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30th Anniversary Turf Symposium

Dr. Phillip Vines, Assistant Professor of Turfgrass Breeding, Department of Plant Biology, Rutgers University
A man standing in a greenhouse.
Keynote Speaker Dr. Cristobal Uauy of the John Innes Center, UK.

The Thirtieth Anniversary Rutgers Turfgrass Symposium was held on March 18, 2021 and live streamed as a virtual event. The theme for this year's Symposium was Advances in Turfgrass Science: Looking to the Future. Although the Turfgrass Symposium is an annual event, this was the first time it was offered in an online format. The Symposium was an overwhelming success, bringing together great speakers, discussions, and interactions. There were 374 participants from 18 countries and 34 states within the U.S who registered for the event. Dr. Laura Lawson, Interim Executive Dean of the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and Interim Executive Director, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, welcomed the attendees to the Symposium and shared some of the exciting news about the School and the Experiment Station.

The opening session focused on New Technologies for Turfgrass Breeding and Management; Dr. Bingru Huang served as the moderator for this session. Dr. Rong Di, a faculty member in the Department of Plant Biology at Rutgers University, was the first presenter with a presentation entitled "Application of CRISPR-gene editing and tissue culture to improve creeping bentgrass." Dr. Josh Friell, a Senior Research Scientist at The Toro Company, gave the second talk on "New technologies for optimizing turfgrass management." Dr. Phillip Vines, a faculty member in the Department of Plant Biology at Rutgers University, followed with his presentation discussing "Applications of high-throughput plant phenotyping in turfgrass breeding." The final presentation of the first session, "Decision support system - Collect, analyze, deploy, and integrate edge solutions for the food and beverage industry," was given by Mr. Naveen Singa, a Research Professional at Siemens Technology.

The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Cristobal Uauy, a Group Leader at the John Innes Center in the United Kingdom. Dr. Uauy's presentation was entitled "Unlocking the polyploid potential in crops through genomics." Dr. Stacy Bonos served as the moderator for the keynote session. A poster session followed Dr. Uauy's keynote address. There were a total of eighteen poster presentations given by faculty, staff, and graduate students from Rutgers University on a variety of topics related to turfgrass science. Presenting authors were Cathryn Chapman, Katie Diehl, William Errickson, Patrick Fardella, Glen Groben, Joseph Heckman, Sean McBride, Thomas Molnar, Bradley Park, Jeanne Peters, Stephanie Rossi, Anna Luiza Sousa, Trini Taccad, Christopher Tkach, Phillip Vines, Shidi Wu, Zhongqi Xu, and Pingyuan Zhang.

The closing session included four presentations focused on Pest Management and was moderated by Dr. William Meyer. Dr. Matt Elmore, a faculty member in the Department of Plant Biology at Rutgers University, started the session with a presentation entitled "Goosegrass resistance to dithiopyr." Another goosegrass related talk, "Identifying the mechanism of oxadiazon resistance in goosegrass and improved understanding of PPO-inhibitor mode of action" was given by Dr. Scott McElroy, a faculty member in the Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Science at Auburn University. The third presentation of the final session was from Pingyuan Zhang, a graduate assistant in the Department of Plant Biology at Rutgers University. Mr. Zhang's talk was entitled "Interpretations of a logistic regression model for fungicide control of dollar spot on creeping bentgrass." The concluding presentation was made by Dr. Bruce Clarke, a faculty member in the Department of Plant Biology at Rutgers University, on "Developing turf disease control programs that are efficacious and environmentally sound." A special slide show tribute was presented at the conclusion of the Symposium to honor Dr. Bruce Clarke for his 40 years of contributions to education, research, and service in turfgrass science at Rutgers University.

The Rutgers Center for Turfgrass Science is extremely grateful for the participation of the many friends and colleagues at the state, regional, national, and international levels. The Rutgers Turfgrass Symposium was founded on the principles of sharing ideas and engaging in discussions pertaining to current and future research. The level of participation and interaction at this virtual event helped to ensure those traditions will be continued for future symposia. All oral and poster presentations from the Thirtieth Anniversary Rutgers Turfgrass Symposium were recorded and will be available for viewing at the Rutgers Center for Turfgrass Science website.

A great deal of appreciation is owed to the Symposium Organizing Committee, which was composed of Drs. Rong Di (Symposium chair), Stacy Bonos, Bruce Clarke, Matt Elmore, William Meyer, and Jim Murphy, as well as Dr. Phillip Vines and Ms. Barbara Fitzgerald (co-editors of the Symposium Proceedings). The committee assembled an excellent event, despite ongoing concerns centered around the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the Symposium Organizing Committee, there are many other individuals to thank for helping to make the Thirtieth Anniversary Rutgers Turfgrass Symposium a success. Thanks to Mr. Bernard Ward and Ms. Alanna Perez for providing technical support, which was essential to enabling the live streaming of the event. Finally, special thanks to Dr. Bruce Clarke, Dr. Rong Di, Mrs. Anne Diglio, Ms. Barbara Fitzgerald, Dr. Jim Murphy, Ms. Casey Noon, Ms. Cece Peabody, Dr. Phillip Vines, and Mr. Phil Wisneski for their administrative and technical assistance in developing and advertising the event and publishing recordings of the video poster presentations to the Rutgers Center for Turfgrass Science website.

Posted with permission from the New Jersey Turfgrass Association (NJTA); this article first appeared in the NJTA Clippings Newsletter, Vol 105 (1): 13-14 on April 12, 2021.