Research / Extension Programs

Agronomy Program

Project Leader:  Agronomist

Extension Research:

Special Interests: 

Aquatic Entomology

Project Leader: David Wooster, Aquatic Entomologist

My research interests would be stream ecology, aquatic invertebrate biology, restoration effectiveness monitoring, stream food webs, stream and riparian linkages. For more information on the Invertebrate Ecology Laboratory.

Balancing Ecosystem Services in Semi-Arid Agricultural Lands in an Uncertain Future

Cereal Research

Project Leader: Mat Kolding, Emeritus Cereals Specialist

Major research efforts include study of both wheat and triticale. Wheat and triticale disease and grain production issues are being examined. Triticale research has also focused on forage production and quality, as well as nutrient removal. Wheat and triticale research plots have existed at the station for many years. The variety trials have been a mainstay of the research conducted at HAREC. Cereal research has been a long-term commitment for Mat. He has helped and continues to help answer fundamental production concerns of cereal growers and fieldmen in the area. 

Research includes interrelationship of fall planted triticale forage nutrient values with minimal water use in residual nitrogen and phosphorus regimes. Variation and selection for decreased infestations accessed through lateral ruptures of wheat caryopsis pericarp and aleurone tissue. Selection of wheats tolerant to standing water due to rain storm events which create ponding in the northern prairies. Evaluation of western regional hard and soft winter wheat entries. Evaluation of western winter and spring wheat stripe rust nurseries. High Elevation nursery near Flora, Oregon for evaluation and selection for dwarf bunt, stem rust, late season stripe rust, snowmolds, cephalosporum stripe, and frost heaving.  

Irrigated Agricultural Entomology Program

The entomology program is interested in developing an Ecological Based-Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program in various crops which include potato, corn, maize, onions, etc. The program focuses on biological control, insect biology, ecology, and population dynamics; both basic and applied (field and greenhouse production) studies.

Plant Pathology

Project leader: Phil Hamm, Emeritus Plant Pathologist
Laboratory Diagnostic Manager: Robert Cating

The plant pathology department works closely with local growers, processors, agricultural companies, research institutions, government agencies and faculty stationed on HAREC as well as national and international collaborators to further our understanding of plant diseases that impact crops at all stages of production. Duties include working with diseases of vegetable crops, directing a diagnostic laboratory for crop problems, potato seedlot trials and cooperating in applied research dealing with virus, fungus and nematode control of diseases in cucurbit, tomato, and potato, onion, and peppers.

Plant Microbiology

Project Leader: Aymeric Goyer, Assistant Professor - Plant Biology

My research interests focus on plant nutrients essential for human health. In particular, I am interested in further the understanding of thiamin and folate metabolism in plants.

Thiamin pyrophosphate (or vitamin B1) is an essential enzyme cofactor in all organisms. Thiamin-dependent enzymes (e.g. puruvate dehydrogenase, transketolase, α-ketoacid decarboxylase) play a particularly important role in carbohydrate metabolism. Thiamin pyrophosphate is an essential component of the human diet since, unlike microorganisms and plants, humans cannot synthesize this vitamin. Thiamin deficiency causes Beriberi, which disturbs the central nervous and circulatory systems. Thiamin deficiency is common in developing countries where the main food source is low in thiamin (e.g. polished rice). Current knowledge of thiamin metabolism in plants is limited. By combining molecular biology, biochemistry, and genetics approaches, my lab aims at further the understanding of thiamin metabolism and subsequently engineering its pathway in staple food crops that are commonly consumed by low-income populations. In addition, thiamin has been implicated as an activator of disease resistance in plants. We are investigating thiamin as an alternative strategy for disease control in potato.

Tetrahydrofolate and its one carbon unit derivatives commonly named folates (vitamin B9), are essential micronutrients in the human diet. Indeed, while plants and microorganisms can synthesize folates, humans lack this ability and require a dietary supply. A deficiency of folates in the diet is associated with the increased risk of neural tube defects, cardiovascular diseases, anemia, and some cancers. Unfortunately, current folate intake is suboptimal in most of the world's populations, even in developed countries. We are using both metabolic engineering and traditional breeding methods to increase folate content in potato tubers.

Potato Varietal Development

Potato varietal development research will help identify new potato varieties and cultural and postharvest management practices that will provide profitable, sustainable production for the grower, improved competitiveness for the potato industry, a healthy, inexpensive food supply for American consumers, and contribute to a healthy environment.

HAREC has potato variety selection and evaluation trials, and research on the effects of nitrogen fertilization and water rate on tuber yield and quality. Evaluation of advanced selections for field resistance to early dying, potato leaf roll virus, potato virus Y, and nematodes.

Riparian and Grassland Invertebrate Ecology

Project Leader: Sandra DeBano, Invertebrate Ecologist

My research focuses on the roles that terrestrial invertebrates play in linking riparian areas with adjacent streams and uplands, especially in arid and semi-arid lands. Current research interests include examining the effect of various aspects of riparian condition on the abundance, diversity and community composition of terrestrial invertebrates, and how these effects are translated through food webs involving fish and wildlife in adjacent streams and terrestrial uplands. I am also interested in how riparian condition affects the density of pest and beneficial invertebrates in agricultural lands next to riparian areas. Other research interests include the development of terrestrial invertebrate indices of riparian condition that can be used for biomonitoring riparian restoration efforts and examining the impacts of livestock grazing on invertebrate communities.

Balancing Ecosystem Services in Semi-Arid Agricultural Lands in an Uncertain Future


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