What if your social media network — the actual interface, not your followers — could tip you off to a personal risk for developing a preventable medical condition, then help you figure out ways to improve your lifestyle?

University of Arizona computer science and nutritional science researchers are working on that exact issue, determining ways to enhance artificial intelligence capabilities to predict certain chronic, yet preventable, health conditions based on a person's social media activity.

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(Photo Courtesy: By Julie Huynh / The Daily Wildcat)

Dogs are more than just man’s best friend. Researchers are looking at how the contribution of their gut bacteria might be making their owners healthier.

Dr. Charles Raison, a professor of psychiatry and CNN mental health expert [and also a professor in the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences], is investigating whether owning a dog provides health benefits to the owners through positive changes in their microbiota.

Throughout an individual’s life, the microbiota — or bacterial community — play an important role in maintaining health and well-being. Beneficial bacteria cover human skin and line the gastrointestinal tract, helping to digest certain foods, prevent inflammation and keep disease-causing bacteria from taking root.

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(Photo courtesy: P. Andrew "Andy" Groseta)

P. Andrew "Andy" Groseta, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Alumnus of the Year, is a third-generation Arizona rancher who has reached pinnacles of success in his ranching career, industry leadership roles, and service to the community and his alma mater.

A partner in Headquarters West Ltd., a statewide agribusiness firm, Groseta has served as president of the Arizona Cattle Growers Association and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

Groseta was selected in 2008 by then-President George W. Bush to attend the inauguration of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak as a member of the U.S. presidential delegation. He represented U.S. cattlemen in resolving the U.S.-Korean beef trade issue, allowing U.S. beef back into South Korea.

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(Photo courtesy: Cody Sheehy)

The CALS Communications and Cyber Technologies (CCT) team recently completed a three-month email upgrade that involved migrating over 1,000 @ag and @cals email accounts from their College of Agriculture and Life Sciences server in the Forbes building to the UA campus-hosted email system. All CALS employees can now benefit from the increased server space, server administration and 24/7 desktop support.

Managing the CALS email server was an around-the-clock operation and migrating this service to UAConnect allows CCT staff to offer an expanded suite of services to clientele throughout the college. The CCT team intends to use this opportunity to spend less time on commodity IT and to refocus their efforts on developing high-quality applications, multimedia and supporting infrastructure.

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A pallid bat skims the surface of a pond (Photo Courtesy: Alex Badyaev, professor in the UA's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)

Bats are the quintessential creatures of the night. From ancient mythology to modern pop culture, the winged mammals have long captured our imaginations and inhabited our deepest nightmares. 

But bats have a vital role to play in the success of local economies as free pest-control providers, according to research by University of Arizona scientist Laura López-Hoffman, assistant professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment, part of UA's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Contrary to what Halloween movies might lead you to believe, only three out of about 1,240 known bat species feed on blood. Most dine on insects, and among them is the Mexican free-tailed bat, which migrates between the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. This species alone, it turns out, has saved cotton farmers across the region millions of dollars in crop damage and insecticide costs by voraciously consuming the six-legged pests.

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The Stordalen Mire in Northern Sweden. Soils that used to be frozen year-round are giving way to swampy wetlands under the influence of a warming climate. (Photo: Carmody McCalley)

Tiny soil microbes are among the world's biggest potential amplifiers of human-caused climate change, but whether microbial communities are mere slaves to their environment or influential actors in their own right is an open question. Now research by an international team of scientists from the U.S., Sweden and Australia, led by University of Arizona scientists, shows that a single species of microbe, discovered only recently, is an unexpected key player in climate change. 

The findings, published in the journal Nature, should help scientists improve their simulations of future climate by replacing assumptions about the different greenhouse gases emitted from thawing permafrost with new understanding of how different communities of microbes control the release of these gases.

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AFA Members from left to right: Breanna Watkins, Holly Kerrigan, Kelli Rovey, Kaitlyn Patterson, Sophia Leone, Ben Saylor, Maya Wallace, Zane Gouker (Photo courtesy: Monique Garcia)

Ten students in the University of Arizona’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences were selected as delegates to the Agriculture Future of America’s (AFA) Leaders Conference as a result of CALS' commitment as a collegiate partner to AFA. The organization is dedicated to helping students reach their full leadership capabilities by creating “partnerships that identify, encourage and support outstanding college men and women preparing for careers in the agriculture and food industry.” 

Since 1997, AFA has provided scholarships and leader training to collegiate students pursuing careers in agriculture. AFA’s anchor personal and professional development event is AFA Leaders Conference.

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(Photo courtesy of Scottsdale Healthcare Foundation)

Lifelong Arizona 4-H supporter Dan A. Klingenberg is one of 14 honorees inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame for their lifetime achievements and contributions to 4-H, the nation’s largest youth development organization that serves over six million youth nationwide. He was honored during a special ceremony on Friday, Oct. 10, at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Md.

National 4-H Hall of Fame laureates are nominated by their home states, National 4-H Council, the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents, or 4-H National Headquarters of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) - USDA based upon their exceptional leadership at the local, state, national and international levels.

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(Photo courtesy: Ian Brewer)

It's not every day that NASA scientists ask kids to design and launch rockets that could deliver food to inhabitants on a storm-ravaged, isolated Pacific island.

On Oct. 8, thousands of young students across the country took up that challenge as part of 4-H's 2014 National Youth Science Day. The event is held annually to encourage student involvement in STEM-related fields. Each year, 4-H'ers nationwide participate in the same science experiment.

"4-H is more than cows and cooking," said Kirk Astroth, director of Arizona 4-H Youth Development. "Everything we do is about science. We try to keep up with the changing needs and interests of kids – we teach app development, photography, GPS and rocketry."

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(From left) Elizabeth Sparks, Arizona 4-H, and Noemi Bohn, United Healthcare, hold the $40,000 big check from United Healthcare during the kick-off for their healthy living education partnership at the Santa Cruz County Fair on Friday, September 19, 2014. Flanked by Tanner Lyman and Mackenzi Lawrence (not shown) on bikes, as Mr. and Miss 4-H Santa Cruz County respectively, and members of Santa Cruz County 4-H. (Photo by Tom Freeland.)

On Friday, September 19, 2014, over 1,000 Santa Cruz County school-aged children and teachers gathered to celebrate the United Healthcare and Arizona 4-H Kick-Off event at the Santa Cruz County Fair. The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension’s Arizona 4-H Youth Development Program and United Healthcare are partnering to educate youth about healthy living habits.

The 4-H Healthy Living Ambassador Program is active in Cochise, Pima, and Santa Cruz counties and is led by 4-H agents Darcy Tessman, Elizabeth Sparks, and Amanda Zamudio. The National 4-H Council and United Healthcare are sponsoring the project through a $40,000 grant for the 2014-2015 year.

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(Photo courtesy: Carl Schultz)

The UA's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has named Paul Brierley the inaugural director of its recently launched Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture.

The center, based in Yuma, is a public-private partnership between the college and the Arizona and California desert agriculture industry, dedicated to addressing "on-the-ground" industry needs through collaboration and research.

Brierley, who was identified after a national search, will oversee the center's research activities. He joins the UA after more than a decade of executive service to the Arizona Farm Bureau, where, as the bureau's director of organization, he helped agricultural producers improve their industry by actively identifying and solving problems.

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(Photo Courtesy: Judy Davis)

The Arizona Board of Regents approved the University of Arizona’s request today to establish a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine degree within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences. The program, which will cut the cost of educating Arizona veterinary students by half and provide a faster pathway to entering the workforce. The veterinary medical and surgical program plans to enroll its first students in less than one year.

The UA program will be founded on three critical pillars underpinning not only the veterinary profession but all of global society as it involves animals: commerce, human-animal interdependence and “One Health”—an approach to treating the health of humans, animals and the environment as interrelated. Not only will the program train DVMs, it will also allow students who do not become DVMs—but who are interested in a successful career in the very large and diverse areas of our economy associated with animals—to get a master’s degree in areas related to the three pillars.

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(Photo credit: Olan Mills Portrait Studio)

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of a very special alumna of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Judy Mellor. Julia “Judy” Mellor passed away on September 11, 2014, in Tucson, at the age of 70.

Judy graduated from the University of Arizona in 1965 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics Education. For over 45 years, she served the students, faculty and programs of CALS. She actively recruited students to the College and encouraged more and younger alumni to support CALS and the University. Her involvement in the Annual Homecoming “Dean’s Almost World Famous Burrito Breakfast and Alumni Auction” was integral to its success year after year.

Judy was known throughout the College for her kind heart, volunteerism, and pride in her University.

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The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Entomology will be hosting the Arizona Insect Festival again for its 4th year on campus! The festival will take place on Sunday, September 21 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the University of Arizona. There will be more than 20 booths in the Student Union Grand Ballroom, with theme-based, interactive activities and exhibits about the importance of insects in our lives, and exciting University of Arizona research.

The festival will highlight research conducted by UA scientists from a wide range of academic departments including Entomology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Neurobiology. This event has attracted thousands of Tucson residents, students, and children in the past, so the attendees are expected to increase this year. Don't miss out on this fun and free event!  

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Solving global challenges in food security, emerging diseases and biodiversity loss requires evolutionary thinking, argues a new study published online in Science Express that was co-authored by Bruce Tabashnik of the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

For the first time, an international team of nine scientists has reviewed progress in addressing a broad set of challenges in agriculture, medicine and environmental management using approaches that consider evolutionary histories and the likelihood of rapid adaptation to human activities.

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As University of Arizona students partake in recreational sports at Bear Down Field, it's unlikely they realize what lies just beneath their feet. Under the north edge of the field lies a million-gallon tank designed to mitigate storm flows and harvest stormwater.

When monsoon clouds roll into town and unleash a downpour on the city, water is filtered into the tank, where it collects and, through a series of pipes, is directed outside of Likins residence hall, draining into the landscaping.

This tank is one of numerous water harvesting features integrated throughout the UA campus.

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Chemical odor plume measurements were made by proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry and anemometry in the University of Arizona Santa Rita Experimental Range. (Photo courtesy of Leif Abrell)

Car and truck exhaust fumes that foul the air for humans also cause problems for pollinators.

In new research on how pollinators find flowers when background odors are strong, University of Washington and University of Arizona researchers have found that both natural plant odors and human sources of pollution can conceal the scent of sought-after flowers.

When the calories from one feeding off a flower fuels only 15 minutes of flight, as is the case with the tobacco hornworm moth studied, being misled costs a pollinator energy and time.

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