My interest focuses on plant-environment interactions and how traits affect resource use efficiency at the ecophysiology and community levels. Different morphological, physiological and phenological traits are responsible for the improved crop performance observed in the last few decades, but little information is known about them. Understanding how traits interact and the tradeoffs related to crop performance under different environmental conditions can help breeders and crop managers to implement strategies for crop adaptation to future climate change scenarios. In addition, the study of traits can contribute to improve crop productivity under low input systems, e.g., some organic systems and traditional farming in developing countries. Integrating plant traits with practices that rely on above- and below-ground diversity, niche differentiation and species complementarity and competition, among others, can contribute to increase yields by the efficient use of resources and minimizing the impact to the environment.
My research program focuses on finding solutions to constraints in horticultural production of arid and semi-arid regions in the world. I take an integrative approach to sustainable production and prioritize needs of farmers and other stakeholders to find ways that our production systems are efficient in the use of resources and become more profitable. I am interested in plant functional traits and identifying genotype/cultivar trait associations that favor crop performance under particular environments and management practices (i.e., GxExM interaction). My goal is to conduct participatory research with an emphasis on applicable outcomes that improve the chances for success of horticultural production in arid regions such as Nevada.