My program emphasizes teaching and research equally. In each realm my goal is to develop more sustainable approaches and systems for growing fruit crops, increasing the value of farm products, and sustaining the rural communities and natural resources of New York and elsewhere around the nation and world.
I work on diverse fruit crops including tree fruits, winegrapes, and novel crops such as pawpaws and antique apple varieties. Some of my projects have continued for more than a decade, investigating long-term impacts and aspects of perennial crop systems. Current research areas include biological control of soilborne diseases of apples, nutrient dynamics in orchards under various soil management systems, cultural practices to improve winegrape quality, tree root demography, and evaluation of traditional American and European apple varieties for cider fermentation.
Outreach and Extension Focus
I participate to a limited extent in Cornell`s outreach programs, providing research updates on my program for fruit grower conferences and meetings in New York and elsewhere around North America. I have also been active in Afghanistan and Latin America, providing support to fruit growers intent on improving their production systems in those countries.
I teach or co-teach three courses: Horticultural Systems and Science (the entry level course in our major); Wines and Vines (the entry level course for our Viticulture-Enology undergraduate program); and Ecological Orchard Management (a capstone course for fourth-year undergraduates and graduate students). I also teach modules within other courses in Crop Ecology and Tropical Crop Systems.
- Atucha, A., Merwin, I. A., Brown, M. G., Gardiazabal, F., Andriaazola, C., & Lehmann, J. (2012). Soil erosion, runoff and nutrient losses in an avocado (Persea Americana Mill) hillside orchard under different groundcover management systems.. Plant and Soil.
- Atucha, A., Merwin, I. A., & Brown, M. G. (2011). Long-term effects of four groundcover management systems in an apple orchard. HortScience. 46:1176-1183.
- Atucha, A. A., Merwin, I. A., Purohit, C. K., & Brown, M. G. (2011). Nitrogen dynamics and nutrient budgets in four orchard groundcover management systems. HortScience. 46:1184-1193.
- Peck, G. M., Merwin, I. A., & Thies, J. E. (2011). Soil properties change during the transition to integrated and organic apple production in a New York orchard. Applied Soil Ecology. 48:18-30.
- St. Laurent, A., Merwin, I. A., Fazio, G., Thies, J. E., & Brown, M. G. (2010). Rootstock genotype succession influences apple replant disease and root-zone microbial community composition in and orchard soil. Plant and Soil. 337:259-272.
- Peck, G. M., Merwin, I. A., Brown, M. G., & Agnello, A. M. (2010). Integrated and organic fruit production systems for 'Liberty' apple in the Northeast United States: A systems-based evaluation. HortScience. 45:1038-1048.
- Yao, S., Merwin, I. A., & Brown, M. G. (2009). Apple root growth, turnover, and distribution under different orchard groundcover management systems. HortScience. 44:168-175.
- Peck, G. M., Merwin, I. A., Watkins, C. B., Padilla-Zakour, O. I., & Chapman, K. W. (2009). Maturity and quality of 'Liberty' apple fruit under integrated and organic fruit production systems are similar. HortScience. 44:1382-1389.
- Peck, G., Thies, J. E., & Merwin, I. A. (2009). Soil Microbial Community Composition Under Integrated and Organic Apple Systems in a New York Orchard . HortScience. 44:1081-1081.
- St.Laurant, A., Merwin, I. A., & Thies, J. E. (2008). Long-term orchard groundcover management systems affect soil microbial communities and apple replant disease severity. Plant and Soil. 304:209-225.