By Angela Askey
Executive Director Public Relations and Marketing
Earlier this month, the Arid Land and Agriculture Research Center (ALARC) student data team presented highlights of the team’s high-throughput phenotyping (HTP) project at the USDA’s Agriculture Research Center in Maricopa.
The team consisted of five current and former CAC engineering and CIS students (Jared Gale, Jacob Long, Samantha Nicholls, David Koltz and Devin Lindsey), along with two additional team members (Alex Manning and David Moller), and their mentors Mike Roybal, IT specialist and CAC adjunct CIS professor, and Alison Thompson, research scientist.
Roybal and Thompson have been mentoring the ALARC student HTP team since 2016. The students originally came to ALARC as part of the Project Puente Internship program where they worked on field-based, high-throughput phenotyping (FB-HTP) development and/or data analysis.
Each student spoke for five to seven minutes about their involvement with the phenotyping projects including platform development, data processing and handling, and solutions for the “big data” problem presented by high-throughput phenotyping work. Those presenting on hardware, focused on the development of autonomous field robots and optimization of remote-field carts while the presenters discussing software related challenges concentrated on data processing pipelines and database development. IT support discussed developing high-performance computing clusters and server maintenance.
Due to their hard work, dedication, and skills, each of the presenting students have been hired as part-time employees.
“Each of the team members provided valuable resources for ALARC phenotyping efforts,” Roybal said. “The continued dedication and support by the students enable ALARC scientists to assess field-grown plants, and process and share data with collaborators to assist in developing better crop and management strategies.”