Fall 2008

Benghal dayflower: Tales of an exotic invasive weed in the Southeast US

Dr. Theodore M. Webster
Crop Protection and Management Research Unit, USDA-Agricultural Research Service

Tifton, Georgia

Hosting Dept: Biology


Abstract:  A native of tropical Asia and Africa, Benghal dayflower (Commelina benghalensis, also known as tropical spiderwort) was first introduced to the US in the late 1920’s and first identified in Georgia in 1967. With the introduction and use of glyphosate (Roundup) tolerant crops, Benghal dayflower has become a significant weed of cotton, peanut, soybean, and corn. Benghal dayflower is also listed on the Federal Noxious Weed List, which prohibits movement of this plant (or its parts) across state boundaries. This is a significant issue for states in the Southeast US with turf and container nursery ornamental production and has had serious ramifications for one nursery in South Carolina. One of the most unique aspects to this weed is the presence of both aerial and subterranean flowers, one of only several dozen species to have such capabilities. Research on the biology and ecology of Benghal dayflower in agroecosystems will be reviewed, as well as research on the potential distribution of this species throughout the world.

Thursday,  September 4, 2008 4pm

Tigers in the Laboratory: Chemistry at Auburn

Dr. Christian R. Goldsmith, Assistant Professor
Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Auburn University

Hosting Dept: Chemistry


Abstract:  The talk has two portions. The first focuses on the realities of graduate research in the field of chemistry. Topics in this portion include the factors that go into choosing a graduate program, the application process, and the expectations regarding the first few years in the program. The second portion focuses on the research currently taking place at Auburn University.

Thursday,  September 11, 2008 4pm

A Vector Model of Trust for Reasoning about Trustworthiness of Entities Involved in Security Contexts

Dr. Sudip Chakraborty
Department of Math & Computer Science, Valdosta State University

Hosting Dept: Math & CS


Abstract:  Information technology is increasingly driven by the requirements of confidentiality, integrity, availability, and usability of
systems and information resources. To measure the level of assurance that we can have about the proper functioning of these systems
according to our requirements, the notion of 'trust' is important. Secure systems have been built under the premise that concepts like
"trustworthiness" or "trusted" are well understood. However, there is no agreement among researchers about the meaning, representation,
evaluation, evolution, and method of comparison/composition of trust. The lack of agreement makes it difficult to reason about trustworthiness
of entities involved in different security contexts.

This talk gives an overview of a new model of trust to alleviate the above problems. In this model, trust is a quantitatively measurable entity, depending
on different independent parameters. The model proposes methods to evaluate the parameters and the trust level, and methods to formalize trust evolution, compare and compose two trust relationships.

Thursday,  September 18, 2008 4pm

The COPII coat: A self-assembling multi-subunit nanoparticle.

Dr. Scott Stagg
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Institute of Molecular Biophysics
Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL

Hosting Dept: Biology


Abstract:  The COPII coat is involved in transporting proteins from the endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi apparatus. The COPII proteins including Sar1, Sec23/24 and Sec13/31 are involved in regulating transport, selecting export competent cargo, and generating a vesicle that will serve as a transport carrier. We have solved the structures of self-assembled COPII coats and cages and will discuss models for the mechanisms by which these proteins assemble, deform the ER membrane, and create vesicles of different sizes.

Thursday,  September 25, 2008 4pm

Efficient OLAP and Data Cube Algorithms.

Dr. Lixin Fu
Department of Computer Science
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Hosting Dept: Math & Computer Science


Abstract:  In this information age, processing and analyzing large amount of data to discover interesting patters are very important and challenging tasks. OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) and Data cube, together with data warehousing and data mining, have wide applications in many industries such as retailing, marketing, manufacturing, and communications. In this talk I will introduce these concepts and discuss new efficient OLAP algorithms.

Dr. Lixin Fu is currently an associate professor at Computer Science Department of University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He obtained his Ph. D. degree at University of Florida. Dr. Fu’s main research areas include databases, OLAP and data mining.
Thursday, October 2, 2008 4pm

What is really going on in that herbarium?  An overview of my research program

Dr. Richard Carter
Department of Biology, Valdosta State University

Hosting Dept: Biology


Abstract:  I have been on the faculty of Valdosta State since Fall Semester 1984. My research is centered in the field and herbarium, and, since 1985, I have served as Curator of the Valdosta State University Herbarium, a regional collection of more than 60,000 plant specimens, particularly rich in flora of the Georgia coastal plain. My research program comprises three main areas: flora of the Georgia coastal plain, plant systematics, and distribution and biology of weeds. I will describe the Valdosta State University Herbarium and discuss its significance and uses, and I will present results from selected research projects.

Thursday, October 9, 2008 4pm

Development of transgenic insects for functional genomics and biological control

Dr. Alfred M. Handler, Research Geneticist
Center for Medical, Agricultural, & Veterinary Entomology
Insect Behavior and Biocontrol Research Unit, Gainesville, FL

Hosting Dept: Biology


Abstract:  The transposon-mediated germline transformation of many non-drosophilid insects now allows gene structure-function relationships to be explored and functional genomics analysis by insertional mutagenesis. For insects important to agriculture and human health, the development of transgenic strains for the improvement of biological control strategies is possible, though this presents challenges related to the potential field release of transgenic insects. A discussion of insect transgenesis technology and its applications will be presented.

Thursday, October 16, 2008 4pm

Fluorescent Heteroditopic Ligands for Zinc Ion

Dr. Lei Zhu, Assistant Professor
Chemistry Department, Florida State University

Hosting Dept: Chemistry


Abstract:  The design, preparation, and studies of fluorescent heteroditopic ligands for zinc ion will be presented. Three coordination states (non-, mono-, and di-coordinated) of such a ligand were successfully translated into three fluorescence states (non-fluorescent, fluorescent at one wavelength, and fluorescent at another wavelength, see Figure) through rational design. The mechanistic insight of the coordination-driven photophysical processes uncovered in this unique class of molecules was gained. The applications of these molecules in quantification of zinc ion over relatively large concentration ranges will be described.

Thursday, October 23, 2008 4pm

No Seminar this week

Thursday, October 30, 2008 4pm

Lipid-Assembled Fullerenes: Photoconversion and Biosensing

Dr. Wei Zhan
Chemistry Department, Auburn University

Hosting Dept: Chemistry


Abstract:  In this talk, we discuss a new approach to efficient photocurrent generation by using amphiphilic fullerene C60 derivatives assembled in phospholipids. Compared to most previous photoconversion systems based on supramolecular fullerene complexes, our approach relies on noncovalent formation of lipid bilayer on electrode to achieve precise placement of fullerene and therefore, can be quickly implemented in aqueous media. The advantage of having everything in water is taken further to design a sequence-specific DNA biosensor.

Thursday, November 6, 2008 4pm

Rare and Endangered Herpetofauna of Georgia

John B. Jensen, Senior Wildlife Biologist
Nongame Conservation Section
Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Hosting Dept: Biology


Abstract:  Georgia is home to 170 described species of hereptofauna, evenly represented by 85 amphibians and 85 reptiles. Unfortunately, the state population status of 61 of those species finds them deserving of special protection or conservation concern. Georgia’s rare “herps” are variously classified as federally or state “endangered” or “threatened,” “rare,” “unusual,” or “species of concern,” based on their relative rarity and the threats each face. While habitat loss and alteration is by far the greatest threat to all of our wildlife, unsustainable use, disease, introduced invasive species, environmental pollution, malicious killing, and even global climate change also imperil many amphibians and reptiles. These threat topics will be discussed with examples of each, and conservation actions intended to thwart declines will also be presented.

Thursday, November 13, 2008 4pm

The life history of the crayfish, Procambarus spiculifer, in the Alapahoochee River Basin.

Phil Hightower
Valdosta State University

Hosting Dept: Biology


Abstract:  A fifteen month life history analysis was conducted on a population of Procambarus spiculifer in the Alapahoochee River. The crayfish, P. spiculifer, inhabits lotic waters in portions of Georgia, Florida, and Alabama. Cephalothorax lengths ranged from 6.07 mm to 59.80 mm and weights varied from 0.02 g to 53.37 g. The average sizes of adults were 45.90 mm for form I males, 42.77 mm for form II males, and 38.43 mm for mature females. Form I males and mature females were collected year round. Relationships of cephalothorax lengths with body weights, chelae lengths, cephalothorax widths, ovarian eggs, and abdominal eggs were examined. Carapace width and chelae width comparisons among sex classes were also performed. Peak juvenile introductions into the population occurred in June, late fall, and early winter. A maximum life span of two to three years was determined.

Reproductive maturity occurs around the ages of 13 to 15 months. Ovarian egg counts averaged 602 eggs (n = 61) and abdominal egg counts in the laboratory averaged 464 eggs (n = 6). Abdominal egg diameters averaged 1.74 mm (n = 120) with a range of 1.04 mm to 2.03 mm. Females have the ability to reproduce more than once and new ova begin development immediately after a clutch of eggs is laid. The right vas deferens is probably the only functional one in P. spiculifer. GSIs were determined for mature females, immature females, form I males, and form II males. A gastric stomach analysis revealed that both males (n = 20) and females (n = 20) consume more vegetal matter than animal matter in their diet.

Thursday, November 20, 2008 4pm

End of semester