Plenary session: Challenges and perspectives for woody ornamentals

Nico G.M. DolmansNico G.M. Dolmans is head of the Applied Plant Research (PPO) research group for Nursery Stock and Perennials in The Netherlands.

“Our main research items are integrated plant protection, water- and nutrient management, innovative production systems, urban green, variety trials and plant use. Our work aims a sustainable production and use of hardy nursery stock. PPO is part of Wageningen University and Research Center (Wageningen UR). PPO is a private not-for-profit research institute for applied research for industry and public institutions. Our work is done in close interaction with various stakeholders.”


Marie-Christine Van LabekeMarie-Christine Van Labeke is professor at Ghent University, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Department of Plant Production.

"My research focuses on how environmental factors affect productivity and quality of horticultural plants. Our current projects are mainly studies within the Rosaceae and Rhododendron. The approaches used involve carbon partitioning and allocation under optimal and sub-optimal conditions. Our work also includes evaluation and selection of plants and cultivars with an improved tolerance to abiotic stresses."


Session: Breeding and biodiversity in woody ornamentals

Nobuo KobayashiNobuo Kobayashi graduated from the University of Tsukuba, Japan's Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry. In 1997, he obtained his PhD entitled “Phylogenetic relationship of evergreen azalea and origin of horticultural cultivars”. He has been involved in the breeding programme of evergreen azalea and the maintenance study of old azalea trees in historical Japanese azalea gardens. He has also collaborated in various projects on the application and breeding potential of wild plant genetic resources of ornamental plants.
Today he is professor at the Faculty of Life and Environmental Science of Shimane University, Department of Agriculture, Laboratory of Plant Breeding.

“My current research work involves:

  • Evaluation of plant genetic sources as breeding materials using DNA maker and phenotypic characters.
  • Breeding of evergreen azalea by crossing and inducing mutation etc.: Introduction of new character (Flower shape, colour, environmental tolerance, two season flowering, fragrance etc )
  • Isolation and expression analysis of genes related to flower colour and shape”


Session: Effect of climate change on physiology and phenology of woody ornamentals

Rajeev AroraRajeev Arora is professor in the Department of Horticulture at Iowa State University, where he teaches courses related to horticulture science and conducts fundamental research in the area of plant cold hardiness.

“Primary focus of my research program is to understand the cellular physiology, molecular biology and genetics of plant’s response to freezing stress. I do research on the specific membrane perturbations during freeze-thaw injury in herbaceous plants and I analyse physiological and molecular/genetic effects of cold acclimation and endodormancy in woody perennials.”

Antoine KremerAntoine Kremer is scientist at INRA (France), UMR biodiversity genes and communities. His main research interest relates to the evolution of genetic diversity and differentiation between natural populations at various hierarchical levels where diversity is expresses (from genes to phenotypic traits).




Session: Multiplication of woody ornamentals

Traud WinkelmannTraud Winkelmann is professor at the Leibniz Universität Hannover (Germany), Institute of Floriculture and Woody Plant Science, Tree Nursery Science Section.

“The research in our group is mainly focused on gaining a better understanding of plant propagation on the physiological and molecular level. This implies especially the use of in vitro culture techniques for propagation and breeding of horticultural crops. In addition, seed and cutting propagation methods are under investigation with special emphasis on woody plant species. Genetic transformation protocols are established and improved in ornamentals to be applied in fundamental research as well as in plant breeding.”

"Selected current research projects are:

  • Proteomic analyses during somatic and zygotic embryogenesis in Cyclamen persicum
  • Interspecific hybridizations by embryo rescue or protoplast fusion
  • Development and optimization of transformation strategies in ornamental species
  • Replant problems in Rosaceae
  • Somatic embryogenesis in pine species from Pakistan"


Session: Water (water quality, irrigation control, etc.), Substrates, nutrients

Kathy SteppeKathy Steppe is professor at Ghent University (Belgium), Faculty of Bioscience engineering, laboratory of Plant Ecology.

“Research in my lab is focused on plant-environment interactions with a special emphasis on exploring factors that determine water and carbon fluxes. Projects include work on herbaceous and woody plants, as well as (tropical) forest ecosystems. Diverse approaches are applied to study the dynamic plant-environment interplay, ranging from detailed measurements with an array of plant sensors (sap flow, stem diameter changes, leaf temperature, chlorophyll fluorescence, photosynthesis, stem respiration,...) across tools from ecosystem science (thermal imaging, eddy covariance) to stable isotope biogeochemistry. Sophisticated models are developed as avenues for improving our understanding on how plants respond to changes in the environments they inhabit. Special attention goes to the development of new plant-based control and stress detection systems.”


Session: Pest and Diseases, Integrated pest management

Sabine WerresAfter her study of horticultural sciences at the Leipniz University of Hannover (Germany), Sabine Werres got a PhD in plant pathology and fruit cultivation with the subject ‘Crown rot and red core disease on strawberry’. Since 1987, she is a scientist at the Julius Kühn Institute (Germany), Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, Institute for Plant Protection in Horticulture and Forests. She is head of the working group ‘Plant Pathology in nurseries, urban horticulture and home gardens’.

“The main tasks of our research group are:

  • Diseases and disorders in woody ornamental, fruit tree and forest nurseries, in open landscape, urban horticulture, public parcs and in home gardens
  • Research work on phythophthora, horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) decline and cylindrocladium buxicola (focus in 2011-2012)
  • German culture collection for Phytophthora species
  • German reference laboratory for Phytophthora species”

Jerry CrossJerry Cross is leader of the Entomology and Plant Pathology science team at East Malling Research (UK). He leads a range of research projects on Integrated Pest Management. Particular interests include development of sampling, assessment and forecasting methods for pests, identification and exploitation of pheromones of fruit pests, biological control by microbial agents and natural enemies of fruit pests, developing and evaluating whole Integrated Pest Management systems for fruit crops and optimizing spray application methods.

“Current emphasis in my research is on the identification and exploitation of sex pheromones and other semiochemicals (e.g. host plant volatiles) of UK fruit pests and on the development of methods of exploiting them for monitoring and control. Another recent important work area is optimising sprayer use according to orchard structure taking account of the distribution of spray deposits and their biological efficacy. A remote sensing method (LIDAR), which utilises a scanning, pulse-modulated near infra-red laser for range finding and determining interception probability with crop canopies, is being used to characterise plant structure and to produce pictographic keys to relative tree area density enabling pesticide dose rate adjustment to suit the canopy of the particular crop being sprayed.”

Organised by



Faculty of Bioscience Engineering

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