Perspectives On Line: The Magazine of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

NC State University

Fall 2003Home Features When the Blues Don't Get You Down Pest Detectives
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From the Dean
College of Agriculture & Life Sciences





From The Dean

At June ceremonies hosted by Dr. Johnny Wynne (left), Rebecca and Russell Murray established the John Russell Murray and Rebecca Parker Murray 4-H Achievement Awards Endowment (story in the 'Giving' section). (Photo by Sheri D. Thomas)

Special opportunities

ornate letter In this issue of Perspectives, we introduce you to students participating in “Spinal Cord Regeneration,” a seminar in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Honors Program. This is one of many CALS Honors Program seminars that provide students special opportunities to work together on interesting topics, according to Dr. Robert Grossfeld, the seminar leader, who found that “the creativity and bravado of youth can lead a topic in unexpected directions.” One unexpected opportunity that Grossfeld’s students had was a tele-conference on spinal injury research issues with actor Christopher Reeve.

Along with that news from our Academic Programs, among our features we also report special opportunities — in unexpected directions — in research and extension.

At the Center for Marine Sciences and Technology in Morehead City, Dr. Jeffrey Buckel, an assistant professor of zoology, leads his research team aboard the Research Vessel Cape Fear to study the effects of several variables on ocean and estuary fish replenishment. In the process, this team of scientists and students has discovered a late-summer-hatching group of bluefish that will present new opportunities for the scientists to study winter survival factors affecting juvenile blues.

At the College’s Plant Disease and Insect Clinic, the unexpected is business as usual. Every year the lab receives between 3,000 and 6,000 plant and insect samples for diagnosis and identification — a great many forwarded from county Extension personnel to research specialists who handle plant diseases and insect identification. It’s an important service because disease and insect problems can rapidly escalate. Last year, Extension’s efforts to speed the diagnostic process got a boost when Golden LEAF ( the Long-Term Economic Advancement Foundation) awarded a $200,000 grant to help equip 14 county Extension centers with computer and imaging equipment that will help them create virtual plant samples to send electronically. The clinic is also part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Plant Diagnostic Network, formed to enhance national agricultural security by quickly detecting introduced pests and pathogens.

In our news section, we announce that a television series, sponsored jointly by the College’s Academic Programs and N.C. Cooperative Extension Service, has recently begun a 26-week run on UNC-TV. The broadcast of “In the Garden with Bryce Lane,” which delves into the science behind plants and plant growth, marks the first time in 40 years that UNC-TV has aired a college-credit course for the university system. Dr. Bryce Lane, a horticultural science professor, hosts the series produced at the College’s Department of Communication Services.

In Ireland and Scotland, a group of students from the College tours farms and agricultural businesses. A food science researcher crisscrosses both the United States and the world as she conducts studies using a new flavor lexicon that will provide valuable information to cheese manufacturers. And in western North Carolina, Extension faculty from our Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department are teaching landowners the best practices in stormwater management to improve water quality.

These are just a few of the special programs, discoveries and events you’ll find in this issue of Perspectives.


Johnny Wynne
Interim Dean, College of
Agriculture and Life Sciences
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