|Department of Plant Biology and Pathology
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
59 Dudley Road
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8520
Since April 1996, Dr. Meyer has served as Director of the Turfgrass Breeding Project at Cook College, Rutgers University. The previous 21 years after graduate school were spent as a commercial turfgrass breeder and Corporate President in Oregon.
At Rutgers, the Turfgrass Breeding Project has population improvement projects on 11 different open-pollinated cool-season turfgrass species. These projects include running cycles of selection in single-plot progeny mowed turf trials where breeding objectives include improving disease, insect and environmental stress tolerance. Cycles of selection also include selection of superior seed yielding germplasm in spaced-plant nurseries.
Extensive collecting from old turf areas in Europe and America are being carried out each year in all of these species along with their associated endophytes. Many of these endophytes have been shown to enhance disease, insect and stress tolerance. When superior collections are identified, they are integrated into the Rutgers New Jersey adapted populations by using a modified backcrossing technique.
The breeding project is also doing extensive breeding work on bluegrass. Through greenhouse crossing techniques, these apomictic grasses can be hybridized to create new F1 hybrids. Another new area is interspecific crosses of Texas bluegrass with Kentucky bluegrass. Many new promising hybrids are under development.
All of the new cultivars and improved germplasm is then developed by agreements between other organizations and Rutgers University. This breeding project is the largest and most successful project of its kind on cool-season turfgrasses.