David R. Smart

Dr. David R Smart

David R. Smart, Ph. D.

Position Title
Professor (Plant Physiologist)

Viticulture and Enology



Dr. Smart's research program focuses on rootstock root physiology and soil nutrient cycling. His current interests relate to the physiological process of root aging and population dynamics of roots under field conditions. His laboratory is using geochemical approaches to determine where and at what time of the season grapevine roots are foraging. He has also been extensively involved in Global Climate Change research and looks at how elevated carbon dioxide in the atmosphere influences nitrogen and carbon cycling in the plant-soil system. He currently has a project in the Napa Valley that examines the role of vineyards play in soil carbon sequestration and carbon dioxide exchange and how this differs from oak-woodlands. Dr. Smart teaches VEN 101C, a field laboratory course covering spring and summer vineyard management, soil fertility management and principles of vineyard establishment. Dr. Smart received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Botany from the University of California at Davis. The subject of his thesis was the physiological ecology of nutrient acquisition. He then worked as a postdoctoral fellow with NASA at Utah State University in Logan Utah, where he joined a team of researchers working on contained environment life support systems being developed for use on international space stations. His work with NASA concerned the production of nitrogen trace gases by wheat roots and the microbial organisms growing on wheat roots. In addition to his work with NASA, Dr. Smart has collaborated with a team of ecosystems scientists to study soil nitrogen cycling and trace gas losses from forests of the Western United States. He moved to Spain in 1994, where he worked as a research scientist at the Centre de Recerca Ecològica i Applicacions Forestal and the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona before returning to Davis in 1997. His work in Spain examined the effects of elevated carbon dioxide levels on plant and soil respiration.