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Gulf Coast Research and Education Center

Gulf Coast Research and Education Center

Environmental Horticulture

Environmental horticulture is the science and art of breeding, propagating, growing, installing, and maintaining plants to enhance the human and natural environment.

At GCREC, the Environmental Horticulture Labs place particular emphasis on the breeding of ornamental and foliage plants, as well as urban tree maintenance.

The Labs have incorporated the latest genomic and biotechnological tools to improve plant breeding efficiency and precision.

Explore Our Labs for More Info!


Student Information 

Degree Options

The GCREC Environmental Horticulture graduate program offers students the opportunity to pursue MS and PhD degrees while conducting research and breeding at a modern, 500-acre research station. Students earn their degrees through the University of Florida's Environmental Horticulture Department or Plant Breeding Graduate Program .

GCREC faculty have also mentored graduate students pursuing degrees within the University of Florida's School of Natural Resources and Environment and School of Forest, Fisheries, & Geomatics Sciences. Past graduates have gone on to pursue a range of careers in academia, industry, the nonprofit sector, and government.

Scholarship Opportunities

Tuition and living expenses for GCREC Environmental Horticulture graduate students are typically funded through a combination of research grants and internal fellowships. Additionally, the horticulture and tree care industries and related non-profit endowments or foundations offer numerous scholarships to provide further financial support for productive students.

Possible Careers

  • Plant Breeders: create new and improved varieties
  • Plant Breeding Management: supervise and lead plant breeding programs
  • Research Scientists: develop genetic, genomic, and/or biotechnological tools for plant improvement
  • Commercial & Consulting Arborists: plant, prune, asses and remove urban trees
  • Urban & Utility Foresters: Manage trees in public spaces and ROW Quarters  
  • The tree care industry: provides many paths for career success. Check out the International Society of Arboriculture’s Careers in Arboriculture page for opportunities

Have Questions? 

Dr. Gail Hansen, Graduate Studies Coordinator | 352-273-4506 or 

Mallory Buchyn, Graduate Program Specialist | 352-273-4526 or 


Environmental Horticulture Faculty Members

Dr. Zhanao Deng
Environmental Horticulture
Floriculture Breeding
813-419-6605 | Rm. 166

Dr. Andrew Koeser
Associate Professor
Environmental Horticulture
Landscaping and Ornamentals
813-419-6589 | Rm. 132