Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Robert Dearth

Second Advisor

Dr. Rupesh Kariyat

Third Advisor

Dr. Bradley Christoffersen


Chapter 1: Literature Review- In this literature review we have examined weed management as it concerns urban and agricultural ecosystems, as well as the need for mowing assessments as it relates to floral traits and defense against herbivory.

Chapter 2: Experiments- In the experiments we examined the role of mowing on floral growth traits, floral defense traits, and their effect on Manduca sexta specialist herbivores.

Chapter 3: Results- In the results we found SLN flowers to have larger diameters than unmowed flowers; however, flower mass was in line with our predictions as unmowed flowers were heavier in high mowing frequency populations. Polyphenol Oxidase (PPO) was not significantly different between mowed and unmowed and the effect of mowed and unmowed plant parts incorporated in diet was found to be pronounced in unmowed diet-fed caterpillars which were significantly heavier than their control and mowed counterparts. Physical defenses in the form of spines were also significantly higher in density in mowed plants when compared to unmowed plants.

Chapter 4: Discussion- From the results and experiments we can conclude that these findings are in line with our previous study on SLN that had not looked at floral traits but still found there to be trait induction in mowed SLN plants when compared to unmowed SLN plants.


Copyright 2022 Alejandro Vasquez. All Rights Reserved.