Citrus Is Part of DeLuca Preserve Research

Ernie Neff Research

The DeLuca Preserve is located in Osceola County, Florida.

Planting of new improved citrus scion/rootstock combinations to demonstrate sustainable and profitable citriculture is one of eight new research projects slated for the 27,000-acre DeLuca Preserve in Osceola County, Florida. The rootstocks and scions will come from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Citrus Research and Education Center citrus breeding program.

The eight projects are being conducted with more than $600,000 in funding awarded to UF/IFAS faculty. The funding comes through the UF/IFAS Jumpstart program, which began in 2016. The funding includes 23 UF/IFAS faculty working across eight departments and seven research centers around the state.

“The diversity of the property creates an opportunity for partnership between many UF/IFAS units,” said Robert Gilbert, UF/IFAS dean for research. “We’re making a concerted effort to encourage cross-functional partnerships among UF/IFAS faculty.”

“We were looking for proposals that would take advantage of the great breadth of natural resources we have available at the DeLuca Preserve,” said Gilbert. “Further, we always look for ideas that have great scientific merit that will lead to a return on investment in grant funding and graduate student training.”

In addition to the citrus scion/rootstock planting, other funded projects at the site include the following:

  • Characterizing soil-water-microbiome domains as part of an open access database for the DeLuca Preserve
  • How rangeland bird diversity and abundance respond to grazing management
  • Leveraging Snapshot USA to monitor animal diversity and consequences of oak activity patterns
  • Vertebrate surveys through mosquito blood meal-derived DNA at the DeLuca Preserve
  • Mapping and taking inventory of floristic biological, functional and structural diversity across the DeLuca Preserve using LiDAR and high-resolution airborne hyperspectral imaging
  • Florida’s fungal diversity: Documenting subtropical fungi of the DeLuca Preserve and Archbold Biological Station
  • An integrated bioeconomic model for wildfire risk, surrounding forest management and tradeoffs of ecosystem services in the Deluca Preserve

Source: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

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