Dr. Widrlechner serves as the Research Unit's Horticulturist, where he curates germplasm collections of ornamental and aromatic plants and coordinates the NC-7 Regional Ornamental Plant Trials, a long-term, multi-site program to evaluate promising new woody plants under landscape conditions, focusing on conditions in the North Central US. He conducts research on interactions between environmental conditions and woody plant adaptation, in relation both to broadening the diversity of woody plants used in Midwestern landscapes and to the development of risk-assessment models related to the invasiveness of non-native species. He also is involved with research on seed regeneration, storage and germination, and genetic diversity assessment. He has considerable experience in the development of curatorial standards and protocols and of tools to improve customer service and help meet future demand for plant genetic resources. In addition, he manages an NIH subcontract on the development and conservation of medicinal-plant germplasm and serves as ADODR for Specific Cooperative Agreements related to ornamental germplasm conservation and evaluation.
Currently, Dr. Widrlechner's research interests focus on the refinement of regional models that predict the likelihood that non-native woody plants naturalize and on genetic-diversity assessment in Coriandrum. He is also working on a project to use seed longevity and patterns of past demand to determine optimal quantities for seed regeneration and storage. Dr. Widrlechner recently completed a taxonomic treatment of Rubus for a new book on the woody plants of Minnesota and is contributing to other floristic projects in the region. In response to damage caused by the emerald ash borer, Dr. Widrlechner is leading a large effort to collect and safely store seed samples of susceptible ash tree species in the United States.
Ph.D. Horticulture, University of Minnesota, 1982. M.S. Agronomy, University of Illinois, 1980.
Botany, Michigan State University, 1977.
1999-Current: USDA-ARS Horticulturist, North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station, Ames, IA. 1998-1999: USDA-ARS Acting Research Leader and Coordinator, North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station, Ames, IA.
USDA-ARS Horticulturist, North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station, Ames, IA.