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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Robert Skinner
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R Howard Skinner


R. Howard Skinner
Physiological Plant Ecologist

USDA-ARS-Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit
Building 3702, Curtin Road
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-8758
Fax: (814) 863-0935



Research Interests:

Dr. Skinner serves as a team member on both the  Multifunctional Farms and Landscapes to Enhance Ecosystem Services and Managing Farms for Environmental Steweardship and Profitresearch projects. His research uses micrometeorological and other approaches to examine the C dynamics of pastures in the Northeastern U. S. and how they are affected by management and the environment. Current research activities include:

    • Participation in the USDA-ARS GRACEnet project monitoring long-term effects of pasture and crop management on C sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Evaluating effect of biochar on yield and greenhouse gas emissions from switchgrass grown on soils that are marginal for row crop production.
    • Studying the environmental impacts of grazing management and pasture manure injection technology on northeast grasslands.
    • Using eddy covariance to monitor pasture management effects on C flux from peatland soils.
    • Evaluating perennial ryegrass cultivar mixtures for persistence and productivity.
    • Developing a coupled soil and plant C cycle model within IFSM to evaluate effects of management and environment on forage production and soil C sequestration.

Professional Experience:

1999-Present: Plant Ecophysiologist, USDA-ARS, Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit, University Park, Pennsylvania

1999-Present: Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.

1994-1999: Postdoctoral Research Associate, USDA-ARS, Great Plains Systems Research Unit, Fort Collins, Colorado

1991-1994: Postdoctoral Research Associate, USDA-ARS, Western Cotton Research Laboratory, Phoenix, Arizona

1990-1991: Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Minnesota

1987-1990: Graduate Research Assistant, University of Missouri

1982-1987: Support Scientist, USDA-ARS, Forage and Range Research Laboratory, Logan, Utah


University of Missouri at Columbia, Missouri: Ph.D. in Agronomy - 1987-1990

Utah State University at Logan, Utah: M.S. in Plant Science - 1981-1984

Southern Utah University at Cedar City, Utah: B.S. in Botany - 1980-1981

Utah State University at Logan, Utah: B.A. in History - 1972-1977

Last Modified: 8/25/2016
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