Plant Science Building, Room 165
Weed science, urban ecology, rhizosphere biology
University of Wisconsin-Madison
As an Assistant Professor of Urban Weed Ecology, I develop methods and products that promote suppression of weedy and invasive plants within urban landscapes. My approach to weed control focuses on the set of biological and environmental conditions that aid in suppressing weeds, while sustaining target plant populations. Integrated within this systems level approach is examining how human cultural practices shape weed populations across different scales of time and space.
Research in my lab centers on the contribution of soil microorganisms in suppressing weed populations and enhancing target plants, such as turfgrasses. We apply concepts and techniques in microbial ecology in developing weed suppressive systems that reduce reliance on chemical inputs. Experimental studies on microbial consortia indicate that soil microbial communities can be selected for target plant growth enhancement and weed suppression. Recent advances in microbial sequencing tools and isolation techniques now provide opportunities for uncovering the underlying microbial-based mechanisms of the desired plant traits. Examining the mechanistic basis of microbial selection studies can yield the development of microbial consortia, isolation of new microbial strains, and purification of compounds that enhance target plant populations while suppressing weeds. For more information, visit my lab website.
My extension duties focus on assisting homeowners, public sectors, and land managers with the most appropriate methods to control weedy and invasive plants in urban landscapes. We are developing a web-based software program that allows users to select weed control methods based on their economic, environmental, and cultural preferences. Long-term monitoring and evaluation of program-assisted decisions will allow us to develop weed control strategies specific to demographic groups across regions and through time. We work with public, private, and university partners in developing innovative, cost-effective biological control strategies that can be integrated into sustainable weed management programs.