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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more
Pictured left to right, graduate students Kelly Dew-budd, Andrew Kunihiro, and Christopher Shepard. (Photo courtesy: Monique Garcia)

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.

Read more
Dr. Peder Cuneo, Arizona's extension veterinarian, working with students at the Campus Agricultural Center. (Photo courtesy of College of Agriculture and Life Sciences)

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.

Read more
Rapeseed oil plants in Yuma, Arizona. (Photo by Eric Lyons)

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.

Read more
The 160-acre Campus Agricultural Center, located four miles north of the University of Arizona's main campus, is just one of the university's existing teaching and research facilities that will be used for the Kemper and Ethel Marley Veterinary Medical and Surgical Program. (Photo by Judy A Davis)

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.

Read more
Broccoli crowns harvested from a sweet potato whitefly trial. The chlorotic "blanched" crown on the right was harvested from a plant heavily infested with whiteflies. The green "normal" crown on left was whitefly-free. (Photo by John Palumbo)

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.

Read more
A Galápagos hawk nesting on Isla Fernandina, Galapagos. (Photo by Noah Whiteman)

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.

Read more

What does it mean to be a "grown-up?"

Once upon a time, a spouse, children and a home were among the most typical hallmarks of adulthood. But that definition may be changing, says one researcher involved in an ongoing University of Arizona study of young adults.

The UA launched the Arizona Pathways to Life Success for University Students study – also known as APLUS – in 2007, with the goal of better understanding the financial knowledge and behaviors of young adults.

Read more

Those who experience persistent sleep problems after a divorce stand to suffer from more than just dark circles. They might also be at risk for potentially harmful increases in blood pressure, a new study finds.

A growing body of research links divorce to significant negative health effects and even early death, yet few studies have looked at why that connection may exist.

Divorce-related sleep troubles may be partly to blame, suggest the authors of a new study to be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Health Psychology.

Read more
Li Deng, co-first author on the Nature paper, stands on the deck of the research vessel. (Photo: Sullivan lab)

A fishing expedition of microscopic proportions led by University of Arizona ecologists revealed that the lines between virus types in nature are less blurred than previously thought.

Using lab-cultured bacteria as "bait," a team of scientists led by Matthew Sullivan has sequenced complete and partial genomes of about 10 million viruses from an ocean water sample in a single experiment.

The study, published online Monday by the journal Nature, revealed that the genomes of viruses in natural ecosystems fall into more distinct categories than previously thought. This enables scientists to recognize actual populations of viruses in nature for the first time.

Read more
From left to right, graduate student mentor Roy Ulibari, Sierrane Gatela, and Alexandra Wilcox capture and study desert fishes. (Courtesy: SNRE)

In mid-September of 2013, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) announced $4.5 million in grants to launch the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program at universities around the country, including a $1.5 million grant to the University of Florida for a partnership with institutions across the U.S., including the University of Arizona.

At the University of Arizona, the program is located in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment, and led by William Mannan, Professor and Chair, Wildlife and Fisheries Resources Program, as well as Scott Bonar, Unit Leader of the Arizona Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and Associate Professor in the Wildlife and Fisheries Resources Program.

Read more
Zambia Lion (Photo Credit: Dave Christianson)

Thandi Mweetwa, graduate student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences School of Natural Resources and the Environment, has received the Russell Train Fellowship award from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for her conservation work in Africa.

Mweetwa began research on lion populations in Zambia when she started graduate school at the University of Arizona in January 2014. Her research, titled “African lion demography across two critical populations in Zambia,” is performed under the advisement of Dave Christianson, assistant professor for Wildlife Conservation and Management.

Read more

Since October, we've had very low precipitation – averaging less than half of average across large portions of the state – accompanied by low snowpack and temperatures that have been well above average.

The combination of these factors, along with bursts of dry winds that are typical for the spring, gives us conditions of above-normal fire potential, which is what the Southwest Coordination Center, the main fire prediction center for our region, predicted beginning in late January.

Read more
The 160-acre Campus Agricultural Center, one of the university's existing teaching and research facilities that will be used for the UA Veterinary Medical & Surgical Program  (Courtesy of University of Arizona/Judy A. Davis)

A setback this spring for the proposed Veterinary Medical & Surgical Program at the University of Arizona has forced program leaders to rethink their strategy.

Nearly two years have passed since word first came of a veterinary program at the state’s only land-grant university. The university’s board of regents voted Sept. 27, 2012, to ask the state legislature to authorize $3 million for planning and staging of a veterinary program in Tucson. University officials subsequently asked the state legislature for a more modest $250,000 state appropriation for the initial study in spring 2013. The proposal went to Gov. Janice K. Brewer for her signature, but she did not include it in her 2013-2014 budget request. 

Read more
Chemical odor plume measurements were made by proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry and anemometry in the University of Arizona Santa Rita Experimental Range. (Photo courtesy of Leif Abrell)

Car and truck exhaust fumes that foul the air for humans also cause problems for pollinators.

In new research on how pollinators find flowers when background odors are strong, University of Washington and University of Arizona researchers have found that both natural plant odors and human sources of pollution can conceal the scent of sought-after flowers.

When the calories from one feeding off a flower fuels only 15 minutes of flight, as is the case with the tobacco hornworm moth studied, being misled costs a pollinator energy and time.

Read more