The Tidewater AREC is happy to announce the successful defenses of our graduate students this year. These students have done an excellent job while working at TAREC and we are excited to see where they go in their careers!

Please use the tabs below to explore their work.


Lindsey Bowers, Master’s Student, successfully defended her research titled “Soybean Growth and Yield Response to Seeding Rate”  yesterday at TAREC. She was advised by Associate Professor & Soybean Extension Agronomist, Dr. David L. Holshouser. This research consisted of both small-plot and on-farm seeding rate trials utilizing remote sensing technology. Without the support of the Virginia Soybean Board, Cooperative Extension efforts, as well as grower cooperators this project would not have been possible.

Lindsey will be starting her professional career in Eastern North Carolina, where she has accepted a position with Coastal AgroBusiness. She hopes to utilize skills and practices learned through her time at TAREC to better practices for growers in our industry.


Navjot's dissertation title was: Genotypic characterization and fungicide resistance monitoring for Virginia populations of Parastagonospora nodorum in wheat. 

She worked with Stagonospora nodorum blotch (SNB), a major foliar disease of wheat in the mid-Atlantic U.S., which is caused by the necrotrophic fungus Parastagonospora nodorum. SNB is managed using cultural practices, resistant varieties, and foliar fungicides. Herresearch provided insights into the population biology of P. nodorum in Virginia and information on variability in fungicide sensitivity and cultivar susceptibility to SNB that has implications for the current and future efficacy of fungicides and host resistance for management of SNB. 


Dr. Sayantan Sarkar, graduated in Dec 2020 from the TAREC’ s Plant Physiology and PVQE program after three years of sustained effort to develop high-throughput selection methods using drones and photogrammetry. Although his methods included only peanut, there are hopes that they are easily transferrable to other crops. In addition to a successful graduation leaving Sayantan with four manuscripts to publish, one was already published, his efforts were also rewarded with a job offer as a postdoc in the Department of Plant Science at the University of Tennessee, where Sayantan will report in end of March 2021.  

Sayantan’ s great achievements came with a bonus from the professional societies in Dec. He won the 3rd prize at the 2020 ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual photography contest; his picture had an onion flower from Dr. Langston’s vegetable trial last year. The photography contest is held every year and has five themes  ASA: Agronomy Feeds the World; CSSA: Plant Science for a Better World; SSSA: Soils Sustain Life; Tools at Work; and People at Work. Each participant was allowed to submit a maximum of four pictures and describe them based on one of the themes. Sayantan won within the CSSA theme. His picture along with all other winning pictures are here

Sayantan's research work deals with high-throughput phenotyping for drought tolerance in peanuts. It involves remote sensing and machine learning techniques to estimate plant physiological and morphological traits.  Digital, false color near-infrared, and thermal images are used to extract leaf reflectance and color space indices for remote estimation purposes. Major goal of his research is automation of crop data collection for faster crop breeding and precision agriculture.


Xing Wei has successfully completed his Ph.D. in Plant Pathology at Virginia Tech in Spring 2021 under the direction of Drs. Hillary Mehl, Song Li, and David Langston. His Ph.D. research focused on developing management strategies of peanut stem rot using optical sensors, machine learning, and fungicides. His research findings are helpful in developing sensor-based methods for stem rot detection in peanut fields. The machine learning based methodology he developed can also be adapted to identify spectral signatures of disease in other plant-pathogen systems.

Xing will continue work at Virginia Tech to analyze hyperspectral images of wheat grains and edamame pods for the summer. He is currently looking for the next working opportunity starting October 2021, and he is passionate about integrating new sensor technologies and machine learning based data analytic tools into agricultural research and production.