Agronomy and Horticulture Seminar Series

Spring 2020 Seminars

Seminars begin at 3:30 p.m. in 150 Keim Hall, East Campus, with refreshments served at 3 p.m. Join us in person or online at

2020 Seminar Schedule (PDF file)

2020 Seminar Schedule (11 x 17 Poster PDF file)

Seminar Archives

Spring 2020 Seminars

January 24, 2020

Reflections, Misconceptions and Other Issues in Plant Breeding Applications: From Sparsity to Sparse Testing, Noise Prediction and Other Unexplored Topics

Research Assistant Professor, Agronomy and Horticulture, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

New technologies enable us to collect multiple types of sources of information that were not available before. The utilization and integration of these data require the development of new methodology to cope with the complexity of the data. In this presentation, we introduce some new techniques that can potentially be deployed to leverage already existing plant breeding applications.

January 31, 2020

Developing and Applying Genomic Tools for Soybean Improvement

Associate Professor and Haskins Professor of Plant Genetics, Agronomy and Horticulture, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

To keep up with world demand, soybean needs to increase its rate of genetic gain for key agronomic traits and to consistently produce high yields across diverse environments. Hyten will discuss genomic tools and resources being developed to assist soybean breeders along with his lab’s work in understanding the genetics underlying yield stability.

February 7, 2020

Developing Strategies for Improving Abiotic Stress Tolerance of Photosynthetic Apparatus in Crops Grown for Food and Fuels

Assistant Professor, Biochemistry, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Glowacka's lab uses photosynthesis research, image analyses, genetics and synthetic biology to improve abiotic stress tolerance in crops. Particularly, they focus on kinetics of nonphotochemical quenching as one of the first defenses from the formation of oxidative stress during high light, chilling, drought and deficit of nitrogen.

February 14, 2020

Connecting Root Exudate Variation in Corn to Microbial Recruitment and Growth

Associate Professor of Biology, Doane University, Crete

Video will not be available for this seminar.

Root exudates are complex mixtures making up a chemical language for recruiting and establishing beneficial rhizosphere microbes. Rhizosphere microbes, in turn, help maintain the long-term health of the plant. Durham Brooks will highlight metabolomics and image-based approaches her lab and collaborators are using to begin to decipher these chemical messages.

February 21, 2020

Screening for Early Warnings of Large-scale Vegetation Transitions

Associate Professor, Agronomy and Horticulture, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Screening is a strategy for detecting undesirable change prior to known symptoms or adverse effects. Screening is commonplace in medicine, yet has not been implemented in ecosystem management to prevent detrimental transitions that impact ecosystem service delivery. We link advancements in spatial resilience theory, data computational capabilities, and technology to detect, image, and track vegetation transitions at local, state, and national levels.

February 28, 2020

USDA – Achieving More Together: Partnership Success Between UNL and the Natural Resources Conservation Service and Future Opportunities

State Soil Scientist, Partnerships and Initiatives, USDA–NRCS

NRCS has formed successful partnerships with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln resulting in exciting outcomes. Learn how this partnership is extending NRCS’ mission of "Helping People Help the Land" by bringing natural resource conservation practices together with sound science. Hear specific examples of collaborative efforts between NRCS and Nebraska, and opportunities for future partnerships, including employment within USDA.

March 6, 2020

Molecular Switches in Plant Sulfur and Redox Metabolism

Chair, Spencer T. Olin Professor of Biology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor, Biology, Washington University in St. Louis

The regulation of plant thiol metabolism highlights nature’s ability to engineer pathways that respond to multiple inputs and cellular demands using mechanisms that range from the simple to the elaborate.  The role of redox environment as a regulatory factor mediated by thiol-based control mechanisms govern the biochemical activity of different steps in these pathways. 

March 13, 2020

Metabolic Engineering of Lignin for Advancing Agricultural Sustainability and the New Bioeconomy

Distinguished Research Professor, BioDiscovery Institute, Biological Sciences, University of North Texas, Denton

The result of many years of work on the biosynthesis of lignin and collaboration with a commercial partner has resulted in the release of low lignin alfalfa with superior forage quality and management characteristics. However, economic considerations support valorization, rather than simple removal, of lignin for biorefining. To this end, we are working on the biosynthesis and engineering of novel lignins with favorable properties for conversion to bioproducts.

April 3, 2020

Who’s Learning From Who? Integrating Farmer Perspectives into Research and the Classroom

Associate Professor of Agroecology, Plant Sciences, University of Wyoming, Laramie

Distinctions between farmer and scientist perspectives offer a fruitful jumping off point to develop new research questions, target Extension efforts, and invigorate university curriculum. Currently, Jabbour is integrating social science and field ecology to describe ecosystem services on Wyoming farmland. She will also provide an update on ongoing projects to incorporate farmer perspectives into organic agriculture curriculum.

April 10, 2020

Soil Microbial Dynamics, Climate Change and Management Effects on Soil Carbon and Nitrogen Retention in Agroecosystems

Associate Professor, Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, UT Institute of Agriculture, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Schaeffer is a soil biogeochemist with research interests in soil ecology, sustainability, and climate change. His current research includes USDA-funded projects studying the role of bacteria, fungi and viruses in terrestrial biogeochemical cycles in response to conservation management, and stability of organic carbon under biodegradable plastic mulches.

April 17, 2020

Culture, Horticulture, and Wild Relatives of Croatia

Supervisory Research Leader/Horticulturist, National Clonal Germplasm Repository, University of California, Davis and National Arid Land Plant Genetic Resources Unit, Parlier, California, USDA-ARS

This seminar focuses on figs, grapes and other cultivated crops in Croatia, and fruit crop wild relatives from September 2019. Many of these species are curated by the National Clonal Germplasm Repository in Davis, CA, which has a Mediterranean climate, like Croatia. Some of the history and culture of Croatia is also shown.