Monday, June 24, 2013

Fulbright Opportunities Expanded

Posted on behalf of Harold Takooshian, PhD (
I am pleased to share with you a development in the Fulbright Scholar Program that substantially expands opportunities for your U.S. Ph.D. students and recently-minted scholars. Postdoctoral and early career grants in over 80 countries offer career-building scholarly research, teaching and mentorship avenues. Grants are available for U.S. scholars who will have recently completed a doctoral degree, usually within the last five years. In addition to allowances for international travel and living costs, grantees without institutional affiliation in the U.S. may be eligible for funds to attend a professional conference.

Postdoctoral and early career awards are open in all disciplines and specializations, from STEM fields to the arts, humanities and social sciences. For example, specific awards in Brazil, Canada, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Israel and Taiwan target postdoctoral applicants in all fields. In public health, Fulbright-Fogarty postdoctoral awards provide outstanding opportunities to affiliate with a National Institutes of Health, Fogarty International Center research site in Bangladesh, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Peru, South Africa or Zimbabwe.  Belgium offers a postdoctoral award in cancer and/or translational research.

Scores of additional countries welcome applications from all levels of scholar experience for teaching, research or combined teaching and research. Early career scholars can apply to the research option within such broadly open awards as a postdoc opportunity. Grant lengths for postdoctoral and early career awards vary, from 3 to 20 months, depending on the country.

In addition to primary research or teaching activities, postdoctoral and early career scholars will give public talks, mentor students, and otherwise engage with the host country academic community. You have a key role in bringing these options to connect with cutting-edge scholarship around the world to the attention of recent doctoral degree holders and faculty who teach and advise doctoral students. In the words of a Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Israel:

“My Fulbright experience has certainly changed my life and has helped immensely in furthering my career. The impact was evident in the responses I received for applications to new positions after my Fulbright research was complete. I ended up taking a very prestigious position for my next postdoc which I would not have been able to get had it not been for the Fulbright award. This is the kind of impact which will propagate throughout my career and I am very fortunate to have had this opportunity.”

To learn more, please encourage those in your networks to visit Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program resources online, including the website<>, Catalog of Awards<> and webinars,<> or contact<>. Thank you for encouraging new scholars to apply for a Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Opportunity Knocks: Organic Horticulturist/Gardener for Iowa Botanical Garden

Unique job opening: Oversee and personally care for virtually all aspects of the Earthborn Rainforest Garden, a tropical oasis in the heartland of Iowa. Maintain and creatively improve a brand new 11,000 sf greenhouse with tropical fruit orchard and botanical gardens. Responsibilities include such activities as: planting, watering, organic feeding, organic and biological insect control, weeding, plant health, pruning, harvesting, greenhouse controls, pond care, and education of visitors. Located next to the most progressive and green small town in the USA. View all details at:

Friday, June 21, 2013

Visit to The University of Bologna’s garden, the Orto Botanico

From the Aggie Horticulture Goes to Italy student blog:

Orto Botanico

Our Saturday was a free day and some of us went to Bologna. While there we visited the University of Bologna’s garden, the Orto Botanico. It is one of Europe’s oldest gardens and was established in 1568. Today it has 5000 specimen.

I had a ton of fun walking around this garden. There are many trees and little circular planters, each containing a different species. The most interesting plants were the carnivorous ones kept in a cage. The fact that they were in a cage made me laugh. There were a few varieties including the cobra lily (Darlingtonia californica) and the venus fly trap (Dionaea muscipula). I have not seen carnivorous plants in person so it was fun to look at these. These plants became carnivorous through evolution to compensate for nutrient poor soil. Both the cobra lily and venus fly trap can tolerate fire and actually depend on fires to eliminate competition from other plants which I think is a useful characteristic. Although the cobra lily is a hardy plant, its roots are delicate and require a much colder temperature to survive than part of the plant above the soil. This is because the plant naturally grows in bogs and stream banks fed by cold mountain water. I would never have guessed the roots need to be kept at a cooler temperature than the rest of the plant.

Cobra Lily
What I find most interesting about these carnivorous plants are their trapping mechanisms. The cobra lily uses lubricating secretions and downward-pointing hairs to force their prey into their trap. This is common to all North American pitcher plants but this species also makes use of false exits. This confuses the insect, exhausting it after many attempts to escape through the false exit and not having the ability to climb the slippery walls, it falls into the digestive acids at the bottom of the plant.

Venus Fly Trap
The venus fly trap uses an active steel trap mechanism. The trap is a section of the plant’s leaf. The inside lobes of the trap have hairs that must be triggered twice in succession or two different hairs on the same leaf must be triggered in order for the trap to close. This redundant triggering mechanism is capable of distinguishing between living and non-prey stimuli and is a safeguard to conserve energy. But if non-prey triggers the trap, it will reopen in 24 hours. This mechanism is not fully understood and I think it’s very interesting that the plant has a way of determining if the movement is from prey. The fact that the plant can tell which hairs have been touched within a certain period of time is remarkable. This closure occurs in about 1/30 second in full sunlight. The speed of closure is dependent on temperature, cooler temperatures causing slower movement. When open, the lobes of the trap are convex but when closed it is concave, forming a cavity. The edges of these lobes are lined with stiff hairs intermeshing when closed, keeping large prey in the trap. But there are holes in the mesh allowing small prey to escape because the benefit of digesting the prey does not outweigh the nutrition gained. Bologna is a wonderful place to visit and I am glad we stopped by to see the university’s beautiful garden. -Shannon Murray

"Cobra Lily Plants." Cobra Lily Plants. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 June 2013.
"Darlingtonia californica - the Cobra Lily." Darlingtonia californica, Carnivorous Plants Online. Botanical Society of America, n.d. Web. 19 June 2013.
"Dionaea Muscipula - The Venus Flytrap." Venus Flytrap. Botanical Society of America, n.d. Web. 19 June 2013.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Aggie Hort Study Abroad visits Tamasello pasta factory in Italy:

If you're not already following along, join us!

University of Florida - Aquatic Plants position:

University of Florida position announcement – Biological Scientist, Aquatic Plants in Davie FL
This Biological Scientist position is located at the University of Florida IFAS Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center in Davie FL. In collaboration with the supervisor, the successful candidate will conduct aquatic plant culture and control experiments in the field, greenhouse, mesocosm and laboratory. Experiments may involve plant collection, propagation, care and maintenance of containerized plants, herbicide applications, plant growth measurements, tissue analysis and genetic analysis. The successful candidate will also be responsible for managing the day to day operation of the aquatic plant program, including maintenance of research facilities and the teaching and research plant collection. This position involves extensive outdoor work under inclement conditions, including extreme heat, humidity and chest-deep water.
Minimum Requirements:
A bachelor’s degree in an appropriate area of specialization and one year of appropriate experience. Appropriate college coursework may substitute at an equivalent rate for the required experience.
Preferred Qualifications:
• Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in an agricultural field
• Record of grantsmanship
• Proficiency using SAS, SigmaPlot and Acrobat
• Record of publication in peer-reviewed and trade publications
• Experience participating in Extension programming by preparing and giving talks to licensed pesticide applicators and authoring or co-authoring EDIS documents
• Ability to conceptualize, plan, design and conduct independent research experiments
• Experience working with molecular genetics laboratory equipment (DNA extraction, amplification, purification, marker analysis, etc.)
• Familiarity with Florida’s common native and invasive aquatic and wetland plants
• Ability to maintain and repair mechanical equipment (boat motors, pumps, etc.)
• Licensed in additional categories, particularly natural areas, right of way, demonstration and research, ornamental and turf
Health Assessment Required:    Yes
Special instructions to applicants:
Work with little or no supervision
Work under adverse conditions (extreme heat, high humidity, chest-deep water, etc.)
Travel up to 10% of the time
Lift up to 80 lbs. without assistance
Florida restricted-use pesticide applicator’s license: aquatic category (or the ability to obtain one within 30 days of employment)
• Florida driver’s license (or the ability to obtain one within 30 days of employment)
• Florida Boater Safety Education ID Card. As required ( or ability to obtain one within 30 days of employment)
Posting Date:     06/10/2013
Closing Date:      06/20/2013

Texas Parks and Wildlife part-time Position posting - Apply by Friday 6/14!

Training Assistant/Outreach Assistant position open in Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) Buffalo Soldiers Program. This temporary, part-time position involves 75% travel and is funded through August 31, 2013. It may be extended based on business need and funding:
 TPWD Training Assistant / Outreach Assistant – Buffalo Soldiers Program. For information on TPWD’s Buffalo Soldiers Program, please see here. Closing date for this position, TPWD Job Posting #13-00677, is this Friday, June 14, 2013, 11:59PM CDT.
 Mr. Luis Padilla, TPWD Buffalo Soldiers Program Team Lead, with any questions. Please find his contact information in the “TPWD Training…Soldiers Program” hyperlink above.
Texas Parks and Wildlife is Celebrating 50 Years of Making Life Better Outside. Join Us!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Have you seen it?

Some great posts have been coming in post-trip since students didn't have dependable internet service during some parts of their China journey.  And stay tuned to the Hort Sciences homepage to read student dispatches from Italy!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Congrats to May '13 Hort Grad Heather MacDonald on her ANRP Internship in DC!

Heather MacDonaldHeather MacDonald
Office of Congressman Randy Weber

Heather MacDonald of Lucas, TX graduated from Texas A&M University in May 2013 with a Bachelor of Science degree in horticulture with an emphasis in science and biotechnology. While at A&M, she was a member of Aggie Sisters for Christ and served as both a committee chair and small group leader in that organization. Heather also spent her summers working for NE Construction in Lewisville, TX, and as an intern at Texas Scottish Rite hospital for Children. If Heather is not at school or serving her friends and community, she enjoys reading, gardening, and snuggling with her cat, Casper. She looks forward not only to applying her knowledge in the workplace, but also to the insights it can offer her as she plans to attend medical school in the near future.