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Speaker: Dr. Donald Merhaut, Extension Specialist

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    Educational Programs @ Cultivate'22

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    Dr. Donald Merhaut, Extension Specialist for Nursery and Floriculture Crops at University of California, Riverdale  

    Research Experience

    • 2000-Present  Associate Extension Specialist- Research focuses on whole plant growth and development with special emphasis on the functional aspects of root systems. Projects topic include plant nutrition, planting media, fertilizer technology and  irrigation procedures.

    • 1996-1999       Research Manager, Monrovia. Research focused on irrigation, plant nutrition, and weed management to improve plant quality of plant production processes.
    • 1994-1996       Postdoctoral Fellow, USDA/ARS at the Children's Nutrition Research Center in affiliation with the Baylor College of Medicine. Projects involved the study of the nitrogen metabolism in developing rice panicles and the kinetic parameters of calcium influx and partitioning in developing green bean plants.
    • 1989-1993       Graduate Research Assistant, University of Florida, Department of Horticultural Sciences. Research focused on the regulation of nitrogen assimilation in blueberry. Studies involved determining whole plant in vivo and in situ nitrate reductase activity and nitrogen and carbon interactions through the use nitrogen and carbon isotopes.
    • 1986-1988       Graduate Assistant, University of Georgia, Department of Horticulture. Research centered on elucidating the effects of a growth regulator, PPG1721, on   root and shoot growth and ACC synthesis in peach.

    Research Program

    Our research program focuses on all aspects of plant nutrition as it applies to container production of plants. We take a “whole-systems” approach to understanding the interactions of irrigation water, media, and fertilizer on nutrient availability to plants and potential leaching losses from a nursery/greenhouse production facility. Along with over 20 scientists and industry leaders, we have published a book, “Water, Root Media and Nutrient Management for Greenhouse Crops” which addresses plant nutrition through this “whole systems” approach. During the course of my 20 years with the University of California, research has centered on irrigation water recycling, and nutrient use efficiency when using polymer-coated Controlled Release Fertilizers (CRFs). This research program has morphed over the years as new issues, such as the use of lower quality secondary water sources, and developing a more sustainable nursery production system have been emphasized by the industry and regulating agencies. However, the main focus continues to be nutrient use efficiency. Since the issues of water quality and nutrient use efficiency are universal to the industry, this research is a multistate effort, and is funded through federal and state agencies.

    University of California, Riverdale
    ... Three colleges, four professional schools, and more than 20 interdisciplinary research centers  

    UC Riverside is America’s fastest rising university and a member of the world’s most prestigious public university system. Situated on nearly 1,200 scenic acres in Inland Southern California, our diverse, inclusive, and globally focused community is creating a new model for what a great public research university can achieve. With more than 25,000 students and 1,100 faculty — including two Nobel Prize winners and 13 members of the National Academies of Science and Medicine — we are pioneering research with economic, scientific, and social impact on the real-world challenges we face in California and beyond. UCR’s strong core programs and new and emerging disciplines are housed within three colleges, four professional schools, and more than 20 interdisciplinary research centers.

    The Rise of UC Riverside
    Learn why UC Riverside is America’s fastest rising university, as it dramatically sees increases in rankings, reputation, research, and student success. The campus is also going through a construction boom, adding space for classrooms, research labs, housing, dining, parking, and events.

    UC Riverside is on the rise. A member of the world’s most prestigious public university system, ours is an institution powered by an entrepreneurial spirit, a record of innovation and results, and a commitment to excellence and collaboration across disciplines.

    Address:   900 University Ave. Riverside, CA 92521
    Phone:  (951) 827-1012   FAX: 


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