In April of this year, research plant pathologist Devin Rippner started his position as a research viticulture soil scientist with the USDA-ARS in Prosser Washington. He and his family are enjoying living in the Yakima Valley and exploring the local region.
Rippner’s educational background is in soil chemistry and soil fertility with an active interest in pedology. He received his PhD in Soils in Biogeochemistry from UC Davis, his MS in Crop and Soil Science from Virginia Tech, and a BS in Environmental Science from UC Riverside. He was also an environmental volunteer with the Peace Corps in Malawi where he worked as an agricultural extension advisor collaborating with community groups on dry season cropping.
During his Master’s degree at Virginia Tech, Rippner studied organic phosphorus in runoff from surface applied manures during rain events. During his PhD at UC Davis, he studied the effects of copper oxide nanoparticles on aquatic plants, soil microbial communities, and tomato plant growth.
After completing his PhD at UC Davis, he spent one year as a post-doctoral scientist at UC Davis studying the effects of biological seed coatings on phosphorus uptake by soybeans in P deficient systems using radioactive phosphorus. He also studied the effects of biochar on compost quality and subsequent effects on lettuce growth after fertilization with biochar amended composts.
After completing his post-doctoral position at UC Davis, he joined the USDA ARS CPGRU in Davis California where he worked as a post-doctoral researcher developing workflows to apply deep learning models for x-ray CT image analysis. As part of this work, Rippner analyzed x-ray CT images of wine barrel staves and grape seeds before and after fermentation. He also analyzed images of grape leaves, walnut leaves, almond buds, and soil aggregates.
“As a viticulture soil scientist, I look forward to working with growers to study soil management practices that will facilitate their production goals and improve grape quality for wine production,” Rippner shared. “I am particularly interested in addressing salinity and sodicity related issues that might cause unwanted water stress during growth and alter wine grape chemistry.”
Dr. Rippner can be reached at (805)748-2844 or at Devin.Rippner@USDA.Gov.