This post is part of a migration of posts from our previous website.
Originally posted on June 10, 2019
Wow – where has the time gone??? June 1st marked UD’s graduation and the 2nd birthday of the Sparks lab. This past year has flown by. After a year without any teaching responsibilities, Dr. Sparks spent her second year in course development land! Last Fall it was a split undergraduate/graduate course on Plant Development and this Spring was an undergraduate course on Controlled Environment Agriculture. While incredibly different, both courses offered Dr. Sparks the chance to become a better instructor and opportunities to get to know the amazing graduate and undergraduate students here at UD. Now that teaching has wound down for the year, we can take a short breather and plow right into field season!
We had some really exciting results from last field season that suggest the brace root contribution to plant anchorage varies with genotype. This summer we aim to repeat these experiments and get some of our field-based phenotyping robots deployed. Science is chugging right along. We submitted two pre-prints this past year (Erndwein et al., https://doi.org/10.1101/547794 and Stager et al., arxiv.org/abs/1903.10608) and are hoping to get some more of our data out there ASAP! Dr. Sparks should be working on the figures now, but is likely procrastinating…perhaps by writing a blog post… 😉
We absolutely cannot wait for the summer ahead. Dr. Amanda Rasmussen from the University of Nottingham will be visiting for a few months (July-Sept) to show us the beauty of root physiology. We’re so excited to combine our mechanical results with her physiology approaches. In addition, PhD student Lindsay Erndwein and Dr. Sparks will be headed to Montpellier, France for an exciting collaboration with Dr. Christophe Pradal, and we hope to welcome a new Postdoc into the lab this summer. However, all of this excitement means we will not be traveling to many of our favorite meetings this year. We are sorry to miss you, but will catch you again next year!
We wish you all a bountiful beautiful summer and may the maize be ever in your favor. 😉
P.S. Dr. Sparks spent an amazing 2-weeks visiting Agriculture Victoria this past May, so here is a Koala for your viewing pleasure.