——-2018 ——-

01/04/2018: Great article covering our work exploring the impacts of domestication and breeding on maize micorbiome and functions. Jen was interviewed while presenting her work at AGU. Read more here 

01/02/2018: Ready for the new year. A big thank you to all the lab for their hard work! Also getting ready to teach ECL216 Ecology and Agriculture this quarter. 

——-2017 ——-

11/28/2017: Thanks to Mike Kolomiet for the invitation to present our work as part of the Texas A&M seminar series in the PLPM Department. Talked about our work toward developing integrated root ideotypes to build sustainability and resilience. Great input to move forward. 

11/15/2017: Great interactions at the Soil Health Summit in Sacramento with growers, RCDs and members of the private industry. I discussed the services provided by healthier soils, from resilience to drought (Leah’s work) to insect pests (Jen and others in the casteel and Vannette lab). 

09/22/2017: Welcome to Cynthia Creze, a new PhD student in the lab. Cynthia will be conducting both mechanistic studies and system-wide evaluations of the ecosystem benefits and tradeoffs of different cover crop mixtures in Almond production systems. Her work also includes a grower survey to better understand barrier to adoption and develop a coherent and relevant research agenda. Next step: integrate sheep to terminate the cover crop!  

09/08/2017: Spent a lot of time talking to growers and farm advisors in California over the last two weeks. Came back with a sense that most production problems I heard off are linked to poor soil health. Looking forward to build up on this momentum to engage them in our cover crop and integrated crop livestock system research! 

08/31/2017: Lot’s of achievements this quarter. First student to graduate from the lab: congrats Emily on a well-deserved MSc., first qualifying exams for PhD students as well! Congratulations to Josh as well who obtained an NSF fellowship to start his graduate studies at Cornell. Very proud of you all.

Meanwhile, we are wrapping up summer experiments and looking forward to sharing results at the following conferences:

  • ASA, Tampa Florida: Does soil health drives increased irrigation water productivity in tomato cropping systems? Poster
  • ISHS International Symposium on Almond and Pistachios. Adelaide Australia, 11/05/2017: Potential of whole orchard recycling to increase resiliency of almond production to water shortages. Poster
  • Soil Health in Diverse Cropping System event at the 9th Agroforestry Symposium. U of Missouri, 01/25/2018. Capitalizing on the soil health movement to promote multi-functional agricultural systems: insight from California. Keynote 

07/18/2017: New projects funded by the Almond Board of California to quantify ecosystem services provided by various cover crop mixtures in Almond orchards across a soil/rainfall gradient. Can we optimize mixes to enhance benefits and multifunctionality of almond orchards?  This large collaborative effort will evaluate multiple aspects of more biodiverse floor management, from water conservation and shift in weed pressure to soil health, soil food web and pollinator services. 

06/09/2017: Russell Ranch field day coming up! Will be talking about 1) integrated fertility and pest management and how healthier soil can help decrease plant attractiveness to leafhoppers and decrease the impact of the virus they vector. we will also be presenting a poster balancing benefits and tradeoffs of conversion to drip irrigation in organic systems. 

06/08/2017: Part of the lab attended the SES annual meeting and soil health summit – inspiration and lot’s to chew on! 

05/30/2017: New paper setting the stage of our research in integrated crop livestock system published. Congrats team. 

04/06/2017: Welcome to Meng Li, our new postdoctoral fellow in the lab. Meng will be investigating linkages between rhizosphere mechanisms and productivity under optimal/stress conditions. Megan Machmuller, from CSU will also join us to perform key experiments on maize rhizosphere as affected by breeding. Welcome!

04/05/2017: Caitlin wrote a very nice article sharing her experience in the Brazilian soybean field this summer in the GGE Aggie Brickyard. Check it out (p17-18) Here

03/06/2017: Congrats to Joshua who made it into a PhD program at Cornell with an NSF fellowship! well deserved. 

03/06/2017: New paper in Trends in Plant Science on root ideotypes for irrigated Ag. Congrats Jen!

02/24/2017: Very excited about upcoming presentations and seminars:

02/24/2017: Welcome to Emad Jahanzad, our new postdoctoral fellow who will lead the lab research program on the importance of diversification and soil health to building sustainable and resilient Almond orchards.  Emad will join in May. Welcome! 

02/13/2017: Presented today a Policy Brief to the California Senate “Leveraging research to build climate smart agricultural systems in California”. Thanks to CalCAN for the opportunity, I truly enjoyed the exercise.

02/01/2017: Our continuing CTRI grant was approved to dig deeper into beneficial impacts of soil health management practices on insect suppressiveness in tomato and the underlying mechanisms (rhizosphere ecology –Vannette Lab– and defense compounds – Casteel Lab-). 

01/21/2017: Welcome to Vanessa Brisson, our new postdoctoral fellow who will work with John Vogel and I on exploring the impacts of maize improvement on recruitment of beneficial microbes. Vanessa brings tremendous experience in bioinformatics to the lab! 


——-2016 ——-

11/09/2016: Our work with Scott Park and funded by OFRF aiming at developing integrated irrigation management strategies to improve water and nutrient use efficiency of organic processing tomato in California was featured in nice video! Check it out!

11/21/2016: POST DOC POSITION AVAILABLE – To apply, please visit https://lbl.taleo.net/careersection/2/jobdetail.ftl?lang=en&job=83154

11/09/2016: Video of our project monitoring the long-term impact of drip irrigation on soil health and fertility management in organic tomato systems at Russell Ranch was presented at ASA this year. See 5-minute video here. 

10/20/2016: The EcoFAB project is off the ground! Looking forward to collaborating with the LBNL to monitor the ecological outcome of potentially lost or gained plant-microbe interactions during domestication and breeding. 

10/10/2016: I am very honored to be the recipient of the 2016 New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Award from the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (FFAR). The award will help fund our work on improving root functions to transform soil health into yield! See story here 

09/20/2016: New funding from the CDFA-Specialty crop block grant program and the Almond Board of California to investigate how adoption of cover crop and whole orchard recycling can help build resilience of Almond production to water shortage.  Lot’s of exciting new projects!

08/10/2016: Congratulation to Leah for her Jastro fellowship to support her field research on the impact of crop diversity and tillage on drought resilience of corn-soybean systems.

08/01/2016: Glad to join the CalCAN Science & Technical Advisory Council and assist this coalition in their important mission! CalCAN advocates for a “widespread transition of CA agriculture toward increasingly resilient and environmentally sound farming systems that provide climate benefits protect our natural resources, sustain our food security, provide for economically vibrant agricultural communities and maintain our finite agricultural lands”. More here 

08/01/2016: Welcome to Kelsey Brewer! Kelsey will be working on quantifying C sequestration potential of various cropping/rangeland/integrated systems in California and monitor the impact of carbon farming practices and other co-benefits provided by reintegration of livestock into cropland.  Looking forward to working with Fibershed producers! 

07/14/2016: Congratulations to Caitlin for a well deserved NSF-GRFP Grow scholarship to conduct her thesis work on characterizing field scale resilience of Integrated Crop Livestock Systems in Brazil in collaboration with Paulo Cesar de Faccio Carvalho at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul. 

06/27/2016: Check out the new webpage on Integrated Crop Livestock System from our collaborator R.Garrett (BU) and M.Niles (U of Vermont) featuring Caitlin’s work on Field level resilience and ecosystem services provided by livestock integration in Brazil. Click HERE

06/07/2016: Research results on optimizing drip irrigation to reach multiple sustainability goals in organic tomato production  presented at Russell Ranch field day. The theme was ” Farm water management in times of Scarcity” Check out our handout. See press release about pros and cons of drip irrigation here 

05/24/2016: New grant from OFRF to work on developing integrated irrigation management strategies to improve water and nutrient use efficiency of organic tomato processing in California. See MorningAg clip Press Release

05/12/2016: A Junior Specialist position is currently open in the lab to study the ecological outcomes of Integrated Crop Livestock Systems of Californiahttps://recruit.ucdavis.edu/apply/JPF01032

04/07/2016: Interview posted on UC ANR website about agroecology.  See the post here

04/01/2016: Feature of the lab, our research objectives (and my shovel) as part of ASI promotional video 🙂 – check out the video 

03/29/2016: Way to go Leah! Congrats on your NSF fellowship!

03/05/2016: First paper from the Lab in Frontiers in Plant Science. Congrats Jen!

02/15/2016: I became a shared faculty member of the JGI (Lawrence Berkeley National Lab), great new collaboration and projects in the work to better understand co-evolution of host and their rhizosphere microbiome as affected by selection and management.

01/05/2016: We received seed funding from the CAES College to characterize shifts in rhizosphere processes with breeding and improve synergies between rhizosphere functioning and soil health building management practices. Congrats Jen!

——-2015 ——-

12/04/2015: Thanks to the California Tomato Research Institute for supporting our research of how soil health building management strategies can help decrease tomato attractiveness to beet leafhoppers and the BCTV virus they vector: new generation of IPM! 

12/01/2015: The lab hosted Miguel Altieri’s visit to UCDavis. M.Altieri is a professor of Agroecology at UC Berkley. Link to his seminar talk to the Departement of Plant Science here

10/26/2015: New grant from USDA-AFRI to investigate how manure amendments increase drought resilience via microbial communities in integrated dairy-forage cropping systems with Kate Scow and Jorge Rodriguez. Awesome!

09/24/2015: Congratulation to Joshua Garcia, an undergraduate student in the lab, for getting the McNair scholarship for 2015-2016. This fellowship will allow Joshua to develop an independent project on a novel rhizobacteria. Congrats! 

08/21/2015: First grant awarded today by the Almond Board of California to study the potential of mycorrhizae and soil health to mitigate water stress in Almond crops. Exciting! 

07/06/15: Lauching of a new collaboration with The International Potato Center as part of on-going efforts to develop integrated systems for the Humid Tropics. Our goal is to use ecological principles to sustainably intensify food production, improve food security and build natural capital of Kenya humid tropic agroecosystems. In particular, we will explore the potential of diversification with alternative food crops such as onion and potato to break disease cycle and decrease dependence on maize. 

06/29/15: Congratulation to Caitlin and Emily for obtaining a JASTRO scholarship to support their field research, way to go! 

05/27/15: Welcome to Emily Webster. Emily will be doing her MsC research in Columbia and Nicaragua in collaboration with CIAT and Steve Fonte. Emily will study how pasture management systems affects soil health, C sequestration and long-term productivity. More info here 

05/19/15: New paper from the lab in Agriculture, Ecosystem and Environment: Wheat increases nitrogen use efficiency of corn and soybean-based cropping systems. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016788091500167X

04/05/15: Come join us at ASI Russel Ranch Sustainable Ag Field Day on May 21st. The lab will be presenting results on cover crops for integrated N management (more info Here). 

04/03/15: Congratulations to Jennifer Schmidt and Leah Renwick on receiving Plant Science Graduate Student Research awards for 4 and 2 years respectively! Jennifer was also awarded a 1-year campus wide Graduate Scholars Fellowship. Good going!

03/24/15: Leah Renwick (MsC) will also be joining us in the Fall. In collaboration with the University of Guelph, Leah will study the potential of crop diversification and no till to mitigate the impact of drought on corn and soybean yields. 

03/23/15: Jennifer Schmidt (PhD) will be joining the lab in the Fall. She will be looking at how maize domestication and breeding have shaped rhizosphere microbes and processes and the impact on crop ability to capture soil resources.

03/02/15: New paper from the lab in Plos one: Increasing crop diversity mitigates weather variations and improves yield stability. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0113261

02/15/15: Will be speaking at the Agriculture and Climate Change Elsevier Conference in Amsterdam on “Agroecological approaches to help mitigate increasing limitation of corn yields by water availability”. 

01/29/15: I am honored to now be a Fellow of the UCD Agricultural Sustainability InstituteASI is a great hub that connects initatives  in sustainable agriculture and food system and we are looking forward to engage and contribute to ASI research, education anoutreach activities.

01/25/15: News release: http://casi.ucanr.edu/?blogpost=16588&blogasset=14128

I met with Jeff Mitchell and Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation (CASI) farmer members last Friday to learn about conservation practices, ongoing efforts to improve crop production systems in the San Joaquin Valley and foster future collaborations. Thanks to Jeff Mitchell, Michael and Adam Crowell of Turlock, Darrell Cordova of Denair, and Scott Schmidt of Five Points for their time and dedication to conservation agriculture! 

01/10/15: Welcome to Caity, the first member of the Gaudin’s lab. See here for more info about her research interests.

01/09/15: USDA undergraduate, pre and post doctoral fellowships available. Deadline: pre and post doctoral February 11, 2015, undergraduate February 18, 2015, with full applications due May 6, 2015. Contact me if you are interested in applying! 

More info: http://www.nifa.usda.gov/newsroom/news/2014news/12221_afri_fellowships.html

01/05/15: The lab officially kicked off! I am accepting students application for the fall 2015, check out the “Join us-openings”