Biotic Interactions

Plants fight to grow and thrive in the face of threats from weeds and pathogens including viruses, bacteria, fungi, and oomycetes.  Many SIPS researchers are investigating ways of combating these threats using a range of strategies including early detection, reduction in inoculum, and chemical control

Strategies for effective and sustainable weed control
 

  • Antonio DiTommaso’s research group is focused on understanding how different environments influence weed species and how soil properties and biological agents such as fungal pathogens or insects can be used in weed control
  • Russell Hahn’s research group is focused on development of weed control strategies with emphasis on no-tillage cropping systems and pest management guidelines that minimize development of herbicide resistance

Disease identification and early detection
 

Early and sensitive detection is an important component of disease management and several SIPS faculty, typically in conjunction with other activities, are involved in development and deployment of detection strategies.

  • Chris Smart’s research program engages in detection of fungal, oomycete, and bacterial pathogens of vegetables. Genome sequences of pathogens both to identify sources of inoculum and to distinguish among pathogen isolates with different levels of virulence.
  • Keith Perry’s program has developed macroarrays for virus detection in potato and grapevine, facilitating the screening of plant material for large numbers of pathogens and having applications in quarantine and clean seed programs

Strategies for effective and sustainable pathogen control
 

  • Gary Bergstrom’s group conducts research on disease of small grains, maize, and soybean focusing on factors that increase the risk and spread of disease, and the efficacy of different control methods for fungal diseases
  • Kerik Cox’s research group investigates fungal pathogens of fruit crops such as apples, stone fruit, and bush berries, and how different management practices alter the pathogen life cycle 
  • Marc Fuchs’ program focuses on the biology, spread, and control of virus disease of grapevine and assists with management of virus diseases of fruits and vegetables
  • Sarah Pethybridge’s program focuses on understanding the epidemiology and control of fungal diseases of processing vegetables including beans, beets, carrots and potatoes
  • Margaret McGrath’s research program is focused on management of vegetable crop diseases grown on Long Island using both conventional and organic production
  • Juliet Carroll coordinates Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for tree fruit berry and grape growers, working closely extension educators, faculty and growers to minimize pesticide use
  • Courtney Weber's research group develops improved berry varieties with emphasis on disease and insect resistance, fruit quality, and beneficial phytochemicals
  • Wayne Wilcox’s research program focuses on biology and management of grapevine fungal diseases addressing questions such as what factors contribute to disease susceptibility and how cultural practices alter disease development