My position is focused on conducting original applied research on integrated approaches to cranberry production and transferring research-based information to the Massachusetts cranberry industry. I also engage with cranberry researchers throughout North America to increase knowledge on issues that limit identified industry production goals; and respond to real time critical industry needs related to maximizing production efficiency. My research program applies basic principles of plant physiology to study questions related to fruit quality, canopy management and shading effects on cranberry production. The following are my current ongoing research projects:
- Improve fruit quality in cranberry through the use of plant growth regulators. The fruit quality parameters currently being investigated are fruit color and firmness. The fruit color improvement component is focused on increasing anthocyanin biosynthesis using s-abscisic acid. The aim of the fruit firmness research is manipulating the ripening process by slowing down ethylene production using aminoethoyxvinylglycine.
- Evaluate the use of plant biostimulants to enhance nutrition efficiency, abiotic stress tolerance and improve fruit quality in cranberry production.
- Investigate the potential of canopy management as a cultural practice to improve fruit quality through improved light penetration.
- Investigate the shading effect of solar (photovoltaic) panels installed on cranberry bogs on canopy microclimate, photosynthetic capacity, fruit quality, and yield. This research is in response to the growing interest in the implementation of dual-use solar projects on cranberry bogs.