Laboratory Director Donald L. Suarez of Riverside, Calif., has been named Distinguished Senior Research Scientist of 2009 by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) for his scientific leadership and discoveries in effective water resource management. ARS is the principal intramural scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Suarez heads the U.S. Salinity Laboratory in Riverside. He and other ARS researchers and support staff are being honored today at the agency's awards ceremony here.
Water scarcity will be a defining issue in 21st century agricultureand in society in general, said Edward B. Knipling, ARS administrator. Dr. Suarezs outstanding research on helping farmers efficiently utilize scarce water resources benefits not only the farmers themselves, but also consumers, communities and businesses. The research under way at our Riverside lab under Dr. Suarezs leadership will help sustain agricultural production in arid regions of the West and inform our approach to water management across the United States and abroad.
Suarezs research on water resources has yielded key information about how the strawberry, grape and turf industries can reuse water for irrigation while maintaining favorable soil chemical and physical properties for sustained production. His work has greatly advanced the understanding of the relationship between water chemistry and soil hydraulic properties. In addition, he has assessed how different irrigation regimes can enhance soil productivity and helped develop computer models that can be used by water districts and irrigation consultants to make informed decisions about salinity management.
ARS also will recognize the following "Area Senior Research Scientists" today:
William P. Kustas, ARS Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory , Beltsville, Md, for pioneering research in the theory and application of remote sensing and soil-plant- atmosphere modeling related to hydrological and agricultural problems.
Anna Meyers McClung, ARS Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Unit , Stuttgart, Ark., for outstanding research and leadership accomplishments in genetic improvement and protection of rice through innovative development, adaptation, and implementation of molecular marker-assisted breeding technologies.
Jack A. Morgan, ARS Rangeland Resources Research Unit, Fort Collins, Colo., for scientific contributions to global change research and dedication to the development of a unit research team where everyone can participate and succeed.
Agnes M. Rimando, ARS Natural Products Utilization Research Unit, University, Miss., for research on stilbenes that positively impacted the blueberry industry and provided the basis for using these compounds to benefit human health.
Randy C. Shoemaker, ARS Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research Unit, Ames, Iowa, for outstanding research in soybean genetics and genomics.
Michael Wisniewski, ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Station, Kearneysville, W. Va., for sustained research productivity, leadership and impact in the management of biotic and abiotic stress in fruit crops.
Bruce W. Wood, ARS Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture and Health, Byron, Ga., for excellence in pecan production and protection research and advancing mineral nutrition management of crops.
ARS also is recognizing exceptional "early career" scientists who have been with the agency for seven years or less.
The top prize, the Herbert L. Rothbart Outstanding Early Career Research Scientist Award, will be presented to Michael L. Looper, ARS Dale Bumpers Small Farms Research Center, Booneville, Ark., for the development of pioneering research that improves production efficiency, product quality and food safety for the American cattle industry.
Other "Area Early Career Research Scientist Award" winners for 2009 are:
Dana Blumenthal, ARS Rangeland Resources Research Unit (RRRU), Fort Collins, Colo., for outstanding scientific contributions to invasion ecology and for teamwork with the RRRU and collaborators.
David H. Gent, ARS Forage Seed and Cereal Research Unit, Corvallis, Ore., for creativity and outstanding accomplishments in developing integrated pest management approaches to reduce the impact of diseases on crop productivity.
Mary J. Pantin-Jackwood, ARS Exotic and Emerging Avian Viral Diseases Research Unit, Athens, Ga., for demonstrating the critical role of domestic ducks in the control of avian influenza viruses and for the characterization and improved diagnostics of novel enteric viruses of poultry.
Kerry F. Pedley, ARS Foreign Disease-Weed Research Unit, Fort Detrick, Md., for research contributions in molecular diagnostics and genetic characterization of foreign plant pathogens, and demonstration of early career success in developing extramurally funded research programs.
Timothy A. Rinehart, ARS Southern Horticultural Laboratory, Poplarville, Miss., for research and technology transfer related to the application of molecular markers and DNA fingerprinting biotechnology to breeding woody landscape plants.
Manan Sharma, ARS Environmental Microbial and Food Safety Laboratory, Beltsville, Md., for developing innovative methods for detecting internalization of pathogens into leafy greens.
Other 2009 ARS award winners include the following:
Several 2009 Administrators Outreach, Diversity, and Equal Opportunity Awards also will be presented to ARS staff. These awards identify and recognize ARS employees for exemplary achievements in promoting equal employment opportunity and civil rights and in fostering an awareness of and commitment to workforce diversity through actions that clearly exceed the responsibilities of their positions or assignments in ARS.