Sollenberger Lab Group


Moura-Kohmann_MMarta Kohmann

Dissertation Title: Rhizoma Peanut Proportion in Mixed-Species Pastures with Bahiagrass Affects Nutrient Cycling and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

I graduated with an undergraduate degree in Agronomy in 2011. During my undergraduate studies I had the opportunity to work on different projects, including climatology and grazing management research. I received my Master’s Degree from the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Florida in 2013, where my project evaluated the effect of grazing management on enteric methane emissions using both experimental and modeling approaches. I initiated a PhD degree program in Agronomy at the University of Florida in May 2014. My research program will follow my interest in the effect of agricultural practices on environmental quality variables. I will be quantifying how different sources of nitrogen, including chemical fertilizer and three different proportions of associated legume, affect GHG emissions of grass-based livestock production systems. Response variables we will measure include N2O from manure and urine, pasture production and species botanical composition, and litter composition and decomposition rates.

Moreno_LLeo Moreno

Dissertation Title: Enhancing Regrowth Simulations of Perennial Forages from a Carbon Balance Physiology Study of Mulato II (Brachiaria spp.) and Jiggs (Cynodon dactylon L. – Pers.)

I grew up in Brazil, where I received the BS and MS degrees from the University of São Paulo. Since the beginning of my academic life I enjoyed working with forages, especially grazing management and grassland ecophysiology. Then I got into modeling as a way to combine more detailed physiology and plant responses to environment and management practices. That is the main goal of my PhD program: to study regrowth physiology of grasses by imposing carbon and nitrogen restrictions (through shade and fertilization rate, respectively) on two grass species with contrasting growth habits. The information generated will then be used to adapt the CROPGRO Forage Model and potentially improve model responses.


Jennifer Miller

I grew up in South Florida on a large scale beef cattle, quarter horse, and vegetable farming operation. Needless to say, my roots are very much embedded in agriculture, so it only made sense to pursue a degree from the University of Florida. In 2011 I graduated from UF with a BS in Animal Sciences with a specialization in Equine Science. Upon graduation I started working for UF in the biomedical sciences field and in 2013 decided to pursue a MS degree in Agroecology. I hope to one day be part of the Extension service and be able to educate others in sustainable practices to protect our natural resources.

Parmeshwor Aryal

Dissertation Title: Management Factors Affect Biomass Partitioning Responses of Rhizoma Peanut During Establishment


I was born and raised in Nepal, where I received my BS degree in Agriculture in 2011. I came to USA in August 2013 to pursue my MS at the University of Wyoming. There I conducted research on establishment of forage kochia for reclaiming disturbed areas in a project funded by the University of Wyoming Energy Initiative Program. After completing my MS degree, I started the PhD program at the University of Florida in August 2015. My current research focuses on how different management practices influence biomass partitioning of rhizoma peanut during establishment. The management factors under consideration include planting date, cultivar, and nitrogen fertilizer. In addition, nitrogen fixation response to these factors will be evaluated. Supplemental growth chamber and greenhouse experiments will also be initiated to study effects of ambient temperature after planting and season of year when vegetative planting material is harvested on rhizoma peanut shoot emergence and early growth.

Liliane Severino da Silva
Dissertation title: Ecosystem Services of Long-Term Grass-N and Legume-Based Grassland-Livestock SystemsIn 2012, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Agronomy from the University of São Paulo, Brazil. During my undergraduate program, I worked on projects evaluating agronomic and morphological responses of warm-season forage species under different managements. In 2015, I received my Master`s Degree from the same institution. My project evaluated agronomic responses and tillering dynamics of Mulato II brachiariagrass under three canopy-height management strategies and two levels of nitrogen fertilization. I started my Ph.D. program in the Agronomy Department at the University of Florida in January 2016. My project is focusing on ecosystems services of grass-N and legume-based, year-round forage systems that are defoliated either by clipping or grazing. The primary focus is C and N accumulation in soil, GHC emissions, nutrient dynamics, and agronomic responses of the systems.

Erin Stenklyft

Thesis Title: Establishment and Grazing Management of Ecoturf Rhizoma Peanut

I grew up in Florida and graduated from the University of Florida in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science, where I focused on livestock production, specifically beef cattle.  I started a Master of Science program in the Agronomy Department at the University of Florida in 2015 focusing on forage production and management. My research is with Ecoturf rhizoma peanut, a decumbent germplasm that has shown particular potential in mixture with grasses in grazed pasture. I am studying different methods of establishing Ecoturf with bahiagrass, and I am evaluating the effects of various combinations of grazing intensity and frequency on Ecoturf production, nutritive value, sward structure, and persistence.

Katie Cooley

Thesis Title:  Root-Rhizome and Shoot Mass of Rhizoma Peanut Entries Differing in Growth Habit and Relationship of Root Growth to Soil Carbon Accumulation

I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Analysis from Scripps College and my Master in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University.  After graduating in 2013, I worked as a landscape architect on urban design and civil engineering projects in the Southeast. My coursework and professional experience in land planning have taught me to think systematically about large swaths of land that have complex environmental conditions. I have come to believe that, given the enormous physical and economic scale at which food production operates, sustainably reforming agronomic operations can have a deep impact on global environmental health. I began my MS in Agronomy at the University of Florida in August 2016. My research will use measures of above- and below-ground biomass to compare plant introductions and selections of rhizoma peanut that are candidates for cultivar release.  I will also investigate the relationships between root production of year-round forage systems and soil carbon storage.