Crop Eco-Physiology


Dr. Xuejun Dong

Assistant Professor





Corn, cotton and wheat together contribute to over $3 billion annually to the Texas economy. In the Winter Garden region of southern Texas, irrigation is essential for sustained production of major agronomic crops. One critical issue of resolving the currently acute conflict in water competition between different social sectors is to increase the efficiency of water use. In agricultural settings, one major focus is the adoption of efficient irrigation management strategies, which needs to be based on a better understanding of soil-crop water relations. In particular, our agronomy group emphasizes important physiological processes and crop traits that are responsible for the regulation of crop water use. This involves a close collaboration with crop breeders, crop physiologists, soil hydrologists and irrigation engineers.


  • GEM strategy: Linking drought tolerant traits with water use efficiency to improve productivity of cropping systems in Texas. One of the Co-PI’s. TAMU Seed grant.
  • Linking soil hydrology and crop water uptake with a decision support system for optimal irrigation management. Leading PI. TAMU water initiative seed grant (in review
  • Research and development of growth model, integrated sensory network, adaptive controller and irrigation platform technology for smart irrigation of specialty crops. One of PI’s. TAMU Water initiative (in review).
  • Corn rootworm resistance: On-farm surveys across a south-north transect in Texas. Full proposal in preparation for Monsanto. Co-PI.
  • Quantifying mesophyll conductance in winter wheat varieties for increased water use efficiency. Junior Faculty Enhancement grant with ORAU. Pending.



Develop a better understanding of eco-physiological mechanisms regulating crop water use efficiency in irrigated crop production system in the Winter Garden region of southern Texas and beyond. Develop methods for reliable and sensitive quantification of evapotranspiration of selected agronomic crops by considering the dynamic interactions of water supply and water demand for crop transpiration and yield formation. This research creates a foundation for better irrigation management strategy and more efficient crop production under water limited conditions.

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