Recent CALS Spotlights

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • University of Arizona researchers are playing a leading role in an unprecedented effort to save America's most iconic butterfly, the monarch.

    Due to loss of habitat for milkweed – the sole food plant of the caterpillars – populations of this important pollinator have plummeted in recent years, leaving the monarch in dire straits.

    Laura Lopez-Hoffman, an assistant professor in the UA's School of Natural Resources and the Environment, and Gary Nabhan, who holds the W.K. Kellogg Endowed Chair in Sustainable Food Systems at the UA's Southwest Center, are helping bring together researchers, agencies, non-governmental organizations and grassroots movements to design and implement a recovery plan for the butterflies.

  • Antibiotic resistance in humans is a growing health concern, and scientists are now looking at how water and soil in the environment might contribute to people becoming immune to life-saving antibiotics.

    Experts will discuss this issue at an upcoming University of Arizona workshop, which will tackle the hot-button topic of antibiotic resistance in agriculture.

    "Antibiotic Resistance in Agroecosystems: State of the Science" will be held Aug. 5-8 at Biosphere 2, and aims to bring together microbiologists and chemists to identify the most effective methods to track antibiotic resistance in the environment.

  • E-commerce has exploded in the past ten years, as more people go to the Internet to buy and sell goods and services. Technology has driven much of that shift.

    In coming years, changes will continue to occur, not online however, but in brick and mortar stores, according to Anita Bhappu, an associate professor of retailing and consumer sciences at the University of Arizona.

    "The key thing has been about seamless integration across channels," Bhappu said. For those big retailers who have both physical stores and online marketplaces, " they can meet their consumer in whichever place the consumer is at, and can follow them through their path to purchase."

  • Psychologists often focus on role of mothers in children’s development. Writer Paul Raeburn asks: when it comes to raising children, what does dad have to do with it?

    Dads are not just a second-income in a family, he says, but their role in children’s psychological development has been overlooked. Raeburn’s book “Do Fathers Matter? What Science Is Telling Us About the Overlooked Parent”, delves into the effects an active, present father has on his children. He found recent research that suggests that fathers’ love and involvement is a crucial factor in children’s well-being, particularly in his sons’ and daughters’ teenage years.

  • Vivianna Pardini was 15 years old when she got pregnant. Three months into her pregnancy, she heard about Marana High School's Teenage Parent Program, or TAPP.

    TAPP is a day care center tucked away in a corner of Marana High. It provides care to babies and toddlers when their teen parents, mainly moms, are in U.S. history and geometry classes. But it’s far more than a day care facility. TAPP is where young people like Pardini learn how to be parents.

    Pardini is now 18, and just finished her junior year at Marana. Over the past few years she’s been able to go to classes, while her daughter Yasleen has spent her days at TAPP. The daycare facility is located in Marana’s campus – and the goal is to help teenage moms get their high school diploma.