Location: Dairy Forage ResearchTitle: It's just grass, isn't it?
Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/15/2016
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The theme of the Calvin Sperling Memorial Lectureship is "biodiversity" specifically with regard to crop germplasm. Could any other theme be nearer to the heart and soul of a plant breeder or geneticist? In 40 years of working on crop germplasm biodiversity, I've (hopefully) learned some lessons about setting research goals, priorities, and methods, the most important of which are: (1) trust your instincts, (2) avoid dogmatic thoughts, even if they are your own, and (3) don't be afraid to fail (just don't fail all the time, which would severely undermine your self-confidence). In this lecture, I plan to tell three germplasm biodiversity stories that help to drive home these three lessons. All three stories contain elements of both success and failure. Occasional failures were important in making me a better researcher. As Friedrich Nietzsche pointed out, "That which does not kill us makes us stronger." As I reflect upon 40 years of grass germplasm biodiversity research, I am thankful for the colleagues and friends who have influenced my career and helped to make it thoroughly rewarding and enjoyable.