Florida is familiar territory for Clemson research teams
CLEMSON — Clemson football is world-renowned, but it’s not the only Tiger team playing in Florida. Clemson University has a variety of research-related projects with collaborators in the Sunshine State. Among them:
Clemson professor Guido Schnabel and Natalia Peres, an associate professor at the University of Florida, work together on a multiple-university research collaborative led by the University of Florida and funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative. As part of that effort, Schnabel launched an innovative program in 2010 that gives fruit growers throughout the Southeast tailored steps to combating fungicide resistance.
A dangerously prolific invasive ant species, which first surfaced in the United States almost 15 years ago, has been spreading throughout the South ever since and now appears to be on the verge of entering South Carolina for the first time. But a team of Clemson University scientists is hot on the trail.
Native to South America and the Caribbean, the tawny crazy ant was originally found in Texas in 2002. But it has since entered other Southern states, such as Florida, and in 2013 it was discovered in several counties in Georgia. Two years later, it was found as far north as the Savannah River, which indicates it soon might invade South Carolina.
Sizable infestations of southern pine beetles have been few and far between since the last major outbreak in 2000-2002, when the tiny but voracious creatures caused about $1.5 billion in damage in the southeastern United States to loblolly, shortleaf, longleaf, pitch, pond and Virginia pines. But recently, more than 220 spots covering 1,200 acres were reported by Florida Forest Service personnel. The Clemson Cooperative Extension Service and the S.C. Forestry Commission urge cautious awareness.
“Brown pelicans can be good indicators of the health of coastal, estuarine and marine systems in this area,” said Patrick Jodice, an associate professor of the forestry and environmental conservation department and the South Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. Jodice is launching a new study of brown pelican movement and patterns of habitat use in the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management South Atlantic Planning Area (SAPA). It “will assess at-sea habitat use and migration paths of adult brown pelicans that breed in the SAPA and, should energy development occur there in the future, be used to map potential risk areas,” Jodice said.
According to Jodice, the study is extending efforts to map areas pelicans use, as well as where pelicans move, in the Gulf of Mexico by applying similar techniques along the coast from South Carolina to Florida.