Sometimes the introduction of useful plants can create unexpected problems, such as new weeds or invasive plants. In order to predict the potential impacts of a useful crop, Carol Auer, a professor in UConn’s Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, is studying Camelina sativa. Scientists are engineering this annual plant for novel traits to produce biofuels or omega-3 fatty acids for dietary supplements.
To understand the potential for Connecticut, Auer planted a camelina field in 2014 to study its growth, seed yield and pollen movement. The attached video captures the process from planting the seeds in early May to harvesting in late July. Auer said, “When this camelina research is completed, the results will be useful for weed risk assessments, regulatory decisions, farm production and land management.” Members of the UConn research team included Vernie Sagun, a postdoctoral research scientist, and Richard Rizzitello, a graduate student.