Five graduate students from the Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) department attended a course in crop physiology and climate change in the Netherlands that was jointly hosted by Wageningen University and The University of Florida (UF). They received support from the ABE Department, CALS scholarship, and Ken and Cindy Campbell Travel Scholarship to cover expenses related to this academic event.
The course was residential, with all participants residing at the Parkhotel de Bosrand. The course began with an interactive poster session where students presented their research and received feedback from professors and other participants.
Lectures were delivered by speakers from various universities including UF, Wageningen University, Cambridge University, University of Bonn, University of Hohenheim, Catholic University of Leuven, and Julius Kühn Institute. Lecture topics included a wide range of subjects with a particular emphasis on plant growth and development, photosynthesis, modeling climate change responses, and scaling and integration. All these topics were studied to ultimately discuss the effects of climate change on crop physiological processes.
A large group work component, with course attendees working in groups tasked with devising a research proposal on one given aspect of crop physiology and climate change, consisted of topics such as elevated CO2 levels, increased temperature, drought stress, soil processes, and resource use efficiency. During the final day of the course, each group presented their project with an academic discussion at the end of each presentation.
Students from around the world attended the course. Some of these countries were the United States, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Columbia, Brazil, Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Mozambique, France, Malawi, China, and Iran. Another great benefit was the professional networking through discussions during work group and break times. These discussions centered around research and aspects of graduate student life, research experience, and future career paths, common and distinct.
Before leaving, students enjoyed a tour of the Wageningen University campus, growth chambers, greenhouses, and research plots.
Faculty from UF ABE who participated as lecturers in this course included Prof. Melanie Correll, Prof. Ken Boote, and Prof. Gerrit Hoogenboom. The course was co-organized by Gerrit Hoogenboom in collaboration with WUR. The outcome of this joint course resulted in six scientific presentations given by the students at the end of the course.
PhD students from UF ABE who participated in the course included Alwin Hopf (Advisors: Drs. Gerrit Hoogenboom and Adam Watson), Oscar Castillo Romero (Advisor: Dr. Gerrit Hoogenboom), Donald Coon (Advisor: Dr. Ana Martin-Ryals), Stephen Lantin (Advisors: Drs. Melanie Correll and Aditya Singh), and George Worrall (Advisor: Dr. Jasmeet Judge).