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Plant pathogen vectors

Aster leafhoppers can transmit a plant pathogen called aster yellows phytoplasma that causes economic losses in carrot and celery in Michigan. Our recent work focused on improving diagnostic methods and surveying the leafhopper community to determine which species vector aster yellows. 

Onion thrips management is challenging because these insects can vector plant diseases on their cuticle or in their guts. We are currently studying the interaction of onion thrips, their natural enemies and plant diseases with the goal of improving pest management in organic onions. The project is lead by M.S. student Natalie Constancio and is done in collaboration with Dr. Mary Hausbeck.