Biosciences Division

Plant Laboratory

In 2003 and 2004, Building 1506 was renovated. The official opening of the renovated building dedicated to plant science and ecosystem research took place in October 2004 and included a dedication in memory of the late Dr. David S. Shriner (1945 to 2003) who first envisioned the renovation of Building 1506. From 1974 to 1998, Dave lead plant physiology research in the Environmental Sciences Division, first as a scientist and then as a groupleader and section head. World renowned for his research on the effect of acid rain on plants and ecosystems, he shaped the team of scientists who lead ORNL’s plant science research today.

The renovated building include 2 state-of-the-art greenhouses, 3 large ( > 900 sq ft) wet chemistry labs used for plant molecular biology and genomic studies, a soils chemistry lab, 2 walk in growth chambers with light, temperature and CO2 control, a walk in cold room and 9 newly refurbished offices as well as a dark room. More facility specifications follow:

New Greenhouses

State-of-the-art greenhouses used for plant science and ecosystem researchTwo identical greenshouse are independently controlled by a single control system (heating, cooling, shade curtain, growth lights, roof vent) and can be monitored and controlled remotely. Greenhouses are connected by an adjoining headhouse. Control system also includes an outdoor weather station (providing sensor inputs for precipitation detection, solar readings, temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind direction).

Greenhouse specifications:

  • Nominally 1500 sq ft floorspace
  • Each has 675 sq ft of bench space
  • 30% shade curtain (operated via centralized control system based on inputs such as outdoor solar readings, interior temperature, time of day, etc)
  • 24 high intensity, 1000w growth lights (currently an array of intermixed high pressure sodium and metal halide lamps to broadly span PAR and visible light spectrums). Each row (6) of 4 lights can also be independently controlled by the system in the same manner as the shade curtain)
  • Glazing material is double wall acrylic panels, 90% light transmission, UV-transmitting
  • Chill Water/Mechanical Cooling System and Steam heat (perimeter and steam coil in the air handler)-design is for temp control +/-5F
  • DI water drip irrigation system (manually controlled currently) featuring an in-line fertigation system that can accommodate up to 2,300 4" diameter pots
  • Each greenhouse has a network data connection available.


950 sq ft plant prep area, climate controlled, root washing station, sink/casework, and shelving.

Walk-in growth chamber Workspace inside the headhouse

For more information, contact:
Jerry Tuskan (, 865-576-8141)