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Eric Stallknecht

Assistant Professor - Greenhouse Production Specialist
Eric Stallknecht faculty page photo
Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center
1444 Diamond Springs Road
Virginia Beach, VA


I have a 50% research and 50% extension appointment as the Virginia Tech Greenhouse Production Specialist. My background is in the management of light in controlled environment agriculture (CEA). The focus of my research and extension program is to improve supplemental lighting practices in greenhouses and the use of spectrum-altering shade materials to improve crop yields and elicit desirable changes to crop architecture.


  • Greenhouse production
  • Controlled environment agriculture
  • Plant physiology
  • Light management


  • Ph.D. Horticulture, Michigan State University, 2023
  • M.S. Horticulture, University of Georgia, 2018
  • B.S. Horticulture, University of Georgia, 2015

Greenhouses play an important role in modern agriculture, enabling the cultivation of horticultural crops beyond their typical growing seasons. Whether enjoying a fresh tomato in winter or planting a garden with vibrant bedding plants in early spring, you likely have the greenhouse industry to thank. The controlled environment within a greenhouse gives growers the ability to manage and optimize key factors such as light, water, nutrition, and temperature, thereby enhancing crop yield and quality. However, optimizing growing conditions within greenhouses often involves a considerable financial investment. To navigate this economic challenge successfully, implementing best management practices becomes pivotal for maximizing profits. My research concentrates on two main aspects: firstly, exploring the efficient use of supplemental lighting to reduce operating costs; and secondly, using innovative shade materials capable of increasing yields or modifying crop quality. In both of these concentrations, our laboratory investigates the interaction between light and the growth and development of crops. By advancing our understanding of these interactions, we aim to contribute to sustainable practices that not only improve agricultural productivity but also promote economic viability within the greenhouse industry.

My extension program focuses on the dissemination of results from our research program. Additionally, the extension program supports extension agents and commercial greenhouses growers across the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Assistant Professor of Greenhouse Production | 2023-present
Hampton Roads Agricultural Research and Extension Center
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

  1. Stallknecht, E.J., Herrera, C.K., Yang, C., King, I., Sharkey, T.D., Lunt, R.R. and Runkle, E.S., 2023. Designing plant–transparent agrivoltaics. Scientific reports, 13(1), p.1903.
  2. Abedi, M., Tan, X., Stallknecht, E.J., Runkle, E.S., Klausner, J.F., Murillo, M.S. and Bénard, A., 2023. Incorporating the effect of the photon spectrum on biomass accumulation of lettuce using a dynamic growth model. Frontiers in Plant Science, 14, p.1106576.
  3. Stallknecht, E.J. and Runkle, E.S., 2022, August. Opportunities and challenges with advanced greenhouse glazing materials. In XXXI International Horticultural Congress (IHC2022): International Symposium on Innovative Technologies and Production 1377 (pp. 205-218).
  4. Shen, L., Lou, R., Park, Y., Guo, Y., Stallknecht, E.J., Xiao, Y., Rieder, D., Yang, R., Runkle, E.S. and Yin, X., 2021. Increasing greenhouse production by spectral-shifting and unidirectional light-extracting photonics. Nature Food, 2(6), pp.434-441.