Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Siegert, Courtney

Committee Member

Tang, Juliet

Committee Member

Clay, Natalie

Committee Member

Riggins, John

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access



Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Forest Resources


Department of Forestry


A frequent source of pine tree mortality in recent years can be attributed to pine bark beetles and their vectored Ophiostomatoid fungi, an organism that has been observed to attract subterranean termites that preferentially recruit to this downed woody debris. This interaction may significantly modify biogeochemical fluxes in bark beetle mass mortality events, but studies are often limited to singular regions or single pine-dominated ecosystems. Two studies were designed to test the interactive effects of these associations on terrestrial biogeochemical cycles and decomposition processes, the first using replicated field trials in Mississippi, Arizona, and Honduras across two years and the second across five years in Mississippi. Both studies utilized Ophiostomatoid inoculation and invertebrate exclusion techniques to determine the individual and interactive contributions from biotic factors on biogeochemical cycling. Local drivers were found to have greater influence on biogeochemical cycling and decomposition before climate drivers overwhelmed their influence in later years.