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Craig Carlson Completes M.S. Degree in Plant Sciences

Carlson will pursue his Ph.D. at Cornell University. When he completes his Ph.D. he hopes to become a lead scientist at an arboretum or university.
Craig Carlson Completes M.S. Degree in Plant Sciences

Craig Carlson (right) with advisor Dr. Todd West

Horticulture student Craig Carlson completed his NDSU Plant Sciences M.S. thesis defense and exit seminar on August 14 and on August 15 he traveled to Ithaca, New York, to begin work on a bioinformatics (genomics and genetics) Ph.D. at Cornell University.  He will work on the improvement of shrub willow (Salix), a sustainable and dedicated bioenergy feedstock, with advisor Dr. Lawrence Smart.

Carlson’s M.S. thesis, titled Micropropagation of the Relict Genus Cercidiphyllum (Cercidiphyllaceae), focused on two species; common katsura (C. japonicum Sieb. & Zucc.) and hiro-ha-katsura (C. magnificum Nakai). Endemic to Japan and China, Cercidiphyllaceae are valuable as ornamental trees, but are difficult to propagate by traditional methods.  Carlson concentrated on developing protocols for micropropagation techniques to benefit clonal nursery production and improvement, as well as conserving the genus. Carlson says, “Trees of C. japonicum are currently under evaluation at NDSU Woody Improvement trial plots in Fargo, ND, and responding well with regards to ornamental qualities and cold hardiness. This research will provide an efficient tool for the clonal production of trial selections of katsura.”

Prior to beginning his M.S. degree at NDSU, Carlson interned and worked in several horticulture summer programs.  At Montana State University in Bozeman he was in the CAPS Internship Program in 2009; at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University he was in the Isabella Welles Hunnewell Internship Program in 2010; and at the United States National Arboretum in Washington D.C. he was in the Tree Breeding Research Internship Program with the USDA-ARS-FNPRU in 2011. He also worked as a horticulturist at Sheyenne Gardens in Harwood, ND.  Once he completes his Ph.D. he hopes to become a lead scientist at an arboretum or university.

Craig Carlson’s graduate committee included Dr. Wenhao (David) Dai, Dr. Harlene Hatterman-Valenti and Dr. Joseph Zeleznik.  His advisor was Dr. Todd West.

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