Phytosphere Research


The founders and principals of Phytosphere Research, Tedmund Swiecki, Ph. D. and Elizabeth Bernhardt, Ph. D. have a wide spectrum of research experience in the plant sciences, and have served as either principal investigator or co-investigator on all Phytosphere Research projects.  Both principals have made numerous presentations at professional seminars and meetings.

For projects that require additional technical or personnel resources, we assemble project teams with highly qualified subcontractors or cooperators. Subcontractors on past and current projects include:

Cooperators with Phytosphere Research projects have included:

Tedmund J. Swiecki, Ph.D., Principal Dr. Swiecki inspecting a diseased tree

Dr. Swiecki has extensive research experience with California oak pests and diseases, ecology, and regeneration, and has worked with a number of other California native plant species.  Dr. Swiecki's other areas of research interest include urban forestry and the sustainable management of both natural and urbanized landscapes.  Diagnosis of plant problems and the design and analysis of field studies are areas of specialization for Dr. Swiecki.

Dr. Swiecki received his B.S. degree from the University of California at Riverside in 1979 and his Ph.D. degree in Plant Pathology from the University of California at Davis in 1984.  His research projects at UCR and UCD included studies on effects of acidic air pollutants on plants, and on the interaction of soil salinity and Phytophthora root rot in two different plant species.

Prior to founding Phytosphere Research in 1987, Dr. Swiecki worked for the Agricultural Chemicals Division of Chevron Chemical Company, Inc.  His responsibilities at Chevron included field and greenhouse evaluations of experimental fungicides and miticides and research on fungicide formulations.

Dr. Swiecki has developed, organized, and presented many professional seminars and workshops. He has given numerous technical and non-technical presentations to a wide variety of audiences and has taught several community college courses. Dr. Swiecki was a technical editor for the 1996 Symposium on Oak Woodlands: Ecology, Management, and Urban Interface Issues.  He is one of the founders of the Vacaville Tree Foundation, a volunteer organization that actively participates in the protection and restoration of local native plant communities and other community forestry issues and projects.

Dr. Bernhardt taking field samples

Elizabeth A. Bernhardt, Ph.D., Principal

Since joining the firm in 1988, Dr. Bernhardt has directed or participated in every major Phytosphere Research project.  She has extensive experience with California oak ecology and the restoration of oak woodland ecosystems.  Her main interest is in using an experimental research approach  to provide answers to questions related to plant growth and ecology in natural, horticultural, and agronomic systems.  As such, she enjoys the challenge of learning about new systems and applying her analytical skills to solve applied problems.  Her project managment and analytical skills have contributed to the success of Phytosphere Research's diverse projects.

Dr. Bernhardt received her B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1977.  She attended graduate school in California, earning her M.S. (1979) and Ph.D. (1983) degrees from the University of California, Davis, in Plant Pathology.  Her graduate research projects included work on Phytophthora root rot of tomato and biological control of aquatic weeds. In the course of her doctoral research, she isolated, described, and published a new fungal species. She won an award for best graduate student paper at the Pacific Division meeting of the American Phytopathological Society for her presentation of her research on biological control of aquatic weeds. As a graduate student she chaired the department Plant Disease Clinic.

Prior to joining Phytosphere Research, Dr. Bernhardt worked at Petoseed Company, Inc. as a Research Plant Pathologist.  Her responsibilities at Petoseed included soil-borne diseases and seed pathology. She received employee recognition awards for several of her research achievements at Petoseed. Dr. Bernhardt is also a leader and founding member of the Vacaville Tree Foundation.