Nine teams of researchers and educators from the University of California and California State University have received funding for projects to produce rapid results on topics as diverse as redwood ecology, vine mealybug control, and improving nutrition for rural preschool-age children.

The projects cover a range of issues in agriculture, natural resources, and human sciences and are intended to foster collaboration among California’s colleges and universities. Funding for the nine projects totaled $79,000 and was made available by UC’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“The UC and CSU systems have a long history of collaboration, but in these challenging budgetary times, it is more important than ever to work together on issues of importance to our stakeholders,” said Neal Van Alfen, dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis. “This program is just one example of the many ways the faculties at our universities are working together to help Californians.”

The campuses involved are those with primary responsibility for agricultural and natural resources research and education in the state: UC Davis, UC Berkeley, UC Riverside, and California State University campuses at Chico, Fresno, Humboldt, Pomona, and San Luis Obispo. Deans and department chairs from those campuses developed the competitive grants program at a joint workshop in 2009. The awarded projects, with principal investigators, are listed below:

• Coast redwood forest science symposium — Scientists from UC Berkeley, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and Humboldt State University will meet in winter 2011 to assess the state of knowledge of California’s coast redwood forest ecosystem and sustainable management practices. (Standiford, Piirto, Stuart)

• Continuous cover management of coast redwood — Forest scientists at Humboldt State University and UC Berkeley will lead a large interdisciplinary team evaluating preharvest conditions for a timber management project in Mendocino County. (Berrill, O’Hara)

• Long-term effects of sudden oak death on future fires in California — Researchers at Humboldt State University and UC Davis will conduct laboratory experiments to study how the loss of tanoak trees from the fungal disease sudden oak death affects fire risk in mixed evergreen forests. (Varner, Rizzo)

• Implementing and evaluating a nutrition guide for preschool-age children in rural California — Nutrition scientists from Chico State and UC Davis will partner with UC Cooperative Extension educators in Butte and Shasta counties in a program to improve rural children’s health. (Schneider, Zidenberg-Cherr)

• Vitamin D supplementation in overweight and obese adults — Nutrition researchers from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and UC Davis seek to determine whether obesity is associated with compromised vitamin D status and the effectiveness of a vitamin D supplement. (Hall, Reaves, Stephensen)

• Pheromone mating disruption of vine mealybug — Agricultural scientists from the UC Kearney Agricultural Center, UC Berkeley, and Fresno State seek to develop a cost-effective, non-insecticidal technique to control vine mealybug in grape vineyards. (Daane, Welter, Kurtural)

• Grazing forum and education Web site redesign — A Placer County UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor and a Chico State animal science professor will revamp a Web site on grass-fed livestock and dairy production. (Ingram, Daley)

• Genome associations for sire proficiency on California commercial beef cattle ranches — Scientists at UC Davis and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo will analyze genetic marker data to improve cattle breeding efficiency and producer return on investment. (Van Eenennaam, Golden)

• Nutritional-endocrine interactions that regulate bovine epithelial cell function — Animal scientists from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and UC Davis seek better knowledge of bovine mammary gland function to improve milk production. (Peterson, Hovey)

Reports on project outcomes are expected in December 2010. If successful, a second call for proposals will be issued. For additional information, see media contacts below.

Media contacts:

• DeeDee Kitterman, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, (530) 752-9484, dmkitterman@ucdavis.edu

• John Stumbos, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, (530) 754-4979, jdstumbos@ucdavis.edu