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Horticultural Science Seminars-Spring 2011

DATE: Monday, April 18, 2011
SPEAKER: Ms. Shen Ma
TITLE: Screening Watermelon Resistance to New Races of Downy Mildew
Watermelon is a major vegetable crop in the United States valued at $500 million in 2008. A new race of downy mildew caused by Pseudoperonospora cubensis in watermelon has been observed in several states recently. Thus, a breeding program is needed to develop new germplasm with resistance to downy mildew. Industry and consumers would benefit through reduction in the use of pesticides, as well as in minimizing the impact of disease organisms. The long-term goal of watermelon breeding is to improve yield and fruit quality and enhance the knowledge of the genetics of cultivated watermelon, to the benefit of those interested in watermelon improvement. This project will focus on identifying sources of resistance to downy mildew in the USDA germplasm collection, and the inheritance of resistance in the best accessions identified. The objectives of this study would be: 1) identify new sources of resistance of downy mildew among the plant introduction accessions from the U.S. National Germplasm System, as well as in elite cultivars, and breeding lines of watermelon; 2) investigate the inheritance of resistance in the most resistant watermelon accessions identified.

DATE: Monday, April 4, 2011
SPEAKER: Ms. Connie Fisk, Department of Horticultural Sciences, NC State University
TITLE: Effect of Orchard Management Practices on Peach Tree Growth, Yield and Soil Ecology
Groundcover management and irrigation affect the growth and yield of peach trees. Vegetation within the tree row can compete with the trees for water and nutrients and can host nematodes and disease-causing organisms, as well as catfacing insects that reduce fruit quality and marketable yield.  It is unknown what effect groundcover management and irrigation may have on the microorganisms in the orchard soil and how those microorganisms, in turn, may impact the Peach Tree Short Life complex. This project will quantify the effects of weed-free strip width and irrigation on peach tree growth, yield, and fruit quality in a Sandhills peach orchard.  The project will also measure the effects of these orchard management practices on soil microorganisms, such as bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi.

DATE: Monday, March 21, 2011
SPEAKER: Adam Call, PhD Student, Department of Horticultural Science
TITLE: Determining the inheritance of resistance to the new downy mildew
Cucumber is a major vegetable crop in the U.S. and around the world. Downy mildew reemerged in 2004 as an important disease of cucumber in the U.S. No cultivars currently available have high resistance to downy mildew.  There are at least three resistance genes to downy mildew, but cultivars currently available have only one or two of those, and do not have resistance equal to the level seen prior to 2004. Recent studies have focused on identifying higher resistance to the new race of downy mildew in cucumber.  New sources of resistance (reduced leaf damage) and tolerance have been identified. Tolerance is the ability to yield similarly with and without disease. Cultigens with high yield and tolerance are ideal for growers. Several different methods of evaluating resistance to downy mildew have been used by pathologists and breeders interested in developing resistant cultivars. These methods rate the expression of different resistance mechanisms such as chlorosis and necrosis, stunting, sporulation, lesion size, and tolerance (yield with and without disease). Each of these resistance traits could be exploited to develop cultivars highly resistant to downy mildew.

DATE: Thursday, March 17, 2011
SPEAKER: Dr. Jill Litt, University of Colorado School of Public Health:
TITLE: Rx for Healthy Place Making: Gaining Insights from the Gardens for Growing Healthy Communities Initiative part 1
Rx for Healthy Place Making: Gaining Insights from the Gardens for Growing Healthy Communities Initiative part 2
The 2011 D. Mason Pharr seminar. Dr. Litt is a leading researcher in public and environmental health. She discusses the impacts of community gardens on the physical, social, environmental, and psychological health of individuals and neighborhoods. Her talk is of interest for anyone interested in the food supply, public health, or neighborhood improvement.

DATE: Monday, February 28, 2011
SPEAKER: Rod Brooks, President & CEO, Stop Hunger Now
TITLE: Food Aid, Sustainable Development, and the Movement to End Hunger: Lessons from Haiti
Stop Hunger Now is an international hunger relief agency dedicated to ending hunger in our lifetime by providing food and life-saving aid to the world's most vulnerable and by creating a global commitment to mobilize the necessary resources to end hunger. Rod Brooks, President & CEO of Stop Hunger Now, will discuss:
• The meal packaging program that the organization conducts and NCSU's involvement
• How meals were used and distributed in Haiti before and after the earthquake
• The role of school feeding programs in creating sustainable development
• The need to create a movement to end world hunger

DATE: Monday, February 21, 2011
SPEAKER: Bryce Lane
TITLE:  The Craft of Teaching
Teaching is a unique craft that involves basic principles, specific skills and abilities, and a special form of creativity. Good teaching can be identified and measured. It involves creating a positive environment for learning, where students who choose to engage, learn many great things. During this seminar we will identify what makes teachers great, and talk about how to create a positive environment for learning.

DATE: Monday, February 7, 2011
SPEAKER: Mr. Ronnie Best, Market Manager, NC State Farmers Market
TITLE: North Carolina State Farmers Market: An Overview
Ronnie will discuss the State Farmers Market from the floor to the rafters (behind the scenes) including the different areas of retail and wholesale distribution.  A discussion about the operation and impact on farmers/vendors and visitors will also be presented.