Inner Growth

Wednesday, March 20, 2013
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While growing fish and lettuce together sounds like something straight out of a futuristic cookbook, it is a reality at the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture (COLSA) at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). Graduate student Calvin Diessner ’13G initiated the project on which he and Professor of Biological Sciences David Berlinsky have been working to develop ways of co-culturing hybrid striped bass and salad greens.

Berlinksy and Diessner presented some of their findings from this forward-thinking aquaponics research, “Applied aquaponics: co-culturing hybrid stripe bass and salad greens,” at the Macfarlane Greenhouse Research Field Day last February. In addition, other researchers’ presentations included:

  • “Strawberry cultivar development” and “Strawberry genomics and evolution” with Tom Davis and Lise Mahoney
  •  “Increasing crop productivity and fruit quality in squash through the use of interspecies hybridization,” “Developing new melon varieties for the Northeast by utilizing novel genetics affecting fruit maturity, shelf life, and disease resistance,” and “Generating novel varieties of ornamental pumpkin for enhancing direct retail marketing in New England” with Brent Loy
  • “Breeding hanging basket tomatoes” with Becky Sideman and Elisabeth Hodgdon
  • “Hardy kiwis in New England: exploiting the economic potential of novel plant genetic resources” and “Barberries, alternate hosts of wheat stem and stripe rust: investigating regional epidemiological risk and mechanisms of resistance” with Iago Hale
  • “Testing root cold tolerance of woody plants” with Cathy Neal and Amy Douglas Papineau
  • “Controlled release fertilizers” with Brian Krug and Amy Douglas Papineau
  • “Research into disease dynamics affecting apple, strawberry, eastern white pine, and butternut” with Kirk Broders.

One of the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station’s (NHAES) five research and teaching facilities on or near campus, the 25,000 square foot Macfarlane Greenhouse encompasses multiple climate-controlled compartments in which faculty and students study ornamental and food crop breeding, biological pest control, bioremediation, plant genetic diversity, and more. In addition, the Macfarlane Greenhouse recently joined the MPS environmental certification program, which underscores its strong commitment to sustainability and social responsibility.

Jon Wraith, Dean of COLSA and Director of NHAES, welcomed the group of participants from throughout the region, which included state representatives, UNH students and those from other institutions, members of the NHAES advisory board, and the general public. Visitors were then arranged into groups that toured throughout the greenhouse areas, providing them with the opportunity to hear from each of the researchers who presented his or her findings.