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Plant Science

A rich history—and research for the future

For over one hundred years, this classic program in plant agriculture has been offering students the knowledge they need to succeed. During that time, our researchers have been scientifically developing and testing new plant cultivars, using the latest advancements in biotechnology and agro-ecology.

Program-related facilities

  • on-campus greenhouses
  • growth chambers
  • rhizotrons
  • tissue and cell culture laboratories
  • commercial grain and forage production areas
  • natural woodlot
  • physiological and eco-physiological equipment

Dr. Derek Lynch, Canada Research Chair

Dr. Lynch’s research is concerned with developing innovative crop and soil management practices to address the challenges to sustained growth of organic agriculture in Canada. Specific areas of interest include

  • organic production systems
  • nutrient cycling in agro-ecosystems
  • soil organic matter dynamics
  • composting and management of manures and organic wastes
  • soil microbiology
  • legume physiology

His investigations are enhancing the economic and environmental sustainability of the branded agricultural system by strengthening the underlying scientific basis for organic agriculture in Canada.

Organic agriculture is a "branded" production system encoded within federal, provincial, and industry standards. Retail sales of organic food products in Canada have been experiencing rapid growth (more than 20% per year). Thanks to research such as that carried out by Dr. Lynch and his team, the practice of organic agriculture in Canada will soon have more scientific backing.

Dr. Sean Myles

Dr. Myles and his research group focus on using genetic data to detect and dissect the effects of domestication and breeding on various crops, especially grapes and apples. By sequencing and analyzing our food's DNA, we are unraveling the story of our intimate relationship with the organisms that sustain us. The insights we gain not only give us a better understanding of our past, but they also inform us on how to better manage our food supply in the future.

One of Dr. Myles' projects involves crossing New York Muscat with Nova Scotia’s quintessential grape, L’Acadie Blanc. About 1700 seed were generated, which are being used in a marker-assisted selection process to determine whether a seedling carries the DNA variant that causes the muscat aroma. The aim is to release a new muscat variety to grape growers and winemakers in Nova Scotia and beyond.

Find out more about Dr. Myles' research lab.