Science at work
ne of the most gratifying elements of working in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is to watch our research and education programs at work throughout the state.
This issue of Perspectives gives you a glimpse of the diversity, variability and indeed the versatility of applications of research conducted in, extended from and taught in the College. We take you from the mountains to the coast to show how our research gives our clientele strategic advantages in coping with change, increasing profitability, conserving natural resources and improving health and well-being.
In Transylvania County, a Botany Department group is helping the stateís Natural Heritage Program identify the locations of rare plant populations to help prevent the disturbance of those plant species when the land there becomes a state park. In Brunswick County, College Cooperative Extension agent David Nash is working to check dune migration and erosion through replanting the dunes with sea oats. While protecting this great recreational resource, he also hopes to introduce sea oat cultivation as an alternative crop for farmers.
Other rural parts of the state could be the beneficiaries of a new industry, as a team of College researchers from the departments of Animal Science and Agricultural and Resource Economics studies ways to turn pig manure into ethanol, which could be used as fuel for automobiles. The system may also help provide substantial control of odor and ammonia emissions from the manure.
Research that affects anyone with a lawn, anyone who drinks water vulnerable to contaminants in surface or groundwater, anyone who makes use of athletics fields or golf courses ó thatís the knowledge put to work by the Collegeís turfgrass program. Itís an academic program that boasts a 100 percent job placement rate for its graduates from both two-year and four-year degree programs. Read here about the opportunities available to students as well as how Extension turfgrass specialists, crop scientists and water-quality specialists work to help an industry worth more than $2 billion a year to the North Carolina economy.
In the past 15 years, three pest varieties have practically decimated colonies of feral bees and have significantly altered the methods practiced by beekeepers across the state to maintain colonies of honey bees so important to the pollination of $100 million worth of the stateís commodities. At the forefront of tackling such developments has been the apiculture program of Dr. John Ambrose, of the Entomology Department. Dr. Ambrose, who is leaving the department after 27 years to become director of the universityís First Year College, is the subject of a new feature we are introducing in Perspectives, College Profile. Here we will introduce to you the people of the College ó the teachers; the researchers; the Cooperative Extension specialists, agents and personnel; the alumni; often other stakeholders and contributors ó and highlight their work with the College. Dr. Ambrose, bringing his perspective as teacher, researcher and extension professional, is a fitting first College Profile.
In his and all the activities detailed here, you see the College discovering, developing and applying the basic knowledge and technical innovation necessary to meet the changing needs of society as it focuses scientific research on real-world problems. Itís truly science at work.
Dean, College of Agriculture
and Life Sciences