David Tork

David Tork smiling in a forrest of large trees wearing a plaid shirt
266 Alderman Hall

1970 Folwell Ave
Saint Paul, MN 55108
United States

Degree
M.S.
Advisor
Neil Anderson
Donald Wyse
Program
Applied Plant Science
Education

B.S. University of Minnesota, Plant Science 2018

Biography

My research involves screening a diverse collection of wild perennial flax germplasm for applications in Agronomy and Horticulture. As part of the Forever Green Initiative, we are developing perennial flax varieties that will deliver ecosystem services while also enabling Minnesota producers to capitalize on emerging markets for flax products like seed, fiber, and flowers. Once domesticated, these pollinator-friendly plants have a promising future in Minnesota agriculture.  

Agronomic breeding objectives include increasing yield and seed size, while reducing seed shattering and lodging.  These objectives address the goal of developing a new perennial oilseed crop.  As a horticultural crop, we are developing ornamental lines for cut flower production and home garden use. For this, we are selecting for traits such as flower size, continuous blooms, and favorable growth habit. 

Through this research, I am gaining a thorough understanding of the logistical and technical challenges of initiating a novel breeding program. I plan to carry these skills with me to industry, where I can help to develop the next generation of horticultural crops.  My preference is to continue working with herbaceous perennials, but I would be happy to gain experience in annual vegetables, herbs, and flowers.  

Areas of Interest

Plant breeding, domestication, floriculture