Professor, School of Integrative Plant Science Plant Breeding and Genetics Section
I lead the Cornell Forage Breeding Project to conduct genetic research and develop cool season, perennial forage cultivars with higher yield, multiple disease and insect resistances, and forage quality. My project conducts research on use of perennial grasses and legumes as feedstocks for the biofuel industry. I also do research on performance and breeding of industrial hemp cultivars. I teach plant breeding and quantitative genetics; and my project provides extension and outreach information to seed companies, other breeders, extension educators, and producers. As associate dean and director of academic programs, I also provide oversight to the improvement of academic programs in the college.
Forage breeding and genomics
My research objectives are to breed improved forage cultivars (primarily alfalfa and birdsfoot trefoil) for Northeast USA and promote their use by growers and seed companies. Although private breeding companies now provide most of the alfalfa cultivars in the USA, none of them focuses on traits specifically needed in the Northeast. Because there are few forage breeders in North America, a large proportion of my research is cooperative, facilitated through the NE1710 Multistate Cooperative Research Project. This project includes research to improve forage species, compare breeding methods, evaluate new cultivars of several forage species for yield, and conduct QTL and other genomic analyses. I am cooperating with other scientists in NE1710 to identify QTLs for forage yield and other agronomic traits. In 2005, I began efforts to evaluate perennial, warm season grasses (especially switchgrass) and breed them for use as feedstocks for biofuels. In 2016, my project began breeding research on industrial hemp.
Selected journal articles:
- Martinez Millan, M., & Crepet, W. L. (2014). The fossil record of the Solanaceae revisited and revised - the fossil record of Rhamnaceae enhanced. Botanical Review. 80:73-106.
- Crepet, W. L., & Niklas, K. J. (2009). Darwin’s second 'abominable mystery': Why are there so many angiosperm species? American Journal of Botany. 96:366-381.
- Rothwell, G. W., Crepet, W. L., & Stockey, R. A. (2009). Is the anthophyte hypothesis alive and well? New evidence from the reproductive structures of Bennettitales. American Journal of Botany. 96:296-322.
- Crepet, W. L. (2008). The fossil record of angiosperms: requiem or renaissance? Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 95:3-33.
- Gandolfo Nixon, M. A., Nixon, K. C., & Crepet, W. L. (2004). Cretaceous flowers of Nymphaeaceae and implications for complex insect entrapment pollination mechanisms in Early Angiosperms. PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 101:8056-8060.
- Crepet, W. L., Nixon, K. C., & Gandolfo Nixon, M. A. (2004). Fossil evidence and phylogeny: the age of major angiosperm clades based on mesofossil and macrofossil evidence from Cretaceous deposits. American Journal of Botany. 91:1666-1682.
- Perennial Grass Feedstock Production on Wetness-Prone Marginal Soils in New York. Switchgrass V International Conference: Dedicated Energy Crops and Native Grasses for the Emerging Bioeconomy. July 2019. University of Illinois. Urbana, IL.
- Perennial Grass Bioenergy Feedstocks on Wetness-Prone Marginal Soils in New York: Yield, Emissions, and Soil Carbon Trends. Switchgrass Collaboration Meeting. February 2019. Noble Institute. Ardmore, OK.
- Perennial Grass Bioenergy Feedstocks on Wetness-Prone Marginal Soils in New York: Yield, Emissions, and Soil Carbon Trends. NEWBio Bioenergy Consortium Annual Meeting. September 2017. NEWBio NE Bioenergy Consortium/MABEX Conference & Expo. State College, PA.
- Sustainable Perennial Grass Bioenergy Production on Marginal Lands of the Northeast: Six Years and Counting. USDA Sustainable Bioenergy Program Project Director Meeting. October 2016. USDA-NIFA. New Orleans, LA.
- Perennial Grass Bioenergy Feedstocks on Wetness-Prone Marginal Soils in New York: Yield, Emissions, and Soil Carbon Trends. NEWBio Bioenergy Consortium Annual Meeting. July 2016. NEWBio NE Bioenergy Consortium. State College, PA.
- Sustainable Perennial Grass Bioenergy Production on Marginal Lands of the Northeast: Five Years and Counting. USDA Sustainable Bioenergy Program Project Director Meeting. November 2015. USDA-NIFA. Denver CO.
- Carbon sequestration and gaseous emissions in perennial grass bioenergy cropping systems in the Northeastern US. USDA Sustainable Bioenergy Program Project Director Meeting. November 2015. USDA-NIFA. Denver CO.
- Development of Gall Midge Susceptible and Resistant Cave-in-Rock Switchgrass Populations. Switchgrass III. October 2015. Knoxville, TN.
- Carbon sequestration and gaseous emissions in perennial grass bioenergy cropping systems in the Northeastern US. Project Director Meeting. October 2014. USDA-NIFA . Washington, DC.
- Development of sustainable perennial grass bioenergy on marginal soils of New York. Perennial Bioenergy Feedstock Tour and Persentation. July 2014. USDA-NRCS Big Flats Plant Materials Center. Big Flats, NY.
My professional objectives include preparing students for plant science careers through my advising and teaching. My quantitative genetics course is structured for students to learn practical methods of quantitative genetic experimentation and to understand how plant breeders can maximize progress from selection for quantitative traits. Administratively, I enjoy facilitating the creation and implementation of academic programs and policies in CALS and across the University. I also enjoy organizing faculty development workshops in teaching.
Until 2016, I have taught PLBRG 7170, Quantitative Genetics in Plant Breeding, in alternate years. I annually teach three 75-minute class periods of PLBRG 4030, Genetic Improvement of Crop Plants, and one afternoon field lab on forage breeding in PLBRG 4060, Methods of Plant Breeding Laboratory.
- ALS 2301: CALS Global Fellows Program Post-engagement Course
- ALS 5211: Career Readiness: Engaged Learning for CALS Professional Master's Students
- ALS 4306: Cornell-CALS Signature Semester: FESIA/ISARA Lyon
- ALS 4308: Cornell-CALS Signature Semester: Harper Adams University
- ALS 4309: Cornell-CALS Signature Semester: Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, School of Science
- ALS 4317: Cornell-CALS Signature Semester: National University of Singapore
- ALS 4321: Cornell-CALS Signature Semester: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
- ALS 4325: Cornell-CALS Signature Semester: University College Dublin
- ALS 4331: Cornell-CALS Signature Semester: Wageningen University
- ALS 1700: Maximizing Individual Success
174 Roberts Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853
drv3 [at] cornell.edu
Donald in the news
- Center of Excellence in Food and Agriculture
- Cornell AgriTech
- School of Integrative Plant Science
By Alex Koeberle ’13 New York farmers foraging for alfalfa varieties have three new, robust options. Developed by professor of plant breeding Donald Viands; senior research associate Julie Hansen ’80, M.S. ’88, Ph.D. ’89; and research support...
- School of Integrative Plant Science
- Plant Breeding and Genetics Section