CORVALLIS, Ore. – A weed science professor at Oregon State University has received the Weed Science Society of America's highest honor for her contributions to the profession.
Carol Mallory-Smith, an associate department head at OSU's Department of Crop and Soil Science, was named a fellow of the society at the nonprofit professional organization’s annual meeting.
"It's a very select group that receives this award each year – available to only 0.25 percent of the membership," said Jill Schroeder, 2007-08 president of the society. There were three recipients this year who joined the roughly 200 people who have been named fellows since the award was created in 1964.
Schroeder said Mallory-Smith is “best known for her work on gene flow and herbicide resistance. She continues to do some unique research about gene movement out of weeds and into crops or vice versa."
Mallory-Smith is studying how genes from canola contaminate vegetable crops. She's also looking at how substances from juniper trees might be able to inhibit the germination of weeds. In the past, she has studied Orobanche minor, a parasitic weed that attaches to clover and snuffs the life out of it. Found in Oregon in 1998, it could destroy the state's clover industry if not controlled, said Mallory-Smith, who helped identify other plants that attract the weed as well as herbicides that kill it.
Additionally, her work with Italian ryegrass gave growers additional options for controlling the plant with herbicides. She and other OSU researchers also found that crop rotations can be used to reduce California brome in wheat production because California brome seed lasts only two years in the soil.
Mallory-Smith, who was born in Troy, Ore., began teaching at OSU in 1994 after earning a doctorate in plant science at the University of Idaho in 1990.
She said she enjoys the variety of work that her job offers.
"On any day I can be working with five or six different crops and all of the weeds that accompany them,” she said. “I am never bored. The best part of my job is working with graduate students and growers."
Respected by students in her department, they named her an Outstanding Teacher in Crop and Soil Science in 1997 and again in 2007.
Mallory-Smith has been a member of the Weed Science Society of America since 1987 and was its president in 2005-06.