Our program conducts applied ecological research on fungal pathogens across a suit of vegetable and field crops. We explore how environmental conditions influence survival and host associations, and seek to better understand life history strategies of Fusarium spp. and other soil borne fungal pathogens as endophytes, pathogens and saprophytes in agroecosystems. All projects aim to produce translational and/or directly applicable information and resources for producers to more effectively co-manage diseases, water use and soil health as interacting components in agricultural systems.

Demystifying effects of water scarcity on ­plant disease

Impacts of water use strategies viewed through the lens of plant microbiology

 

In California agriculture, increased water scarcity is driving use of low quality groundwater and adoption of deficit irrigation strategies. This has the potential to affect plant health directly by increasing water stress and mineral toxicity, and indirectly by influencing how beneficial and harmful microbes interact with their plant hosts and eachother. Our program at the University of California Davis seeks to demystify risks, enabling producers to optimize water use and minimize disease losses from soil borne plant pathogens. —More—

Impacts of land use intensification on soil-borne plant pathogens

 

With increasing intensification of land use, soil borne diseases require a more nuanced approach to management. Continuous cropping without fallow periods can allow persistence of pathogens, if crops are symptomatic or asymptomatic hosts. Goals of research are to understand ecology and evolution of soil borne plant pathogens in terms of cryptic host range, survival abilities across different environmental conditions, and population structure.

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