About Us


Michael Allen, Director of Science Research

Dr. Allen’s research is concentrated on understanding the effects of human activities on ecosystem biodiversity and functioning. As the human population expands, population centers emerge and shift, and resources are extracted and utilized. I have focused on three areas. First, I have undertaken efforts to describe the impacts of human activities on wildlands, from land disturbance, transportation, and agriculture to the changing global environment. Specifically, I have worked on documenting the spatial and temporal effects of perturbations on soil organisms and soil resources. In this context, I have focused on direct disturbance (such as mining, harvesting), elevated CO2, climate, and pollution. Second, I have worked to document how natural succession proceeds to learn lessons that can be applied in ecosystem restoration. This has entailed research on Mount St. Helens, Alaskan Glaciers, mines, roadways, and tropical forest management. We focused on utilizing spatial structure to enhance recovery of soil organisms, and, incorporating these organisms to stabilize natural fertility and soil structure. Specifically, we can use spatial variability and plant architecture to harvest wind-blown microbes, or create conditions on which animals will key in to enhance natural immigration and establishment of beneficial microorganisms. Finally, I have begun working on developing ways to bring ecological science into the decision-making process. I have worked on interagency efforts to incorporate ecosystem management approaches into environmental decisions at the federal level. More recently, he has worked with the County of Riverside and southern California regional agencies on multiple species habitat conservation (MSHCP) planning efforts. Distinguished Professor Allen holds the following degrees: PhD Botany from the University of Wyoming; MS Botany from University of Wyoming; BS Biology Southwestern College, KS.



Yuri Belogortsev, Lead Software Engineer — AMR applications

Mr. Belogortsev is comfortable working in and with a wide variety of environments and programming tools including: MS Visual C++, Borland C++, Borland Delphi. Programming tools – MS Windows SDK, Topaz (xBase library for C/C++), db_Vista 2.22 (networking DBMS), Clipper Summer ‘87, CScape 3.0, Graphics Server SDK for Windows, CrystallCOM for Windows, CommDRV communications library (both for DOS and Windows), InstantCAS for Windows (FAX library), FTP TCP/IP software library, Tics real-time kernel for MS DOS, MKS LEX and YACC, Visual J++, php. Yuri’s degree is from the Moscow Institute of Radio Techniques, Electronics and Automation, Moscow, RUSSIA: MS in applied electronics, majored in mathematics, applied physics, applied computer science.



Jerry McMurry, Chief Mechanical Design Engineer

Mr. McMurry worked for eight years at Convair Astronautics on the Atlas Missile and Centaur Space Vehicle programs.  He spent 37 years at Space and Naval Warfare Center working on various communications systems and devices for shipboard and shore  installations.  He has built a sailboat, several Baja race cars, a world-class telescope for the San Diego Astronomical Association and is a machinist, welder and electronic technician. Jerry has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University.




Mark Richardson, Lead Software Engineer — MMR Applications

Mr. Richardson has produced a plethora of applications ranging from device drivers, appliances, protocols, middleware and end-user desktop applications. Mark’s primary effort focuses on developing and maintaining the RootMobile application. Mark received his BS in Computer Science from Tennessee Tech University.




George Rothbart, Director of Software Development

Professor Rothbart has been integral to creating hardware and software solutions for applications ranging from online exams to detailed microprocessor controllers and is versed in many operating systems and programming languages.  Some of his most recent work was the development of the Web-based RootView software used to control the AMR.  As part of the original design team, George was instrumental in making the AMR the research tool it is today and is constantly striving to improve RootView.  George holds the following degrees:  Ph.D., Physics (Majoring in High Energy Particle Physics) Stanford University; MS Physics University of Michigan; BS Physics Harvey Mudd College. In his spare time, George is also a Professor of Mathematics at the College of Marin.



Mike Taggart, Managing Director, CEO

Mr. Taggart has spent most of his career with start-up companies. Until RhizoSystems, three of the most notable were Silicon Systems, Inc., MicroSim Corp. (PSpice) and the Forest Service Volunteer Association, the latter two of which he served as a board member in addition to performing daily responsibilities. Prior to RhizoSystems, Mike was a Senior Development Engineer with the University of California at Riverside and was the Project Manager and Chief Engineer for the Automated Mini-Rhizotron (AMR) project. He also served as the lead engineer for project testing and field deployment for the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing at the UC James Reserve. Immediately prior to his UC work, Mike was the managing partner at Ground Acoustics, LLP, where he developed environmental sensors and instruments for leak detection applications. Mike attended UCLA and Control Data Institute and holds a degree in Computer Programming and Engineering. Mike is also a Research Associate at the Center for Conservation Biology at the University of California, Riverside.