The overarching goal of our research program is to elucidate pesticide and trace element fate and behavior in the environment. In our research we integrate field, laboratory, greenhouse, and growth chamber experiments to better understand fate, transport, and behavior processes and mechanisms and various factors that ultimately affect fate and behavior in various agronomic systems.
Current research areas include:
Factors that affect pesticide leaching
Leaching is based on soil and pesticide physicochemical properties as well as biological properties. Current research efforts evaluate pesticide leaching in various agricultural settings, as well as how management practices within a system impact pesticide leaching.
Factors that affect pesticide dislodgement
Much concern exists around the use of synthetic pesticides and potential adverse human health and environmental effects. Current efforts are focused on determining principal factors that affect pesticide dislodgment from athletic fields and other public areas to develop best management practices that minimize adverse human and environmental effects.
Off-target pesticide movement and effects
Pesticide spray drift may adversely affect neighboring crops, wildlife, and human health. Current research efforts focus on measuring off-target plant injury from simulated herbicide drift.
Effect of physical and chemical soil properties on pesticide sorption and bioavailability
Variations in soil physical and chemical properties across cropping regions in the United States may result in herbicide rate adjustment for desired efficacy. Current research efforts examine bioavailability as affected by various soil properties.
Effect of surface runoff and turfgrass clipping displacement on pesticide environmental fate
Clippings from mowing events following a pesticide application may act as a vector for off-target pesticide movement. Depending on the fate of a specific pesticide, it may become bioavailable in sensitive systems at a later date. Current research investigates pesticide fate and availability in various systems over time.
Optimal Nutrient Loading and Utilization of Bioenergy Crops
Increased interest in bioenergy crop production in North Carolina has created a need for understanding the optimal conditions under which to grow these crops and the potential positive impacts they may create. Current research is focused on determining optimal establishment regimes for miscanthus, switchgrass and arundo, as well as their potential to remove nutrients from soil.
Fate of arsenic from MSMA applications in turfgrass and agronomic systems
Currently, the Environmental Protection Agency has enacted a phaseout of organic arsenical pesticides including MSMA due to potential concerns of groundwater contamination with arsenic. Current research efforts evaluate the fate and behavior of arsenic from MSMA applications, specifically investigating leaching potential in soil and porewater as well as arsenic speciation over time.
Herbicide and nutrient movement due to surface runoff
Herbicide and nutrient movement and subsequent loss due to surface runoff can be exacerbated on slopped surfaces and pose a risk to nearby water bodies. Research will be conducted to evaluate the risk and magnitude of herbicide transport due to surface water movement after herbicide and/or fertilizer application
Alternative weed control techniques
Increasing pressure from environmental and human health advocates has driven regulations that reduce or prohibit synthetic pesticide use in select public and private areas. Hence, efficacious and cost-effective alternatives are needed. Current research evaluates various alternative weed control techniques and how to may be integrated into comprehensive pest management programs.