Document Type



Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor's Name

Jennifer H. Richards

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Suzanne Koptur

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Michael Ross

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


invasive plants, ferns, lygodium microphyllum, old world climbing fern, prescribed fire, infestation management, control, spores, spore viability, heat tolerance, spore age

Date of Defense



Lygodium microphyllum, native to the Old World tropics, has invaded central and southern Florida, destroying native habitats, reducing biodiversity and altering fire regimes. Prescribed fire, one of several methods used to manage L. microphyllum infestations, reduces fern biomass over large areas, but its effects on spore viability are unknown. To provide tools to evaluate whether fire-dispersed spores are viable, this research determined how heat affects spore viability. Spores were exposed to temperatures of 50°C to 300°C for durations of 5 seconds to 1 hour, then allowed to germinate on agar in petri plates. Percent germination was assayed after two weeks. Temperatures of 50°C had little effect; 300°C killed spores for all durations. Results indicate that while viability of unburnt spores decreases with increasing temperature and duration of heat exposure, spores are killed when exposed to relatively low temperatures compared to those in fires.





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