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Environmental Horticulture

Environmental Horticulture

Dr. Hector Perez

Associate Professor / Seed Biology, Plant Conservation and Restoration, Graduate Studies Coordinator

Dr. Pérez’s research program takes an interdisciplinary approach blending seed biology with plant restoration and endangered species conservation. Dr. Pérez collaborates with conservation and restoration practitioners, land managers and native plant producers throughout the region in an effort to improve conservation and restoration outcomes. Dr. Pérez also works closely with the Florida wildflower seed industry to enhance wildflower seed biology knowledge thereby enhancing opportunities for this expanding agricultural sector.


    Seed Biology

    Seeds are perhaps the most important means of plant reproduction. Therefore, seeds represent an essential component of plant conservation and restoration activities. At the same time, wildflower seed producers are seeking to bolster production due to increasing demand. However, a significant challenge to meeting conservation and restoration goals and the needs of seed producers is the fact that very little is known regarding the seed biology of wild plant species. In this regard, Dr. Pérez’s research efforts focus on translating fundamental knowledge related to how seeds: 1) remain viable in the soil or in germplasm storage for extended periods given stressful environmental conditions; 2) interact with changing environmental conditions to alleviate dormancy and promote germination; and 3) respond to applied germination enhancement technologies.


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    Dr. Pérez aims to guide students to an understanding of concepts and proficiency in applications through active and inquiry-based lessons. Lessons developed for any course are student-focused rather than teacher-centered. In this regard, students are not passively receiving information, but are required to openly practice their thinking.


    • PLS 3223 Plant Propagation (Co-requisite: PLS3223L) - Offered every fall. This course explores the physiological and anatomical underpinnings of sexual and asexual plant propagation in a dynamic and active classroom setting. Principles and practices of propagation via vegetative propagules, grafting, layering, and seeds are covered.
    • PLS3223L Plant Propagation Lab (co-requisite PLS 3223) - Offered every fall. Students practice the art and science of various propagation methods through this hands-on lab.  Students are challenged to link theory, practice and critical thinking through the production of various forms of scientific communication including 1) a lab report written in scientific journal format; 2) a scientific poster presentation, and 3) a computer-aided oral presentation. Field trips to commercial propagation facilities are also included. Students provide a critical assessment of their field trip experiences.
    • PLS522C Propagation of Horticultural Crops - Offered every fall. For graduate students who have not taken PLS3223/L. Theoretical and practical applications of micro-propagation techniques of higher plants. Graduate students must complete a special project.
    • ORH4932 Public Gardens Management - Pre-requisites: ORH 3513 Environmental Plant Identification & Use. This is a field-based course focusing on first-hand observation and evaluation of public gardens. Students interact directly with executive-level garden administrators to develop an understanding of important, timely themes related to the operation and management of public gardens. Students are expected to attend multi-day field trips across Florida.

    Planned Course Offerings

    • Graduate Survey of Seed Biology


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Plant Restoration and Conservation


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Hector Perez profile image

Environmental Horticulture
PO Box 110670
Gainesville, FL 32611

    • Ph.D. Horticulture: Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology Specialization University of Hawaii, 2006
    • M.S. Environmental Horticulture University of Florida, 2001
    • B.S. Environmental Horticulture University of Florida, 1997
    • B.S.Entrepreneurship Florida Atlantic University, 1994
    • W-3168: Environmental and Genetic Determinants of Seed Quality and Performance, USDA Multi-State Project, Project Proposal Revision Chair, 2012-14
    • North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Teacher Fellow, 2012
    • W-2168: Environmental and Genetic Determinants of Seed Quality and Performance, USDA Multi-State Project, President, 2011-12
    • W-2168: Environmental and Genetic Determinants of Seed Quality and Performance, USDA Multi-State Project, Vice-President, 2010-11
    • W-2168: Environmental and Genetic Determinants of Seed Quality and Performance, USDA Multi-State Project, Secretary, 2010-11