Breeding Downy Mildew Resistance in Impatiens - PROJECT FILLED

Worksite Location
Riverhead, NY - CU's Long Island Horticulture Research & Extension Center
Project Dates
May - August
Faculty Sponsor
Dr. Mark Bridgen - SIPS, Horticulture Section
Field Mentors/Supervisors
Dr. Nora Catlin
$5,000 - Donor Supported
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

This student internship will be conducted in Riverhead, NY at Cornell University’s Long Island Horticultural Research & Extension Center. It is intended for students who are interested in applied research pertaining to floriculture and greenhouse production. The intern will be involved in a diverse group of floriculture projects. The main project will be the breeding of impatiens plants for resistance to the fungal disease Downy Mildew. The student will also be involved with the evaluation of the C wavelength Ultraviolet radiation as a plant growth regulator for greenhouse bedding plants and the comparison of slow release fertilizers to traditional granular fertilizers for the growth of field asparagus. The student will be involved with the herbaceous perennial demonstration and trial gardens, breeding of Vitex plants, and tissue culture and breeding of Alstroemeria plants.

Roles and Responsibilities

The student intern will work on a daily basis under the supervision of Dr. Mark Bridgen. S/he will learn about aseptic technique and work in the plant tissue culture laboratory using various techniques including embryo culture, somaclonal variation, and plant micropropagation. In addition, the student will work in the greenhouse managing plants and conducting greenhouse experiments. The student will also work in the field with research projects associated with the breeding of Impatiens and Vitex, fertilizer comparisons for asparagus, and evaluating herbaceous ornamental plants. Due to the nature of Dr. Bridgen’s and Dr. Catlin’s research and extension programs, the intern will have an opportunity to travel to various greenhouse and nursery operations on Long Island to observe New York’s floriculture industry. The intern will also have the experience of working on PowerPoint presentations, managing extension events like the annual LIHREC Open House, collecting data, inputting data into a computer, and collaborating with senior citizen volunteers.

Qualifications and Previous Coursework

The student should be at least a sophomore in the CALS plant science curriculum. Some practical work experience with plants will be helpful. The student needs to be willing and able to work outside in hot, summer weather, and able to carry heavy loads (at least 50lbs). The student should not be worried about conducting field work and should be self-motivated.

Benefits and Skills

The learning outcomes for this internship are to become competent when working in a plant tissue culture laboratory, including aseptic technique, media preparation, and general laboratory procedures, and to understand basic plant breeding. The student will also learn and experience general greenhouse management including watering plants, transplanting plants, insect control, and propagation procedures. There will be learning outcomes from conducting field research and understanding basic statistical design. Another learning outcome is to be able to communicate and interact with stakeholders, volunteers, senior citizens, and visitors to the LIHREC.