Dr. David B. Weaver, a cotton breeder who has dedicated his career conducting plant breeding research and educating generations of undergraduate and graduate students at Auburn University, is the recipient of the 2015 Cotton Genetics Research Award.
The announcement was made during the 2016 Beltwide Cotton Improvement Conference, which convened as part of the 2016 Beltwide Cotton Conferences. In recognition, Weaver received a plaque and a monetary award.
Weaver, a professor in Auburn’s Agronomy & Soils Department, began his career in the late 1970’s publishing on cytoplasmic male sterility in cotton, then forged a successful career as a soybean breeder before restarting a cotton breeding program in 2001 that has enhanced U.S. cotton.
One of his nominators, Dr. Jodi Scheffler, USDA Agricultural Research Service geneticist and the 2014 Cotton Genetics Research Award recipient, said that among Weaver’s accomplishments were his evaluation of the effect of genes for resistance to reniform nematode on agronomic and fiber quality traits, the impact of exotic germplasm introgression on cotton agronomics, and the effect of selection and inbreeding methods on fiber quality traits. He also discovered sources of resistance to reniform nematode and heat tolerance with upland germplasm.
Scheffler noted that Weaver – who has received numerous teaching awards at Auburn – has not only earned the respect of cotton breeders and geneticists in both the public and private sectors, but has served “as an excellent advisor and mentor to the young men and women who will succeed us, and, as a result of his leadership, hopefully surpass us.”
Weaver’s dedication to his students was echoed by Auburn’s Agronomy & Soils Head Dr. John Beasley, Jr., who said that when Weaver retires, “it will be extremely difficult to find a faculty member that is more dedicated to students and their professional improvement. And he does all that while still running a very successful cotton breeding program.”
Weaver holds a B.S. and a M.S. in Agronomy from the University of Georgia. He earned his Ph.D. in Agronomy from Purdue, where he was a graduate teaching and research assistant before joining Auburn in 1981.
U.S. commercial cotton breeders have presented the Cotton Genetics Research Award annually since 1961 to a scientist for outstanding basic research in cotton genetics. The Joint Cotton Breeding Committee – comprised of representatives from state experiment stations, USDA, private breeders, Cotton Incorporated and the National Cotton Council – establishes award criteria.
Source – National Cotton Council