In memoriam: Dr. David Bayer

Feb 28, 2024

David E. Bayer, Emeritus Professor in the UC Davis Department of Plant Biology, passed away on January 20, 2024 in Davis, CA.

Dr. Bayer earned his B.S and M.S. degrees from Oregon State University and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin  and was a pillar of weed science and weed control research in California for nearly 30 years. Dr. Bayer started his career as a University of California weed extension specialist in 1958 and, in 1962 accepted a position as a Professor in the UC Davis Department of Botany which later became part of the Department of Plant Biology. Dr. Bayer retired from UC Davis in the mid-1990s and remained active as an emeritus faculty member for many years continuing some of his research on herbicide-resistant ryegrass among other projects.  Dr. Bayer was particularly known around the world for his work on weed management in rice systems; the California growers held him in the highest regard and presented him with the California Rice Industry Award in 1994.  Among many awards for research and teaching, Dr. Bayer was named as Fellow of both the Western Society of Weed Science (1978) and the Weed Science Society of America (1988).

Dr. Bayer's memorial service was held on February 2, 2024. Here is a link to his obituary:

The following information, in which Dr. Bayer recounted his career up to that point, was taken from “The Western Society of Weed Science 1938-1992” compiled by Dr. Arnold Appleby in 1993.


David Bayer

David E. Bayer, WSWS Fellow, 1978
(Written by David Bayer)

I was born and reared in Oregon on a wheat farm east of Mt. Hood and received my B.S. degree from Oregon State University in 1951. Having enjoyed the experience of hoeing weeds, I accepted an opportunity to work for my M.S. degree in weed science with Dr. Virgil Freed at OSU. Upon completing my degree in 1953, I accepted a job with Oregon State University to conduct weed research in eastern Oregon headquartered at the Pendleton Branch Experiment Station. After approximately two years, I decided to return to school and work on my Ph.D. with Dr. K.P. Buchholtz at the University of Wisconsin.

After completing my degree in 1958, I started to work for the University of California as a Weed Specialist with statewide responsibilities shared with Bill Harvey. Then in September 1962, I joined the Department of Botany, UC Davis, to teach and conduct research on various aspects of weed science.

In the early stages of my career, I became very involved with the California Weed Conference (CWC) and ultimately served as president in 1981-82 and was elected as an Honorary Member in 1986. During this time, the conference grew from a little over 300 members to over 1,000 members today. While the CWC has been primarily a “user” or a “take home” type conference, I also enjoyed the Western Society of Weed Science (WSWS), which was much smaller and dealt more with research matters of a regional nature. I served as editor-compiler of the WSWS Research Progress Reports; on most, if not all, major committees; as WSWS representative to the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA), and as President in 1972-73. In 1978, I was honored by being selected as Fellow. In addition to CWC and WSWS, I have participated in our national organization, WSSA, serving as Secretary in 1977-78. I have also served as a Member-at-Large on the WSSA Executive Council, 1972, Editorial Committee and Associate Editor for the journal Weed Science from 1971-76 and 1976-80, respectively, served on numerous committees and was selected for the “Outstanding Teacher Award” in 1979. I was honored in 1988 by being elected as a Fellow.

I have taught courses on all aspects of weed science, lectured to a variety of organizations and have served on many state advisory committees. While administration has been competing with my research and teaching in recent years, I still enjoy the meetings and reminiscing with many of my colleagues and especially my graduate students who represent nearly every aspect of weed science.


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Editor - Cooperative Extension Specialist
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