Automated data collection and analysis pipelines are changing the way humans generate and use information. At the University of Georgia, researchers harness the power of advanced sensing, robotics and big-data analytics to change agriculture.From streamlining the development of new crop varieties to improving cultural practices to enhance soil health, advanced sensing and robotics are key to developing more productive, sustainable agricultural systems.About 50 UGA researchers gathered for the inaugural Phenomics and Plant Robotics Center (PPRC) Symposium on March 9 to discuss how advances in these areas are changing the world of agriculture.A phenotype is a physical or biochemical trait that is controlled by a single gene or a set of genes inside a plant or animal’s total genetic code, and an animal or plant’s phenome is the collection of all of the animal or plant’s individual physical and biochemical traits. Phenomics is the study of these collections of traits across a population, and it’s the subject of the new PPRC at UGA.Housed in the university’s Office of Research, the center is led by engineering Professor Charlie Li. It was founded in 2018 and includes 35 UGA faculty members from 17 UGA units and four colleges, including the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.“Our center will promote convergent research between plant breeding, genomics and biomass characterization; engineering; and computational sciences to propel UGA into a global leadership position in phenomics and plant robotics,” Li said. “The University of Georgia is exceptionally positioned to take the lead in this area because of its burgeoning informatics initiative, the growing strength of our College of Engineering and our world-class plant science research.”The center’s founding members include Li; Harald Scherm, CAES professor and plant pathology department head; Scott Jackson, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, CAES crop and soil sciences professor, and director of the UGA Center for Applied Genetic Technologies; Alexander Bucksch, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences assistant professor of plant biology; and Ping Ma, Franklin College professor of statistics specializing in bioinformatics, functional data analysis and geophysics.The PRCC’s goal is to foster the development of high-throughput phenotyping technologies using robotics and big-data analytics to aid in breeding more sustainable, productive crops by identifying individual plants, amongst the thousands in crop field, with traits that breeders want to emphasize in new varieties. For instance, a robot could use computer vision and deep-learning neural networks to find plants with ideal root structures or ideal growth habits.The center supports research into the development of these types of systems by providing continuing education for faculty through an annual symposium and a series of regular brown-bag seminars on robotics and phenomics. The center will also support partnerships with universities and research centers outside UGA, offer development workshops, help UGA administrators pinpoint specific research needs and recruit faculty to fill those needs.The inaugural symposium included presentations from Penn State University Distinguished Professor John Lynch, a plant physiologist, and Regents’ Professor of Crop and Soil Sciences and Genetics Andrew Paterson, a UGA plant geneticist and breeder.Lynch, a world-renowned root physiologist, currently uses phenotyping robots to select corn plants with root systems that maximize their uptake of phosphorus from the soil, which could lead farmers to apply less fertilizer to their land but still produce healthy corn crops.Geneticists often look for one favorable trait — high yield, for instance — and then spend years searching for the genes that control that one trait so that it can be bred into future generations of the crop, Lynch told the crowd gathered at the symposium. He argued that the search for genes that control favorable traits is invaluably important, but it sometimes means that researchers can’t see the forest for the trees. Assessing all of the traits in a successful adult plant allows breeders to see how multiple traits work together to keep a plant healthy and productive. That’s where robotic phenotyping and the study of phenomics is invaluable.Paterson presented his collaborative work with Li. They use crop-imaging robots at the CAES Iron Horse Farm to identify crops with traits he would like in future varieties of staple crops.“One of the reasons that breeding proceeds slowly is because phenotyping is laborious,” Paterson said. “In my lab, I’ve been known to have phenotyping parties where we take the whole lab out to the field, and we measure and count and weigh and harvest. It might go on for days or weeks. We spend a lot of time measuring plants and measuring plant traits.”Phenotyping robots that can gather and analyze information about plants would greatly speed up the selection process involved in breeding better-adapted plants into new crop varieties.Some of these technologies are already used to spot diseased plants or plants under drought or heat stress. Farmers use this information to pinpoint where irrigation, pesticide and fertilizer applications are necessary in an effort to minimize the impact on water and soil resources and to reduce costs.As the center produces new technologies to breed more sustainable, resilient crops and to help farmers practice more precise agriculture, robotics will become a key part of meeting the world’s growing demand for food while protecting the natural environment.For more information about the center and its work, visit pprc.uga.edu.
56 Knightsbridge Pde, Sovereign Islands.A FIVE-HOLE putting green, games room, gym and a state-of-the-art cinema are just some of the luxury features that come with this Sovereign Islands mansion. The property, on the market with Savills Gold Coast, offers resort-style living with a spectacular waterfront vista. 56 Knightsbridge Pde, Sovereign Islands. 56 Knightsbridge Pde, Sovereign Islands. 56 Knightsbridge Pde, Sovereign Islands. 56 Knightsbridge Pde, Sovereign Islands. It’s one that has to be seen to be believed with out-of-this-world architectural detail.More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa16 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days agoBuilt on a 1399sq m block on Knightsbridge Pde East, the five-bedroom, eight-bathroom house has four distinctive and flexible living zones. There is a dedicated level to the master bedroom with its own lounge and mini bar while all of the other bedrooms come with walk-in wardrobes and ensuites. The kitchen has Asko appliances and also comes with a large butler’s pantry.Other standout features include a commercial-grade lift, study, modern electric fireplace and a multipurpose room.Sovereign Islands is a gated community and is one of the most expensive locales in the country.Connected to the mainland of Paradise Point by a single bridge, the community is guarded 24/7 by security.The exclusive group of islands offers deepwater access for luxury boats and yachts at all tides. ON THE MARKET Address: 56 Knightsbridge Pde, Sovereign IslandsAgent: Georgia Elson and Christopher Jones, Savills Gold CoastFeatures: Pool, lift, putting greenPrice: $6.95 million — $7.5 millionInspections: By appointment
Saturday was finally an almost perfect day to watch and participate in a track meet. Many members of the Batesville High School men and women’s track and field team traveled to Indianapolis to Lawrence Central High School to compete in the Midwest Prepmeet.This meet is a little unique, as competitors need to qualify at certain times and distances to be invited to compete. This year, Batesville had the most number of events and athletes competing here than they ever have in the past. Having to meet the qualifying standards, makes this meet highly competitive…the best competition we have seen thus far. It is also great experience for these athletes to help prepare them for the big meets at the end for the year.Medal awards were given to the top 8 athletes in each event and the Bulldogs were able to bring several of these home. The first medal winners were the girls 4 x 800m relay team. The relay placed 6th overall, running over 20 seconds faster than they have this year, which also ended up being a new school record!!! The old record set at this meet last year was 10:14. This year’s squad cut almost 4 second from that clocking in at 10:10.83. Member’s for the team were Mary Poltrack, Maria Wessel, SarahPoltrack and Kelsey Gausman.Also bringing home a medal were: Peter Heil in the 300m hurdles, coming in at 7th place (41.17), Connor Bell in the 800m run- running a 6 second personal best and placing 5th at 2:00.27 and Michael Tunny in the 200m dash, coming through the line 6th, at 23.55.Others competing but coming a little short of a medal, but running great were:100m dash-Sophie Meadows (17th), Tanner Ayette (13th) and Jacob Koehne (18th).200m dash-Sophie Meadows (13th), Jacob Koehne (13th).400m dash-Audrey Hall (14th) and John Moody (26th).800m run-Kelsey Gausman (13th).3200m run-Mary Poltrack (10th) , Sarah Poltrack (16th) and Caleb Moster (17th).High Jump-Kim Tidman (9th).Long Jump-Kim Tidman (11th), Mary Elizabeth Elkins (20th) and Garrett Yorn (22md).Shot put-Samathna Heidlage (9th).4 x 100 relay team-Jacob Koehne, Peter Heil, Garrett Yorn, Tanner Ayette (14th).4 x 400 relay teams of: Madelein Robben, Haylee Harmeyer, Mary Elizabeth Elkins and Sophie Meadows (12th) and Garrett Yorn, John Moody, Peter Heil and Michael Tunny (15th).Congratulations to all of the competitors!Next meet is Tuesday. It will be a two in one meet as we will be making up the meet from a couple of weeks ago against East Central, combined with an already scheduled meet with EC with our JV team. So this will be a ribbon awarded Varsity and JV meet.Action will begin at 5:15 at East Central.Courtesy of Bulldogs Coach Lisa Gausman.