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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Adam S. Davis

Ecologist

The goal of my research program is to make weed management in field crops more dependable, more profitable for farmers, and less likely to have negative impacts on environmental quality and non-target organisms. To this end, I am investigating ways of spreading weed management opportunities throughout the weed life cycle, rather than focusing solely on herbicide control of weed seedlings. One category of new tactics I am working on is techniques for managing the weed seedbank. Both empirical studies and simulation models suggest that reducing weed seed persistence in the soil seedbank should have a major impact on weed populations. Seedbank management tactics currently under investigation in my lab include conservation biocontrol for increased seed decay and fatal germination by soil microbes and increased seed predation by invertebrates and small vertebrates, direct reduction of inputs to the seedbank through modifications of harvest machinery and suppression of seedling recruitment from the seedbank through cover crop management practices. Plant demography serves as a unifying theme in my studies of weed ecology and management. In this approach, empirical and modeling work complement each other in an iterative process: experiments provide insight into how control tactics affect weed life stages and provide input for simulation models of management effects on weed population dynamics; model output then helps to focus the objectives of further empirical studies. Together, these tools help advance the understanding and implementation of ecological weed management.


Last Modified: 9/29/2013