Roberts Hall, Room BOX15
U Cal Davis
U Cal Davis
I'm a fruit crop physiologist with expertise in the physiology and management of apple and grape growth and development, environmental responses, and the integration with cultural practices. Research methods include experimentation in the field and controlled environment, dynamic simulation modeling and development of innovative new technologies for sensing the environment and plant health.
The central theme of our work is fruit development in relationship to the physiological, environmental and cultural factors that directly and indirectly affect yield and quality. Areas of emphasis include: Growth and development, especially of carbon balance and fruit set and growth; Stress physiology - environmental (light, water, temp) and foliar pest stress; Physiological effects of cultural practices (pruning, training, irrigation, canopy management) on productivity and fruit/wine quality attributes; Documentation and management of spatial variability, especially using new microsensors, GIS and remote sensing technologies; Integration of genetic, environmental, and cultural factors with dynamic crop modeling, especially in relation to carbon footprints and climate change.
The focus of my extension/outreach efforts is to educate fruit growers about how their crops behave and how they respond to the environment and the cultural practices used. I do not make cookbook recommendations, but help growers understand more fully the physiological bases and complex interactions underlying the performance of their crops in the dynamic field environment. This is necessary as every field and every year are unique, and a depth of understanding of crop behavior is needed to manage them optimally -- especially in the case of premium wine grapes. A recent focus has been to collaborate with a GIS center that can compile geo-referenced data and make it available easily to growers over a website.
In the viticulture classes I teach (Grapevine Biology HORT/VIEN 4444 and Advanced Viticulture HORT/VIEN 4460/6460), I strive to help the students understand in depth the principles of vine physiology, management and environment that underpin the behavior and success of viticulture. Every field and every year are unique. This requires a depth of knowledge to understand complex interactions of crop, environment and culture. My goal is to stimulate critical thinking and the ability to synthesize a substantial database of knowledge in the most appropriate way, and to arrive at unique and effective solutions based on each unique situation. I also use quite a few guest lecturers including world reknowned experts and visits to commercial growers to enrich the fundamentals taught and put them in the context of grape production.