Dr. Erik Runkle, Professor

Joined Department

January, 2001


50% Extension
50% Research


B.S. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Ornamental Horticulture, 1993
M.S. Michigan State University, Horticulture, 1996
Ph.D. Michigan State University, Horticulture, 2000

My research group focuses on the environmental physiology of ornamental herbaceous plants, with an emphasis on commercial floriculture crops.  In particular, we are investigating how light (quantity, quality, and duration) and temperature influence growth and development of annual bedding plants, herbaceous perennials, and potted flowering plants.  Three underlying objectives of this research are: 1) to improve the production efficiency  of crops currently grown; 2) to minimize production inputs – with an emphasis on greenhouse energy consumption; and 3) to introduce “new” floriculture crops to the greenhouse industry to replace or supplement the production of other, less profitable crops.  For more information on my research and extension/outreach activities, click on the tabs to the left.

I closely collaborate with faculty at Clemson Univ., North Carolina State Univ., Univ. of Florida, and the Univ. of Minnesota and researchers at the USDA-ARS in Toledo, Ohio.  Together, we have formed the Floriculture Research Alliance, a partnership with industry stakeholders and the USDA-ARS in which we develop science-based solutions to floriculture sustainability issues.

I also work with colleagues at Purdue University, University of Arizona, Rutgers University, and Orbitec in developing light-emitting diode (LED) technologies and practicees for sustainable specialty-crop production.  For more information on this USDA-supported project, visit our LED project website.


AmericanHort Alex Laurie Award (most outstanding research paper) 2014
Kenneth Post Award for Graduate Research in Floriculture
ASHS Outstanding Extension Publication Award: Fact Sheet 2013
USDA Agriculture Research Service Technology Transfer Award 2012
OFA Alex Laurie Award (most outstanding research paper)
Excellence in Technology Transfer, Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology
Outstanding Extension Specialist, Michigan Association of Extension Agents 2011
Research Fellow, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Kyoto University 2009
ASHS Outstanding Extension Publication Award: Website 2008
ASHS Outstanding Extension Publication Award: Newsletter 2008
Outstanding Extension Specialist, Michigan Extension Specialist and State Staff Assoc.
Kenneth Post Award for Graduate Research in Floriculture
OFA Alex Laurie Award (most outstanding research paper) 2006
American Society for Agricultural and Biological Engineers Blue Ribbon Award 2005

Dr. Erik Runkle, Professor

Dr. Erik Runkle

A240-C Plant & Soil Sciences Building
1066 Bogue Street
East Lansing, MI 48824-1325

Phone: (517) 355-5191 x1350
Fax: (517) 353-0890

Email: runkleer@msu.edu