When most people think of potatoes, the word research does not usually follow. But with their Mr. Potato head mascot watching over the lab, the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology plant biology tag team, Dylan Kosma and Patricia Santos, are searching for ways to reduce potato crop losses during storage.
Franco Biondi’s Dendro Lab research contributes to understanding how long trees can survive during drought.
Biondi, professor of natural resources and environmental sciences, studies the vascular system of trees; specifically, how trees transport water from the ground to the atmosphere. A recent study in which he participated looked at what happens when the capillary forces within the vascular system are broken or strained during drought.
Soil samples taken from the University of Nevada, Reno’s Main Station Farm in Reno show that mercury concentrations are low, and pose no threat to plants, animals or humans.
“When we read reports of higher levels of mercury along Steamboat Creek we wanted to be sure our land was not affected,” said Bill Payne, dean of the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources. “Sampling soil for a variety of reasons is one of the many things our scientists do on a regular basis, and we have one of the world’s foremost experts on mercury in the environment, Mae Gustin. It just made sense for us to determine for ourselves what the effects the flooding might have had, and whether current mercury levels had any implications for plant and animal products from Main Station.”
The ecological consequences of poor grazing management in the desert ecosystems of the American West’s Great Basin can be severe. To find out how severe, I met Dr. Barry Perryman, rangeland ecology professor at the University of Nevada, at a dry water well near the 230,000-acre Fish Creek Complex Herd Management Area on public lands managed overseen by the Bureau of Land Management near Eureka, Nevada.