MREC Mission Statement
MREC Research, Teaching, and Extension programs center on environmental horticulture, vegetable, and fruit crops in three broad areas of study:
Plant Development – breeding, developmental biology, biotechnology, landscaping, and economics.
Plant Production – nutrition, water use, light, and horticulture
Plant Protection – plant pathology, entomology, weed management, and IPM.
Additionally, a program studying the ecology and management of aquatic insect pests expands the scope of our mission. The major commodity-based clientele supported by MREC programs are the tropical foliage, cut foliage, woody ornamental, grape, and vegetable industries. These clientele are further served by Extension programs that are developed and produced by local, state, and national Extension faculty with the cooperation of the MREC faculty and staff . The aquatic insect pest program supports a more general constituency. The new teaching program will further broaden the MREC clientele base.
SPECIALTIES OF THE CENTER AND SPECIAL RESEARCH & EXTENSION CAPABILITIES:
• Biological control of arthropods, pests, and weeds through introduction of natural enemies to reduce dependence on chemicals.
• Technical and economical effi - ciencies of producing and marketing environmental plants.
• Characterization and control of the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa (Pierce’s Disease), that causes death of grapes and environmental ornamentals.
• Ecology and control of chironomid midges (blind mosquitoes) in Florida’s lakes and ponds.
• Effects of production systems and cultural care on establishment, under varying conditions, of plants in the landscape.
• Introduction and evaluation of new ornamental crops to Florida.
• Development of best management practices for ornamental crops to benefi t producers, consumers and the environment.
• Quantification and modelling of water use of woody shrubs and trees for development of precision irrigation in nursery production.
The major commodity based clientele supported by MREC programs are the Foliage, Vegetable and Grape industries. These clientele are further served by Extension programs which are developed and produced by local, state, and national Extension faculty with the cooperation of the MREC faculty and staff. The aquatic insect pest program supports a more general constituency. The new teaching program will further broaden the MREC clientele base.
The primary mission of all IFAS Research and Education Centers is to support multi-disciplinary research, teaching and extension programs focused on commodities, natural resources and broader issues (e.g., water quality and environmental contamination) relevant to Florida. The faculty, staff and director continuously interact with many public and private organizations, groups and leaders as scientifi c and educational experts and as members of the community. MREC faculty cooperate with their colleagues in most of the academic departments in Gainesville, at county offi ces, and other RECs around the state. Out-of state and international cooperation with institutions and individuals is also a major component of the linkages developed by faculty and staff.
MREC faculty maintain contacts with the tropical foliage, cut foliage, woody ornamental, grape, and vegetable industries. Communication occurs directly with growers and through commodity organizations. Support of various project initiatives is established through linkages with other state and federal agencies such as: regional Water Management Districts, Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services (FDACS), and Florida Department of Environmental Protection> (FDEP), USDA (ARS, CSREES, APHIS, and NRCS), and EPA. Additionally, interactions with state, national, and world public health organizations occurs through the program dealing with the ecology and management of aquatic insect pests.