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Mission

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Scientists at UC Davis who are supported by Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) funding do research and outreach that address challenges in food and agriculture, natural resources, community development and many other areas that benefit society. AES is part of a state-funded UC research program consisting of more than 750 scientists and 1,300 research projects.

Research at the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
is spread across three main areas of emphasis.

Agricultural Sciences

  • Animal science
  • Biological and agricultural sciences
  • Entomology and nematology
  • Plant pathology
  • Plant sciences
  • Viticulture and enology

Environmental Sciences

  • Environmental science and policy
  • Environmental toxicology
  • Land, air and water resources
  • Wildlife, fish and conservation biology

Human and Social Sciences

  • Agricultural and resource economics
  • Food science and technology
  • Human ecology
  • Nutrition

Choose a topic to view our research in a specific area

Research Projects

$194.9 Million - Expenditures

Research conducted with Agricultural Experiment Station funding at the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences touches the people of California and the world beyond. Projects range widely from topics such as ‘applied freshwater predator-prey ecology’ to ‘designing healthy youth environments.’ Hover over the circles to view details about project titles, funding and associated departments.

Agriculture

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Funding Information

Total Funding: $7 Million

# of Projects: 24

Departments

Legend

Each circle represents a research project in a given topic.

  • green circle Agriculture
  • blue circle Environment
  • yellow circle Human and Social

Size of each circle correlates to the funding that a project receives.

$5 Million $1.5 Million $0.2 Million

Geographical Impact

$194.9 Million - Helping California

Researchers in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences impact California in numerous ways and discover new knowledge in the areas of: sustainable agriculture, environmental conservation, nutritious food, clean water and human health.

This map represents a small fraction of the 300+ faculty who provide critical scientific solutions to some of our state and nation’s biggest challenges. Hover over icons to explore the research we are doing in California.

Agriculture

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Funding Information

Total Funding: $7 Million

# of Projects: 24

Departments

Contributors

$194.9 Million - Funding Sources

Transparency is important to us at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Below you'll find a list of the funding sources that provide us with the tools to continue researching topics of importance to California and beyond.

Spotlights

$194.9 Million - The Impact

Research in the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has an impact on California and beyond. Check out these highlighted articles for a more in-depth look at what we are doing in the fields of agriculture, the environment and the human and social sciences.

UC Davis scientist, Helen Dahlke,  stands in a deliberately flooded almond orchard outside Modesto as part of a groundwater banking experiment on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016.

UC Davis hydrologist Helen Dahlke stands in a deliberately flooded almond orchard outside of Modesto that was part of a groundwater banking experiment.

Environment

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Groundwater Banking

Professor: Helen Dahlke
Department: Land, Air and Water Resources

Importance

Managing drought. In 2015 alone, statewide revenue losses reached $2.7 billion due to drought, and 18,600 workers lost full and part-time jobs.

Impact

Early results show that deliberately flooding farmland in the winter can help replenish groundwater aquifers without harming crops. Dalhke is working with alfalfa growers in Siskiyou County and almond growers in the Central Valley.

Jay Belsky, human development with the Department of Human Ecology, studies the link between genetics and how humans respond to good, bad, and benign experiences and exposures.

Jay Belsky, a professor of human development at UC Davis, studies the link between genetics and how humans respond to good, bad and benign experiences and exposures.

Human & Social

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Child Development

Professor: Jay Belsky
Department: Human Ecology

Importance

Healthy families. Our genes can influence how we respond to stress, making some people more predisposed to anxiety and depression.

Impact

Belsky has discovered an upside to the link between genetics and environmental exposure. In many cases, the same people who are most adversely affected by negative experiences also benefit the most from supportive or even benign environments. His findings inform society’s understanding of human development and can help all humans thrive

Carolyn Slupsky

Food scientist Caroyln Slupsky and others are battling citrus greening disease, which is caused by a bacterium spread by the Asian citrus psyllid, a tiny insect that feeds on the leaves and stems of citrus trees.

Agriculture

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Citrus Greening Disease

Professor: Carolyn Slupsky
Department: Nutrition, Food Science and Technology

Importance

Protecting the citrus industry. Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening disease, has decimated citrus groves in Florida, Texas and throughout the world. There is no cure. For the first time in 70 years, California has surpassed Florida in citrus production. The disease has been spotted in California.

Impact

Slupsky and other UC Davis experts are working with farmers and fellow scientists to develop early detection methods, boost tree immunity and find a cure for the devastating disease. Slupsky is working with growers in Southern California, Placer County and throughout the state.

Professor Shrini Upadhyaya, faculty in biological and agricultural engineering, has developed a suite of sensors that can help growers determine when, where, and how much to irrigate. Dr. Upadyhaya's technology has been commercialized and is now available to improve irrigation in vineyards and almonds and walnut orchards. Soon, more crops will come online, helping growers save water and improve crop quality and yield.

Shrini Upadhyaya, a professor of biological and agricultural engineering, has developed a suite of sensors that can help growers determine when, where and how much to irrigate crops.

Agriculture

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Precision Irrigation

Professor: Shrinivasa Upadhyaya
Department: Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Importance

Water management. The key to effective irrigation is giving crops the right amount of water in the right place at the right time, but calculating what individual plants need is easier said than done.

Impact

Upadhyaya developed new technology that helps grape, walnut and almond growers throughout the state decide when, where and how much to irrigate, which helps save water and improve crop quality and yield.

Steve Knapp, who will be the new strawberry breeder, stands in the strawberry greenhouse on Tuesday January 20, 2015 at UC Davis.

Technician Eduardo Garcia and lab manager Charlotte Acharya work with strawberry plants that have not been inoculated against soilborne pathogens as part of a controlled plant pathology experiment on the UC Davis campus.

Agriculture

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Strawberry Breeding

Professor: Steve Knapp
Department: Plant Sciences

Importance

Breeding better berries. Strawberries constitute a $4.4 billion industry in the United States, and most are grown in California. Strawberries are especially vulnerable to soilborne pathogens, which destroy plants and greatly reduce yield.

Impact

Knapp leads the UC Davis Public Strawberry Breeding Program and is focused on improving disease resistance and the sustainable production of strawberries throughout the nation. Over the years, the public program has developed more than 30 patented varieties, made strawberries a year-round crop in California and boosted strawberry yield from just six tons per acre in the 1950s to 30 tons per acre today.

Professor John Eadie talks about his research as he hold a duckling as they collect data on wood ducks and their ducklings at the Roosevelt Ranch in Zamora, Ca.

Professor John Eadie and student interns collect data on wood ducks and their ducklings at Roosevelt Ranch in Zamora, California.

Environment

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Wetland Ecology and Conservation

Professor: John Eadie
Department: Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology

Importance

Loss of wetlands. An estimated 95 percent of original wetland habitat in California has been lost due to human activity, leading to declining numbers of waterfowl and other wildlife dependent on riparian landscapes. Loss of habitat has also reduced flood protection, clean water and other ecosystem services provided by wetlands.

Impact

Public-private partnerships between the university and farmers/landowners have led to restoration of thousands of acres of wetlands, with land managers relying on university research and expertise to create riparian forests that support migrating waterfowl and other native wildlife. Landowners allow Eadie’s wildlife students to conduct wood duck research on their property, which gives students field experience with wildlife and helps quantify the success of restoration efforts.

Associate professor Dario Cantu stands in the UC Davis vineyard on of the Robert Mondavi Institute on Thursday October 13, 2016.  He does work on grape genetics.

Professor Dario Cantu is conducting research that will help growers battle powdery mildew disease in wine grapes.

Agriculture

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Powdery Mildew

Professor: Dario Cantu
Department: Viticulture and Enology

Importance

Protecting the winegrape industry. California growers use more chemicals to control powdery mildew than to manage any other vineyard problem. Left untreated, powdery mildew destroys grape quality and yield.

Impact

UC Davis researchers have uncovered important genetic clues about the pathogen that causes grape powdery mildew, which can help reduce fungicide use and benefit both the environment and the economy.

UC Davis researcher Juan Medrano at Good Land Organics in Goleta, Calif. on December 15, 2016.

These cattle are wearing GPS collars so researchers can track whether they like to graze in the valleys or in the hills. Breeding cattle that prefer to graze on hillsides will help alleviate overgrazing on lowland meadows.

Agriculture

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Animal Genetics

Professor: Juan Medrano
Department: Animal Science

Importance

Rangeland management. Cattle like to graze in valleys and hang out by creeks, which leads to overgrazing in riparian areas and lets perfectly good forage on hillsides go to waste.

Impact

Medrano is helping develop an easy, inexpensive genetic test so ranchers can improve cattle distribution by breeding hill-climbing cows. The test could enhance management of California's 38 million acres of rangeland.

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Research by human development expert Leah Hibel will help improve the lives of Mexican-origin children who are disproportionately exposed to stressors such as poverty, violence and discrimination.

Human & Social

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Child Development

Professor: Leah Hibel
Department: Human Ecology

Importance

Healthy families. More than half of the people in California are Latino, and 82 percent of the state’s Latino population is of Mexican origin. Yet scientists know very little about the social and emotional development of Mexican-origin children.

Impact

Assessing 250 families in the Sacramento area, Hibel is charting emotions, behaviors, physical health and school readiness to measure how discrimination and fear of deportation affect parents and their children. Her findings will influence policy and improve intervention strategies.

Alison Van Eenennaam CE specialist animal science

Alison Van Eenennaam, a CE specialist in animal science, does research and outreach on the use of animal genomics and biotechnology in livestock production systems.

Agriculture

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Animal Genetics

Cooperative Extension specialist: Alison Van Eenennaam
Department: Animal Science

Importance

Livestock health. To feed a growing population, we need to find ways to boost sustainable livestock production while enhancing animal health and welfare.

Impact

Van Eenennaam works closely with the beef cattle industry to develop educational programs on topics ranging from animal cloning to DNA and genome-based genetic selection methods. She is a world leader in gene-editing research as a way to make beneficial genetic changes to improve health, welfare and sustainable production of food animals.

Anne Todgham

Animal scientist Anne Todgham specializes in how aquatic life copes with changing environments, including the polar regions. As the ocean warms, many fish have migrated to cooler waters, but for aquatic life in Antarctica, polar species have nowhere else to go.

Environment

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Aquatic Animals

Professor: Anne Todgham
Department: Animal Science

Importance

Marine aquaculture. Ocean warming and acidification along California’s coastline both affect many species that people rely on for food, like oysters and Dungeness crab.

Impact

Todgham studies how stress, including climate change, affects sea creatures in a wide range of locations. By identifying vulnerable populations, her team can influence policies that protect species from direct threats like overfishing.

Dave Rizzo stands in the health Oak Grove on March 20, 2017.  Dave Rizzo is a plant disease expert who helped identify Sudden Oak Death, and also does work with mushrooms.

Plant pathologist Dave Rizzo helped identify the fungus-like organism that causes sudden oak death in oak trees and also has expertise in mushrooms.

Environment

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Forest Pathology

Professor: Dave Rizzo
Department: Plant Pathology

Importance

Forest devastation. In California, millions of trees have died due to sudden oak death, affecting ecosystems across the state.

Impact

Rizzo and a UC Berkeley colleague identified the culprit behind sudden oak death—a fungus-like microorganism that caused infected trees to ooze sap, lose foliage and die. Rizzo’s lab is involved in numerous efforts to restore infested forests and protect forests that are still at risk. Rizzo is a dedicated teacher and mentor and has developed student programs that provide students with early exposure to courses and career opportunities.