2018 PGRSA Annual Conference

    The 45th Annual PGRSA Conference will take place in San Juan, Puerto Rico from June 10 - 14, 2018. Technical sessions will cover a broad range of topics critical to the plant growth regulation industry, including plant growth in extreme environments, light as a growth regulator and PGRs and biostimulants. The conference will include oral and poster presentations of scientific research and provides the ideal opportunity for leaders in the applied, basic and commercial fields of plant growth regulation to exchange ideas and review presentations.

    Attendees also can visit a variety of local attractions, including the San Felipe del Morro Fortress — a 16th century citadel — and Historic Old San Juan. We also suggest a visit to the USDA's Tropical Agricultural Research Station and a hike through the El Yunque Rainforest.

    Register for the PGRSA Conference!

    If you haven't renewed your PGRSA membership for 2018, do so today!

    Become a Member!

    If you would like to receive email updates concerning the conference, contact pgrsa@pgrsa.org to be added to the PGRSA email list.

  • 2018 Conference Invitation

    Download 2018 Invitation

  • 2018 PGRSA Annual Conference Keynote Speakers

    • Dr. Neil S. Mattson

      Cornell University

      Neil S. Mattson earned a Ph.D. (2007) from University of California Davis and M.S. (2002) and B.A. (2000) from the University of Minnesota. He joined Cornell University in 2007 and is currently an associate professor and greenhouse extension specialist in the School of Integrative Plant Science. His research is focused on the physiology of both floriculture and vegetable crops in controlled environments. Research interests include: supplemental lighting strategies to improve crop quality and reduce greenhouse energy use, conventional and organic nutrient management, and plant abiotic stress physiology. He has authored or co-authored 41 peer review journal articles and 140 extension articles (bulletins, trade journal articles, podcasts); and has given more than 180 outreach presentations to >8,000 agriculture industry members. Mattson is director of Cornell’s Controlled Environment Agriculture group.

      Keynote Presentation.
      Greenhouse Lighting and Systems Engineering (GLASE) a Model for Applied Research and Technology Transfer

      Presentation Summary.

      Adoption of light emitting diodes (LEDs) has the potential revolutionize the controlled environment agriculture (CEA) industry. Benefits of LEDs include: greatly reduced energy costs, ability to modulate light intensity in real-time, and tunable light quality to achieve desired growth, morphological, and physiological attributes. However, LEDs comprise only an estimated 2% of lit greenhouse area in the U.S. Barriers to adoption include: high initial cost, lack of understanding on how to best utilize the complex capabilities of LEDs in a horticultural setting, and previous lack of standards for technology comparisons. The Greenhouse Lighting and Systems Engineering (GLASE) consortium is a public-private partnership to integrate advanced energy-efficient LED lighting with improved environmental controls for more efficient and sustainable greenhouse production. The consortium is led by Cornell University’s Controlled Environment Agriculture group, the Center for Lighting Enabled Systems and Applications (LESA) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), and Rutgers University. Initial funding is from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The organizational structure of GLASE includes the academic principle investigators, a scientific advisory board, and an industry advisory board (IAB). GLASE is tasked with large number of research milestones broadly encompassing: energy efficacy, light spectrum and plant sensing, light and CO2 control integration, energy modeling, and pilot demonstrations. Lettuce, strawberry, and tomatoes are used as the model plants for plant physiology research. To drive technology adoption GLASE is adopting an industry-funded consortium model to bring together lighting, sensing, and control manufacturers with CEA producers and service providers. Benefits for members include first access to license intellectual property, a seat on the IAB to guide outreach and applied research efforts, information from unbiased institutional sources, demonstration of commercial applications, and a platform for information exchange. Early results from applied research regarding light quality, integrating light and CO2 control, and energy modeling will also be presented.

    • Dr. Raffi Stern

      MIGAL- Galilee Research Institute and Tel-Hai College

      Professor Raffi Stern is a Professor of Pomology and Subtropical fruit trees in MIGAL- Galilee Research Institute and at the Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of Sciences, Tel-Hai College, Upper Galilee, Israel. He conducts research programs aimed to improve yield and fruit quality of subtropical (avocado, mango and litchi) and Deciduous (apple, pear, peach, plum, apricot and cherry) orchards. His areas of specialization are reproductive biology – pollination and fertilization, fruit development and abscission, crop load and management, high-density orchard planting systems including rootstocks examination and/or growth retardants, and the potential use of PGRs to control the above processes.

      Keynote Presentation.
      Plant Growth Regulators as a Mean to Improve Productivity in Deciduous and Subtropical Fruit Trees

      Presentation Summary.

      Plant Growth Regulators (PGRs) are well known for their centralcontribution to various aspects in tree growth and fruit development including early cropping ( precocious ), tree architecture (dwarfing/ enhance vigor), fruit characteristics and quality (size, shape, color, , cracking, maturation, etc.). In this presentation, I will focus on the physiological process underlying the fertility and productivity of deciduous and subtropical fruit trees.

      In general, three modes of action could be distinguished for PGRs. The first is flowering intensity which controls the yield potential through flowering intensity. To produce optimal bloom, the tree must properly shift from vegetative phase to generative phase. This process mainly involves the accumulation of the PGRs GA and BA. In the last few years, after the discovery of the Flowering Locus T (FT= "Flowering gene") we have gained much knowledge on the involvement of PGRs in promotion/inhibition of FT during the transition to flowering.

      In the second mode of action, PGRs affect fruit size by regulating both cell number and volume. This aspect is of great economic importance because small fruit receive low price in market. Due to their involvement in regulation of cell number and volume, PGRs could be used, at proper timing, to increase cell mumber (CKs) or volume (Auxins). Another indirect way to improve fruit size is by thinning some of the flowers or fruitlets by different PGRs (i.e. Auxins, CKs and Uniconazole).

      Lastly, PGRs are involved in pre-harvest fruit drop which affects the total yield obtained for a tree. This undesirable physiological drop could be reduced by using old (Auxin) and new (1-MCP) PGRs implementation methodologies just before harvest.

      These three modes of action of PGRs in controlling tree growth and fruit development will be discussed during the lecture.

    • Dr. Gary Stutte

      SyNRGE, LLC

      Dr. Gary Stutte is NASA principal investigator who developed and directed plant research programs for long duration space missions at NASAs Kennedy Space Center. He is founder and president of SyNRGE, LLC, a consulting and research and development Services Company that specializes in controlled environment agriculture and space technology.

      Dr. Stutte has received numerous honours and awards, has published over 150 scientific articles in areas of plant growth regulators, controlled environment agriculture, LED lighting systems, and spaceflight research. His work is often featured in newspaper and TV reports, and his work highlighted in documentaries shown on Discovery and National Geographic Channels in North America and Europe. Dr. Stutte is advisor to government agencies, NGO and corporations, and is past president of the Plant Growth Regulation Society of America.

      Dr. Stutte received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis, and M.S from University of Georgia, Athens and B.S. from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater. He taught horticulture, and specialized in fruit production, at University of Maryland for seven years before being recruited to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

      Keynote Presentation.
      Food Production in Extreme Environments: Lessons from Space

      Presentation Summary.

      Technology to grow plants in the extreme environment of space enables optimal conditions for growth, development yield and phytochemical production on long duration space mission. Controlled environment agriculture (CEA) removes constrains of climate and geography: enabling environmental, cultural and lighting conditions to be replicated anywhere in the world. By optimizing cultural conditions, significant increases in yield, and reduction in time to harvest are often realized. Advances in technology, especially LED lighting, are providing opportunities use of vertical, as well as horizontal cropping systems. Examples of food production in environments as extreme as the International Space Station, South Pole, and Arabian Desert and locations as diverse as abandoned warehouses, subway tunnels and rooftops. The potential of these technologies, and challenges of implanting them, for food production in extreme environments will we explored

    • Dr. Astrid Volder

      University of California - Davis

      Dr. Astrid Volder received her BS in biology from Utrecht University (The Netherlands) in 1994, an MSc in Botany from the University of Washington in 1997 and a PhD in Physiological Ecology from Utrecht University in 1998. Her postdoctoral work took her to the department of horticulture at Penn State University, the grains and climate adaptation research group at CSIRO Plant Industry & Australian National University, and the department of forest science at Texas A&M University before being hired in a faculty position in the department of horticultural sciences at Texas A&M University in 2006. She moved to UC Davis in 2014 where she currently is an associate professor in the department of plant sciences. All of her research has focused on plant acclimation to environmental stress related to changing climates, mostly with a focus on root production and function in perennial plants, linking patterns of carbon allocation with water and nutrient uptake. She has worked in a wide variety of ecosystems, including polar desert, grazing pasture, oak-savanna, vineyards, urban areas, green roofs, and orchards and is continuing that line of research at UC Davis.

      Keynote Presentation.
      Impact of the Rhizosphere on Root Growth

      Presentation Summary.

      As roots explore the soil, they continuously sense and respond to their immediate environment. A lot of progress has been made in recent years in understanding the internal mechanisms that regulate lateral root initiation, root elongation and root hair development. Most of this work has occurred with very young plants, generally Arabidopsis, in artificial environments. My presentation will review some of this work, but mostly focus on what (little) we know about factors regulating root growth in field environments and in perennial plant species. In addition, I will review some of the recent work studying root-rhizosphere interactions and how both roots and microbes engineer each other. Many studies have shown that roots can manipulate the microbial diversity of the rhizosphere, however, impacts of rhizosphere changes on root growth, and overall plant health, are rarely quantified. The general assumption that increased microbial diversity is beneficial for root growth and soil and plant health may not be true in uniformly managed monoculture cropping systems. In such systems it may be more important to find the right microbes for that particular crop/soil combination.

  • 2018 Registration is open!

    We invite you to register for the 45th Annual PGRSA Conference, which will be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico from June 10 - 14, 2018. The PRGSA has an excellent program planned anchored by leading scientists involved in a cross section of current topics in Plant Growth Regulation. In addition to outstanding keynote presentations, there will be a dynamic program of submitted papers and posters across a broad range of interests related to growth regulation and crop improvement.

    We encourage submission of papers and posters from university, company and other sectors involved in Plant Growth Regulation. The 2018 PGRSA meeting will provide an excellent opportunity to exchange information and learn from each other. We encourage university research, teaching and extension professionals, students, industry research and development professionals as well as growers, crop consultants, and others interested in plant growth regulation to attend.

    Register Now!
  • 2018 PGRSA Annual Conference Hotel, Travel & Tours

    Welcome to the 45th Annual Conference of the Plant Growth Regulation Society of America. The conference will be held at the Sheraton Hotel and Casino in San Juan, Puerto Rico from June 10 - 14, 2018.

    San Juan is a picturesque region featuring historic Old San Juan and the vibrant metropolis of New San Juan. Attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy outdoor adventures, vibrant night life, festivals, kayaking, snorkeling, diving, hiking, shopping and fine dining. This site features the best of San Juan!

    Hotel Accommodations

    The host hotel for this year’s conference is the spectacular Sheraton Hotel and Casino. Special room rates, starting at $159/night, have been negotiated.

    To keep costs as low as possible, the PGRSA makes certain commitments to our host hotels by guaranteeing them a certain number of rooms will be occupied by our attendees. In exchange, the host hotels offer us concessions and other perks. If we fail to meet our room night commitments, we are faced with hefty penalty fees. For this reason, PGRSA will charge a $250 Facilities Usage Fee for those who choose not to stay at the host hotel.

    View the hotel. Book your hotel room today!
    Pre-conference Coffee Farm & Distillery Tour

    Sunday June 10, 2018, 12:00pm to 6:00pm

    Our first stop will be a to visit the Hacienda Munoz coffee farm in the beautiful mountains of San Lorenzo. We will visit their coffee plantation and coffee processing facility, before tasting their coffees in their on-site restaurant. Our second and final stop will be the Bacardi Rum Distillery in San Juan.

    Cost: $45 per person.

    Post-conference Tropical Orchards and USDA Research Station Tour

    Thursday, June 14, 2018, 6:30am - 6:00pm

    A full day tour beginning at the University of Puerto Rico Experimental Station, a commercial tropical fruit orchard/farm. Next, a stop for lunch in the historic town of San German, the oldest town in Puerto Rico. Our tour will finish with a visit to the USDA Tropical Agriculture Research Station and University of Puerto Rico Campus and orchards.

    This post-conference tour will be limited to the first 25 registrants.

    Cost: $95 per person

    Register for a tour!

    Don't miss the 45th Annual Conference — register today!

  • Call for Abstracts

    Thank you for your interest in submitting an abstract for the 2018 PGRSA Annual Conference. Below are guidelines concerning abstract submissions.


    Abstracts should be submitted as Microsoft Word files and must include the following information:

    2. AUTHORS’ NAMES (Presenting Author must be indicated by an asterisk (*) or underline)
    4. ORAL or POSTER SUBMISSION (The PGRSA will make every attempt to honor the author’s preference, but reserves the right to reassign submissions as needed to accommodate the program schedule.)

    Directions: Please download the Abstract Template below. Simply fill in the template with the required information, rename the file and then upload it on this page.

    Abstract submission deadline - April 15, 2018

    Submit Abstract!
  • 2018 PGRSA Annual Conference Program Brief

    The 45th Annual PGRSA Conference will take place in San Juan, Puerto Rico from June 10 - 14, 2018. The PRGSA has an excellent program planned anchored by leading scientists involved in a cross section of current topics in Plant Growth Regulation. In addition to outstanding invited keynote presentations, there will be a dynamic program of submitted papers and posters across a broad range of interest related to growth regulation and crop improvement.

    The Program for the 45th Annual Conference is now available. Download a brief version of the Program.

  • 2018 PGRSA Graduate Student Travel Award Application

    The Plant Growth Regulation Society of America (PGRSA) is pleased to announce new student travel awards for its 45th Annual Meeting, to be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico June 10-14, 2018. Up to EIGHT travel awards will be available for students presenting novel research on plant growth regulation. Travel awards will include meeting registration, airfare and 3 nights accommodation at the host hotel at the negotiated PGRSA room rate (total award value up to $1200). Students must register for the conference and submit an abstract for an oral or poster presentation along with a travel award application. Recipients are also required to complete a Proceedings publication that must be submitted prior to or during the meeting. This travel award makes presenting at this conference available to any student. In addition to travel awards, cash awards for best student oral and poster presentations are also available. Abstract submission opens January 15 and closes April 15. To apply for a student travel award please complete an application online by April 15, 2018.

    Apply Now!