My research interests include plant physiology, agroecology, and how climate change will impact those topics in California. I did my Ph.D. in the Graduate Group in Ecology at U.C. Davis. My dissertation was on the effects of land-use change on soil C in Napa Valley vineyards and oak woodlands. I also worked with the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance to examine what we know about vineyard management practices and how they impact the typical Californian viticultural greenhouse gas footprint. I completed a previous postdoc in the Plant Sciences Department at U.C. Davis where I built on previous work in the lab examining how nitrogen assimilation in plants depends on atmospheric CO2 concentrations and inorganic nitrogen form supplied to the plants. I also looked at the impact of CO2 concentration (subambient, ambient, and elevated) and nitrogen form (i.e., nitrate versus ammonium) on nutrient distribution and accumulation in wheat, and on how different nitrate reductase enzymes from plants, fungi, and bacteria discriminate against 15N relative to 14N.
I have returned to the field now that I have joined the Jackson Lab. My current project involves an examination of the physiological, morphological, and phenological traits that might be linked to better processing tomato production under water and heat stress. This project is an extension of the work that has been performed by other members of the Jackson Lab. With the tremendous assistance of the Harris Moran Seed Company, we have grown a number of different varieties of tomatoes under full irrigation (control) and different deficit irrigations including a severe full season deficit irrigation management and a severe terminal season deficit. In these trials we included a number of current production hybrid varieties as well as some experiment introgression line (IL) genotypes that were produced by crossing cultivated tomatoes with wild species. These IL genotypes are genetically identical to the cultivated parent with the exception of a very small portion of a single chromosome that is from the wild species. We examined a number of traits including photosynthetic rates, heat set and inflorescence measurements, leaf relative water content, specific leaf area, leaf area index, canopy temperature, biomass accumulation, and harvest-related traits such as yield, brix, and fruit size.