Daniel R. Cooley

Professor Dan Cooley

Professor of Plant Pathology, Stockbridge School of Agriculture

AB, Harvard College  1974.
M.S., Plant & Soil Sciences, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, 1978.
Ph.D., Plant Pathology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, 1986.

Research Interests

The long-term goal of our research is to develop sustainable management for diseases of economically important temperate fruit crops. Fruit crops including apples are more heavily treated with fungicides than other crops. Our lab focuses on developing forecast models for diseases that drive this fungicide use in order to reduce it. We also develop and evaluate non-chemical plant disease management tactics including host resistance, cultural modifications to the agroecosystem, and biological controls. Our focus is on disease management in commercial production systems, and much of our work is done with growers. We also collaborate with a wholesaler to develop advanced integrated pest management practices for use in an eco-labeling and marketing program. We are also evaluating a detailed model for the most important apple disease globally, apple scab, for use in organic apple production in the northeastern U.S. As part of our work on another major apple disease complex, sooty blotch and flyspeck, we are using molecular methods to identify the major taxa contributing to the disease in the region. These two apple disease drive over 90% of the fungicide applications made to apples in the northeastern U.S., and our goal is to significantly reduce fungicide use by better understanding the ecology of the fungi that cause them, and providing growers with environmentally and economically sustainable disease management alternatives