Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Agricultural, Environmental, and Sustainability Sciences

First Advisor

Rupesh Kariyat

Second Advisor

Alexis Racelis

Third Advisor

Bradley Christofferson


Chapter 1: This chapter gives an overview of how cover crops influence soil’s physical, chemical, and biological properties, and their role on mediating arthropod community dynamics with implications for pest management in the subsequent cash crop.

Chapter 2: This chapter examines the effects of cover-cash crop rotation on arthropod community dynamics on four growers fields in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas. We assessed the impact of cover crops planted in the summer months on the subsequent cash crops planted in the winter. Our results showed that cover crops had a differential effect on the population of beneficials and herbivores both in the cover and cash crop growing seasons.

Chapter 3: This chapter examines the effect of trap color on arthropod community attraction in a south Texas agroecosystem. Through three field seasons, we demonstrated that the yellow vane traps captured arthropods more efficiently than the colorless vane traps using data collected from three fields.

Chapter 4: This chapter gives insights into the cascading effect of cover crops on the subsequent cash crop defense against a major polyphagous herbivore Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda). Through detailed and rigorous field and laboratory studies, we show that cash crops planted in the cover crop treatment plot differentially impacted the growth and development of S. frugiperda.


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