Lee Tarpley

Associate Professor

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Mailing Address:
1509 Aggie Drive
Beaumont, TX 77713
Phone & Fax: (409) 752-2741 Ext. 2235 & (409) 752-5560
E-Mail: ltarpley@tamu.edu
Office Location: Beaumont Center
Education: Ph.D., Plant Physiology, Texas A&M University, 1993
M.S., California State University, Plant Science, 1987
B.A., University of Wyoming, Botany, 1980


Professional Experience:

2001-Present:Texas A&M University, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, , Plant Physiology, Assistant Professor

2001-2005:Texas A&M University, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Soil and Crop Sciences, Plant Physiology, Assistant Professor

1999-2001: Visiting Research Scientist, Mississippi State University, Plant and Soil Sciences, Remote Sensing and Crop Physiology

1997-1999: Postdoctoral Researcher, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Plant Biochemistry & Physiology

1996-1997: Postdoctoral Crop Physiologist, Texas A&M University, Soil and Crop Sciences

1993-1996: Postdoctoral Plant Physiologist, Texas A&M University, Soil and Crop Sciences

1992-1993: Research Plant Biochemist, Texas A&M University, Biochemistry and Biophysics



Responsibilities:

Research

I am a plant physiologist, and primarily work with crop plants. Plant physiology looks at the plant as an organism and seeks to understand the interactions among the different parts of the plant, and how these interactions are influenced by development of the plant, environmental factors, and genetics. Because I work with crop plants, I further seek to advantageously manipulate the interactions among the plant parts (for example to increase yield of a particular part), identify ways to minimize adverse effects of the environment with respect to crop production, and develop new interventions, e.g. through crop management or breeding, to achieve desired goals in crop production.

Crop yield, whether in the form of the grain of a cereal crop or the biomass of a large tropical grass, is in some sense a chemical yield (e.g. starch or cellulose), and demonstrates that the interactions among plant parts is at once chemical and physical. I focus mainly on the chemical aspects of the interactions because of the obvious connections to yield, and use research methods that are comprehensive in some sense. For example, the ?omics? seek to comprehensively profile the expression of genes, proteins, metabolites, ions, or other classes of compounds. As another example, when I can study events inside the plant instead of in excised tissue or extracts of the plant material, then I can make fairly strong statements that the event is happening in a particular way. Or if I examine a particular set of chemical throughout the growth of a plant part, then I can partially establish the role of the set of chemicals in that growth.

Crops grow in the field, and are exposed to many environmental factors (temperature, solar radiation imbalance, water deficit or surplus) that can greatly affect their yield. These effects are usually indirect, but are determinable. I take two different approaches when studying the effects of environmental factors. One is to alter the factors individually or in controlled combinations, then study the plant response; the other is to develop methods that allow me to nondestructively measure certain plant responses. Knowing how the environmental factor affects the plant is the first step, but if I am to help the agricultural industry then I must identify ways to minimize the effect, either through interventions in crop management or in breeding.

An intervention in crop management is not useful unless it improves an aspect of crop production, usually profitability and/or sustainability. For example, an effective intervention might be an inexpensive way to boost crop growth leading to better yield, or perhaps a way to maintain the yield while lowering the costs of production, or perhaps the identification of ineffective interventions that can be avoided.

As a plant physiologist working on crop plants, I am sometimes positioned to conduct research that directly translates into improved crop production, but quite a bit of what I do also involves answering questions about how the crop plants work. These questions are often quite basic, but are ones for which I think the answer will be useful in improving crop production. These might be questions that are understudied about chemical processes that are pivotal to how a crop plant operates in producing the product of yield, or might be about environmental factors that are silent effectors of yield.

Teaching

My primary goal is to teach the plant physiology of crop plants. A major objective is to teach how to synthesize knowledge of biological levels above and below that of the organism. Most students in the plant sciences train at the ecological (e.g. ecology, agronomy) or cellular/sub-cellular levels (e.g. cell biology, biochemistry). When I teach a course, I want to bring students together with these different backgrounds in addressing problems in improving crop production and genetics. These problems are multi-disciplinary in the real world, and very fruitful to treat as such in the classroom. The benefit of this goes beyond mimicking the real world. It encourages synthesizing the knowledge of the various biological levels by the individual students, which promotes an understanding of the important physiological, ecological, and genetic factors to manipulate when improving crop plants and their production, and which of these are best manipulated by changes to management, via classical plant breeding, via marker-assisted plant breeding, or through genetic engineering.

When I advise a graduate student, I want to encourage her/his skills at synthesizing knowledge from biological levels surrounding the organism. Most students in physiology lean toward one end or the other of the spectrum of biological levels, and I need to encourage their awareness of the value of their research at the organismal level. I especially like to teach graduate students about how to study the effects of understudied potential yield-detrimental environmental factors on the physiology, growth, development, and yield of crop plants, and how to continuously consider possible (practical and economical) interventions in crop management to minimize the yield effects of the environmental factors. These near-term interventions are potentially very useful because genetic improvements to minimize environmental effects typically take a number of years to bring to practice.

Service

As a plant physiologist, primarily working with crop plants, I need to participate and be useful to the communities of scientists studying plant physiology and/or crop science (for example, by being an officer in scientific societies or editing or reviewing manuscripts and proposals), to participate in multi-disciplinary efforts addressing issues of scientific, academic, and/or regional importance when my expertise in plant physiology and crop science is beneficial. I also need to participate in team-building exercises at the university/system-level that facilitate the ability to attract resources for multi-disciplinary efforts.

Because I work primarily with crop plants, and seek to provide findings useful for the agricultural community, I need to convey my findings to extension agents, consultants, farmers and other members of the industry by authoring technical articles, and through presentations reaching a wide audience of end users.



Professional Affiliates and Project Formalized Development:

1. American Society of Plant Biologists. Member for many years
2. Botanical Society of America. Member off and on over the years
3. Crop Science Society of America. Member for many years
4. North American Chapter of the International Chemometrics Society. Member about 8 years
5. Rice Technical Working Group (the major U.S. rice science society). Officer
6. Member. M Holtzapple, M Ehsani (founding directors) Center being established for ?Renewable energy and sustainable transportation systems? TAMUS TEES
7. Principal Investigator: L Tarpley, LT Wilson, M Holtzapple, JM Gould, J Da Silva, J Outlaw, R Fjellstrom, Y Yang, M-H Chen, K Li, H Lu, MO Way, T Tew, W Rooney, J Dahlberg. Transforming the economy of the Texas Gulf Coast through the development of bioenergy industries. Response to Texas A&M BioEnergy Alliance RFI
8. Principal Investigator. L Tarpley, S Tichy, T Mahavier. Fluxomics of biomass accumulation in grass/cane bioenergy crops. Response to Texas A&M BioEnergy Alliance RFI. Fluxomics provides a comprehensive view of the major metabolic paths being utilized
9. Founding Member. BioEnergy Alliance of Southeast Texas. The Southeast Texas region has been among the most active in organizing the efforts to create awareness of the many advantages of the region for development of bioenergy industry, encourage investment interest in the bioenergy industry in the region, and provide an organized source of information for potential investors. The BioEnergy Alliance of Southeast Texas was formed to specifically address these functions. Members of the Alliance represent diverse sectors of the regional economy, including the Chamber of Commerce, the regional planning commission, the Port of Beaumont, the economic development team of our regional energy company, a large petrochemical company, a company that constructs large industrial facilities, the local university, the Texas A&M Center, and local agricultural producers


Service Activities:


Service Activities: National

? Chair. 2002-2004. Nominations Committee. Rice Technical Working Group
? Chair. 2004-2006. Rice Culture Panel. Rice Technical Working Group
? Member. 2004-2006. Nominations Committee. Rice Technical Working Group
? Officer. 2006-2008. Executive Committee. Rice Technical Working Group

Service Activities: Agency, University, Industry

? 2002. Invited member. First-Year Panel at TAMU New Faculty Orientation
? 2003. Member, Ad Hoc Committee on Distance Education. Texas A&M Agriculture Program. Provided experience in web-based teaching, as well as an off-campus perspective
? 2003-2007. Member. Texas Rice Research Foundation (TRRF) Scientific Review Committee. TRRF is the major body funding rice research in Texas. The committee provides scientific review of submitted proposals


Funding Received:

Funding Received - Highlights

? Brought in $7.2 million in grants for research
? Brought in $6 million since coming to Texas A&M
? Brought in more than $2 million to my program over my career
? Brought in close to $1.6 million to my program since coming to Texas A&M
? Active in proposal development ? having participated in ca. 84 proposals, with half as PI, including 17 for federal funding
? Part of team obtaining a large ($5,323,284) NSF grant with Purdue and Dartmouth, including more than $900,000 going to the at Beaumont (SR Pinson and L Tarpley, co-investigators).

Funding Received

1. 1985. Principal Investigator. L Tarpley. Graduate Student Research Grant. Calif. $550. Internal competitive
2. 1989 to 1990. Principal Investigator. L Tarpley. Tom Slick Research Fellowship in Agriculture. Texas A&M University. $12,000. Internal competitive
3. 1996 to 1997. Co-author. J.T. Cothren, L. Tarpley. Postdoctoral Research in cotton physiology to improve efficacy of harvest aids. Ciba. $15,000. Non-competitive
4. 1996 to 1997. Co-author. J.T. Cothren, L. Tarpley. Postdoctoral research in cotton physiology to improve efficacy of harvest aids. Elf Atochem. $15,000. Non-competitive
5. 1996 to 1997. Co-author. J.T. Cothren, L. Tarpley. Postdoctoral research in cotton physiology to improve efficacy of harvest aids. Zeneca. $15,000. Non-competitive
6. 1997. Co-author. J.T. Cothren, L. Tarpley. Field evaluation of potential harvest aids. Company-sponsored. $3,000. Non-competitive
7. 1997 to 1998. Co-author. J.T. Cothren, L. Tarpley. Postdoctoral research in cotton physiology to improve efficacy of harvest aids. Elf Atochem. $22,500. Non-competitive
8. 1997 to 1998. Co-author. J.T. Cothren, L. Tarpley. Postdoctoral research in cotton physiology to improve efficacy of harvest aids. Novartis. $22,500. Non-competitive
9. 1997 to 1998. Co-author. J.T. Cothren, L. Tarpley. Postdoctoral research in cotton physiology to improve efficacy of harvest aids. Zeneca. $15,000. Non-competitive
10. 1999 to 2001. Co-Investigator. Principal Author. K.R. Reddy, L. Tarpley, F. Whisler. Process-based system for reliable remote sensing of agronomic plant nutrition, growth regulation, water stress and insect pressure. NASA-MSU Remote Sensing Technologies Center. $474,139, of which $358,002 to Reddy/Tarpley project
11. 2001. Project Leader. L. Tarpley. Eden BioSciences. $10,000. Gift
12. 2001 to 2004. Co-Investigator, Principal Author. K.R. Reddy, L. Tarpley. Remote monitoring of crop physiology and growth parameters: Development and validation of reliable algorithms. NASA-MSU Remote Sensing Technologies Center. $600,000. Wrote proposal before moving to Texas A&M. Project stayed in Mississippi
13. 2001. Principal Investigator. L. Tarpley. Physiology research to improve combined first and second crop yield. Texas Rice Research Foundation. $41,515.
14. 2002. Principal Investigator. L. Tarpley. Equipment Grant for Oxygen Sensors. Texas Rice Research Foundation. $1,510
15. 2002. Principal Investigator. L. Tarpley. Rice Physiology. Texas Rice Research Foundation. $45,345
16. 2002 to 2004. Principal Investigator. L. Tarpley. Physiology of Rice Hybrids. RiceTec, Inc. $45,000. Non-competitive
17. 2003. Principal Investigator. L. Tarpley. Rice Physiology Research. Texas Rice Research Foundation. $49,527
18. 2004. Principal Investigator. L. Tarpley. Physiological Bases for Texas Rice Ratoon Crop Management. Texas Rice Research Foundation. $35,000
19. 2005. Project Leader. L. Tarpley. Valent. $1500. Gift
20. 2005. Principal Investigator. L. Tarpley. Plant physiology research. Texas rice ratoon crop management and prevention of losses in yield and quality due to environmental stresses. Texas Rice Research Foundation. $47,481
21. 2005. Project Leader. L. Tarpley, F. Turner, M. Jund, Evaluation of new rice varieties, herbicide resistant varieties and hybrids for main and ratoon crop production in Texas. Texas Rice Research Foundation. $40,000. with $40,000 to my program of which Jund is part and knowing that Turner was retiring
22. 2005. Project Leader. L. Tarpley, F. Turner, M. Jund. $3,000. Transfer of funds from G. McCauley for support of his research in Beaumont. With $3,000 to my program of which Jund is part and knowing that Turner was retiring
23. 2005. Project Leader. L. Tarpley, F. Turner, M. Jund. $2,500. Transfer of funds from L. Nelson for support of his research in Beaumont. With $2,500 to my program of which Jund is part and knowing that Turner was retiring
24. 2005 to 2006. Project Leader. L. Tarpley, F. Turner, M. Jund. Evaluation and validation studies with rice hybrids. RiceTec. $22,000. Non-competitive. With $22,000 to my program of which Jund is part and knowing that Turner was retiring
25. 2005 to 2006. Project Leader. L. Tarpley, F. Turner, M. Jund. Evaluation of subsurface banded fertilizer application for rice production. National Fluid Fertilizer Foundation. $6,000. with $6,000 to my program of which Jund is part and knowing that Turner was retiring
26. 2006. Project Leader. L. Tarpley. RiceTec. $24,200. Gifts
27. 2006. Principal Investigator. L. Tarpley. Plant physiology research. Texas rice ratoon crop management and prevention of losses in yield and quality due to environmental stresses. Texas Rice Research Foundation. $49,981
28. 2006. Project Leader. L. Tarpley. $3,000. Transfer of funds from G. McCauley for support of his research in Beaumont
29. 2006. Project Leader. L. Tarpley. $2,000. Transfer of funds from L. Nelson for support of his research in Beaumont
30. 2006. Principal Investigator. L. Tarpley, M. Jund. Varietal evaluations and characterization and nutrient management improvement for Texas production practices. Texas Rice Research Foundation. $46,000. with $46,000 to my program of which Jund is part
31. 2007. Project Leader. L. Tarpley. RiceTec. $13,300. Gift
32. 2007. Principal Investigator: L Tarpley. Plant physiology research to improve Texas rice main and ratoon crop yields. Texas Rice Research Foundation. $47,230.
33. 2007. Principal Investigator: L Tarpley, MF Jund. Varietal evaluations and characterization and nutrient management improvement for Texas production practices. Texas Rice Research Foundation. $46,000. with $46,000 to my program of which Jund is part
34. 2007-2011. Co-investigator. SR Pinson, L Tarpley. TAES subcontract to Purdue. Within DE Salt, ML Guerinot, SR Pinson. TRMS: Ionome to the genome: Mapping the gene networks controlling nutrient content in rice grain. NSF, $5,323,284. with $902,141 to my program
35. Various dates from 2001. Equipment as donations or external equipment grants to the Center (when I have primary responsibility in developing proposal and supervising use), including microplate spectrophotometer with UV, kinetics capability and temperature control (2001); tractor for shared use by researchers (2004); total organic carbon analyzer (2001), colorimeter (2001), and miscellaneous minor equipment (mostly 2001). $96,000. Gifts-In-Kind


Current Publications:  (If you want to view all the publications, please click Here )

? Tarpley L, Duran AL, Kebrom TH, Sumner LW. 2005. Biomarker metabolites capturing the metabolite variance present in a rice plant developmental period. BMC Plant Biology 5:8 (31 May 2005). First comprehensive metabolomics study with rice. One of first metabolomics studies examining plant development

? Tarpley L, Sassenrath GF. 2006. Carbohydrate profiles during cotton floral bud (square) development. J. Agron. Crop Sci. 192:363-372. Good cotton bloom is important for good boll set. Describes mechanism of bloom (i.e., of rapid bud expansion)

? Turner FT, Jund MF, Tarpley L*. 2006. Nitrogen efficiency is increased through banded fluid fertilizer in rice production. Online. Crop Management. Doi: 10.1094/CM-2006-0323-01-RS. Adopting this practice can increase profitability for farmers. (This journal retains the doi numbers)

? Way MO, Reay-Jones FPF, Stout MJ, Tarpley L. 2006. Effects of nitrogen fertilizer applied before permanent flood on the interaction between rice and rice water weevil (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). J. Econ. Entomol. 99:2030-2037.

? Mohammed AR, Rounds E, Tarpley L*. 2007. Response of rice (Oryza sativa L.) tillering to sub-ambient levels of ultraviolet-B radiation. J. Agron. Crop Sci. 193:324-335. OnLine Early: doi: 10.1111/j.1439-037X.2007.00268.x. Low UV conditions are not unusual in crop fields. Showed that low UV can depress yield

? Reay-Jones FPF, Way MO, Tarpley L. 2007. Nitrogen fertilization at the rice panicle differentiation stage to compensate for rice water weevil (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) injury. Crop Protection: Doi: 10.1016/j.croprp.2007.04.009

? Rounds EW, Mohammed AR, Tarpley L*. 2007. Gibberellin applied to the main crop increases ratoon-crop yield. Online. Crop Management: Doi: 10.1094/CM-2007-0417-01-RS. Adopting this practice can increase profitability for farmers.

? Tarpley L, Roessner U. 2007. Metabolomics: enabling systems-level phenotyping in rice functional genomics. p. 91-107 in NM Upadhyaya (ed.) Rice functional genomics ? challenges, progress and prospects. Springer, NY. Rice is an important model species for functional genomics. Metabolomics is rapidly emerging as important field in functional genomics because it helps link genes to phenotype. This is the first review of rice metabolomics research. The book has a prestigious international set of authors

? Tarpley L, Vietor DM. 2007. Compartmentation of sucrose during radial transfer in mature sorghum culm. BMC Plant Biology 7:33 (20 June 2007). Shows that sorghum accumulates sugar in the stem using a different mechanism than its close relative ? sugarcane. Implications for improving sorghum sugar accumulation, as well as sorghum biomass potential



Teaching:

Molecular and Physiological bases of Crop Improvement;
Agronomy Seminar;
Cell Biology; Economic Entomology;
General Biology; Graduate-Level Laboratory Methods in Plant Physiology; Plant Physiology; Statistics.


Consulting (Industrial Relevance):


Suggest improved management practices for crop production