The main objective of my thesis research involves three questions:
The major herbivore on the crop plant Cucurbita moschata (butternut squash) is Acalymma vittatum,
the striped cucumber beetle. Plants were exposed to aboveground foliar herbivory by adult cucumber
beetles as well as belowground root herbivory by cucumber beetle larvae.
2. Determining the Effects of Perimeter Trap Crop Pollen on Focal Crop Reproduction
Perimeter trap crops draw herbivores away from the focal crop and are used to reduce insecticide use. In the field, perimeter trap crops are planted around the focal crop, and pollinator visitation can easily cross between the two species. This project asks two questions:
Cucurbita moschata plants were hand pollinated with different amounts of pure and mixed pollen from
both C. moschata (focal crop) and Cucurbita maxima (perimeter trap crop).
Foliar herbivory has been found to affect plant fitness by altering traits such as floral morphology, which
can change the dynamic between a plant and their pollinators. To determine the effects of leaf removal
on floral morphology, I conducted a preliminary greenhouse study using Cucurbita moschata. The plants were
subjected to an artificial herbivory treatment by mechanically removing leaf mass at an early developmental
stage, then measuring male and female floral traits.
Movie: Annie Hall
Band this year: Outkast
Activity: Cheering for Celtics basketball!
Book: On the Road, Jack Kerouac