Graduate student’s successful defense
Shashika Hewavitharana, MS student with Dr. Mark Mazzola successfully defended her MS thesis. Her supervisory committee included Drs. Mark Mazzola (chair), Tim Paulitz, and Brenda Schroeder. Her dissertation research dealt with carbon source depedent efficacy of anaerobic soild disinfestation in controlling apple replant disease. Pythium ultimum, Pratylenchus penetrans and Rhizoctonia solani AG-5 are important components of the pathogen complex that incites apple replant disease (ARD). Anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD) has capacity to control a broad spectrum of soil-borne diseases and is amenable with organic management systems. Shashika carried out growth chamber studies to determine whether type of carbon (C) source input influenced the efficacy of ASD for the control of multiple ARD pathogens. Hewavitharana’s research findings demonstrated a potential for using grass residues as a C input for the conduct of anaerobic soil disinfestation to control ARD pathogens and parasites. She will be continuing her PhD under the supervision of Dr. Mazzola.