1988 Rhododendron Research Grants
The ARS Research Committee recently completed a new prioritized listing of rhododendron research needs. Dr. August Kehr assembled the previous listing after conferring with members from various parts of the country. It has served the committee as a useful tool to evaluate grant proposals received from members and researchers worldwide.
At the Research Committee meeting at Cleveland in 1986, a decision was made to revise and prioritize the list. This decision was based primarily on three factors: 1. new problems have surfaced since the original list was compiled; 2. new research techniques have become available due to new technology; 3. some goals have been achieved and some problems resolved by grant awards.
Dr. Mark Widrlechner was asked to survey all chapter research chairmen to determine which topics were still important, which topics should be dropped and which new topics should be added. He received many responses from chapters and other interested members and compiled an extensive new listing for the Research Committee meeting at Eugene in 1987.
The Research Committee members then prioritized the list. The eleven topics listed below ranked as the top priorities.
Top Eleven Research Committee Priorities:
1. Pest Control Research — Biological control of root weevils and borers, including use of predaceous nematodes and insects.
2. Physiological Research — Determination of factors affecting fall hardening, mid-winter hardiness and de-hardening.
3. Botanical Research — Studies on the bio-systematics of native American rhododendron species including the collection of superior clones and populations for distribution to members through the seed and pollen exchanges.
4. Physiological Research — Factors affecting bud set.
5. Propagation Research — Studies on cutting propagation (including the effect of sugars, willow extract, growth regulators, soaking and cutting collection data).
6. Physiological Research — Cultural manipulation to improve fall hardening.
7. Cytological and Genetical Research — Production of haploids and/or polyploids.
8. Cytological and Genetical Research — Development of methods for in vitro selection of tissue cultures for resistance to diseases, pests and extreme environmental conditions.
9. Pest Control Research — Develop reliable tests to screen seedlings for resistance to pests and diseases such as root rot.
10. Physiological Research — Factors affecting disease and pest resistance and possible application in the area of systemic immunization.
11. Breeding Research — Methods for screening and breeding for cold hardiness.
The Research Committee welcomes ideas for future research projects. If you have suggestions for additions or changes to the listing of research topics for the committee's consideration, write to Dr. Mark Widrlechner, Ames, IA.
Applications for rhododendron and azalea research grants to be awarded in 1988 by the Research Foundation of the American Rhododendron Society are now being accepted. Applications need not be limited to the topics described above. The deadline for grant applications for 1988 is April 1, 1988.
Grants are awarded in amounts of $500 to $2000 for work in selected areas of research. These funds may be used over a period of 1-3 years, at the discretion of the recipient, with the provision that the research, when completed, may be published in the American Rhododendron Society Journal.
Proposals to receive research grants may be made by individual members or chapters of the Society through local chapter research chairmen or by researchers at universities and colleges. Grant application forms may be obtained from local chapter research chairmen or by writing to George Ring, ARS Research Committee Chairman.