New year news! Taylorlab achievements in 2018- A blog by Suzanne Milner

Taylor lab would like to wish everyone a happy new year. At this time of year we would like to reflect on our last year’s achievements. 

Last year was an eventful year for us with two of our PhD students submitting their theses, ten publications, six lab members new to our UC Davis campus, three new studentship appointments and a former student is visiting the department as part of her fellowship. 

Libby RowlandLibby Rowland and Jasmine Saban have both submitted their PhD theses. Libby Rowland’s theses was on the “More drop per crop” project, looking at the effect of water deficit on culinary herbs. During her PhD, Libby published a paper, The potential to improve culinary herb crop quality with deficit irrigation, reviewing the subject in herbaceous crops. Libby has since moved on to work for Vitacress Ltd in the herbs section of the company where she will be working as a research and development officer, responsible for research and trials for potted herbs. Bringing skills she built up through her PhD, along with her research interests, Libby’s work for Vitacress will focus on sustainability and resource efficiency.  Jasmine Saban

Jasmine Saban also submitted her thesis towards the end of the year on 'plasticity and adaptation in the multigenerational plant response to elevated CO2 concentrations. Jasmine’s PhD was a spitfire funded project which built upon previous projects in the group on plant adaptation to elevated CO2. As part of Jasmine’s project she has published FACE facts hold for multiple generations; Evidence from natural CO2 springs, which is a meta-analysis of FACE (free air CO2 enrichment) sites. Jasmine will be staying in academia in Southampton, UK, working as a PostDoc looking at the role of plasticity in evolution. 

Photo by Bev Crowl

This December also saw the graduation ceremony of two PhD students, Annabelle Damerum and Nikol Voutsina. Since finishing their PhDs, Annabelle has been working as a PostDoc in Taylorlab on the CalGreens project which is largely an extension of her PhD, and Nikol is just starting a PostDoc in Exeter. Congratulations Dr Damerum and Dr Voutsina!!

2018 also saw a former student of ours, Zoe Harris, join us in Davis. Zoe has a NERC fellowship at Imperial College, UK, on assessing the feasibility of using vertical farming for second generation dedicated bioenergy crops. She is visiting as part of a collaboration with Taylorlab and Liethlab at Davis.

We have appointed three new studentships; Felipe Becerra joined in the spring to do a Barfoots funded project on sweetcorn based in Southampton and Davis, Yufei Qian joined in the summer to do a masters in watercress and at the end of the year we interviewed candidates for our latest Vitacress funded PhD on watercress (successful candidate and project details to be announced shortly).group photo

Through the year we were joined in our UC Davis campus by six lab members. Suzanne Milner moved from Southampton where she was part of Taylorlab for 12 years and she will be with us in Davis until at least October 2019. Also joining in Davis alongside Annabelle, Yufei, Felipe and Suzie are Caspar Donnison, Jack Bailey-bale and Alan Foy. Caspar is our Southampton based PhD student working on Ecosystem services and BECCS (Bioenergy and carbon capture and storage) technology. Jack and Alan are both visiting Davis to assist with our CalGreens project on lettuce.  

Through the efforts of our lab members and collaborators this last year we had 10 publications go into press. Focusing largely on bioenergy cropping systems, these range from a book chapter on Biogenic Carbon capture and sequestration, to ecosystem services in future energy systems to productivity of grasslands, Arundo donax, willow, poplar and switch grass. 

Here’s to another productive year in 2019!

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