Research

The overarching goal of our research program is to elucidate pesticide and trace element fate and behavior in the environment. In our research we integrate field, laboratory, greenhouse, and growth chamber experiments to better understand fate, transport, and behavior processes and mechanisms and various factors that ultimately affect fate and behavior in various agronomic systems.

Current research areas include:

Factors that affect pesticide leaching
Leaching is based on soil and pesticide physicochemical properties as well as biological properties. Current research efforts evaluate pesticide leaching in various agricultural settings, as well as how management practices within a system impact pesticide leaching.

Factors that affect pesticide dislodgement
Much concern exists around the use of synthetic pesticides and potential adverse human health and environmental effects. Current efforts are focused on determining principal factors that affect pesticide dislodgment from athletic fields and other public areas to develop best management practices that minimize adverse human and environmental effects.

Off-target pesticide movement and effects
Pesticide spray drift may adversely affect neighboring crops, wildlife, and human health. Current research efforts focus on measuring off-target plant injury from simulated herbicide drift.

Effect of physical and chemical soil properties on pesticide sorption and bioavailability
Variations in soil physical and chemical properties across cropping regions in the United States may result in herbicide rate adjustment for desired efficacy. Current research efforts examine bioavailability as affected by various soil properties.

Effect of surface runoff and turfgrass clipping displacement on pesticide environmental fate
Clippings from mowing events following a pesticide application may act as a vector for off-target pesticide movement. Depending on the fate of a specific pesticide, it may become bioavailable in sensitive systems at a later date. Current research investigates pesticide fate and availability in various systems over time.

Ability of various riparian and aquatic species to mitigate off-target pesticide movement
Vegetative filter strips are commonly used to slow lateral surface water movement and reduce nutrient, sediment, and pesticide loading into water bodies; however, little research has been conducted which evaluates species. Current research efforts will identify optimum species to mitigate off-target pesticide movement.

Fate of arsenic from MSMA applications in turfgrass and agronomic systems
Currently, the Environmental Protection Agency has enacted a phaseout of organic arsenical pesticides including MSMA due to potential concerns of groundwater contamination with arsenic. Current research efforts evaluate the fate and behavior of arsenic from MSMA applications, specifically investigating leaching potential in soil and porewater as well as arsenic speciation over time.

Heavy metal accumulation in garden vegetables
Garden vegetables may accumulate heavy metals in plant structures commonly consumed by humans. Current research projects evaluate various sources of heavy metal contamination as well as soil amendments growers may utilize to reduce metal uptake in garden vegetables.

Alternative weed control techniques
Increasing pressure from environmental and human health advocates has driven regulations that reduce or prohibit synthetic pesticide use in select public and private areas. Hence, efficacious and cost-effective alternatives are needed. Current research evaluates various alternative weed control techniques and how to may be integrated into comprehensive pest management programs.

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