WSU CAHNRS

College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Department of Plant Pathology

Graduate Student’s Successful Defense

Congratulations to Ms. Avi Alcala, PhD student with Dr. Lindsey du Toit, for successfully defending her PhD thesis. Avi’s PhD supervisory committee included, Drs. du Toit (chair), Carol Miles, Tim Paulitz, and Lyndon Porter.

Avi’s dissertation research, funded by the WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR), focused on the management of damping-off caused by Pythium spp. in organic vegetable production in the Pacific Northwest.  In general, the project identified the Pythium spp.  that are important in causing damping-off in organic vegetable production, particularly organic pea, during early spring planting in the semi-arid Columbia Basin.  Management strategies to control damping-off by evaluating organic seed or drench treatments under the conditions favorable for the disease, i.e., early spring planting in cool, wet soils, were also assessed in this study.  The potential use of electrical conductivity (EC) measurement of seed lots of pea cultivars, as a predictor of seed quality (vigor) and the risk of damping-off were also evaluated.  Results of these studies should benefit stakeholders involved in organic vegetable production.

Alcala and committeeAvi is a native of Philippines. She obtained her BS degree in Agriculture, and a MS degree in Plant Pathology from the University of the Philippines at Los Banos.  The focus of her MS project was on the control of anthracnose of mango caused by Colletotrichum gloeosporioides.  Before moving to Washington State, she worked as a researcher at the Philippine Rice Research Institute, implementing projects on the development of biological control for management of diseases in rice and vegetable crops.

Avi will be joining Valent USA in LeLand, MS as a Research Scientist and will conducting seed treatment work for the Seed Protection Group of the company.

In the picture: Avi (center) with Drs. Lindsey du Toit (5’-end) and Lyndon Porter (3’-end). Other committee members not pictured: Drs. Carol Miles and Tim Paulitz.


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