Environmental Sciences

Environmental Sciences Experts

Ian Ray

Plant and Environmental Sciences
New Mexico State University


Education Ph.D. 1989 Plant Breeding & Plant Genetics, University of Wisconsin-Madison. M.S. 1987 Plant Breeding & Plant Genetics, University of Wisconsin-Madison. B.S. 1985 Agriculture (Chemistry minor), New Mexico State University-Las Cruces. Professional Experience 1985-1989 Research Assistant, Department of Agronomy, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison. 1989-1993 Research Geneticist, USDA-ARS, Northern Great Plains Res. Lab, Mandan, ND. 1994-2000 Assistant Professor, Dept. of Agronomy & Horticulture, New Mexico State Univ. 2000-2006 Associate Professor, Dept. of Agronomy & Horticulture, New Mexico State Univ. 2006-present Professor, Dept. of Plant & Environmental Sciences, New Mexico State Univ. 2007-present Chair, Undergraduate Genetics Degree Program, New Mexico State Univ. Current Research Emphasis Genetic characterization and improvement of drought tolerance in alfalfa through molecular techniques and conventional breeding approaches. Honors and Awards (past 4 years) 2015 Donald C. Roush Excellence in Teaching Award (New Mexico State University) 2013-present Billy and Louis Melton Endowed Chair in Plant Breeding and Genetics (New Mexico State University) 2013 College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences Teaching Excellence Award (New Mexico State University)

Research Interest

MPROVING OSMOTIC STRESS TOLERANCE IN ALFALFA THROUGH MOLECULAR TECHNIQUES AND CONVENTIONAL BREEDING. metabolic engineering with genes that produce osmoregulatory compounds and reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging enzymes  developing genomic strategies to identify key loci controlling drought tolerance


  • Fiore, C. J. Schroeder, S. Thomas, L. Murray, and I. Ray. 2009. Root-knot nematode-resistant alfalfa suppresses subsequent crop damage from the nutsedge-nematode pest complex. Agron. J. 101:754-763.

  • Al Lawati, A., C.A. Pierce, L.W. Murray, and I.M. Ray. 2010. Combining ability and heterosis for forage yield among elite alfalfa core collection accessions possessing different fall dormancy responses. Crop Sci. 50:150-158.

  • Lauriault, L.M., I.M. Ray, S.H. Thomas, C. Sutherland, J. Ashigh, F.E. Contreras-Govea, & M. A. Marsalis. 2011. Selecting alfalfa varieties for New Mexico. NM Cooperative Extension Circular No. 654.

  • Ray, I.M., Y. Han, L. E, C.D. Meenach, N. Santantonio, M.K. Sledge, C.A. Pierce, T.M. Sterling, R.K. Kersey, H.S. Bhandari, and M.J. Monteros. 2015. Identification of QTL for alfalfa forage biomass productivity during drought stress. Crop Sci. 55:2012-2033.

  • Wang, J., Y. Zhao, I. Ray, M. Song. 2016. Transcriptome responses in alfalfa associated with tolerance to intensive animal grazing. Sci. Rep. doi:10.1038/srep19438.

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