Agricultural Experiment Station

2018-2019 Research Impact

Scientists at UC Davis who are supported by Agricultural Experiment Station funding do research and outreach that address challenges in food and agriculture, natural resources, community development and many other areas that benefit society.

College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Logo

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

Tree illustration with bike at the trunk

Agricultural Sciences

  • Animal science
  • Biological and Agricultural Engineering
  • 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

$-.- 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

icon

Funding Information

Total Funding: $- Million

# of Projects: -

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

$-.- 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

icon

Funding Information

Total Funding: $- Million

# of Projects: -

Departments

Contributors

$-.- 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

$-.- 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.

Bird's eye view of farmland

Chris Simmons, food science and technology professor, is working with his team to test biosolarization on several annual and cover crops in plots on the UC Davis campus using agricultural waste streams from tomato and wine processing.

Environment

tree icon

Sustainable Pest Management

Professor: Christopher Simmons
Department: Food Science and Technology

Importance

Farmers spend a lot of time and money controlling weeds and other pests, and often have to turn to chemical fumigants to keep the most destructive pests at bay. Farmers also wrestle with what to do with low-value byproducts of crop production, such as skin, seeds and hulls from fruit, vegetable and nut processing.

Impact

Simmons is conducting collaborative experiments with “biosolarization,” a process that combines the sun’s heat with soil amendments like agricultural waste streams to manage weeds and other soil-borne pests. Biosolarization could make farming more productive, profitable and environmentally friendly.

Maria Marco with fermented foods

Maria Marco, a microbiologist and food science professor, examines fermented fruits and vegetables for their nutritional content and microbial composition.

Agriculture

seed icon

Home Fermentation

Professor: Maria Marco
Department: Food Science and Technology

Importance

The ancient art of fermentation is America’s latest food trend, celebrated at five-star restaurants, prepared in home kitchens and touted for healing everything from obesity to cancer.

Impact

Marco is helping expand the science and education of fermented fruits and vegetables to help consumers, cooks, food processers and others safely prepare fermented foods and understand the role fermentation can play in healthy diets.

Assistant Professor Johnnna Swartz

Assistant Professor Johnna Swartz is working with a team to synthesize data to discover universal and specific risk factors for depression in young people.

Human and Social

seed icon

Decoding Depression

Assistant Professor: Johnna Swartz
Department: Human Ecology

Importance

Depression is a debilitating condition that affects millions of people around the world. It usually starts early in life and can limit educational, economic and social opportunities. Early intervention can help doctors prevent and treat depression, but there isn’t a good screening tool yet.

Impact

Swartz is part of an international team collecting brain images, assessing environmental risk factors and gathering biological data from adolescents in Brazil, Nigeria, Nepal and the United Kingdom, as well as in Davis, California. The project is designed to expand early intervention and improve quality of life no matter where you live.

Associate Dean Ermias Kebreab conducts research to determine if seaweed will reduce methane emissions in dairy cows.

Associate Dean Ermias Kebreab conducts research to determine if seaweed will reduce methane emissions in dairy cows.

Environment

seed icon

Reducing Cattle Methane Emissions

Associate Dean: Ermias Kebreab
Department: Animal Science

Importance

As cattle digest their food throughout the day, they burp and exhale methane, a potent heat-trapping gas.

Impact

Kebreab is discovering that adding a touch of seaweed to cattle feed could dramatically cut greenhouse gas emissions from dairy cows and livestock. This could help California’s farmers meet new methane-emission standards and sustainably produce food needed to feed the world.

Da Yang, an assistant professor in atmospheric science and a 2019 Packard Fellow, uses a combination of satellite observations and computer models to study the Earth’s weather and climate.

Da Yang, an assistant professor in atmospheric science and a 2019 Packard Fellow, uses a combination of satellite observations and computer models to study the Earth’s weather and climate.

Environment

tree icon

Climate, Cloud Physics

Assistant Professor: Da Yang
Department: Land, Air and Water Resources

Importance

Water vapor in the atmosphere is lighter than dry air. As the Earth warms, this vapor buoyancy effect will affect the size and behavior of rainstorms and the overall energy balance of the Earth’s atmosphere in a profound way.

Impact

Yang is using satellite observations, computer models and old-fashioned pencil-and-paper theories to develop new ways to address issues with extreme weather and climate change. His work is providing a more accurate estimate of the Earth’s future climate, which will provide improved predictions of how rainstorms will change.

Pablo Ross, an associate professor in animal science, works to identify the functional elements of the cow’s genome.

Pablo Ross, an associate professor in animal science, works to identify the functional elements of the cow’s genome.

Agriculture

seed icon

Cattle Genome

Associate Professor: Pablo Ross
Department: Animal Science

Importance

The cattle industry is the largest agricultural commodity in the United States, but scientists still have a long way to go to fully understand mechanisms that govern important genetic traits in cattle like growth and disease resistance.

Impact

Ross is leading a national effort to identify functional elements of the cattle genome, which can help produce healthier, more productive livestock.

Daniel Choe, assistant professor in human ecology, is exploring which experiences in early childhood can contribute to mental health problems later in life.

Daniel Choe, assistant professor in human ecology, is exploring which experiences in early childhood can contribute to mental health problems later in life.

Human and Social

brain icon

Child Development

Assistant Professor: Daniel Ewon Choe
Department: Human Ecology

Importance

Preventing and treating behavioral problems can help people lead more fulfilling lives.

Impact

Choe explores which experiences in early childhood can contribute to mental health problems later in life. To improve child welfare, Choe studies family and neighborhood influences, such as poverty and violence, and a person’s capacity to manage emotions and behaviors in stressful situations.

Assistant Professor Kristina Horback studies animal cognition in several mammal species, including pigs, cows and sheep.

Assistant Professor Kristina Horback studies animal cognition in several mammal species, including pigs, cows and sheep.

Agriculture

seed icon

Pig Personality

Assistant Professor: Kristina Horback
Department: Animal Science

Importance

The pork industry is transitioning from raising pigs in crates to group pens, where battles for dominancy can get brutal. In pursuit of food, bold pigs get more, timid pigs get less, and some pigs suffer miscarriages in the scramble.

Impact

Building on her pioneering research in animal cognition, Horback is examining the role personality plays in the welfare and sustainable production of farm animals, like cattle, sheep, and swine. Horback’s research is helping the nation’s pork industry adapt to new legislative and marketplace demands to raise pigs in group housing rather than in individual crates, which have been the norm for the last 40 years.

Food chemist Ameer Taha is studying the effect various lipids have on neurodevelopment.

Food chemist Ameer Taha is studying the effect various lipids have on neurodevelopment.

Agriculture

seed icon

Deciphering Fat

Professor: Ameer Taha
Department: Food Science and Technology

Importance

Humans need some linoleic acid to stay healthy, but people in the United States are getting three to six times the amount they need, which can be linked to the nation’s appetite for processed foods.

Impact

Taha is exploring whether eating too much linoleic acid can cause chronic inflammation, migraine headaches and other health problems. He is developing innovative methods to measure linoleic-acid requirements, looking at how much linoleic acid is secreted by the liver, for example, and how much the heart and brain consume.

Michael Carter, director of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Markets, Risk and Resilience, and professor of agricultural and resource economics, is studying the root causes of poverty and food insecurity in developing countries.

Michael Carter, director of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Markets, Risk and Resilience, and professor of agricultural and resource economics, is studying the root causes of poverty and food insecurity in developing countries.

Human and Social

tree icon

Addressing Rural Poverty

Director: Michael Carter
Department: Agricultural and Resource Economics

Importance

As global development efforts continue to improve, disasters like drought, flood and conflict can strip rural families and communities of hard-won gains.

Impact

As director of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Markets, Risk and Resilience, Carter is working with a team of experts to study the root cause of poverty and food insecurity with an emphasis on recurring risks for humanitarian disasters. The global research program is developing and testing ways to overcome some of the biggest remaining challenges for lifting and keeping rural families out of poverty in developing countries.

UC Davis wheat geneticist Jorge Dubcovsky and his team have identified a gene that enables resistance to a strain of stem rust.

UC Davis wheat geneticist Jorge Dubcovsky and his team have identified a gene that enables resistance to a strain of stem rust.

Agriculture

brain icon

Wheat Genetics

Professor: Jorge Dubcovsky
Department: Plant Sciences

Importance

Stem rust is a disease that can destroy a large percentage of the world’s supply of wheat, a crop that is critical to addressing food security across the globe. A new strain of stem rust is spreading throughout Africa and threatens wheat production in Asia, as well.

Impact

Dubcovsky has identified a gene that enables resistance to the new devasting stain of stem rust. The discovery will help breeders more quickly develop varieties that can fend off the deadly pathogens and halt a worldwide wheat epidemic.

Valerie Eviner is a restoration ecology professor looking at local native species to help anticipate future climate change needs in California.

Valerie Eviner is a restoration ecology professor looking at local native species to help anticipate future climate change needs in California.

Environment

tree icon

Restoration Ecology

Professor: Valerie Eviner
Department: Plant Sciences

Importance

Climate change raises an important question for restoration ecology: What’s the best way to heal the land when its future environment won’t look like its past?

Impact

Eviner is planting vegetation, fighting weeds, restoring water flow and building healthy soil to renew land damaged by logging, mining and development or overrun by invasive species. Her work is helping Californians protect biodiversity, manage rangeland and adapt to a changing world.