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citrus trees at UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center

Soil and Water Summer Experience – Ben Tubbs

The Soil and Water Sciences Department is offering students the chance to blog about their summer experience. The students enrolled in one of three courses over the summer, for which they received credit: SWS 4905-Individual Work, SWS 4911-Supervised Research in Soil and Water Science, and SWS 4941 Practical Work Experience. This is Ben Tubbs’s summer internship:

college student working in lab dispensing liquid from flask

Ben Tubbs working in the lab. (photo provided)

My name is Ben Tubbs and I am majoring in Environmental Management in Agriculture and Natural Resources. This summer I was working at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center under Dr. Davie Kadyampakeni. Throughout this experience, I gained a considerable amount of knowledge regarding lab analysis and field sampling as well as the production/management of citrus in Florida.

A large portion of my time spent at the CREC was in the lab processing and performing analysis on samples collected in the greenhouse or from one of the fields. Some of the lab work I performed included measuring the surface area of leaves in order to estimate the canopy size of the trees. Along with the analysis of leaves, I helped perform analysis of soils and water by using the Lachat Quick-Chem Instrument to get the NH4 and NO3 levels of processed samples. It was in this lab work that I was able to apply many of the things that I had learned throughout college. I was able to see first-hand the process that goes into the in-depth analysis of soils, water, and tissue samples.

Along with learning a lot about lab work, I also gained knowledge in the actual production of citrus and the process that goes into field sampling to analyze the citrus tree health. My previous coursework helped me a great deal, especially in laboratory work. Because of my background with chemistry, I had a greater understanding of the processes used to get nutrient concentration levels and determining the flow of nutrients to the citrus trees. I found it interesting that there are so many tools that monitor different aspects of citrus trees and how they are all connected to each other.