Horticultural Sciences Department

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Blueberry Breeding Program

Blueberry Breeding | Current Research | Publications | People
Course HOS6236 - Molecular Marker Assisted Plant BreedingCourse PCB5065 - Advanced Genetics

Dr. James Olmstead, Assistant Professor

Dr. James Olmstead
Associate Professor
University of Florida - IFAS
Horticultural Sciences Department
2211 Fifield Hall
(352) 273-4837

The rapidly expanding Florida blueberry industry was valued at over $75 million in 2014 and comprises nearly 5,000 acres.  Although there are many Vaccinium species native to Florida, developing a competitive and sustainable production system requires the development of improved cultivars, and horticultural and physiological research to address the difficulty of producing a temperate adapted crop in a sub-tropical environment. My research focus areas are:

  1. Identifying, characterizing, and exploiting desirable Vaccinium traits through breeding to increase the production efficiency and profitability of Florida blueberry growers
  2. Increasing breeding efficiency through application of molecular technologies
  3. Enabling better utilization of existing cultivars through horticultural research

My research program in Vaccinium breeding and genetics is closely integrated with Jeff Williamson (horticulture and extension) Rebecca Darnell (plant physiology), Steve Sargent (postharvest), and Phil Harmon (plant pathology) and many of our projects use a coordinated approach to address research questions.