Mortensen receives Black Award for excellence in research

April 15, 2010

University Park, Pa. -- Dave Mortensen, professor of weed ecology/biology in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, has been chosen to receive the Alex and Jessie C. Black Award for Excellence in Research.


The honor, which includes a $1,000 cash award and a plaque, recognizes significant accomplishments in agricultural research at Penn State.


The research from Mortensen's laboratory is widely recognized as making important contributions to the understanding of the ecology of plant-to-plant interactions in sustainably managed agroecosystems, according to David Sylvia, professor of soil microbiology and head of the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences.


Since arriving at Penn State in 2001, Mortensen has established a research laboratory and teaching program that address timely, relevant and important problems central to sustainable resource use. His research has evolved to address three primary areas: developing a spatially explicit approach to managing herbicide resistance, ecology and management of weeds in organically managed crops, and weedy plant invasions.


Mortensen's studies have been funded through competitive sources for more than $5.6 million, and he has served as the primary investigator on projects earning grants totaling $3.3 million. He has published 35 peer-reviewed papers.


Previously, he published 50 peer-reviewed papers, most at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, where he was a professor of weed ecology from 1987 to 2001.


Mortensen is highly respected in his field, Sylvia noted. "A search of the ISI Web of Knowledge database reveals that Dave's top-10 papers have been cited 843 times in peer-reviewed journals," he said. "Furthermore, the editor of Weed Research recently cited three papers from Dave's laboratory to highlight novel, forward-looking and important weed research -- in fact, he stated that the implications for the future of crop and weed management of these papers was profound."


Bruce McPheron, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences, emphasized that Mortensen attempts to make his work accessible. "An important attribute of Dave's science, over and above his fundamental excellence in his field, is that he is never satisfied until he can see his work translated into practical solutions for society," he said.


"This is the embodiment of the land-grant philosophy -- the discovery of new knowledge and taking that knowledge to those who can use it for the benefit of us all."


Mortensen recently chaired Penn State's Ecology Intercollege Graduate Program, which honored him with the Edward Bellis Award for outstanding contributions. He also has received the Outstanding Teacher Award from the Weed Science Society of America and the Outstanding Journal Article Award from Weed Science. In just the last two years, he has been invited to present seven papers on his work at regional, national and international scientific meetings.


Mortensen received his bachelor's degree in botany from Drew University, his master's degree in physiological ecology from Duke University and his doctorate in crop science and soil physics from North Carolina State University.



  • Dave Mortensen.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 09, 2015