Credentials: Plant Pathology Department
Position title: Epidemiology and ecology of fungal plant diseases
My research program is focused on two areas of epidemiological/ecological research. The first involves potato early dying (PED) caused primarily by the wilt fungus Verticillum dahliae. In cooperation with Dr. MacGuidwin, we are studying the role of nematodes in disease development. Our approach includes researching the influence of fungus and nematodes on crop physiology as well as identifying mechanisms of synergism. Methods being developed for this research include both molecular probes for rapid reliable assays and simulation models of crop growth as effected by Verticillum and interacting agents. We are studying the production of potatoes in mixed crop- livestock systems to determine the influence of reduced density of potato acreage on pest problems. Results to date suggest dramatically reduced need for pesticides. Alternative practices such as narrower row spacing and mechanical vine removal are being investigated for their influence on pest damage. This farming system approach has been a challenging departure from our single commodity- oriented work. influence on pest damage. This farming system approach has been a challenging departure from our single commodity- oriented work.