Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Alexis Racelis

Second Advisor

Dr. Frank Dirrgl

Third Advisor

Dr. Chris Vitek


Invasive species have been recorded to cause large economic and ecological impacts on various ecosystems and their services. Locally, giant reed (Arundo donax L.), a woody grass native to the Mediterranean, adversely impacts riparian ecosystems in southwestern United States by aggressively displacing their native flora and fauna. Giant reed also has become a cause of concern for national water security, especially in water-limited areas of the arid southwestern United States. The main objective of this study is to provide the first, landscape-level estimates of water use by giant reed in the United States. Evapotranspiration was monitored using the eddy covariance method concurrently with the implementation of a biological control program targeting giant reed. Daily maximum ET reached 7.7 and 6.07 mm day -1 in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Our study suggests that this reduction in ET may be attributed to the presence of stem-galling specialist insect biological control agents at relatively higher density in 2015 than in 2014. Additional studies are needed to quantify the long term water conservation and economic benefits of the biological control program in the Rio Grande Basin.


Copyright 2016 Jose R. Escamilla Jr. All Rights Reserved.