Eric Watkins’s research focuses on the development of low-input, winter-hardy turfgrass cultivars for use in cold climates. Research activities involve germplasm improvement of several cool-season turfgrass species, including perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, tall fescue, hard fescue, strong creeping red fescue, and the native grass Koeleria macrantha. He also evaluates grasses for use on roadsides in the northern United States.
Watkins received his PhD in plant biology from Rutgers University in 2004 and received a BSc in agriculture from the University of Minnesota in 1998. Watkins has been on the faculty of the Department of Horticultural Science since 2004, where he teaches a number of courses related to turfgrass science and plant breeding.