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Article contents

Agricultural Weed Research: A Critique and Two Proposals

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Sarah M. Ward*
Affiliation:
Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1170
Roger D. Cousens
Affiliation:
Department of Resource Management & Geography, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia
Muthukumar V. Bagavathiannan
Affiliation:
Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843
Jacob N. Barney
Affiliation:
Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061
Hugh J. Beckie
Affiliation:
Science & Technology Branch, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 107 Science Place, Saskatoon SK S7N 0X2, Canada
Roberto Busi
Affiliation:
School of Plant Biology, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia
Adam S. Davis
Affiliation:
Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801
Jeffrey S. Dukes
Affiliation:
Department of Biological Sciences, 715 West State Street, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907
Frank Forcella
Affiliation:
USDA-ARS 1 Soils Lab, Morris, MN 56267
Robert P. Freckleton
Affiliation:
Department of Animal & Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
Eric R. Gallandt
Affiliation:
Department of Plant, Soil and Environmental Sciences, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469-5722
Linda M. Hall
Affiliation:
Department of Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science, University of Edmonton, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2P5, Canada
Marie Jasieniuk
Affiliation:
Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616
Amy Lawton-Rauh
Affiliation:
Department of Genetics and Biochemistry, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634-0318
Erik A. Lehnhoff
Affiliation:
Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717
Matt Liebman
Affiliation:
Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011-1010
Bruce D. Maxwell
Affiliation:
Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717
Mohsen B. Mesgaran
Affiliation:
Department of Resource Management & Geography, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia
Justine V. Murray
Affiliation:
CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences and Water for Healthy Country Flagship, G.P.O. Box 2583, Brisbane, QLD 4001, Australia
Paul Neve
Affiliation:
Weed Ecology, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, AL5 2JQ, U.K.
Martin A. Nuñez
Affiliation:
INIBIOMA-CONICET, Laboratorio Ecotono, CRUB-UN Comahue, Bariloche, Argentina
Anibal Pauchard
Affiliation:
Facultad de Ciencias Forestales. Universidad de Concepción. Casilla 160-C, Concepción, Chile
Simon A. Queenborough
Affiliation:
Department of Evolution, Ecology & Organismal Biology, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210
Bruce L. Webber
Affiliation:
CSIRO Ecosystems Sciences, Private Bag 5, P.O. Wembley, WA 6913, Australia
*Corresponding
Corresponding author's E-mail: sarah.ward@colostate.edu.

Abstract

Two broad aims drive weed science research: improved management and improved understanding of weed biology and ecology. In recent years, agricultural weed research addressing these two aims has effectively split into separate subdisciplines despite repeated calls for greater integration. Although some excellent work is being done, agricultural weed research has developed a very high level of repetitiveness, a preponderance of purely descriptive studies, and has failed to clearly articulate novel hypotheses linked to established bodies of ecological and evolutionary theory. In contrast, invasive plant research attracts a diverse cadre of nonweed scientists using invasions to explore broader and more integrated biological questions grounded in theory. We propose that although studies focused on weed management remain vitally important, agricultural weed research would benefit from deeper theoretical justification, a broader vision, and increased collaboration across diverse disciplines. To initiate change in this direction, we call for more emphasis on interdisciplinary training for weed scientists, and for focused workshops and working groups to develop specific areas of research and promote interactions among weed scientists and with the wider scientific community.

Type
Special Topics
Copyright
Copyright © Weed Science Society of America 

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