UF-CTA Affiliated Faculty:

Bruce Schaffer

Title and department: Professor, Horticultural Sciences

Address: Tropical Research and Education Center
18905 S.W. 280 Street
Homestead, FL 33031-3314

Phone: 305-246-7001 x 316
E-mail: bas@ifas.ufl.edu
Homepage: http://trec.ifas.ufl.edu/personnel_faculty_bruce_schaffer.shtml


B.S.  Entomology (2nd major in Zoology) - Colorado State University
M.S.  Forest Biology - Colorado State University
Ph.D. Horticulture (Plant Physiology) - Virginia Tech University

Research Interests (with focus on Tropical Agriculture)

My research is aimed at understanding how physiology, growth and productivity of subtropical and tropical horticultural crops are impacted by biotic and abiotic stresses.  The application of this research is to improve the sustainability of subtropical and tropical horticulture in south Florida and to increase the compatibility of agricultural production areas with the adjacent urban and environmental uses.  Initially, the major emphasis was on subtropical and tropical fruit crops, but it has expanded to include ornamental and vegetable crops to help fill existing voids in the database.  There are many overarching goals between my research objectives and those of colleagues in several other disciplines.  Therefore, my research involves a multidisciplinary approach in close collaboration with entomologists, plant pathologists, soil scientists, agricultural engineers, environmental chemists, geneticists, botanists and ecologists.  I also work with tropical plant ecologists in projects aimed at better understanding and sustaining natural ecosystems that are in close proximity to urban and agricultural areas.

A large part of my research efforts have focused on studying impacts of root zone flooding on physiology, chemical and anatomical changes, and growth of subtropical and tropical tree crops. The work has recently expanded to include woody ornamental species.  In cooperation with plant pathologists and entomologists we are also investigating the interactions between flooding stress and insect and disease susceptibility of woody tree fruit and ornamental crops.

I am part of a multidisciplinary team involved in developing best management practices (BMPs) to reduce potential agrochemical pollution to environmentally sensitive natural areas adjacent to agricultural production areas.   In cooperation with hydrologists, soil scientists and environmental chemists, we are determining the fate of agrochemicals in the soil and groundwater and horticultural methods to reduce agrochemical leaching through improved irrigation and fertilization practices. 

5 significant representative publications

Whiley, A.W., B. Schaffer and B.N. Wolstenholme (eds.).  2002. Avocado: Botany Production and Uses.  CAB International Press, Wallingford, U.K.  416 pp. Hardcover,

Schaffer, B. and P.C. Andersen (eds.).  1994.  Handbook of Environmental Physiology of Fruit Crops, Volumes I and II. Subtropical and Tropical Crops.  CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, Florida. 310 pp. and 358 pp. Hardcovers

Greaver, T., L.d.S.L. Sternberg, B. Schaffer and T. Moreno. 2005.  An empirical method of measuring CO2 recycling by isotopic enrichment of respired CO2.  Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 128:67-79.

Ojeda, M.G., B. Schaffer and F.S. Davies. 2004.  Flooding, root temperature, physiology, and growth of two Annona species.  Tree Physiology 24:1019-1025.

Schaffer, B., A.W. Whiley, C. Searle and R.J. Nissen.  1997.  Leaf gas exchange, mineral element concentration and dry matter partitioning in mango (Mangifera indica L.) as influenced by elevated atmospheric CO2 and root restriction. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science 122:849-855.

Extramural support during past 5 years

During the past five years, I have been the principal investigator or a co-principal for more than $900,000 in external grants.  Funding sources included the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the South Florida Water Management Disctrict.

Teaching Interests (with focus on Tropical Agriculture)

My commitment to teaching is mainly to train postdoctoral associates, graduate students and undergraduate student interns in environmental physiology of tropical and subtropical plants with an emphasis on horticultural crop plants.  I also provide regular guest lectures in and physiological ecology to an intensive graduate course in subtropical and tropical fruit production taught at TREC during alternate summers.  My experience and interests also include training international students in the U.S. and abroad in physiological ecology of subtropical and tropical fruit plants.

Extension/Outreach Interests (with focus on Tropical Agriculture)

Although, I have no formal extension appointment, I regularly participate in extension workshops, field days and seminars aimed at informing stake-holders in the impacts and benefits of my research activities in ecophysiology of subtropical and tropical horticultural crops.

International Activities (with focus on Tropical Agriculture)

During the past few years my international activities in tropical agriculture have included hosting visiting scientists and graduate students from Oman and Venezuela to conduct research on ecophysiology of tropical fruit crops.  I co-hosted three undergraduate student interns from EARTH University, Costa Rica to work in tropical horticulture.  Additionally, I hosted a graduate student intern from Catolica Universidad de Chile to study flooding stress of avocado trees.  I also have cooperative projects on avocado stress physiology in cooperation with institutions in Chile, including the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, the University of Chile and the Instituto de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIA).  I have been an external Examiner for Ph.D. theses from Universities in several countries including Australia, South Africa and the West Indies.  I participated in a multidisciplinary course on production of tropical fruit trees and ornamental plants at Universidad Autonoma de Chiapas in, Mexico.  Additionally, I have co-edited or written books and book chapters focusing on physiology of tropical fruit crops with contributors from several countries including Australia, France, Israel, Mexico, South Africa and Spain.


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