Horticultural Sciences Department

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Dr. Paul M. Lyrene

Institute for Systematic Biology | Florida Native Plant Society


Professor, Horticultural Sciences
University of Florida
2135 Fifield Hall
Gainesville, FL 32611
Phone: (352) 273-4832

Paul Lyrene is professor of plant breeding and genetics in the Horticultural Sciences Department of the University of Florida in Gainesville. Since 1977, he has been director of the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station’s blueberry cultivar development program.

The goal of this program is to develop blueberry varieties that can be grown in areas where winter temperatures resemble those in the Florida peninsula north of Lake Okeechobee. In Florida, these varieties ripen their fruit in April and May. In appropriate locations in the southern hemisphere, they ripen in October and November. In conjunction with varieties adapted to the higher latitudes in both hemispheres, the Florida varieties make it possible to harvest fresh blueberries somewhere in the world every day of the year.

In addition to blueberry breeding, Lyrene also studies interspecific hybridization and polyploid evolution, using the various species of Vaccinium that are native in the southeastern United States as the subjects of his experiments.

At present, Lyrene teaches two graduate courses: Perennial Crop Breeding (HOS6201) and Agricultural Meteorology (HOS 5616). Although he believes strongly in the importance of technology and in the scientific method of pursuing knowledge about the universe, Lyrene is gravely concerned that we are rapidly and irreversibly degrading the earth, our home and the only home of millions of other animal and plant species. In his opinion, the rate of species extinction due to loss of habit is intolerably high, and it should be a major goal of world politicians, scientists, and social activists to bring a quick end to this catastrophe. Lyrene is a member of The Nature Conservancy, the Florida Native Plant Society, and various other scientific and conservation-minded organizations.