Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Agricultural, Environmental, and Sustainability Sciences
Dr. Alexis Racelis
Dr. Rupesh Kariyat
Dr. Pushpa Soti
I address the concerning disconnect between food production and regenerative ecological principles. First, understanding the foundational processes of seed-dormancy and germination are essential for successful restoration efforts using native species. We examine four common seed treatments (aerated hydroprime, acid scarification, cold stratification, sand scarification) on twelve commercially available species native to south Texas. Pappophorum bicolor Fourn. (pink pappusgrass) was sown in the field with the aerated hydroprime treatment, D. virgatus (Willd.) B.L. Turner (prostrate bundleflower) was planted after sand scarification treatment, and Ratibida columnifera (Nutt.) Woot. & Standl. (Mexican hat) was seeded without treatment. Small-scale field trials were conducted to investigate arthropod diversity and abundance, analyzed by functional guilds and role as pest or beneficial. Eggplant was incorporated in the plots to examine potential cash crop benefits in association with native plant hosts of arthropod-mediated ecosystem services but showed no significance between treatments. D. virgatus supported significantly higher pest populations, particularly Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae (whitefly), than control. P. bicolor had significantly higher diversity than D. virgatus. The uses for native plants in food production in the Lower Rio Grande Valley is only now being researched and deserve further exploration to foster more stable food systems and restore habitat in south Texas.
Lavallee, Kaitlynn M., "Incorporation of Native Plants for Biodiversity Conservation in South Texas Agroecosystems" (2020). Theses and Dissertations. 695.