Diane Rowland

Diane Rowland. Associate Professor, PhD. Agronomy.







My graduate training was in classical ecophysiology and focused on physiological and genetic variation among cottonwood (Populus fremontii) populations along the Rio Grande watershed. I then moved on to a post-doctoral position at Northern Arizona University with Dr. Nancy Johnson, looking at responses of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi to climate change. My professional research is focused on the physiological mechanisms which determine stress response in crops. Emphasis is placed on quantifying water use and water-use efficiency under different irrigation methods and scheduling schemes, and in conservation and conventional tillage systems. Our team is currently interested in pinpointing water application to particular crop developmental stages to manipulate an acclimation response to drought. I also conduct research into physiological traits involved in the tolerance to crop diseases and pathogens and the variation among tolerant and susceptible genotypes, including Tomato spotted wilt virus and aflatoxin in peanut and zebra chip disease in potato. Skills and experience related to irrigation research: • Sap flow measurement in cotton, corn, peanut, and potato • Rhizotron analysis • Whole plant water stress assay analysis • Gas exchange • Primed acclimation to water stress • Water-use efficiency measurement using carbon isotopes.

“My program investigates the physiological mechanisms that drive crop stress tolerance. My team and I then use this knowledge to develop cropping systems that optimize crop performance under real-world production environments.”

Contact Information

Contact Information

Main Office
G066 McCarty Hall D

Mailing Address
Post Office Box 110500
Gainesville , Florida 32611-0500

(352) 273-3408




Research Focus

Research focuses on understanding mechanisms of photosynthesis, transpiration, reproductive and vegetative growth processes important to productivity of plants important to world food security, biofuel production, or for the urban environment such as turfgrasses. Scholarly activities include: teaching undergraduate and graduate courses; advising and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students; participating in curriculum revision and enhancement; supervising undergraduate and graduate research and creative work; and co-director of Agroecology graduate concentration.

Skills and Experience Related to Irrigation Research:

  • Sap flow measurement in cotton, corn, peanut, and potato
  • Rhizotron analysis
  • Whole plant water stress assay analysis
  • Gas exchange
  • Primed acclimation to water stress
  • Water-use efficiency measurement using carbon isotopes

Extension Priorities

Provide maturity and irrigation scheduling decisions for peanut producers through the PeanutFARM website.

Honors and Professional Activities

  • Panel Manager, SBIR NIFA Program
  • Elected, Board of Directors, Crop Science Society of America
  • Bailey Award, APRES
  • Appointed chair, Crop Science, Seed Science Award Committee
  • Appointed chair, APRES Publications and Editorial Committee
  • Appointed Associate Editor, Crop Science
  • Appointed Associate Editor, Peanut Science
  • Elected CSSA chair of C2 crop physiology division
  • 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006: Merit Award for Outstanding Performance, USDA-ARS
  • 2005, 2007: Merit Award for Superior Performance, USDA-ARS

Courses Taught

Lab Information

Current Students

Graduate Students:

Bishow Poudel

Bishow has focused on drought and environmental stress effects on crop growth and development since 2006. After graduating from Oklahoma State University in Dec, 2010 with a M.S. degree, he joined the University of Florida in Jan, 2011 for his Ph.D. He has conducted a project related to turfgrass cultivar selection and development for drought conditions. Bishow has undertaken research initiatives to understand warm season turfgrass species (sixteen genotypes, four species) responses and provide performance rankings for their drought tolerance in greenhouse and field conditions.


Kelly Racette

Kelly grew up outside of Washington, D.C and graduated from Duke University in 2011 with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy, completing an undergraduate thesis in plant physiology. After graduating from Duke, she spent a year in South Africa’s Kruger National Park studying the behavior of African elephants to reduce animal-human conflict and then a year working at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In applying to graduate school, Kelly decided to return to the study of plant physiology and enrolled in the Agroecology program at the University of Florida. As an M.S. student in Dr. Rowland’s lab, she is studying the physiological effects of priming for drought tolerance in potato. Her research is conducted in Lima, Peru in conjunction with the International Potato Center and with the support from a USDA National Needs Fellowship.



Annie Couch

Annie grew up in North Georgia on a trout hatchery. She received by bachelor's degree from the University of Georgia in 2009 from the Warnell School of Forestry. After graduation, Annie worked in Savannah, Ga for several years as a Soil Conservationist for the USDA-NRCS. Her research interests are evaluating sesame as new crop for North Central Florida.


Brendan Zurweller

Brendan completed a M.S. in soil science at the University of Missouri where his research focused on nitrogen management of corn in poorly drained claypan soils. Brendan joined the UF Agronomy Department in the summer of 2014 and his current research is examining physiological responses of peanut genotypes to irrigation management and irrigation/nitrogen management in cotton.


Ethan Carter

Ethan is originally from a small town forty-five minutes west of Gainesville called Chiefland, Florida. He got his undergraduate degree from UF in Food and Resource Economics with a Minor in Agricultural and Natural Resource Law. Ethan started graduate school in January 2014, pursing a degree in Agronomy with a Concentration in Agroecology. His research project focuses on peanut maturity. Peanut is an indeterminate crop which results in many fruit at various levels of maturity at harvest. For Ethan’s project, seeds at different stages of maturity are planted and then the growth and development of the resulting plants are studied throughout the growing season.


Christopher Vincent

Chris has a background is in journalism and horticulture, including extension work in Arkansas. Chris is completing his Ph.D. in the Interdisciplinary Ecology program with research focused on papaya ecophysiology in the context of multi-species systems. In particular, he is testing the use of a sunn hemp intercrop as a wind barrier in papaya production, and identifying papaya traits that impact its compatibility with a dynamic shade environment. Water-deficit priming is also part of his research efforts, including focusing on both the duration and nature of priming effects on papaya.


Post-doctoral positions:


Chae-in Na

Chae-In Na was born in South Korea. He received a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Biology (2000-2006) and Master of Science in Agronomy (2006-2008) from Kyungpook National University, South Korea. After he completed his Master of Science degree, he continued his interest in agriculture and joined the Ph.D. program in the Agronomy Department of the University of Florida (2009-2013) under the guidance of Dr. Lynn E. Sollenberger working on management of warm-season perennial grasses for cellulosic biofuel. After seven months postdoctoral associate position in University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he joined Dr. Diane Rowland research team in UF. Dr. Na’s current research interests are nitrogen use efficiency, physiological responses, and root architectural development of different maize genotypes.


Rishi Prasad

Dr. Prasad comes from an agricultural background. He has a B.S. in Agricultural Sciences from G.B. Pant University, India, and a M.S. in Agronomy from West Virginia University. Rishi holds a Ph.D. degree in Soil and Water Science and a minor in Agronomy from the University of Florida. He specializes in environmental nutrient management, soil fertility, row and vegetable crop production system, and crop system modelling. His Ph.D. research work addressed nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) losses from agricultural system. He also utilized crop models as an effective tool to reduce N and P losses and develop Best Management Practices (BMPs) for irrigation and fertilizer applications.


Currently Dr. Prasad is involved in a research project that evaluates water use, water quality and crop yield impacts of corn and peanut irrigation and nutrient BMPs in the springsheds of the Suwannee River Water Management District. He aims to determine the effect of precision irrigation (using variable rate linear irrigation system and soil moisture sensors) and nitrogen management on leaching of soluble nitrogen beyond the root zone in agricultural areas overlaying karst aquifers. His research will help develop recommendations that can be used to advise growers when and how much to irrigate and fertilize to prevent nutrient leaching losses.