Term needed: Summer 2018      

Faculty mentor name: Jeremiah Dung

BES Facility: COARC

Location (town) of internship: Madras

Hourly Salary: $15.00 Expected hours/week: 40

Student may be asked to work on weekends or outside of 8-5.  Work hours may vary depending on crop maturity, weather, grower schedules, or other factors that cannot be controlled

Are Housing Benefits included in addition to hourly salary? no

Student will have interaction with minors or access to hazardous chemicals. Student will need to complete a criminal background check

Student will be operating vehicles or farm equipment/machinery. Student will need to submit a driving background.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

High value specialty crops are a major component of agriculture in central Oregon. The area is a major producer of carrot seed, supplying over 60% of the hybrid carrot seed planted in the U.S. Central Oregon also produces Kentucky bluegrass seed, peppermint for oil and tea leaf, garlic and onion seed, wheat, seed potatoes, and alfalfa hay and seed. Pests and diseases present a significant challenge to crop production by reducing yields, increasing costs of production, and limiting market acceptability.

The Plant Pathology Lab at the Central Oregon Agricultural Research Center (COARC) is focused on the study and control of plant diseases affecting the high-value specialty crops of the region. We use both traditional and molecular techniques to answer applied and basic questions related to the biology and control of fungal and bacterial plant pathogens, with the goal of developing integrated disease management programs for long-term, sustainable control. Specific research focuses on pathogen detection and quantification, population biology of plant pathogens, spatial and temporal dynamics of plant disease, and identifying environmental factors that contribute to plant disease epidemics.

The intern working on this COARC Branch Experiment Station (BES) Experiential Learning Experience will have the opportunity to be involved one or more research projects. Specific research projects will depend on the intern’s interests, academic and career goals, funding availability, and project needs. Research projects planned for 2018 include, but are not limited to, characterizing pathogenicity of the Verticillium fungus that causes wilt in mint, disease modeling and prediction in Kentucky bluegrass seed production, and identifying novel controls for bacterial blight in carrot seed crops.

The intern will have the opportunity to gain skills related to experimental design, field research (survey and sampling protocols, small plot research), microbiology (aseptic technique and culturing of fungi and/or bacteria), molecular biology (DNA extraction, PCR, gel electrophoresis, quantitative-PCR), and basic plant pathology techniques (inoculating plants, determining disease incidence and severity, soil sampling, and isolating plant pathogens from infected tissues). The intern will learn methods associated with data collection, basic data analyses, and summarizing research results for diverse audiences including growers, industry stakeholders, and the scientific community.

JOB DESCRIPTION

This COARC BES Experiential Learning Experience will require the intern to work in laboratory, greenhouse and field conditions and with basic computer software (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint). Although not required, a background in biology, microbiology, molecular biology, and/or plant pathology (either courses or prior lab experience) would be advantageous for this experiential learning experience.