The UCI Greenhouse is a 10,000-square-foot growth facility that supports teaching and research needs for the School of Biological Sciences. The Greenhouse is divided into 15 growth areas that are individually programmable for temperature. Greenhouse Staff provides watering, pest management, and basic maintenance for plants used in research and teaching. Additional facilities include common-use lab space, a lath house adjacent to the Greenhouse for plants requiring ambient conditions, an autoclave for soil sterilization, and storage space for greenhouse supplies, which are provided by investigators.

To request space in the UCI Greenhouse, please fill out the form below and send the completed document to jrodart1@uci.edu. Please also review the greenhouse user guidelines and the pesticide safety contract that are linked below.

Greenhouse Space Request Form
View UCI Guidelines for Greenhouse Users
Greenhouse User Pesticide Safety Contract

Greenhouse Projects

Juan Manuel Flores Jr., Undergraduate Student, Faiola Lab

Undergraduate researcher, Juan Flores, is studying the effects of climate change on plant-atmosphere interactions. In particular, he is measuring the impact of thermal stress on tropical plant health using the plant, Alpinia zerumbet, as a model species.

Picture caption: An assortment of the manzanita cultivars, all native to California.

Mikayla Grace Kaliski, Undergraduate Student, Faiola Lab

Undergraduate researcher, Mikayla Kaliski, is studying the difference in the types of volatile organic compounds emitted by a variety of manzanita cultivars. Previous results suggest manzanitas emit a lot of sesquiterpenes – compounds that influence important atmospheric and ecological processes.

Picture caption: Native Artemisia californica seedlings are grown in the UCI greenhouse in soil inoculated with microbial communities with or without previous exposure to drought to assess how plant-microbe feedbacks influence drought response.

Kristin Barbour, PhD Student, Martiny Lab

Plants and microbes independently alter key soil properties which can affect the performance of both communities, especially under future global change. Our current project aims to understand how these biotic interactions impact the way plants and microbes respond specifically to drought. We paired native Artemisia californica seedlings with soil microbial communities which had experienced 10 years of ambient local precipitation or a 50% reduction in rainfall. We are now measuring how these plant-microbial combinations perform under well-watered or drought conditions.

Picture caption: Propagated Baccharis salicifolia in the UCI greenhouse, in exclusionary cages to prevent and control for inadvertent attack from herbivores and induction of VOCs, prior to and during the experimental period.

Carla Vázquez-González – Post Doc, Lydia Dean – PhD Student, Mooney Lab

As a form of indirect defense against herbivory, plants emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that carry specific information about the herbivore species and their abundance. These emissions recruit natural enemies of the herbivore, such as predatory arthropods, parasitoids, and insectivorous birds, which reduce the herbivore load on the plant. Conspecific or heterospecific neighboring plants, “receivers”, can eavesdrop on the VOCs from the “emitter” and use this information to adjust their defenses specific to the emitter’s attacker, a theory called “plant communication”. With our work, we are investigating whether plant communication results in primed indirect defenses in receivers, causing an enhanced “cry for help” via VOCs following attack, and thus increases the recruitment and attraction of the herbivore’s natural enemies. We are testing this with the plant species Baccharis salicifolia and their specialist insect herbivore Uroleucon macolai in the UCI greenhouse, native species found throughout southwestern US and Northern Mexico. By studying the dynamics of plant communication and indirect defense we can further our understanding of plant-herbivore interactions, as well as provide insight in applications for agricultural pest management with the goal of reducing pesticides.

Adriana Briscoe’s Lab

Butterfly for project 2 in the greenhouse

Picture caption: A picture of Heliconius charitonia sitting on a Psiguria inflorescence photographed in the UCI greenhouse in 2019 with a pollen load on it’s proboscis.

Adriana Briscoe’s lab studies the evolution of wing coloration and color vision behavior in butterflies. Heliconius are one of the groups of butterflies her lab investigates in UCI’s greenhouse.  Heliconius adults are usual among butterflies in that besides feeding on nectar from flowers, they also feed on pollen, which they collect and digest extra orally on their proboscis. Pollen feeding greatly expands the life span of adult Heliconius butterflies from a few weeks to over 90 days and permits females to lay many more eggs than they would have the resources to produce without pollen.

Potted plants

Restoration of “The Bowl”, Center for Environmental Biology (CEB)

Picture caption: Native seedlings are grown in the greenhouse and used for restoration of park land in Orange County.

One of the goals of the restoration project at “The Bowl” in Crystal Cove State Park is to determine whether traits of native plants influence their establishment and survival in the restoration of a degraded site in Crystal Cove State Park.  CEB students and staff worked with Crystal Cove State Park ecologists to design the experiment.  Native plants were grown in the UCI greenhouse and transplanted into the field at Crystal Cove.  Preliminary results suggest that a diverse mix of native plants with a variety of functional traits resulted in the highest native cover at the site.

Drought Net Project, Center for Environmental Biology (CEB)

image of a green house for project 4

Picture caption: Native shrubs and herbaceous plants are grown in the greenhouse to be transplanted to the Drought Net site at the UCI Ecological Preserve.

The purpose of the Drought Net restoration experiment is to determine whether seed source influences the establishment, survival, growth, and reproduction of native plants under manipulated rainfall regimes.  Environmental Collaboratory researchers collected seeds of several native species from dry, inland sites as well as moist coastal sites, and grew them in the UCI greenhouse.  We transplanted replicate individuals into water manipulation plots at the UCI Ecological Preserve.  One team of MCRS students measured physiological traits of seedlings growing in the greenhouse.  Preliminary results indicate differences in traits and ability to withstand drought based on seed source.

Get in Touch

If you have questions about the UCI Greenhouse, please contact:

Javier Rodarte headshot

Javier Rodarte

Greenhouse Manager

location icon Building 514, Room 102

phone icon (949) 824-6049
email icon jrodart1@uci.edu

celia faiola headshot

Celia Faiola, PhD

Greenhouse Director

location icon Steinhaus Hall 463

phone icon (949) 824-2061
email icon cfaiola@uci.edu