Date of Award

Fall 2015

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Kirk Broders

Second Advisor

Louis Tisa

Third Advisor

Thomas Davis


The evolutionary arms race between plants and their associated pathogens has created highly dynamic interactions. Understanding the mechanisms that drive these interactions and the phylogenetic history of the pathogens is key to developing effective disease management practices. Although there have been great advances in understanding the evolution of plant pathogens, they only scratch the surface of the true complexity of pathogens’ interactions with their hosts and their environment. In this study, the interactions between the fungal vascular wilt pathogen, Verticillum dahliae, and a variety of hosts including accessions of wild strawberry, Fragaria vesca, and several cover crop species are investigated. With a transgenic strain of V. dahliae expressing Green Fluorescent Protein, infection of hosts was visualized using confocal microscopy. A comparative genomics study of 13 V. dahliae isolates was also done to investigate their phylogeny and to investigate the genetic structure between different isolates.