Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Environmental Studies

First Advisor's Name

Krishnaswamy Jayachandran

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Anne Hartley

Third Advisor's Name

Michael Ross

Date of Defense

11-21-2006

Abstract

Non native plants are a threat to ecosystems across the globe, some delicate ecosystems like those in South Florida are in greater danger because of the large number of endemics at risk. Old World Climbing Fern (Lygodium microphyllum) has become one of the most invasive and destructive weeds in southern Florida. To date different efforts have been made to control its growth and spread but have not been successful. In light of the highly delicate ecosystem affected by L. microphyllum, a biological paradigm may be a more ecologically sound approach to the containment of this obnoxious weed. The fungus Myrothecium verrucaria, has been identified as a possible bioherbicide against L. microphyllum. A series of greenhouse studies demonstrated that M. verrucaria serves as an effective biocontrol agent against L. microphyllum severely affecting over 75% of ferns while having very little impact on non target plants (less than 5% infected, none severely). This type of biocontrol strategy to restore native ecosystems is cost effective and environmentally friendly.

Identifier

FI14060851

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