Research interests

We seek to understand the ecological interactions that underpin agricultural production systems so as to improve the economic and environmental sustainability of agriculture. 

Forage systems

We are interested in the ecological dynamics of mixed grass-legume dairy cow forage systems.  How do management decisions such as cutting height and frequency affect forage quality and ecosystem services?

  • Field of grasses and legumes at farm

    Harvesting forage mixes at different intensities to see how species respond.

  • Red clover and grass

    Red clover in flower. Different species come with different tradeoffs - in biomass, persistence, and nutrition, to name a few.

  • Young cows looking at photographer through fence

    Friendly Jersey calves at UNH’s Organic Dairy Research Farm, walking us to and from our research fields.

Seedbanks

What determines weed communities on farms?  We explore seedbank composition and seedling emergence in a variety of locations and under different management conditions.

  • Trays of soil growing weeds in a greenhouse

    Soil samples from a field experiment are grown out in the greenhouse to tally all germinable seeds within the soil.

  • Lambsquarters seedling growing in a tray of soil

    Lambsquarters (Chenopodium album) emerging from a soil sample.

  • A quadrat laid on ground to study weed emergence

    We pair greenhouse seedbank studies with weed emergence and weed biomass data from the field.

Tarps

We are investigating the use of tarps as a cover crop termination method that could allow for no-till planting without the use of herbicides.

  • Group of people by a field experiment at a farm

    Field day participants look at cover crop mulch created using plastic tarps as a termination method.

  • Aerial view of tarp experiment at Woodman Farm

    Tarps were applied to terminate a cover crop on 3 different dates and left in place for 3 different durations.

  • Picture of straw-like mulch

    The corner of a plot of winter rye and hairy vetch showing the resulting mulch layer following tarp removal.

Cover crops

Our research on cover crop mixtures and management contributes to farmers’ and scientists’ understanding of the mechanisms and tradeoffs behind the ecosystem functions of cover crops.

  • Two people measuring the heights of rye in a field.

    Measuring the heights of winter rye cultivars planted at different population densities.

  • Young brassica and vetch plants, in rows

    An interesting brassica – legume cover crop combination that is part of a field experiment examining seeding rates of mixtures.

Seed Coatings

How do pesticide coatings on crop seeds affect soil microbes, weeds, and ground-dwelling insects?  We are curious about the target and non-target effects of commonly used seed coatings in soy-corn rotations.

  • Researchers with tractor tilling study plots

    Preparing plots with different tillage systems to look at the interaction of management and pesticide seed coats.

  • Corn plants forming an arch overhead

    Young corn plants with velvetleaf and pigweed.

  • Soybean field

    This study measured soybean and corn crops, soil fungal communities, weed emergence, seed predation, and arthropod presence.

Pollinators and arthropods

We are interested in pollinator provisioning and arthropod communities both in dedicated wildflower plots and within other cropping systems.

  • Mixed flowers against a blue sky

    A mix with a variety of flowering phenologies ensures pollinators have necessary floral resources throughout the season.

  • A spiderweb in grass

    A partner in the field showing off their reinforced stitching.

  • Bumblebee on flower

    Brown-belted bumblebee (Bombus griseocollis) on Monarda.