Research Plant Pathologist
Dr. Copes has 26 years of extension and research experience in plant pathology during which time he has authored 160 publications, which includes 46 refereed manuscripts and 5 book chapters. Dr. Copes has spent his career developing sanitation, cultural and chemical controls that benefit disease control in commercial crop production. The early part of his career was involved with extension and research responsibilities to control diseases of fruit crops in Georgia then ornamental nursery and greenhouse plants in Washington. The majority of his career has been as a research scientist in ARS focused on disease control in nursery plant production in the southeastern U.S. Research has involved determining timing of fungicide applications against Rhizoctonia web blight on azalea to minimize number of sprays needed, development of cultural and sanitation controls for control of Rhizoctonia web blight, monitoring season development of Colletotrichum stem blight on camellia to understand timing of different controls, determining seasonal aerial conidia levels of the Passalora blight pathogen on Leyland cypress, evaluating water quality parameters and population levels of Phytophthora species in nursery containment ponds used for irrigation and determining minimum lethal disinfestant rates needed to control plant pathogens on different types of production surfaces. Past research has demonstrated that efficacy of disinfestants is not always dependable. Thus, the last few years have been spent investigating what types of factors influence efficacy of disinfestants to improve control of plant pathogens.