Theses and Dissertations


John Formby

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Riggins, John

Committee Member

Layton, Blake

Committee Member

Rodgers, John

Committee Member

Krishnan, Natraj

Committee Member

Brown, Richard

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology


Several native species of Lauraceae (e.g. sassafras) in the southeastern United States are being eradicated by laurel wilt disease. Laurel wilt is caused by a highly invasive and cryptic ambrosia beetle, Xyleborus glabratus, and its fungal symbiont. The symbiont pathogen is spread during colonization of native Lauraceae. Xyleborus glabratus and the pathogen are remarkably effective at colonizing and killing healthy populations of Lauraceae in a brief time period. Control methods have been unable to slow the spread of laurel wilt disease and X. glabratus populations have been spreading into northern latitudes. Presently, cold temperatures may be the only factor limiting establishment of the beetle in interior populations of sassafras. Empirically derived physiological data from this study were combined with climatic, microhabitat, and host data to model the invasive potential/hazard rate of X. glabratus and laurel wilt in sassafras forests of the United States. Sharing this model data will help land managers, forest health specialists, urban foresters, and landowners make informed proactive management decisions regarding laurel wilt disease.



Xyleborus glabratus||laurel wilt disease||cold hardening||invasion modeling