Professor, School of Integrative Plant Science Horticulture Section
The central theme of my research program is to understand the influence of environmental factors and cultural practices on the physiology, development, and biochemical characteristics of greenhouse crops. Of particular focus is the influence of water quality and nutrient availability, temperature, light, and abiotic stress conditions on the physiology of herbaceous plants. This fits well with my extension goal of providing producers with relevant, research-based information for the production of high quality floriculture crops using nutrients, water, and energy efficiently. A challenge in floriculture research is the diversity of cultivars, species, and genera that are economically important. I try to address this diversity two ways: 1) in basic research I seek to understand mechanisms that underlie fundamental plant responses with potential application for many genera; and 2) in applied research I seek to answer specific questions that will have direct implications for greenhouse production practices. The complexity of biological systems requires collaboration with other specialists; and necessitates integrative methods for prediction and analysis of plant response to interacting factors.
Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA)
Greenhouse lighting and systems engineering
The central theme of my research program is to understand the influence of environmental factors and cultural practices on the physiology, development, and biochemical characteristics of floriculture crops. Of particular focus is the influence of water quality, rhizosphere conditions, and nutrient availability on the physiology of herbaceous ornamental plants. My research program aims to solve both existing problems faced in floriculture that can be readily applied by the greenhouse industry as well as use more fundamental approaches to understand in mechanisms of plant abiotic stress tolerance with the aim of addressing long-term problems such as water shortage.
A challenge in floriculture research is the diversity of cultivars, species, and genera that are economically important. I try to address this diversity two ways: 1) in basic research I seek to understand mechanisms that underlie fundamental plant responses with potential application for many genera; and 2) in applied research I seek to answer specific questions that will have direct implications for floriculture production practices. The complexity of biological systems requires collaboration with other specialists; and necessitates integrative methods for prediction and analysis of plant response to interacting factors.
Outreach and Extension Focus
The central goal of my greenhouse extension program is to deliver research-based information pertinent to greenhouse producers to help them make sound management decisions. My focus on greenhouse sustainability really comprises two different aspects. First and foremost greenhouse producers view sustainability as survivability. High input costs and declining crop margins have plagued the floriculture industry for the past decade. Presentations, outreach materials, and applied research have focused on methods to reduce production costs (heating costs, fertilizer inputs, and reducing crop shrinkage) as well as improving plant quality and shelf-life to increase crop value. The second area I have focused on is reducing fertilizer inputs and developing strategies to reduce run-off to the environment. This area is a concern, particularly in Long Island where half of NYS’s floriculture industry is centered.
My extension efforts are directed at commercial producers of greenhouse crops. In New York this industry is primarily greenhouse growers of herbaceous material sold as potted plants or spring bedding plants. The New York State greenhouse industry is comprised of about 770 operations in >600 acres of greenhouse space producing flowers and vegetables with a wholesale farm gate value of more than $200 million annually.
Selected Journal Publications
- Li, Y., & Mattson, N. S. (2015). Effects of seaweed extract application rate and method on post-production life of petunia and tomato transplants. HortTechnology. 25:505-510.
- Gerovac, J. R., Lopez, R. G., & Mattson, N. S. (2015). High tunnel versus climate-controlled greenhouse: transplant time and production environment impact growth and morphology of cold-tolerant bedding plants. HortScience. 50:830-838.
- Currey, C. J., Lopez, R. G., & Mattson, N. S. (2014). Finishing bedding plants: a comparison of unheated high tunnels versus heated greenhouses in two geographic locations. HortTechnology. 24:527-534.
- Villarino , G. H., Bombarely, A., Giovannoni, J. J., Scanlon, M. J., & Mattson, N. S. (2014). Transcriptomic analysis of Petunia hybrida in response to salt stress using high throughput RNA sequencing. PLOS One. 9:13.
- Shahid, M. A., Balal, R. M., Pervez, M. A., Abbas, T., Ashfaz, M., Ghazanfar, U., Afzal, M., Rashid, A., Garcia-Sanchez, F., & Mattson, N. S. (2012). Differential response of pea (Pisum sativum L.) genotypes to salt stress in relation to the growth, physiological attributes, antioxidant activity and organic solutes. Australian Journal of Crop Science. 6:828-838.
- Mattson, N. S., & Harwood, E. D. (2012). Effect of light regimen on yield and flavonoid content of warehouse grown aeroponic Eruca sativa. Acta Horticulturae. 956:417-422.
- Liu, J., Leatherwood, W. R., & Mattson, N. S. (2012). Irrigation method and fertilizer concentration differentially alter growth of vegetable transplants. HortTechnology. 22:56-63.
- Mattson, N. S., & van Iersel, M. W. (2011). Application of the ÔÔ4RÕÕ nutrient stewardship concept to horticultural crops: applying nutrients at the ÔÔright timeÕÕ. HortTechnology. 21:667-673.
- Villarino, G., & Mattson, N. S. (2011). Assessing tolerance to sodium chloride salinity in fourteen floriculture species. HortTechnology. 21:539-545.
- Shahid, M. A., Pervez, M. A., Balal, R. M., Mattson, N. S., Rashid, A., Ahmad, R., Ahhub, C. M., & Abbas, T. (2011). Brassinosteroid (24-Epibrassinolide) Enhances Growth and Alleviates the Deleterious Effects Induced by Salt Stress in Pea ('Pisum sativum' L.). Australian Journal of Crop Science. 5:500-510.
Awards & Honors
- 40 under 40 leaders in horticulture/floriculture (2015) Greenhouse Product News (GPN) Magazine
- Inducted member (2013) Pi Alpha Xi, National Honor Society for floriculture, landscape horticulture and ornamental horticulture
- PLHRT 3025/5025: Hydroponic Food Crop Production and Management
Through the class I teach every other year, PLHRT 3025 Hydroponic Food Production & Management, 4 cr., I have the opportunity to foster student learning of controlled environment agriculture crops and production systems. In lab, students have the hands-on opportunity to grow hydroponic h,erbs, leafy greens, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Concepts in environmental management our put to practice. Produce grown is donated to a community food shelf. Beginning in 2016 I had a 10% teaching appointment. Prior to that time, I did not have have a formal teaching appointment at Cornell. I enjoy giving several guest lectures every year related to topics relevant to my research and extension interests, such as: the floriculture industry and production techniques, plant mineral nutrition, containerized plant production, soilless substrates, organic fertilizers, monitoring root-zone pH and salts. In addition I taught Current Topics in Horticulture (Hort 4950/6000, 1 credit) for several years.
49D Plant Science
Ithaca, NY 14853
nsm47 [at] cornell.edu
- Greenhouse Horticulture
- Controlled Environment Agriculture
- Greenhouse Lighting and Systems Engineering (GLASE)
- CEA Viability in Metro Areas
- Video: The Greenhouse Lighting and Systems Engineering (GLASE) consortium
University of California Davis
- Master of Science
University of Minnesota
- Bachelor of Arts
University of Minnesota, Morris
Neil in the news
- Animal Science
- Department of Global Development
- School of Integrative Plant Science
- School of Integrative Plant Science
- Horticulture Section