Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Alexis Racelis

Second Advisor

Dr. Erin Schuenzel

Third Advisor

Dr. Matthew Terry


Arthropod vectors are agriculturally and ecologically important because they transmit numerous plant pathogens. Commonly, control strategies for vector-borne plant pathogens focus on suppression of vector populations. Genetic variation studies in pest populations provide useful information for biological control, understanding pesticide resistance, and inferring global movement patterns. In chapter I, genetic variation of worldwide populations of Diaphorina citri, the vector of Citrus greening disease, was examined to assess potential sites of origin of invasive populations. The results showed population structure at regional levels, suggesting limited gene flow and revealing patterns of invasion. In chapter II, I explored the community of potential Citrus leprosis vectors, Brevipalpus species, on Citrus plants. These communities showed low genetic diversity, lack of association with Citrus species, and a high proportion of disease vectors. Population genetic analysis with Mexican and Brazilian mites revealed no population structure suggesting that these vectors can migrate unhindered between these areas.


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