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RNR Research Highlights

COVID-19 could negatively affect Eastern wild turkey populations

Mike Wheeler, right, a doctoral student in the LSU AgCenter School of Renewable Natural Resources, draws blood from a captured Eastern wild turkey (05/04/20) BATON ROUGE, La. — COVID-19 has had a profound effect on people for the past three months in terms of loss of life and economic costs. But it also may be playing a role in the potential decline of the Eastern wild turkey population.

[Left] Mike Wheeler, right, a doctoral student in the LSU AgCenter School of Renewable Natural Resources, draws blood from a captured Eastern wild turkey as part of a research project. Eastern wild turkey populations have been in a decline for at least the past decade, and more birds are being harvested this year. COVID-19 restrictions have led to a noticeably higher hunter effort pursuing wild turkeys because of limits being placed on other activities. Photo by Bret Collier/LSU AgCenter

Bret Collier, an associate professor in the LSU AgCenter School of Renewable Natural Resources, is one of the nation’s leading researchers regarding wild turkeys. He and Michael Chamberlain, a professor at the University of Georgia, are examining preliminary data on harvesting wild turkeys across the southeastern United States during the pandemic.

Both Collier and Chamberlain are concerned that an increasing number of hunters and their efforts are leading to a much higher number of mature birds being harvested than in a typical year.

“Right now, we are seeing an increase in harvest on public lands and an increase in hunter days afield,” Collier said. “Wild turkey harvest in Louisiana was 15% higher by the third week of the 2020 season relative to the 2019 season.”

LSU Forestry Symposium Digital Editions

Editions of the LSU Forestry Symposium (1952-1985; 1996) have been digitized, and are available as PDFs.
To access copies of the LSU Foresty Symposium go to LSU Forestry Symposium.

Louisiana Agriculture Magazine
Spring 2019

Louisiana Agriculture Magazine, Spring 2019

The spring 2019 issue of Louisiana Agriculture focuses on the “birds and the bees” and the importance of reproduction and breeding to the success and profitability of our agriculture industry. LSU AgCenter scientists are dedicated to finding ways to not only improve plants and animals on the farm but also in nature to enhance and sustain our environment. See below for links to the articles. If you would like to subscribe to the print copy, or if you have any questions, or if you want to unsubscribe from this list, please contact the editor, Linda Benedict. The LSU AgCenter is here to serve you.

Highlights - Articles by several RNR faculty mmbers and students:

The “Birds and the Bees” and Agriculture
Christopher Green
This issue of Louisiana Agriculture focuses on the essence of agriculture, which is the ability to harness reproduction of plants and animals.
Seaside Sparrows and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
Sabrina S. Taylor
The Seaside Sparrow is a good indicator species for the effects of disturbances, such as oil spills and hurricanes, along the Gulf of Mexico.
White-tailed Deer Reproduction: How fawns are made
Glen T. Gentry Jr.
LSU AgCenter research on the white-tailed deer has provided a wealth of information to improve understanding of the deer breeding season.
Mottled Duck Breeding Ecology in Southwest Louisiana
Lizzi Bonczek and Kevin Ringelman
The mottled duck is a unique nonmigratory duck found only along the western Gulf of Mexico coast and peninsular Florida.
Asian Carps Are Here to Stay
William E. Kelso
Sometimes reproduction goes awry as is the case with Asian carps. They were introduced to control parasites in catfish, and now they are taking over.
Improving Reproduction for Reliable Marine Bait
Christopher Gree
LSU AgCenter scientists are working to provide Louisiana coastal anglers with a cost-effective source of marine baitfish.
College of Agriculture News for Spring 2019
Tobie Blanchard
Forestry students get the chance to compete regionally and to network; six ag graduates become University medalists; alumnus tells of opportunities in digital agriculture; annual college awards

Researchers discuss implications of roseau cane die-off at summit

Dr. Andy Nyman(12/17/18)BATON ROUGE, La. — Scientists recently discussed ways to overcome the problem of roseau cane die-offs in the marsh of coastal Louisiana.

The Dec. 10 meeting featured researchers from the LSU AgCenter, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Army Corps of Engineers.

Roseau cane, a reed that is critical to reducing coastal erosion, has been suffering widespread die-offs in the Mississippi River Delta.

Researchers suspect multiple stressors are affecting the health of the roseau cane, which is considered vital to the longevity of the fragile marsh. Roseau cane die-offs could mean the loss of large swaths of marsh because the vegetation’s roots hold the fragile wetlands soil and protect inland areas from storm damage, said AgCenter entomologist Rodrigo Diaz.

Since its detection in the fall of 2016, the roseau cane scale was seen as a potential culprit due to the sheer numbers found in each cane stem.

“For the past two years, we have been interested in documenting the densities of the scale to determine the change in roseau cane populations,” Diaz said. “We have been conducting surveys to determine numbers.”

Diaz said he is working with the Army Corps of Engineers to develop satellite imagery to measure the amount of damage the die-off has caused.

Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Habitats
Store Significant Amounts of Organic Carbon
in Coastal Louisiana

Sumbmerged vegetation

Louisiana Agriculture Magazine, Winter 2018 edition, features research by RNR Ph.D. student, Eva Hillmann and RNR Adjunct Professor, Dr. Megan LaPeyre.

The ability of natural ecosystems to sequester significant amounts of organic carbon provides a good example of an ecosystem service that can be used in climate mitigation programs on local and regional scales. These mitigation programs may reduce the potential impact of increasing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere that are directly and indirectly driving climate change.

The capture of carbon dioxide by photosynthesis, followed by the conversion to organic carbon by plants and subsequently held in above-ground (for example in leaves, branches, stems) and below-ground biomass (such as roots) is called “blue carbon” in coastal and marine environments given their distinct conditions called “blue water.” These coastal environments potentially play a significant role in organic carbon storage because the pervasive lack of oxygen in sediments limits, for example, the decomposition of plant organic material. This low oxygen results in accumulated plant organic matter that can last from hundreds to thousands of years, depending on the level and frequency of disturbances such as hurricanes and human activities affecting these natural environments.

Weed control encourages better pine yields, AgCenter researchers say

(12/20/17) SHREVEPORT, La. — Pine tree height and growth can be improved for up to 28 years by controlling weeds during site preparation, LSU AgCenter researchers said at the Western Gulf Silvicultural Technology Exchange meeting Dec. 14 in Shreveport.

The researchers presented results from a long-term study on loblolly pine yields at the meeting, which drew more than 100 forest industry leaders and landowners.

AgCenter forestry professor and extension specialist Michael Blazier said controlling weed growth in the first years of a stand’s life promoted pine growth for 15 to 28 years, depending on how broadly the herbicide mixture suppressed weeds and how frequently it was applied.

“Competition control has an extremely long-lasting effect and is one of the best returns on investment in terms of forestry management,” Blazier said.

Getting weeds under control before planting, then keeping the site as weed-free as possible, is one of the best practices landowners of any size can do to promote tree growth, Blazier said. He added that landowners can qualify for cost-share assistance to cover almost 50 percent of costs for the first year.

Dr. Jun Xu Recipient of G & H Research Award

Yi-Jun Xu, a professor in the School of Renewable Natural Resources

Congratulations to Yi-Jun Xu, a professor in the School of Renewable Natural Resources who specializes in hydrologic and biogeochemical modeling, on receiving the G & H Seed Company Inc. Research Award. This award recognizes a researcher who has conducted exemplary work in the past five years.

Xu has received more than $5 million in competitive research grants, authored or co-authored 39 peer-reviewed journal articles and taught 16 graduate seminars.

“This recognition comes with a lot of support and effort from many individuals,” Xu said. “Improving and understanding water quality issues is a major task. Louisiana has nearly 500 watersheds and the largest river in North America, the Mississippi. It has several coastal rivers, making Louisiana a very diverse state in terms of hydrology.”

What's behind the dramatic drop in
soft-shell crab production in Louisiana?

Blue crab researchers hope to preserve Louisiana's struggling soft-shell industry. Dr. Julie Lively, RNR Assistant Professor and Fisheries Specialist for the LSU AgCenter, has teamed up with researchers from the University of Maryland and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science last December to begin what she described as a multi-year project to determine what's affecting the soft-shell blue crab industry and find ways to preserve it and make it more profitable and successful. The research collaboration across the three states is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries. Dr. Lively's work is highlighted in a recent article in the Baton Rouge newspaper, The Advocate. The article, written by Grace Toohey (of The Advocate) is permalinked here.

Problems with soft-shell crab production,

Study: Feral hogs contaminating water bodies
in Central Louisiana

It's well known that Louisiana has a feral hog problem, but a new study now says the nuisance animals are contaminating some water bodies in Central Louisiana with pathogens that are harmful to humans and wildlife.

The study, a joint project of the LSU Agricultural Center's School of Renewable Natural Resources (Dr. Mike Kaller and Dr. Bret Collier) and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, looked at samples taken from 40 privately owned bodies of water adjacent to the Kisatchie National Forest between Alexandria and Natchitoches between June 18 and Sept. 1, 2015.

See the details of this study presented by the Alexandra Town Talk: Study: Feral hogs contaminating water bodies in Central Louisiana.

ESI Highly Citied Papers From Dr Wu’s Group

Three papers from Dr. Qinglin Wu’s group made to the list of the Thomas Reuters’ Essential Science Indicators (ESI) top 1% highly cited papers through March/April 2016. ESI determine the influential individuals, institutions, papers, publications and counties in their field of study plus emerging research areas. The papers entered rank among the top 1% most cited for their subject field and year of publication, earning them the mark of exceptional impact. Congratulations to the Group!

  • Li M, Wu Q, Son K, Qing Y, and Wu Y. 2015. Cellulose nanoparticles as modifiers for rheology and fluid loss in bentonite water-based fluids ACS J. Applied Materials and Interface, 7, 5006-5016. (Impact Factor=7.23) in Material Science.

  • Li M, Wu Q, Son K, S. Lee., Qing Y, and Wu Y. 2015. Cellulose nanoparticles: structure- morphology- rheology relationship, ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering 3 (5), 821–832. (Impact Factor=5.23) in Chemistry.

  • Yao, F, Wu Q, Lei Y, Guo W, and Xu Y. 2008. Thermal decomposition kinetics of natural fibers: activation energy with dynamic thermogravimetric analysis. Polymer Degradation and Stability 93(1):90-98. (Impact factor=3.12) in Chemistry.

RNR Research Invention Stops Leaks in Deepwater Wells

Dr. Qinglin Wu and TigerBullets (07/19/16) BATON ROUGE, La. – A leading oilfield services company has used an LSU AgCenter invention to help stop fluid from leaking while drilling two deepwater wells off the coast of Vietnam.

TigerBullets – a product created by Qinglin Wu, a professor in the AgCenter School of Renewable Natural Resources – was used in the drilling expedition that Schlumberger Limited began in August 2015. TigerBullets are owned by the AgCenter and licensed to Hole Pluggers, LLC.

TigerBullets are made from plastics, wood scraps, minerals and other additives that are pressed into pellets that stop lost circulation, a major and costly problem when drilling oil wells. Lost circulation refers to the leakage of drilling fluid through cracks in the well. (Photo courtesy of LSU AgCenter)

Lost circulation is typically addressed by pumping material into the well to fill any cracks. When TigerBullets are used, they absorb water and expand, locking them into the fracture to cut off any leaks.

All materials used in TigerBullets are recycled, biodegradable, partially acid-soluble and non-toxic.

--by Olivia McClure. [permalink to AgCenter ariticle]

Waterfowl research returns Ringelman
to his roots

(07/08/16) BATON ROUGE, La. – Kevin Ringelman developed his interest in waterfowl on the plains of Bismarck, North Dakota. Ringelman, an assistant professor and waterfowl ecologist with the LSU College of Agriculture, grew up hunting and learning about ducks in that region.

Right: Assistant professor and waterfowl ecologist Kevin Ringelman, left, with his Ecology and Management of Southeastern Wildlife class in Alexander State Forest in Woodworth, Louisiana. Ringelman enjoys taking his students out in the field. (Photo provided by Kevin Ringelman)

“My dad spent his entire career working with waterfowl, so it was a natural fit for me,” Ringelman said.

Ringelman received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and his doctorate from the University of California at Davis. He joined the LSU College of Agriculture faculty in August 2014.

Ringelman’s research has him returning to his roots while also learning more about waterfowl wintering in Louisiana. “My research is split between issues in Louisiana and breeding grounds in North Dakota,” he said. One of Ringelman’s graduate students is in North Dakota, working on a project to study how fracking in that region is affecting breeding, nesting and duckling survival. Another student is studying lesser scaup diving ducks on Lake Pontchartrain.

Ringelman said the fracking activity in North Dakota may have affected waterfowl in several ways. “They may find quieter places to nest, so we may see fewer pairs. But the fracking may be affecting predators, so nesting success could be higher,” Ringelman said. The effects of fracking could lead to lower duckling survival because brine contamination in wetlands could kill the insects that ducklings eat, affecting their food supply, Ringelman said.

Ringelman also plans to have a doctoral student lead a mottled duck study at Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge in Cameron Parish. They will use radio telemetry to study adult survival during the breeding season.

Being in Louisiana affords Ringelman many research opportunities. “There is no better place than Louisiana to study waterfowl,” he said. Louisiana is an important wintering area for waterfowl, and Ringelman can find other scientists here to collaborate with. He also said Louisiana’s duck-hunting community has been supportive of his research and teaching efforts.

Dr. Phil Stouffer Spends a Year in Tanzania

Dr. Phil Stouffer in Tanzania

Phil Stouffer, a professor of the LSU College of Agriculture, at Barafu Camp on Mount Kilimanjaro. Stouffer spent a year in Tanzania as a Fulbright Scholar teaching at the College of African Wildlife Management and studying birds in the region. (Photo provided by Phil Stouffer)

Phil Stouffer lived out his childhood dream on the southern slope of Mount Kilimanjaro. Stouffer, a professor in the LSU College of Agriculture’s School of Renewable Natural Resources, spent a year in Tanzania as a Fulbright Scholar.

Students from the College of African Wildlife Management in Mweka, Tanzania accompanied professor Phil Stouffer (right) on bird netting and observation outings around the college. Stouffer taught several classes at the college as part of his Fulbright Scholar experience.Photo provided by Phil Stouffer

Stouffer taught classes at the College of African Wildlife Management near the town of Moshi and conducted research on the annual cycle of birds in the area during the 2014-2015 academic year.

“I had worked in the New World tropics in Brazil since 1991, but I had never been to the Old World tropics,” Stouffer said.

In his Fulbright application, Stouffer said, he emphasized his work in the Amazon Basin and his interest in working in Tanzania because the two are on the same latitude.

“I thought it would be interesting to see how these two tropics were alike,” he said. “What I found is they are really different.”

Stouffer described the area where he resided as partly forested along with coffee plantations and small farms. Footpaths crisscrossed villages. It was along those trails that Stouffer and his students spent time observing the many species of birds.

The professor taught ornithology, genetics and conservation biology classes at the college, but he said getting out with the students and observing the wildlife were most rewarding.

Learn more about Dr. Stoufer's year as a Fulbright Scholar in Tanzania on the LSU College of Agriculture website. Photos of his Tanzania experience and some of his current Louisiana wilidlife classes are available on his Flickr feed.

Use of Microbes in Oil Spill Cleanup

The Fall issue of Louisiana Agriculture Magazine is out; the theme of the issue is "Living with Both Bad and Beneficial Microbes. " One of the featured articles, by Dr. Andy Nyman, is Use of Microbes in Oil Spill Cleanup.

Article of the Year Honors
Go To Dr. Keim

Congratulations are in order for Dr. Richard Keim on his Louisiana Agriculture Magazine Article of the Year Award! The article, Water Management at Catahoula Lake (linked below), appeared in the Summer 2015 volume of Lousiana Agriculture Magazine.

LSU AgCenter-Louisiana Agriculture-Summer2015
RNR Featured Articles(click title for article)

Louisiana Agriculture is the quarterly magazine published by the LSU AgCenter to keep our constituents informed about our research and extension efforts. This issue includes articles on a variety of topics that affect Louisiana’s agriculture industry and the environment. The magazine is also available in e-book form for your iPad, Kindle or other electronic device. If you would like a printed copy or if you have any questions or if you want to unsubscribe from this list, please contact the editor, Linda Benedict. The LSU AgCenter is here to serve you.

The Next Big One
10 Years After Katrina


LSU AgCenter ecologist Andy Nyman (left) examines a wetlands area in Louisiana's Sawdust Bend Bayou, about 95 miles downriver from New Orleans. A Mississippi River diversion -- a gap in the river's banks -- built in the 1980s in nearby Pass a Loutre allowed sediment-rich fresh water to flow in, helping wetlands grow in an area that was once a shallow lake. (Whitney Shefte/The Washington Post).

The 1.8-mile-long, 25-to-26 foot-high Lake Borgne Surge Barrier (right), which is supposed to protect New Orleans against the one-in-100-year hurricane. Linda Davidson (The Washington Post)

"New Orleans has built the infrastructure to protect itself from hurricanes, but can it win the battle against rising seas?" RNR's own Dr Andy Nyman was featured and quoted in both a Washington Post print article on Saturday (22 Aug 2015) and an online story complete with videos and graphics. The story highlighed the successes and possible future problems with the geographic location of New Orleans, and the precarious health of the Mississippi Delta before, during, and since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005.

There is a lot on information here. Have a look: The Next Big One: 10 Years after Katrina

AgCenter Receives Spray Foam Insulation Grant

BATON ROUGE, La. – The LSU AgCenter has received a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Innovative Uses of Wood program. The grant will fund a project on bio-based spray foam insulation from wood residues, and will be led by LSU AgCenter forest products researchers Todd Shupe and Niels de Hoop from the AgCenter School of Renewable Natural Resources.

“The main goal of the project is to determine the potential of low-value wood fiber as a raw material for the development of a green spray foam insulation,” Shupe said. “Consumers are demanding green products for their houses, but insulation is one product that is currently not very green.”

This project will allow the team to determine the potential of small-diameter timber and low-value fiber as a feedstock for spray foam insulation. This material currently has little to no value but poses a significant risk for wildfires, Shupe said. In addition to substantial energy cost savings, wood-based spray foam has much better biodegradability compared to petroleum-based foam insulation, which will benefit the environment when this material is landfilled. “Current spray foams contain zero to 30 percent biomass, typically an agricultural byproduct – such as bagasse from sugarcane,” Shupe said.

There is an economic and environmental opportunity to increase the percentage of biomass to 50 percent and reduce the amount of isocyanate in the feedstock to 50 percent, Shupe said. “The project is being conducted as a collaborative effort with the spray foam industry,” Shupe said. “We would like to increase the percentage of biomass in spray foam, and we want that biomass to be from forest fuel reduction programs.”

For more information on the project, contact Shupe at 225-578-6432 or tshupe@agcenter.lsu.edu.

The full article, by Johnny Morgan, is availabe at AgCenter Headline news.

Taxol: Old Cancer Drug, New Formula

For the past eight years, Professor Zhijun Liu of LSU’s AgCenter has been focusing on a chemotherapy drug called Taxol, used to treat ovarian and breast cancer. It’s a potent drug, and the body struggles to dissolve and absorb it. Liu is looking for ways to fix that.

Dr. Liu was recently interviewed about his work by local Louisiana Public Broadcasting Station, WRKF -89.3FM. An article, and a recording of the interview are available online as part of the Louisiana's Perscription series: here.

Springtime brings problems for fish ponds

BATON ROUGE, La. – Many Louisiana ponds experience partial fish die-offs during the spring due to a combination of disease and low oxygen stress, according to LSU AgCenter aquaculture specialist Greg Lutz.

“Overcrowding, over-feeding or over-fertilizing almost always compound these problems,” Lutz said.

Low temperatures during winter force fish into a state of slow motion in which they eat very little, and their immune systems respond very slowly.

“When temperatures begin to rise in the spring, disease-causing organisms, already naturally present in a pond, can get the upper hand on fish that are in a weakened state,” Lutz said.

Stress caused by abrupt temperature fluctuations, such as many parts of the state experienced in the past several months, often aggravates fish health problems by further suppressing immune responses, he said.


Researchers work to identify safer, more effective oil dispersants

LEFT: LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant researchers Chris Green and Andy Nyman are studying the effects of dispersants used after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. RIGHT: LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant researcher Chris Green holds a dish of FA-Glu, a microbe-based dispersant being used in experiments.
Photos by Olivia McClure/LSU AgCenter

BATON ROUGE, La. – Four years ago, as nearly 5 million barrels of oil flowed into the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, desperate cleanup crews applied dispersants to break up the oil that people worried would have profoundly negative effects on coastal wetlands and wildlife.

But dispersants like COREXIT 9500A, which was used in 2010, may have made the oil even more dangerous to aquatic life, according to LSU AgCenter and Louisiana Sea Grant scientists who have been studying the effects of the Deepwater Horizon spill.

Dispersants break oil into smaller pieces so it spreads throughout the water column. The downside is that they also make oil easier for fish and other life in the Gulf to ingest and absorb, said Chris Green, associate professor at the AgCenter's Aquaculture Research Station.

Green and AgCenter wetlands biologist Andy Nyman tested hundreds of Gulf killifish, a popular baitfish, and found that oil becomes less toxic over time, partially because bacteria that live in the Gulf eat the toxins. While fish populations take a significant hit when oil first spills, they are able to survive later on, Green said.

That doesn't necessarily mean those fish are healthy, however.

RNR Faculty, Post-Docs' Study Gets Cover of BioScience

seaside sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus).  Photo by Dr. Phil Stouffer

Congratulations to RNR faculty, Drs. Taylor and Stouffer and postdocs, Drs. Bergeon-Burns, and Woltmann, for getting the cover of the latest issue of BioScience (http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org/content/64/9.cover-expansion)

Also check out their paper: Christine M. Bergeon Burns, Jill A. Olin, Stefan Woltmann, Philip C Stouffer, and Sabrina S. Taylor. Effects of Oil on Terrestrial Vertebrates: Predicting Impacts of the Macondo Blowout. BioScience (September 2014) 64 (9): 820-828 doi:10.1093/biosci/biu124.

Breeding the perfect Oyster?

Dr. John Supan - AgCenter, RNR, and Sea Grant scientist, was recently featured on WWL-TV New Orleans discussing his triploid oyster program.

Professor Supan began researching this concept of cross breeding oysters back in 1993. After roughly nine years of work and experimentation, he and his team had a break through. In the spring of 2002, they successfully produced what they call a "triploid" oyster. “We have not inserted strange genes into these oysters. The chromosomes in these oysters were in the oysters already. It's just part of a breeding process,” Supan said. "

"They retain their winter fat acquired during the winter time, they don't burn it off during the summer to spawn, which causes their meat yield to drop and become watery. The triploids stay fat all summer long" said Supan.

See the video, and read the rest of the fascinating details HERE.

LIFT2 Grants Awarded to Three RNR Faculty

LSU has awarded 15 grants totaling $500,000 to faculty members through its new LIFT2 (Leveraging Innovation for Technology Transfer) grant program, which provides funding to validate the market potential of the faculty members' inventions. Grants are for up to $50,000. LSU President F. King Alexander says in a prepared statement that "this program will help to see many of these projects advance from basic research to market." Results of the research from the first grants are expected within a year. The grant awardees were selected from among 47 applications.

Congratulations are in order for three of our Faculty members receiving these prestigious awards:

Professors Todd Shupe and Richard Vlosky in the School of Renewable Natural Resources, along with Dr. Jim Richardson in the E. J. Ourso College of Business Administration on the LSU A&M campus received one of these these for their project titled: “Reclaiming Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) from Decommissioned Preservative-treated wood: Technology, Economics, and Markets

Assistant Professor Julie Anderson Lively in the School of Renewable Natural Resources, also received one of these awards. The title of her project is “Packaging and storage of a new blue crab bait

The New GPS: Gobbler Positioning System

An article from the May 2, 2014 issue of Field and Stream features our current wildlife ecologist, Dr. Bret Collier, and our former wildlife ecologist, Dr. Mike Chamberlain. The use of GPS technology to study the habits and movements of turkeys is highlighted. Interesting stuff. The article can be viewed online, here.

LSU AgCenter, Nicholls State Collaborate on Gar Fish

BATON ROUGE, La. – Researchers from the LSU AgCenter and students from Nicholls State University recently collected alligator gar at the LSU AgCenter Aquaculture Research Station in Baton Rouge in an effort to improve the fish populations in areas where they are no longer found.

Christopher Green, the lead researcher on the project at the station, is working with biology students at Nicholls to address the spawning behavior of the fish. And for the past four years, Green has been looking at ways to keep the alligator gar a viable species in southern Louisiana and other parts of the Mississippi River.


Research Highlight: Blue Crab Bait Could Improve Crab, Shrimp Industries

Dr. Julie Anderson Crab Bait studiesBATON ROUGE, La. – A new gelatin-like bait using shrimp waste could improve the way blue crabs are caught along the coast of Louisiana and add value to the state’s shrimp processing industry.

Julie Anderson, a crustacean specialist with the LSU AgCenter and RNR Faculty memeber, is working on a crab bait that could replace Atlantic menhaden, the current bait used.

The menhaden, also known as pogy, is shipped from the East Coast, Anderson said, but stocks are declining. The Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission put a limit on how much menhaden can be caught. Anderson said this is driving up the price of Atlantic menhaden.

Menhaden also is caught in the Gulf of Mexico, but it is rarely used for bait.

Artificial reefs could stem coastal land loss

BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana’s issues with coastal land loss are well-documented. Scientists estimate that since 1930 as much as 25 square miles of land per year have been lost in the Mississippi River delta area. Much of these losses can be traced to land subsidence – land simply sinking and being covered by water – and erosion from wave energy.

Megan Lapeyre, an estuarine ecologist with the LSU AgCenter’s School of Renewable Natural Resources and the U.S. Geological Survey, is studying engineered reefs and examining how these reefs perform in stabilizing land primarily in areas of high wave energy.

“We are studying these reefs in three different areas. One in the Vermilion Bay area, one in Grand Isle and another in the Biloxi marsh area,” she said.

Lapeyre said one goal of the studies is to answer just how effective reefs are for shoreline stabilization. “Ideally, they would assist in creating marsh,” she said. “At this point, it is too early to tell.”

Cooperative Research Unit Corner - Research on Louisiana's Bald Eagles

Wildlife Management Institute’s Outdoor News Bulletin is hilighting Dr. Alan Afton’s Bald Eagle research in it's "Cooperative Research Unit Corner". Research being conducted by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in collaboration with the USGS Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Louisiana State University is examining the change in the eagle population over time and looking at what habitat types the birds are currently using for nesting. The Bulletin and all the details are available on the Wildlife Mangaemnt Institute's website. Read about nteresting research to help preserve our National Symbol.

Workshop Focuses on Wood-Based Bioenergy

HAMMOND, La. – The U.S. forestry industry has migrated from the Pacific Northwest to the South over the past two decades, providing additional opportunities for Southern forest landowners, an LSU AgCenter business development expert told an audience at a workshop on forest-based bioenergy.

Emerging biomass-to-energy markets have been driven by increasing interest in renewable energy sources, said Rich Vlosky, director of the Louisiana Forest Products Development Center in the LSU AgCenter.

Stouffer Lab Brings Good News From the Rainforest

Some good news out of the Amazon rainforest: given enough time, deforested land can rebound enough to host bird species that had previously deserted the area, according to a recent study in The Auk.

Between 1992 and 2011, a team led by Philip Stouffer of Louisiana State University tracked the movements of birds through fragmented rainforest in the Brazilian Amazon. Using soft nylon stretches called mist nets, they snagged nearly 4,000 birds at the margins between old growth forests and tracts of between old growth rainforest and forest recovering after being abandoned by cattle ranchers.

As the so-called secondary forest regenerated, birds crossed the borders more frequently, the team found. These areas of regrowth become more habitable to birds with time, although the results suggest that it can take at least a decade or two for species to return.


Nature faces disasters, disruptions

LNRS logoBATON ROUGE, La. – Man-made modifications in the Mississippi River Valley – levees, cut-offs and dams – have all caused changes in the ecology of the Atchafalaya Basin and similar areas, Wes Cochran, a graduate student in the School of Renewable Natural Resources, told a conference audience recently.

Those and effects of natural and man-made disasters and disruptions were featured as scientists presented results of some of their research in the fourth Louisiana Natural Resources Symposium on Aug. 1-2 on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge.

The fourth in a series of biannual conferences was presented by the LSU AgCenter School of Renewable Natural Resources.

“The conference is focused on the effects of human and natural changes on forested and wetland ecosystems and wildlife,” said Todd Shupe, of the AgCenter’s Louisiana Forest Products Development Center and one of the organizers of the event.

Alligator Diet is the Focus of Aquaculture Research Station Project

1/28/2013, The Advocate -- Millie Williams, Senior Research Associate with the LSU AgCenter's Aquaculture Research Station, is working on a study that could do for Louisiana’s $60 million alligator farming industry what science has already done for the cattle, pork and poultry industries.

Robert Reigh, director of the research station, says LSU is set to open its new Alligator Research Station just outside Baton Rouge city limits in early March.

Since the early 1990s, alligator farmers have been asking for help in identifying the right food mixture and the right conditions in which they can grow their alligators quickly to marketable size and sell them, Reigh said.

About five years ago, the farmers pooled their money — about $160,000 — to pay for the Alligator Research Station.

Once the building is completed, researchers will have adequate space to take in young alligator hatchlings and nurture them until they reach marketable size of about 4 or 5 feet.


LSU AgCenter Researchers Testing Oil Cleanup Chemical Toxicity

BATON ROUGE, La. – 12/18/12 - LSU AgCenter scientists are working with researchers at Columbia University and Iowa State University on an environmentally friendly substance that could be used to clean up oil spills.

Andy Nyman, an LSU AgCenter wetlands biologist, and Chris Green, an LSU AgCenter toxicologist, are testing the chemical’s toxicity on killifish, a baitfish known more commonly in Louisiana as cocahoe minnows. The $211,000 project is being funded for three years by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation.

The project came in reaction to the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the recognized need for a more effective, yet environmentally friendly dispersant, Nyman said.

Researcher Tracks Changes at University Lakes

LSU Lakes Research16 Nov 2011 - Trying to keep the University Lakes in Baton Rouge clean and healthy is a goal of LSU AgCenter researcher Yi Jun Xu, associate professor in the School of Renewable Natural Resources.

For the past three years, Xu has used funds from the Louisiana Board of Regents Equipment Enhancement Fund to study the lake’s health.

“When the project began in 2008, the focus was on two areas – enhanced teaching in water resources and to provide sophisticated, state-of-the-art equipment for surface water research,” Xu said.

Xu and his graduate students receive measurements of the dissolved oxygen, pH and water temperature every 15 minutes from equipment in the lake. He said his data can be used by state agencies and others interested in water quality.


The Fall 2011 Louisiana Agriculture issue contains several articles by RNR faculty

The fall 2011 issue of Louisiana Agriculture focuses on our state’s water resources. These resources must be sustained and improved for the future well-being of Louisiana. The LSU AgCenter has made a major commitment to water quality. Our scientists are finding ways to prevent nutrient runoff, which is from a variety of sources, into our streams and waterways and to mitigate the damage from saltwater intrusion following hurricanes. Learn more by reading this issue, and please contact the individual authors if you have questions or need more information. Or you can contact the editor, Linda Benedict. The LSU AgCenter is dedicated to Louisiana’s economic development.

    Selected content, contributed by RNR Faculty and students includes:
  • LSU AgCenter is committed to water quality
    Y. Jun Xu
  • Keep Louisiana’s water resources plentiful and good
    D. Allen Rutherford
  • Nutrient Removal from Atchafalaya during 2011 flood
    April Bryant-Mason and Y. Jun Xu
  • Forestry Best Management Practices and stream water dissolved oxygen
    Y. Jun Xu, Abram DaSilva and April Bryant-Mason
  • Riverine Sediment and the Louisiana coast
    Y. Jun Xu and Timothy Rosen
  • Water Depth enhances quality, provides fish refugia in the Atchafalaya River Basin
    Michael D. Kaller and William E. Kelso
  • Wetland Restoration with agricultural techniques
    Andy Nyman
  • Water Resource Use in Louisiana Aquaculture
    Robert P. Romaire, W. Ray McClain and C. Greg Lutz

Tropical Birds Return to Harvested Rainforest Areas in Brazil

click for slideshow/enlargement22 June 2011 - During a 25-year period, many bird species in Brazilian rainforest fragments that were isolated by deforestation disappeared and then reappeared according to a research paper published June 22 in PLoS One, an online, peer-reviewed journal.

Although species loss following habitat conversion can be inferred, long-term observations are necessary to accurately identify the fate of bird populations, said Philip Stouffer, an ornithologist with the LSU AgCenter and lead author of the paper “Understory bird communities in Amazonian rainforest fragments: Species turnover through 25 years post-isolation in recovering landscapes.”

Stouffer’s research, funded for the past five years by a grant from the National Science Foundation and conducted in cooperation with Projeto Dinâmica de Fragmentos Florestais, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Manaus, Brazil, shows bird species began reappearing following a 10-year hiatus (click to enlarge images).

Stouffer and his colleagues – Erik Johnson, who was Stouffer’s graduate student and is now with the National Audubon Society, Richard O. Bierregaard at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and Thomas E. Lovejoy with the Heinz Center in Washington, D.C. – measured bird populations in 11 forest fragments ranging from about 2.5 acres to 250 acres in the Amazon rainforest near Manaus, Brazil.

revised: 28-May-2021 10:43