Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University

Advisor

Ervin, N. Gary

Committee Member

Taylor, M. Christopher

Committee Member

Brown, L. Richard

Date of Degree

8-1-2007

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Biological Sciences

Abstract

Opuntia species have been poorly studied ecologically and taxonomically in the eastern United States. This study deals with the ecology of Opuntia species in the mid-south United States and covers not only the high degree of morphological variation exhibited by taxa, but also the taxonomy and distributions of the group for Mississippi. The taxa in the mid-south have distinct habitat preferences and can be separated based on habitat characterization. Information from this work provides valuable data useful in predicting possible routes that an invasive species, Cactoblastis cactorum (the cactus moth), might use in its potential westward migration. Phenotypic plasticity exhibited by Opuntia pusilla subjected to experimental conditions exemplifies the care that should be taken when making species delineations. Spine production in certain species is more a function of abiotic environmental pressures than genetic heritage. Two taxa that previously were put into synonymy with other species are recognized from this work.

URI

https://hdl.handle.net/11668/15374

Comments

Opuntia pusilla||nopales||prickly pear cacti||Opuntia stricta||morphological plasticity||Opuntia humifusa||Cactoblastis cactorum

Share

COinS