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Research Areas

The faculty in Plant, Soil, and Environmental Sciences is a multidisciplinary group whose research and graduate training programs emphasize the biogeochemistry and sustainability of agricultural, horticultural, forested, and wetland ecosystems. Areas of emphasis for graduate work include nutrient dynamics in agricultural and forest ecosystems, soil chemistry and plant nutrition, soil microbiology, crop physiology, diversified cropping systems, weed ecology and management, and plant pathology. We play a strong role in many of the University of Maine’s nationally recognized programs, such as the Sustainable Agriculture program, the Potato Ecosystem Project, Bear Brook Watershed in Maine, the George J. Mitchell Center for Environmental and Watershed Research, and Acadia National Park programs. Graduate students can earn the Master of Science degree through programs in Horticulture; Plant, Soil, and Environmental Sciences; Ecology and Environmental Sciences; and Resource Utilization. The Doctor of Philosophy degree can be pursued through programs in Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Forest Resources, Plant Biology, and Biological Sciences.

The three broadly defined research areas are Environmental Horticulture, Soil and Environmental Sciences, and Sustainable Agriculture.  The primary faculty associations are:


Stephanie Burnett [Ornamental Horticulture]
Jay Hao [Plant Pathology]
Renae Moran [Extension Pomology Specialist]
Bryan Peterson
Lois Berg Stack [Invasive Plant Management and Extension Ornamental Horticulture Specialist]
Dave Yarborough
[Weed Ecology and Extension Blueberry Specialist]
Jaina Young
[Landscape Design]

Soil and Environmental Sciences:

M. Susan Erich [Soil Chemistry]
Ivan Fernandez [Forest Soils]
Tsutomu Ohno [Soil Chemistry]

Sustainable Agriculture:

Eric Gallandt [Weed Ecology and Management]
Mark Hutton
[Extension Vegetable Specialist]
Ellen Mallory [Extension Sustainable Agriculture Specialist]
Greg Porter [Crop Management and Ecology]
Marianne Sarrantonio [Sustainable Agriculture]

Watch videos of our faculty talk about their research:

Dr. Stephanie Burnett

Dr. Susan Erich

Dr. Greg Porter

Dr. Ellen Mallory

Faculty member Dr. Ellen Mallory organized a trip to Denmark to learn about growing and milling bread wheat. See trip video highlights here.