Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Robert Dearth

Second Advisor

Dr. Megan Keniry

Third Advisor

Dr. Rupesh Kariyat


Chapter 1: Plants have a wide array of defenses against herbivores and hence they must confer trade-offs between growth and defense related traits. By using Solanum as a model genus, the major plant defense fitness trade-off hypotheses are reviewed in this chapter along with their assumptions and examples.

Chapter 2: This chapter provides an overview of the enormous intra-specific diversity in trichome morphology in tomato, Solanum lycopersicum. Also, the trichome sub-types are analyzed for the variations in density and dimensions in 10 varieties of tomato by using desktop scanning electron microscope.

Chapter 3: This chapter examines the functional consequences of intra-specific diversity of trichome traits in tomato on the feeding, growth, and development of Solanaceae specialist herbivore, Manduca sexta.

Chapter 4: This chapter compares the trichome efficiency of three different methods used to extract trichomes from plant leaf surfaces and provides pros and cons for each of them using 5 plant species that vary in their trichomes.

Chapter 5: This chapter provides the overview of major findings of my research and suggests the future directions in the field of interactions between plant physical defenses and the insect herbivores.


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