Professor of Plant Physiology
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Bruce Schaffer, professor of plant physiology at the UF/IFAS Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, is internationally recognized for his work on whole-plant physiology of subtropical and tropical horticultural crops. His research focuses on defining effects and interactions of environmental factors such as irradiance, flooding, wind stress and drought on plant physiology, growth and productivity to provide a basis for improving agricultural production and sustainability.
Schaffer takes a multidisciplinary approach in cooperation with horticulturists, soil scientists, plant pathologists and entomologists to quantify plant responses to stress and investigate methods to alleviate plant stress.
A current emphasis of his research is improving the compatibility of agriculture with adjacent natural wetlands. In cooperation with other scientists, he is developing best management practices for tropical fruit and vegetable crops to increase water- and fertilizer-use efficiency, thus decreasing the potential for leaching of agri-chemicals into the groundwater.
His studies aimed at understanding and improving flood-tolerance of subtropical and tropical fruit crops may soon lead to the availability of perennial fruit crop species that are adapted to periodic flooding. This research should be invaluable to agricultural production and sustainability in south Florida because restoration of the Everglades ecosystem will likely result in elevated water tables in the area.
Schaffer has been very active in graduate education and has hosted numerous post-doctoral associates and visiting scientists. He maintains strong, active international ties and has several ongoing research projects with colleagues in other countries. He has served as an editor or member of the editorial board of several national and international journals including the Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science, HortScience, Tree Physiology, and the Journal of Plant Nutrition. He is also a member of the Technical Review Panel for the Charles A. Lindbergh Foundation and frequently reviews grant proposals for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as for organizations in other countries, including Australia, Thailand and New Zealand.