Recent Research

White Pine Needle Damage Slowing Growth, Hampering Health of Region’s Trees
White Pine Needle Damage, a complex of foliar diseases that is being accelerated by the region’s warmer, wetter springs, is slowing the growth and hampering the health of the region’s eastern white pines.



Northern New England Scientists Identify Most Prevalent Weeds on Region’s Organic Vegetable Farms
Scientists from Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont have completed the first comprehensive assessment of weeds found on organic vegetable farms in Northern New England. The collaborative, three-state study is an important first step in providing a baseline for organic growers who could face challenges providing locally grown produce because of new, problematic weeds emerging due to environmental change.



Warmer, Snow-Free Winters May Increase Carbon Dioxide Losses in Forests, Gains on Farms
New England’s warmer, snow-free winters may increase carbon dioxide losses in forests, where deciduous trees can’t take advantage of warm temperatures before their leaves emerge. However, farms cultivating grasses have a greater potential to start growing in the winter “dormant season,” perhaps partially offsetting the increasing winter carbon losses from forests.


Preventing the Stem Rust-Barberry Relationship that Causes Heartbreak for Cereal Crops
Stem rust is one of the most feared agricultural diseases in the world, infecting wheat and other cereal crops. The fungal pathogen is capable of severe epidemics, thus presenting a threat to the global food supply. In New England, the disease is a concern in light of the region’s re-emerging small grain industry. As a result, scientists with the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of New Hampshire are trying to understand the potential risk of the disease spreading and, perhaps even more importantly, evolving greater virulence in the region. Long term, they also hope to contribute to a genetic solution that reduces global yield losses to the disease.

Beetle Parents Choose to Limit Offspring When Food is Scarce
Researchers have long known that many primates make decisions about the number of children they have based on the availability of resources such as food. Now new research from the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of New Hampshire finds that some insects – specifically burying beetles – also choose to limit offspring when food is scarce. By understanding the behavior of burying beetles related to their reproduction and parental care, scientists can better understand the genetic and physiological mechanisms that modify parental care behaviors of insects in variable environments.

Feeding Prepartum Dairy Cows Niacin Improves Quality of Their Colostrum
Feeding prepartum dairy cows the vitamin niacin prior to giving birth improved the quality of their colostrum, which is the first milk calves drink. Colostrum is essential to building the immune systems of calves, and thus, their survival.



Feeding Nemo: White Worms Show Potential as Inexpensive Food Source for Aquarium Fish
Ornamental aquarium fish like the clownfish Nemo and his pal the royal blue tang Dory one day may be dining on high-quality yet inexpensive white worms grown in New England. New research from the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station has found that live white worms are well-suited for the ornamental aquaculture industry and could be an emerging commercial industry for the region.

Experiment Station Researchers Find Effects of Climate Change Could Accelerate By Mid-Century
Researchers say the effects of climate change could be much stronger by the middle of the 21st century, and a number of ecosystem and weather conditions could consistently decline even more in the future. If carbon dioxide emissions continue at the current rate, they report that scenarios of future conditions could not only lead to a significant decrease in snow days, but also an increase in the number of summer days over 90 degrees and a drastic decline in stream habitat with 40 percent not suitable for cold water fish.

Researchers Find Drastic Decline in N.H.’s Bumble Bees
In the first long-term study of New Hampshire’s bumble bee population, researchers have found three of the state’s most important bumble bee species have experienced drastic declines and range constriction over the last 150 years, with a fourth bee also in significant decline.