Darwinian Agriculture — R. Ford Denison

Scroll down for links to videos of my talks, or click the 3-bar symbol at upper right for most-recent of my occasional blog posts.

Background image above (by Forrest Izuno) shows one of three sites in the University of Minnesota’s Long-Term Agricultural Research Network, where most of my field research occurs. Insets show some of my research on solar tracking, optical sensors to monitor crop nitrogen and water stress, and symbiotic nitrogen fixation.

About this blog

This blog mostly covers topics from my book, Darwinian Agriculture, published by  Princeton University Press.  Hardbound, Kindle and now paper-back editions are available from Amazon or your local independent bookstore.

About me

  • B.A. (ecology), Evergreen State College, 1976.
  • M.S. and Ph.D. (crop science), Cornell University, 1980 and 1983.
    • Advisors: crop physiologist Thomas Sinclair, soil microbiologist Martin Alexander, ecologist Brian Chabot, agricultural engineer Norman Scott.
  • Postdocs with Robert Loomis (UC Davis) and Park Nobel (UCLA), 1983-1986.
  • Research Plant Physiologist with USDA, 1986-1993.
  • Associate and full Professor, Agronomy and Range Science, UC Davis, 1993-2005.
  • Adjunct Professor, Ecology and Evolution, University of Minnesota, 2005-
  • My publications (Google Scholar page)
  • Amazon author page with brief biography.

Travel and speaking schedule

  • Nothing scheduled.

Past talks, some with links to videos

  • 2022 January 31. Small-scale projects could make crop plants and their symbionts more cooperative. Economy of Francesco. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pk5RlXPVfzo
  • 2022. Is it important for agronomists to publish in high-profile journals? Invited panelist at national meeting of American Society of Agronomy, Baltimore.
  • 2021 September 17. Host-imposed sanctions in rhizobium-legume symbiosis (remote). Argentine Congress of Environmental and Agricultural Microbiology.
  • 2021 May 31. Implications of past evolution for plant breeding and deploying crop diversity. University of Hohenheim, Rethinking Agriculture series.
  • 2021 April 12.  Using artificial intelligence in research to improve nitrogen fixation by crops. Technical University of Denmark. Recorded invited 8-minute talk.
  • 2020 November 8-11.  Nature’s wisdom? Implications of evolutionary tradeoffs for perennial grains.  American Society of Agronomy (virtual meeting).
  • 2020 November 8-11. Don’t mind the (yield) gap!  American Society of Agronomy (virtual meeting).
  • 2020 October 9. Cooperation and conflict in legume-rhizobia symbiosis, with implications for improving agriculture.  University of Kentucky (via Zoom).
  • 2020 March 3. Breeding to enhance nitrogen fixation and other benefits from rhizobia. Soybean breeders workshop. Saint Louis.
  • 2019 December 10. An evolutionary perspective on environmental cues, signals, and manipulation in plant-microbe interactions. University of Helsinki, Finland (via internet).
  • 2019 June 3-7. Darwinian agriculture: where does Nature’s wisdom lie?”  Keynote lecture at Harlan International Symposium on the Origins of Agriculture and Domestication, Montpelier, France.
  • 2019 June 13-19. Domestication versus “taming” of crop plants and their symbionts. Klosterneuburg, Austria. Workshop on “Convergent Evolution of Agriculture in Insects and Humans.
  • 2018 November 26-29.  Adelaide, Australia.  Workshop on “Making Science Useful for Agriculture.”
  • 2017 October 11. What should agriculture copy from nature? (In Spanish) Agricultural technology congress CREAtech, Cordoba, Argentina.
  • 2017 August 20-25. European Society for Evolutionary Biology, Groningen, the Netherlands: Domestication versus ‘taming’ of crops and symbionts
  • 2017 June 26. Talk by Ph.D. student, Katherine Muller at Evolution meetings in Portland, Oregon:
  • 2017 May 11: University of Minnesota: Improving cooperation among plants and microbes
  • 2017 May 8: Wageningen University (Netherlands): Improving cooperation among plants and microbes
  • 2017 May 5-7 Mantova Food and Science Festival (Mantua, Italy).
    Darwin, Drought, and Disease
    (in English, but introduced in Italian)
  • 2017 February 27: Penn State.: Evolutionary tradeoffs as opportunities
  • 2016 November 17: University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan:
    Long-term experiments in a world with a short attention span
  • 2016 November 7: Crop Science Society of America annual meeting (Phoenix): What can we learn from evolutionary biology and natural ecosystems to improve stress responses?
  • 2016 October: University of California, Davis:
  • 2016 October 3: Monmouth College (Monmouth, Illinois).
    • 4:00: What Can Short-Term Experiments Tell Us about Long-Term Agricultural Sustainability?
    • 7:30:  McMullen Lecture: Hardin’s Garden: Untapped Potential for Plant-Microbe-Human Cooperation in Agriculture.
  • 2016 September 26.  University of Maine, Orono.
    • Microbe-plant-human cooperation in agriculture.
  • 2015: Dublin, Ireland.
  • 2013: UC Davis.
  • 2013: International Rice Research Institute.
  • 2010: Applied-Evolution Summit, Heron Island, Australia.

2 thoughts on “Darwinian Agriculture — R. Ford Denison

  1. Hey, professor, I know your blog from the book “why evolution is true”, at the end of this book it introduce a lot of net resource including your blog: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/denis036/thisweekinevolution/

    It’s a pity that “The University of Minnesota is ending their Uthink blog platform”.

    I leave this comment to ask if you could backup all the content of your previous blog here? So that we can read them again.

    Thanks for your attention.

    Liked by 1 person

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