N. Ace Pugh

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Duke Pauli Lab


Ace Pugh, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral research associate in Dr. Duke Pauli’s laboratory in the School of Plant Sciences at the University of Arizona. Ace’s primary research interest is high-throughput phenotyping of economically important crop species, particularly through the use of unoccupied aerial systems (UAS), or drones.

Ace earned his Ph.D. in the laboratory of Dr. William L. Rooney in the Sorghum Breeding Program at Texas A&M University. His work involved the use of UAS to phenotype several important characteristics of sorghum including plant height, anthracnose disease presence and severity, and biomass yield. In addition, he worked on a project that used proximal sensing of the soil to investigate spatial variation in sorghum trials.

As a postdoctoral associate, Ace is researching the optimization of georeferencing methods for UAS studies, phenotyping methodologies for drought stress in lettuce, efficient methods of phenotyping important traits in cotton, and more.


  • High-throughput Phenotyping
  • Plant Breeding
  • Abiotic Stress
  • Drones
  • Remote Sensing


  • Ph.D. Plant Breeding, 2018

    Texas A&M University

  • M.S. Plant Breeding, 2015

    Texas A&M University

  • B.S. Biology, 2012

    University of Central Oklahoma

Selected Recent Publications

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Estimation of Plant Health in a Sorghum Field Infected with Anthracnose Using a Fixed-wing Unmanned Aerial System

Diseases cause enormous losses of yield and quality for crop producers worldwide. To meet future food demands, crops are bred for …

Sorghum bicolor x S. halepense Interspecific Hybridization is Influenced by the Frequency of 2n Gametes in S. bicolor

Tetraploid johnsongrass [Sorghum halepense (L.) Pers.] is a sexually-compatible weedy relative of diploid sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) …

A Statistical Evaluation of Replicated Block Designs and Spatial Variability in Sorghum Performance Trials

Success of hybrid performance trials has always been susceptible to the efficiency at which the experimental design can remove any …

Temporal Estimates of Crop Growth in Sorghum and Maize Breeding Enabled by Unmanned Aerial Systems

To meet future world food and fiber demands, plant breeders must increase the rate of genetic improvement of important agricultural …


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