Linda Wessel-Beaver, Ph.D.
Professor and Plant Breeder
Call Box 9000, University of Puerto Rico
Mayaguez, PR  00681-9000
Office Location: Piñero 110
Phone: 787-832-4040 ext 6334

Areas of Interest:

Plant breeding and genetics, especially breeding of squash and pumpkins (Cucurbita species) and peppers (specifically Capsicum chinense), breeding for disease and insect resistance, statistics and experimental design, quantitative genetics, evolution and domestication of cucurbits, and plant breeding education.

Education:

Ph.D. in Plant Breeding - 1981 - University of Illinois, Urbana, IL
M.S. in Plant Breeding - 1979 - University of Illinois, Urbana, IL
B.S. in Agronomy  - 1975 - Certificate in International Agriculture - 1975
University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN

Experience:

1989 to present
Professor (50%), Faculty of Agriculture and Associate Plant Breeder (50%), Agricultural Experiment Station, Department of Crops & Agroenvironmental Sciences (formerly Agronomy &
Soils), University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
1984 to 1989
Associate Professor/Associate Plant Breeder, University of Puerto Rico
1981 to 1984
Assistant Professor/Assistant Plant Breeder, University of Puerto Rico
1977 to 1981
Graduate Research Assistant, Dept. of Agronomy and Soils, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL

Research:

My research involves plant breeding and genetics of tropical pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata). The goal of my research is to develop new, improved varieties of tropical pumpkin and to expand the knowledge base concerning the genetics and improvement of the genus Cucurbita. Current and past research has dealt with disease and insect resistance (resistance to whiteflies, melonworm, silverleaf disorder, powdery and downy mildew, zucchini yellow mosaic virus and papaya ringspot virus), genetic relationships and diversity within Cucurbita (including molecular phylogenetic studies of genes of the carotenoid pathway and molecular diversity in mitochondrial genes), and modification of growth habit of tropical pumpkin. My research program has released three improved pumpkin varieties: `Soler', `Taina Dorada' and `Verde Luz'.  `Soler' is widely used in commercial plantings in Puerto Rico. `Taina Dorada' is a new variety released for its superior fruit quality and compact growth habit. Recently I have initiated a sweet chili pepper (ají dulce, Capsicum chinense) variety development program with the goal of pureline selection of local Puerto Rican landraces. I am also involved with evaluation of watermelon germplasm for virus resistance (to Squash Vine Yellowing Virus). A total of 28 students have completed or are working on their M.S. degrees in my program, most focusing on plant breeding and genetics of Cucurbita, and others in the area of cucurbit cultural practices and production.