science Express that was co-authored by Bruce Tabashnik of the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

    For the first time, an international team of nine scientists has reviewed progress in addressing a broad set of challenges in agriculture, medicine and environmental management using approaches that consider evolutionary histories and the likelihood of rapid adaptation to human activities.

  • As University of Arizona students partake in recreational sports at Bear Down Field, it's unlikely they realize what lies just beneath their feet. Under the north edge of the field lies a million-gallon tank designed to mitigate storm flows and harvest stormwater.

    When monsoon clouds roll into town and unleash a downpour on the city, water is filtered into the tank, where it collects and, through a series of pipes, is directed outside of Likins residence hall, draining into the landscaping.

    This tank is one of numerous water harvesting features integrated throughout the UA campus.

  • The next time you tuck into a salad, thank a honeybee.

    "Honeybees are responsible for pollinating agricultural crops that make up one-third of our diet, including fruits and vegetables. They're the cornerstones of heart-healthy and cancer prevention diets," says Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman, an adjunct professor in the Department of Entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Arizona and a research leader at the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  • Of the 19 students selected for the prestigious University Fellows award, three are from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Andrew Kunihiro from the Department of Nutritional Sciences, Kelly Dew-Budd from the School of Plant Sciences, and Christopher Shepard from the Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have received University Fellowships for the 2014 school year. Each student was nominated for the University Fellow Program for their strong academic achievements, research skills and potential as a future University Fellow.

  • The University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has been actively developing a program to train veterinarians in Arizona and help improve animal and public health. Thanks to a foundational gift of $9 million from the Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation, the UA will soon be the home of the state's first public veterinary medical and surgical program to train doctors of veterinary medicine.

    The new program, slated to begin in fall 2015, will help address the critical veterinarian shortage in rural Arizona communities and tribal nations, benefit bioscience businesses and promote public health.

  • Genomics researchers of the University of Arizona's iPlant collaborative, housed in the BIO5 Institute, have helped unravel the genetic code of the rapeseed plant, most noted for a variety whose seeds are made into canola oil.

    The findings will help breeders select for desirable traits such as richer oil content and faster seed production. Other potential applications include modifying the quality of canola oil, making it more nutritious and adapting the plants to grow in more arid regions.

  • A foundational gift of $9 million from the Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation will support the state’s first public veterinary medical and surgical program to train Doctors of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Arizona. The program is targeting a 2015 fall semester launch.

    The UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has been actively developing the program to address Arizona’s critical veterinary needs, including training more veterinarians, and improving animal and public health. A consultative site visit by the American Veterinary Medical Association occurred in January. A comprehensive AVMA site visit for program accreditation will happen soon.

  • Agriculture is big business in Arizona, and industry leaders in Yuma County are teaming up with the University of Arizona to arm growers with science and information they need to swiftly tackle threats to their profitability.

    The recently launched Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture - YCEDA – will provide the latest research and information in pest management, food safety, plant diseases, water conservation and more.

    Yuma, the winter vegetable capital of the world, is home to more than 175 different crops, with an annual gross economic return of $3.2 billion. About 90 percent of leafy greens consumed in the United States and Canada in the winter come through Yuma.

  • Say what you will about the parasitic lifestyle, but in the game of evolution, it's a winner.

    Given that about half of all known species are parasites, biologists have long hypothesized that the strategy of leeching off other organisms is a major driver of biodiversity. Studying populations of Galápagos hawks (Buteo galapagoensis) and feather lice that live in their plumage (Degeeriella regalis), a group led by University of Arizona ecologists and evolutionary biologists has gathered some of the first field evidence suggesting that a phenomenon called co-divergence between parasites and hosts is indeed an important mechanism driving the evolution of biodiversity.