Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Barber, Nicholas A.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Biological Sciences


Ecology; Biology; Botany; Vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizas--Climatic factors--Research; Plants--Climatic factors--Research; Fungi in agriculture--Climatic factors--Research; Climatic changes--Research


Along with the increase in temperature due to global warming, changes in precipitation will also accompany climate change (IPCC, 2014) leading to more severe droughts in some areas. How these changes will effect plant growth requires further investigation. Most vascular plants form symbiotic relationships with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (Gange and Smith 2005). Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal colonization of plants has been found to reduce stresses such as drought (Davies et al. 2002) and herbivory (Bennett et al. 2009, Kiers et al. 2010), which may allow plants to survive with less water or in the presence of insect pests. This study examines the relationship of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and bell pepper plants (Capsicum annuum) under the stresses of elevated temperature and drought. Additional experiments investigate if colonization by AMF influences insect herbivory on plants at elevated temperatures. The results of this investigation found that AMF may play a role in providing nutrients and increasing the fitness of the host plant under the stresses of climate change, but not initial plant defenses against insect herbivory.


Advisors: Nicholas A. Barber.||Committee members: Melvin R. Duvall; Holly Jones.


38 pages




Northern Illinois University

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