Join Dr. Thomas J. DeWitt as he discusses “Correcting the Scaling of Spatial Autocorrelation and a New Method to Tackle Big Data” at the March 22nd Geosat seminar.
COLLEGE STATION — The Texas Master Naturalist program was recently honored by the Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society with its Outstanding Achievement Award.
The award was presented during the recent Texas chapter’s annual conference for the program’s impacts on the conservation industry throughout the program’s 20-year history, according to a news release distributed by the society.
The program, led by Michelle Haggerty, Texas Master Naturalist program state coordinator at Kerrville, and Mary Pearl Meuth, assistant coordinator, College Station, is designed to develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities for the state of Texas.
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department sponsor the program, which is supported by an extensive network of experts from both agencies. Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society stated the program teaches advanced training and also supports the outreach and stewardship projects of its more than 11,000 volunteers.
Dr. Neal Wilkins, past president of the Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society and current executive director of the East Foundation, presented the award commenting, “The Texas Master Naturalist program has been an unbelievable asset to this state. Volunteers for the program are committed. They are the heart and soul of what really goes on out on the landscape.”
The Texas Master Naturalist program was also honored as it “brings skilled volunteers together and works with communities and organizations across the state to implement youth outreach programs, operate parks, nature centers and natural areas, and provides leadership in local natural resource conservation efforts,” Wilkins said during the presentation, according to the release.
The Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society was established in 1965 and represents the state’s interest in involving resource professionals and stimulating involvement by all concerned individuals in science-based conservation practices.
The Texas A&M Chapter of the Wildlife Society BBQ and Annual Department Awards will be held Saturday, April 14th from 6:00-8:00 pm. Presale tickets are only $15 and can be purchased at the WFES building, room 150. Admission will include dinner, drinks, and a chance to win a prize! There will be a photo contest, raffles and a silent auction. See the attached flyer for more information.
We look forward to seeing you there!
After 33 years of service with WFSC, it is with great sadness that we share the passing of our great colleague and mentor, Dr. Clark Adams. He chaired the Conservation Education Committee for The Wildlife Society (TWS) and many committees for the Texas Chapter of TCWS, among his other outstanding services. Dr. Adams developed and taught the senior-level Urban Wildlife and Fisheries Management, and Ecology and Society courses and was senior author on two books, including a textbook on Urban Wildlife Management and Texas Rattlesnake Roundups.
Services will be Saturday, March 10th at 11:00 am at Faith Lutheran Church, 4010 Williams Dr., Georgetown, TX 78628.
There’s a new article by Dr. Jacquelyn K. Grace about maltreatment of wild birds and the effects of certain stressors. To read more about how early-life maltreatment stress responses of the wild birds, follow this link.
Full article citation:
Dr. Delbert M. Gatlinn III has an article in Aquaculture on the metabolic responses of Nile tilapia. Interested in learning more? Then, please click here to read the full article regarding the tilapia’s responses to methionine and taurine supplementation.
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West campus agriculture complex, teaching gardens among AgriLife career highlights
Writer: Blair Fannin, 979-845-2259, email@example.com
COLLEGE STATION – Dr. Mark A. Hussey is quick to credit the people of Texas A&M AgriLife for his successful nine years as vice chancellor and dean for agriculture and life sciences at Texas A&M University.
“You are only as good as the people around you, and I will tell you that I’ve had absolutely the best working with me, from the dean’s office and throughout Texas A&M AgriLife as a whole,” Hussey said. “I will always be forever grateful.”
Hussey will be stepping down at the end of February and returning to the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, where he will specialize in forage breeding and management. On Feb. 8, he had the new title of Vice Chancellor and Dean Emeritus for Agriculture and Life Sciences bestowed by the Texas A&M Board of Regents, who recognized him for 35 years of exemplary service and leadership to the A&M System.
Dr. Patrick Stover, director of the division of nutritional sciences at Cornell University, has been appointed as the new Texas A&M vice chancellor for agriculture and life sciences, effective March 1.
For Hussey, Texas A&M has been a part of both his graduate work and agriculture career for 40 years. After graduating from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in biology, Hussey came to Texas A&M to earn a master’s degree in science and a doctorate in plant breeding.
He spent 25 years as a plant scientist – his first stop at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Weslaco in 1983. Hussey would later move back to College Station and ultimately become a full professor in the department of soil and crop sciences in 1997.
Hussey’s move to administration came in 2001 when he was named department head for soil and crop sciences, followed by joining Texas A&M AgriLife administration as associate director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research in 2004. He also served as AgriLife Research agency director for two years before becoming vice chancellor and dean in 2008.
In 2014 Hussey was also called upon by Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp to serve as interim president of Texas A&M.
Career achievements aside, Hussey said he’s most proud of the accomplishments of Texas A&M AgriLife’s faculty, researchers and agencies “for exceptional work in solving the challenges of providing enough food and fiber for an ever-expanding global population.”
Perhaps the most visible mark during Hussey’s leadership is an unprecedented construction campaign that has made the Texas A&M West Campus home to 13 of 14 academic departments. It includes the multimillion-dollar Agriculture and Life Sciences Complex on the Texas A&M University campus, the first-of-its-kind headquarters for Texas A&M AgriLife.
Additionally, Hussey created the vision and raised funds to build the first phase of The Gardens at Texas A&M University, a unique and beautiful outdoor classroom for Aggies and the community, set to open later this year. He also initiated the AgriLife Advanced Leadership Program, which provides leadership training for AgriLife faculty leaders in the making.
“This type of faculty-driven, inclusive leadership is typical of Dr. Hussey’s efforts to bring together thought-leaders and provide incentives to fund big picture and interdisciplinary thinking,” said Dr. Bill Dugas, associate vice chancellor for business and strategic management at Texas A&M, College Station.
Another key area of Hussey’s leadership was establishing five grand challenges of the College and the agricultural agencies: feeding our world, protecting our environment, improving our health, enriching our youth and growing our economy.
Hussey is an advocate for the land-grant university system of research, teaching and extension, holding numerous national leadership positions in the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. Some major highlights during his tenure:
– Texas A&M AgriLife Research: For the fifth year in a row, the agency leads the nation in the amount of research expenditures with $179 million. Other ongoing agency work Hussey highlighted included in-depth research in the areas of vector-borne diseases, including the cattle fever tick.
– Texas A&M Forest Service: Hussey commended the work done in assisting with Hurricane Harvey, the Panhandle wildfires and ongoing efforts to mitigate potential fire threats in that region of Texas. He also noted the agency’s response and assistance provided to the Texas Department of Transportation during this season’s winter storm weather by blading roads. Another highlight is the agency’s work with Ponderosa Pine in the Davis Mountains.
– Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory: Considered the front line of defense for animal diseases, Hussey noted its new million-dollar College Station facility. Additionally, he anticipates breaking ground for a new facility in the High Plains that will bring increased capacity for protecting animal and human health to Texas.
– Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service: Hussey said the agency has a presence in each Texas county and its leadership in the Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts “is setting a new paradigm not only statewide, but nationwide.” He also touted its Healthy South Texas initiative and Path to the Plate program.
– College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: The college ranks second at Texas A&M with the most STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) graduates, behind only the College of Engineering. Hussey attributes the college’s growth in the number of corporate internship programs to the faculty, many of whom are also part of leading AgriLife Research initiatives.
“Both our new faculty and veteran faculty are making a difference. It’s a family atmosphere here in the college, everyone goes the extra mile to help students. We strive to have one of the lowest student-to- advisor ratios,” he said.
Hussey said he could not have had a greater mentor than the late Dr. Norman Borlaug, considered the father of the Green Revolution, with whom he shared an office suite in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences.
“Dr. Borlaug was always talking about innovation and technology but was impatient because it was not moving fast enough to solve the world’s problems,” Hussey said. “I’m that way as well. We’re not moving fast enough to meet these complex challenges. I firmly believe agriculture- and natural resource-based systems are poised to solve some of these big problems globally.”
Growing up in rural Illinois, Hussey said he developed a passion for agriculture in junior high. He was particularly interested in how science and technology can improve food production. That passion continues today as he seeks new research and leadership opportunities.
“It’s been 40 years since I first stepped foot on this campus,” he said. “It’s been a fun, excellent ride and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
Download entire newsletter.
- From the Desk of the Department Head
- WFSC Aids in Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts
- Dr. William B. “Doc” Davis Commemorative
- New 3D Scanning Campaign Will Reveal 20,000 Animals in Stunning Detail
- Periodic Charts Bring New Meaning to Texas A&M Wildlife Researcher
- 2016 Regional Recovery Champions
- Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Bill Grant
- Student Spotlights
- Wildlife, Fisheries, and Ecological Sciences Building Grand Opening
- New WFSC Fish Ecologist: Joshuah Perkin
- New WFSC Staff
COLLEGE STATION – The battle against fever ticks rages on, and a group of Texas A&M University and French National Institute for Agricultural Research scientists are doing their best to determine where the fray will head by synthesizing historical models for use in curbing the pest globally.
Texas A&M’s departments of wildlife and fisheries sciences and entomology and the French institute have collaborated for a number of years to model systems approaches meant to address ecological and regulatory questions about fever ticks, said Dr. Pete Teel, who works within the entomology department’s Tick Research Laboratory.
Teel, a Texas A&M AgriLife Research entomologist, said the two species of cattle ticks affecting Texas, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) annulatus and R. (B.) microplus, were at the center of the study. These two closely related species are able to transmit pathogens causing bovine babesiosis, or Texas cattle fever. Both ticks and pathogens were brought to the U.S. on livestock with early settlers from other parts of the world.
Economic losses in cattle include direct losses in meat and milk production through tick blood-feeding. The R. (B.) microplus species now plagues cattle throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. It is also now recognized as one of the world’s most pesticide-resistant parasites.
Teel said global prevention of disease and of the direct economic effects of tick parasitism is highly dependent on tick suppression or elimination. Mortality rates in naïve cattle to bovine babesiosis range from 70 to 90 percent.
Dr. Hsiao-Hsuan “Rose” Wang, an AgriLife Research scientist at the wildlife and fisheries sciences department’s ecological systems laboratory, is lead author on the recently published “Quantitative models of Rhipicephalus ticks: historical review and synthesis,” which appeared in the Sept. 14 Ecosphere Journal. Go tohttp://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ecs2.1942/abstract to see the abstract, then click on the article.
Wang was joined by co-authors Drs. Michael Corson, researcher with the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, Ouest, Rennes, France; Bill Grant, AgriLife Research ecologist, department of wildlife and fisheries sciences, College Station; and Teel to conduct the work.
Wang said the work is meant to put a global perspective on a number of aspects researchers encountered and how these modelers approached various problems differently.
The U.S. has long had a permanent quarantine zone hugging the Mexican border to prevent the re-establishment of ticks from Mexico. As a result of recent outbreaks of cattle ticks in Texas, there are 2,720 premises under quarantine covering almost 9 million acres.
“Rhipicephalus ticks are among the most studied group of ticks in the world due to their wide global range and the devastation they cause,” Teel said.
Researchers have developed quantitative computer models of Rhipicephalus ticks since the early 1970s to study the complex biological and ecological relationships that influence the management or eradication of ticks and tick-borne diseases, he said.
“For our study, we reviewed the 45-year history of Rhipicephalus models developed first in Australia, a decade later in North and South America and then still later in Africa,” he said.
According to the paper, these started as analytical models studying parts of the ticks’ life cycles, progressed to simulations of their complete life cycles on to the current emphasis, which is on GIS-based bioclimatic envelope models derived from remotely sensed data and tick presence records, and then back to simulations with spatially explicit, agent-based models.
“Those earlier models predicted management techniques, such as pasture rotation, resistant cattle and anti-tick vaccines,” he said. “But with global climate change, new wildlife hosts and the ticks’ potential for widening its global reach, our study emphasis concentrated on the complexities of tick-host-landscape interactions and the potential for range expansion.”
Teel said their study and future efforts would focus on the development of clearer comparisons for Rhipicephalus ticks to provide ways to hypothesize specific cause-effect relationships, test tick abundance patterns and pathogen prevalence in the field, and simulate how these patterns might be interrupted to achieve tick suppression or eradication.